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Are You Allowing Your CIO to Blackmail You?

By Burkey Belser
March 13, 2017
Are You Allowing Your CIO to Blackmail You?

In the March 7, 2017, Wall Street Journal, a snippet from a prior CIO Network conference was reprinted. Dawn Lepore, former Charles Schwab CIO and now CEO for, reported this remarkable interchange with her boss. “You never emotionally blackmail me, and I really appreciate that.” When Dawn asked what that meant, he replied, “You know, I’ve seen so many tech people who come and say, 'Well, I can cut my budget, but I can’t guarantee the system’s going to stay up, you know.'”  

This goes on every day in the hallways of all our clients: emotional blackmail exploiting tech insecurity and ignorance. “Well, if nobody else can understand it, then they must need me, right? And so I try to make it sound as complex as I possibly can, and I use lots of acronyms.” Take, for example, marketing automation and content management systems (CMS). There is NO mystery in a CMS anymore. None. And if you are still mystified by them as a CMO, then shame on you. There is no longer even any mystery left with marketing automation. Don’t get it? Passing the buck to IT? These are proven, tried-and-true technologies. For the most part, frankly, your ultimate decision does not matter in the least. They’ve been designed, redesigned, improved, squeezed and cuddled for 15 years. In tech terms, that’s several generations of noodling toward perfection. All of your perseveration about which system to choose is just hand-wringing when none is required. Yet, every day, we see clients led by the nose by the tech team because they have abrogated their responsibility to understand the technology that runs their marketing operations. As a result, your actual websites are neglected, fail to brand or communicate your value proposition clearly even as they run smoothly.  See site visits