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 ultra-competitive P&C insurance industry, where overall marketing spend has skyrocketed over the past few years as well -- it could happen even faster.
"I have double digit million dollars of IT projects that are being created at my request," Matt Jauchius, EVP and CMO of Columbus, Ohio-based P&C giant Nationwide, said in an interview at the Insurance & Technology offices.
Jauchius notes that P&C insurance has become the tenth-most advertised product in the country, according to Kantar Media -- and that's just in measurable media like television and radio ads and digital ad impressions. Behind the scenes, there's even more spending going on that aims at acquiring and retaining customers.
"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 like mobile, social media, and online user experience that straddle both departments. Rather, each side should be able to agree easily on where their 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 liason between marketing and IT with helping define roles and identify the kinds of multi-talented staff members needed to power digital marketing initiatives like customer analytics.
"He runs the customer analytics group. He's the person who interfaced most heavily with IT to build a customer information management system we spent more than $100 million on," Jauchius says. "We have hired a fair amount of people into the staff of this individual who worked at places like IBM."
In addition to running the customer information management system, the marketing technologist also serves as the project manager for marketing-related IT projects, helping to secure and distribute funds.
"This role is the best way to make sure you have a collaborative relationship between marketing and tech — we have a strict policy that if you want to interface with IT and get funding for something you have to go through the marketing technologist," Jauchius says.