April 25, 2013

Chief marketing officers are projected to outspend chief information officers on IT projects in less than five years, according to Gartner. And in a few industries -- like the ultracompetitive P&C insurance industry, where overall marketing spend has skyrocketed over the past few years -- it could happen even faster.

IT Resource Management

Matt Jauchius, executive VP and CMO of Columbus, Ohio-based P&C giant Nationwide, says he has "double-digit million dollars in IT projects" that are being created at his request. He notes that P&C insurance has become the 10th-most-advertised product in the country, according to Kantar Media -- and that's just in measurable media such as television and radio ads and digital ad impressions. Behind the scenes, there's even more spending that aims at acquiring and retaining customers through digital channels, including data warehousing and analytics projects. CIOs and CMOs must learn how to coexist in this new world of technology spending.

"If your CIO and CMO don't have a good partnership, forget about it," Jauchius says. "We spend a lot of time on that at Nationwide, and I'm proud of how we do it."

Marketing and technology leaders shouldn't spend time arguing over who "owns" things such as mobile, social media and online user experience that straddle both departments, Jauchius says. Rather, each side should be able to agree easily on where its expertise is most valuable in development of certain capabilities.

"There's a set of things that are so clearly IT no one would argue with it, like security," Jauchius explains. "But making sure messaging is consistent across the business and kept compliant with regulations -- that's marketing."

After all, both departments want to figure out cool ways to incorporate hot new technology platforms into insurance marketing, he adds.

"The IT and the marketing people are aligned almost all the time on advanced and emerging applications," he says. "We actually don't get in one another's way on things like that. What gets in the way is boring things like funding, swinging into the change process and legacy systems."

Jauchius credits the appointment of a "marketing technologist" position as the single liaison between marketing and IT with helping define roles and identify the kinds of multitalented staff members needed to power digital marketing initiatives such as customer analytics. This position also helps secure and distribute funding for marketing-related IT initiatives.

[Nationwide CMO: 'I Have Double-Digit Million Dollars in IT Projects']

"I'm the sponsor of the projects and he's the project manager," Jauchius explains. "Each one has a marketing lead and an IT lead. They're equal in authority, but their roles are defined with great specificity."

At Nationwide, the marketing technologist runs the customer analytics group, a practice area that came into existence after the company built a $100 million data warehouse that serves as its backbone. This initiative required heavy collaboration between marketing and IT in order to achieve the final product, and reinforced the value of the marketing technologist role.

"We have hired a fair number of people into the staff of this individual, who worked at places like IBM," Jauchius says, referring to Wes Hunt, VP of customer analytics. "This role is the best way to make sure you have a collaborative relationship between marketing and tech."