Tech chiefs and marketing executives are in conflict over what is the right strategy for their company’s mobile applications – and who should be in charge.

Just over half, 51 percent, of the CMOs surveyed believe that they should have a bigger role in mobile strategy, and the report, commissioned by web services company Netbiscuits, said “the CMO’s determination to be the driving force in determining mobile web strategy is leading them to be the aggressor in the C-suite battle with the CIO”.

The survey found that while 18 percent of CIOs think mobile web strategy should become more of a marketing project, that’s twice the proportion of CMOs who think tech should take more control.

Currently the CMO has sole ownership of mobile strategy in only one in five organisations, 21 percent. Joint CMO and CIO ownership of mobile web strategy accounts for 27 percent of the total, while fewer than one in 10 organisations – eight percent – have a mobile group independent of CMO and CIO, such as a ‘mobile centre of excellence’.

Netbiscuits noted: “CMOs understand that they have the most to gain from wresting ownership from the CIO. It enables them to gain greater control over some of the key performance indicators that are directly determined by customer experience on mobile platforms.”

And the tussle between CIOs and CMOs isn’t just limited to mobile development – CMOs are increasingly getting a say in broader tech decisions even if they don’t always control the budgets.

CMOs and CIOs have different priorities when it comes to mobile development, according to the Netbiscuits survey. Half of CMOs said testing was critically or very important to improving customer experience, compared with the three-quarters of CIOs who hold the same view. 

Perhaps inevitably the CMO prioritises customer experience, while the CIO emphasises the technical challenges. Just over half of CMO respondents cited ‘provide customers with more channels for interaction’ as a critical factor, compared with just a third of CIOs. And nearly half, 44 percent, of CMOs said ‘improving customer online engagement’ was critical ahead of CIOs with 29 percent.

The research asked a total of 300 CIOs, CMOs and other C-level executives for their views on mobile web strategy in their organisations, with 200 respondents in the US and 100 in the UK.