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Why marketers need to make the CIO a hero

“When you look at the executive boardroom table, you’ve got the CFO, the COO and the CEO, and all of these are really numbers focused. If the CMO’s contribution doesn’t add up, forget it,” says Sue Day, senior marketing director (pictured), Asia Pacific and Japan at video and voice collaboration company Polycom.

Hence, marketing needs to be seen as delivering “hard-core revenue” said Day, highlighting the increasing pressure on marketers to contribute to the bottom line.

And the digital medium offers this. Marketing spoke to Polycom to find out how an organisation can realign its marketing department around analytics.

Polycom began investing seriously in its analytics capabilities in 2008, when revenues had reached approximately US$1.2billion. Day admits, however, that the company should have started investing sooner: “I think you need something from day one, even if you start out on an excel sheet”.

Today, the company uses a number of different analytics tools: Adobe cloud for websites, Vocus for PR and StarCite for event management. The core of the company’s demand generation activity is managed through its CRM and marketing automation Systems – Salesforce and Eloqua.

While usually a costly move, Day believes the large costs often associated with CRM and automation systems are justified, as “they service many parts of the organisation and provide information critical to the running of the business. Beyond marketing analysis and measurement, the systems can be used to manage sales pipelines, forecast revenue, and manage commissions and product inventory, amongst other uses.

This is why analytics is a business investment, and not merely a marketing one, she opines.

This is crucial when companies grow big, back office systems need to be integrated, rather than having different departments invest in software for their respective needs.

This was what happened at Polycom as well. Its finance department worked off Siebel, the sales department used Salesforce, and the marketing department hosted its data externally.

IT played a key role in pulling all the data together to create a cohesive analytics system. As such, it’s not a case of a company’s CMO battling the CIO for technology investments: “In a balanced organisation, the CIO has responsibility to many more functions than just marketing,” says Day.

Throughout this process of back-end integration, Polycom’s marketing department’s gave the IT department “the language (to) enable them to go and have a discussion with the business function leads to make decisions as to how collaborative solutions could help” departments other than just marketing.

Thus, particularly for B2B companies, Day recommends that to really turn marketing into a value centre marketers need to “make the CIO a hero”.

Sue Day will be a part of the speaker panel at Marketing magazine’s inaugural Analytics Interactive conference, happening on 20 March. To find out more, please click here.

For sponsorship information, contact Che Winstrom at or call + 65 6423 0329.

To attend the conference, contact Carlo Reston at or call +65 6423 0329.

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