Divina Paredes is the editor of CIO New Zealand, the leading leadership and management publication for ICT executives and members of the CXO suite in New Zealand. CIO is part of part of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading technology media, events and research company.

Q: How has the CMO’s role affected the changing role of the New Zealand CIO?

A: CIOs are working more closely with CMOs as organizations move to digital platforms. Marketing is an area that is deploying a raft of digital technologies as customers expect to connect with organizations from amongst a range of media, from mobile, to face-to-face, to digital. All of these touch points have to work, because you have different age groups with different technical abilities trying to access you and your product or service. These interactions and channels, in turn, produce a lot of data that needs to be linked with the other business systems, and in a secure manner. Thus, CIOs and CMOs need to work hand-in-hand in this new environment.

Q: Thirty-three percent of New Zealand businesses have internet sales, and small businesses (20 employees) make up 97% of all enterprises in New Zealand (http://www.mbie.govt.nz/what-we-do/business-growth-agenda/sectors-reports-series/pdf-document-library/small-business-factsheet-2014.pdf.) Why (or why not) are NZ is marketing automation particularly relevant to NZ SMBs? 

A: New Zealand is heavily populated by the small to medium business and that affects the CIO/CMO. It’s a small market, as they put it, characterized by ‘two degrees of separation’. Marketing to New Zealanders is not the same as everywhere else. While New Zealand is a very cost-sensitive region, businesses are quite willing to try new technologies. At the same time, they will do their due diligence. They would like to look at case studies, preferably local, or from the region. I recall talking to one CIO who, before moving some of his technologies to Cloud, asked the vendor for a local customer he could contact. The vendor couldn’t give any local customer examples, so they gave him a case study of someone in California. The customer was a similar size organization with similar objectives, and it was convincing. It is the same with marketing automation – they would like to see a reference organization whose experience can transpose to the New Zealand environment.

Another critical factor to consider is that New Zealanders are very cognizant of their privacy. At a recent conference I attended, one of the vendor speakers said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if after you buy something from a store and as you’re about to leave, you get a text message offering a deal on another item that will encourage you to go back to the shelf and get something more?”. I was left wondering whether I would actually like that. Not a lot of people wish to be marketed to 24×7, so it comes down to really knowing your audience and your target market really to make this work successfully, and the differing needs between B2C and B2B.

Q: How do you see CIOs challenging silos and communication barriers?

A: Breaking barriers is sometimes as simple as ensuring the business technology and marketing teams work side by side. A CIO I have interviewed made sure that when his company moved to a new building both the IT and marketing departments were on the same floor. He knew their teams would be working on several projects, from mobile marketing to sharpening their online channels, and wanted to remove physical silos. Another CIO I know encourages his team to work in other departments, including marketing, and vice versa. This way, they can respond better to the changing needs of both internal and external customers.

Thank You Divina! Follow her at: @divinap