Why you need to stop pitting marketing against IT


Working in marketing can feel like a never-ending cycle of demand, response and measurement. All the while, customer expectations shift to match trending market technologies—only to morph again seemingly without notice.

Marketers must now justify our value by showcasing successful results each and every day, while still crafting strategies to confront the latest complexity: digital transformation.

But doing so takes a healthy dose of collaboration from allies in the IT department, who are themselves under siege. The answer is to form a friendly alliance that serves each team well, and the organisation, better still.

The data bottleneck

There is increasing pressure to personalise the customer experience across all digital touch points. Accordingly, businesses are looking to integrate data that enables the types of personalised experiences customers crave.

Luckily, new data-driven tools and solutions have emerged that enable real-time action and insight, as well as the easily-measured results marketers need to drive success.

And while pressure grows on marketers, strain also grows on IT departments to deliver on multiple digital projects across every department.

Suddenly IT is way more popular then it’d like to be, bombarded by a growing armoury of gadgets and software solutions needed to tackle digital challenges.

This reliance on IT puts marketing at risk of severe bottlenecks, thwarting agility and slowing time to market. Time-sensitive demands for new technologies promising greater conversion rates, increased loyalty and higher revenue—alas, must wait.

But in an impatient world, this just won’t do. A new type of marketing-IT collaboration sorely needed.

Avoid technology distractions

Technology has a very important part to play in achieving the delivery of highly personalised marketing campaigns based on accurate, yet dynamic, customer personas. But to avoid burning out the talent in IT, a more considered approach is needed.

As such, marketing and IT must work together to fully understand the end goal and how to get there.

Successful digital transformation requires a personalised approach unique to each organisation. While there are a flurry of new marketing tools, not all will meet the business’ specific needs.

This is where the combined brain trust of marketing and IT is vital. It fosters a holistic, strategic approach, centred on technology that meets customer needs and drives long-term company success. 

Working together keeps each team individually and jointly focused on the same end goal. This eliminates the time consuming distractions of the “nice-to-have” or partially relevant technologies, and instead enables organizations to only implement solutions that will advance their digital transformation journey.

Breaking down silos

A truly collaborative approach between marketing and IT may require actively breaking down departmental silos.

While marketing may be the driving force behind a digital transformation project, if IT and sales aren’t along for the ride, marketing isn’t going anywhere. That’s because digital transformation is usually a company-wide initiative and requires a broader, cross-functional approach.

Most organisations are structured in separate departments. Each has its own discipline, but a lack of transparency between teams makes it difficult to implement a complex project like digital transformation.

Digital transformation takes strong collaboration across teams and business functions to reach successful outcomes

Developing a clear understanding of project parameters and getting all parties aligned and on-board is perhaps the biggest challenge any business faces. That said, it’s a critical first step to overcome.

So how to proceed? First, get each team to understand its own goals and objectives for the project—then buy-in. Marketing and IT each has unique concerns that must be addressed and managed effectively to drive business transformation forward.

Now, these organisations must transition from being a self-interested silo, into accepting a role as a part of a larger, unified whole. If not, the entire project could come to a disappointing, and fast, end.

Targeting multi-disciplinary skills

In addition to increased communication and understanding between departments, multi-disciplinary skill sets are needed. Companies that actively recruit talent with skills in both marketing and IT stand to benefit enormously.

Those individuals will not only understand the different departmental needs, but will be able to act upon both.

Identifying existing talent that has the potential to be “upskilled” across departments is advantageous. Further, any technology implemented must be broadly understood and adopted—at the least at a basic level—by those who are impacted by it. 

Confining solutions to the hands of a few experts completely undermines the agility tenets of digital transformation.

All-encompassing approach

Digital transformation takes strong collaboration across teams and business functions to reach successful outcomes.

Remember, it isn’t about implementing a particular technology or a single process, but instead, about gaining internal alignment and adopting a holistic approach that works for your organisation. Get these right, and you are well on your way.

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