“Is Marketing Talking to IT?”

The real question companies should be asking themselves isn’t, “Is marketing talking to sales?” but rather, “Is marketing talking to IT?” Or for that matter, “Is IT talking to marketing?”

Marketing – IT:  Dysfunctional Behavior?

There was a time when marketers were a slave to the IT department because they didn’t understand how any of this worked.  IT didn’t understand marketing concepts either.  Technologists were never decision makers, yet they ruled their own world.   Both departments created silos rather than collaborate.  Hence “Turf Wars” and dysfunctional behavior were often the norm in many organizations.

No Respect

As reported by Chris Murphy, Senior Executive Editor, InformationWeek:  “IT sees marketing as looking for shortcuts, shortcuts that will come back to bite the organization. Marketing, meanwhile, sees IT slowing them down, not delivering on the operational basics, and not understanding marketing needs.”

According to a recent study of over 300 CMO’s and 300 CIO’s, “The CMO-CIO Alignment Imperative”, sponsored by Accenture:

  • 46 percent of marketing executives do not agree that their company’s CIO understands marketing objectives and requirements.
  • Nearly two-thirds of marketers report challenges implementing marketing and IT solutions, citing the lack of priority given to marketing by IT as the chief reason.
  • Only one-fourth of marketers consult enterprise IT, contact center, and back office groups in selecting and deploying marketing solutions.

According to the report, “The CMO Council believes there is a global imperative for marketing and IT organizations, which too often have been polarized and adversarial, to find common ground around the business of innovating more efficient, effective and measurable ways to target, acquire and stay intimately connected to customers. The need for greater synchronization, partnership and collaboration between these two groups has never been more critical to their mutual success.”

Customers Are A Moving Target

Today, your customer is a moving target.  Working to identify the high value customers from average to low value customers helps you to focus on metrics such as  customer lifetime value.  The challenge is to provide high value customers with a consistent customer experience across all touch points.

Capturing knowledge about customers is as critical as using insights gleaned from data to help firms exceed customers’ expectations.  This is where it is critical for the marketing team to be as knowledgeable and comfortable with technology as the IT department.  Well, maybe they can’t write PHP code, but the marketing team does need to know IT’s capabilities —  and limitations.  Now, something very interesting happens.  By understanding the technology, the marketing team is better able to communicate customer needs to their IT partner.

Departmental Harmony

Source: Flickr.com – Fussel

Armed with an increased understanding of the marketing department’s requirements, IT can better leverage their in-depth knowledge to deliver the right solutions.  Meaning, today it’s about achieving greater collaboration between marketing and IT.  This new departmental harmony helps the firm achieve greater customer satisfaction which leads to higher retention and subsequently, greater lifetime value.

Rocket Scientists Needed

“The best rocket scientists — those that can understand and speak the languages of both technology and marketing — are moving out of the back office into significant leadership roles for their firms… Marketers and senior execs want access to their own personal ‘rocket scientists’ — people that can apply technology and data analysis to the art of marketing.” Brad Terrell, VP & General Manager, Digital Media, Netezza
Source: The “rocket scientists” of marketing (interview) Posted by Scott Brinker Jan. 19, 2011

Era of Digital Engagement

Enhanced marketing/IT communication leads to competitive advantage for the enterprise.  It isn’t about making the marketing team or the IT team look smarter, it is all about satisfying the customer’s needs better than the competition.   This is the secret of retaining good customers who will recommend the brand to non-customers.  Through the power of social interaction, customers are now extolling the virtues of the brand like they have just been added to the sales force.  Except, the key difference is that the customers’ recommendations add much more weight than any advertisement their agency can devise.

Reengineering Data – Voice of the Customer

In Scott Brinker’s Chief Marketing Technologist blog interview with Jonathan Mendez, Founder & CEO, Yieldbot,  Jonathan said, “I think the largest change is the realization that data collection enabled by marketing technology is more than numbers, it is the voice of the customer.

“Data collection enabled by marketing technology is more than numbers,
it is the voice of the customer.”

Jonathan Mendez, Founder & CEO, Yieldbot

In Blue Focus Marketing’s blog,  Marketer Trends for 2011, Mark Burgess, Managing Partner, predicted:

The “Marketing Technologist” role becomes even more critical.   We predict that more marketers will understand the importance of forming a closer partnership between marketing and IT to build technology that meets customer needs and works.   The “marketing technologist” must understand the ever-expanding onslaught of technology  —  now.

Would the IT department welcome a marketing team that knows almost as much about technology as they do?  Would IT view this as an opportunity or a threat?  Feel free to add your thoughts.

Follow us on Twitter:

Cheryl Burgess @ckburgess

Mark Burgess @mnburgess

Blue Focus Marketing @bluefocus360

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