Read insights from an expert panel on why close collaboration between marketing and technology leaders has never been more important.
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The formula for mastering customer experiences and driving business growth lies in the hands of the CMO and the Tech Officer. These functions must remove silos, closely collaborate and effectively communicate with one another to achieve success.

We recently hosted the latest in our series of customer-focused events on “Why marketers need to be married to Tech”. Our panel of technology and marketing leaders discussed a host of topics, culminating in the debate of whether companies are technology-led or customer-led, spoiler alert, it is perhaps neither.

The panel


Matthew Bushby  

Matthew Bushby

Matthew Bushby is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rightmove. Matt is a senior marketing leader who has run and promoted high-growth and profitable online businesses.



Elen Macaskill   

Elen Macaskill 

Elen Macaskill is the Chief Customer Officer at bp pulse. Elen has 20 years of digital, marketing, and general management experience in FMCG, direct-to-customer, and transformational businesses.



Peter Donlon   

Peter Donlon 

Peter Donlon is the Group Chief Technology Officer at Moonpig. Peter is responsible for web engineering, app development, production engineering and architecture.



Kristof Fahy  

Kristof Fahy

Kristof Fahy is Group Chief Marketing Officer at Moonpig. Kristof brings over 25 years of experience in the successful creation and implementation of commercial, digital, marketing, and brand strategies. 



One of the key elements to building a successful relationship between the two functions, is mutual understanding and respect. The panel reflected that it’s very easy to stand in a swim lane, building an understanding of how marketing works, or how technology works. The best functional leaders think laterally, demonstrating a deeper curiosity of how to make marketing and product work, which is reciprocated between both parties.


Five top takeaways for CMOs and Tech Officers

  1. Focus on shared metrics. Successful businesses will ensure their marketing and tech leaders are aligned on goals, rather than focusing on individual metrics such as customer session length or customer lifetime value.

  2. Communication is key. The biggest mistakes occur when tech and marketing functions don’t communicate. These included examples of marketing running high traffic campaigns without alerting to the tech team, and tech teams removing key customer data points without alerting the marketing teams. Constant, open communication and mutual understanding of each other’s roles and goals can overcome many barriers.

  3. Use inclusive language. Acronyms can exclude people from the conversation and can create unnecessary complexity and confusion. To remove that tension, inclusive language should be determined by the executive team and used throughout the organisation.

  4. Make compromises. The quickest way to drive sales in a digital business is through dark patterns (the annoying additional web pages where companies try to sell you more stuff before you checkout). This however impacts customer experience and is poor product design. Both marketing and tech must take a long-term view establishing customer experience.

  5. Take a long-term view. It’s critical that you listen to the other functional leader. What do they need from you? What are the barriers? How can you best support?


Are organisations product-led or a customer-led?

The chicken or the egg question. Unsurprisingly the panel were split, and if there was a winner, it was sales. A nuanced but important point was the need to differentiate between product management as a capability and product as a customer facing solution. Ultimately customers and product are owned by everybody in the organisation, with all stakeholders having the right to influence. Take the example above of dark patterns. These are proven to have a short-term uplift in sales, however they are often bad for customer experience and are lines of code that the tech team needs to write, distracting from long-term projects. Shared ownership of product and the customer will minimise poor customer experience and reduce short-term thinking.

One piece of advice you would give a CTO/CMO walking into a new organisation

  • Listen and active listening, really understand how we need help, identify the barriers and how you can support.

  • Stay focused on what the business needs to achieve, work really closely together, serve the company mission not the role.

  • Don’t worry about what we deliver vertically – it takes the shine away for the company and challenges the CEO

  • Look at where friction exists, how you can remove it and how can you achieve goals and create value together