IBM’s Battle Hymn of the CMO


I got an invitation from IBM yesterday to attend a digital discussion forum on the use of analytics in marketing.  What’s interesting isn’t that IBM is hosting such a forum; data analytics is a key IBM service offering.  The surprise for me is how IBM contacted me.  They ran a full page print ad in the” A” section of The Wall Street Journal, and invited me to join the conversation by visiting

Since IBM is in the analytics business, I know they have tools to target and reach senior marketing and communications professionals.  They could have sent targeted invitations.  They could have advertised in trade publications or sponsored banner ads on marketing sites.

Their decision to run a full-page WSJ ad titled “Welcome to the Era of the Chief Executive Customer” goes beyond casting a wide net.  It makes a bold statement that customers are a company’s most valuable asset.  And marketers are the gatekeepers of that relationship.  According to IBM:

[Customers] expect more from the brands they do business with – not just service, but hyperpersonalized service.  Forward-thinking marketers are connecting the universe of transactional, social, service and search data to build new levels of customer visibility and understanding.

This week, IBM is convening the first of a series of events to bring CMOs and CIOs together to discuss the science of giving customers what they want – when they want it.  The company quotes Gartner as predicting that by 2017, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.    IBM also quotes Christine Moorman’s forecast that CMO spending on marketing analytics will increase by 60% over the next three years.

If these projections are correct, marketing and technology roles will continue to converge as CMOs assume more responsibility for building customer-centric campaigns, relationships and service cultures.


Are CMOs ready for this role?  What needs to change for CMOs to usher in the “Era of the Chief Executive Customer”?


Connect with Meg:

Phone:  212.840.0095
Twitter: @megwildrick
LinkedIn: Meg Wildrick