The CMO-Technologist – My Story

This is the first in a series of blog posts written about the impact of Gartner's 2012 report that CMO spending would outpace CIO spending by 2017.

My name is Bill E. Dawson, and I am the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Syndicate Sales, Inc. In over 20 years of consulting in the digital marketing and technology space, I've had to good fortune to work with startups, entrepreneurs and Fortune 100 companies. I may not be your vision of a typical CIO. I'm as comfortable sketching a cartoon, as I am drawing the flow of a web application or discussing system architecture. However, you should know that the definition of CIO is changing and I believe many more will share my career path.

I am a technologist first and foremost. I like to tinker, build and see how things connect. I just happened to have traversed a path that started in user experience, doing user interface design, and coding computer-based training for companies like Novartis, BASF and Maytag. Along this route, I have embraced many roles and fed my curiosities. It is easy to do, if you respectfully ignore boundaries and build collaboration in your organization.

The question I receive most often is, "Why are you at a flower company?" My answer is simple, because they are among the growing list of companies that understand change is inevitable, but you can choose to manage that change in a smart and deliberate way. I think perceptions are stuck in a dogma that marketers are rock stars – flamboyant, budget impervious, distracted artists. In contrast, technologist are stayed, spendthrifts and introverted engineers. The reality is something much more of an amalgam. In this modern age of marketing and technology, one discipline cannot exist without the other.

Every company faces change, and those that successfully navigate it understand the balance of risk and reward.