Enter the new CIO: The Content Information Officer?

I can hear the groans after reading of yet another way of bastardizing the CIO title while adding another C-Title to the already crowded management matrix. I’ve been on the record as a longtime contrarian about the mushy Chief Digital Officer moniker and cautious about the new wave of Chief Data Officers. So why on earth would I want to roll yet another chair into the HQ conference room?

Despite the headline I’d like to assure you that I’m not promoting the Content Information Officer as a formal executive position. I’m more interested in presenting it for consideration as a way of thinking in the CIO suite and across enterprise IT.

Other than social media, there is no greater craze in global enterprises than content marketing. In fact, social media and content marketing are inseparable, given that social media feeds typically have a “bit.ly” link to some more traditional form of digital content, such as PDFs, web pages or YouTube videos.

I would proffer that if the “information” in Chief Information Officer refers to data, then there is a growing need for Content Information Officers to ensure that customer content engagement is, by design, data-driven.

Marketers would argue that this is clearly their turf and the last thing they need is a C-titled content data czar. In much the same way, the Chief Digital Officer tends to be the common enemy of both IT and marketing.

But in my life as a global marketer and in my interactions with my brethren, I’m finding that there is only lip service paid to a content-as-data mentality. This tends to manifest itself in Google, Marketo or marketing cloud analytics. Typically interactions and engagements are measured at the content format (PDF, webcast, white paper) or industry taxonomy (roofing, kitchen, bathroom, windows) levels with little attention to more emotional and granular aspects of embedded data deep within content.

This sounds like a lot of work… and it is!

Many traditional CIOs would argue that just because a function involves “data” it does not automatically mean that IT needs to be involved, especially when “emotion” is involved. This may be true in some cases.

But I’ve had the opportunity to see the incredible power of IT realizing that their “information systems” genesis has become more relevant than ever in a content-driven data marketplace. CIOs ignore this renaissance at their own peril.

Data scientist groups are already building this content-as-data bridge with CMOs simply because they’d like the resulting data exhaust determined as the content is being developed rather than having to inherit content with no apparent indices. This saves them the problem of sorting through petabytes of worthless data to get only minimal insight.

If you are fortunate enough to have data science under the IT umbrella, you will have a distinct advantage in inculcating a content-as-data culture. This will provide tremendous advantages in building partnerships with marketing and other content-rich business units. If not, it would be worth considering an embedded double-deep data science and content marketing talent pool to reinforce your role as Content Information Officers.

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