SEVERAL YEARS AGO, A BOLD PREDICTION WAS made stating that by 2017, the chief marketing offi- cer will spend more on technology than the chief information officer. Today we are seeing this real- ization as IT departments are being leveraged out of their traditional role of protecting the technology infrastructure and are working in conjunction with other departments, particularly marketing, to achieve business goals. Today, the role of the marketing department is also evolving to keep pace with the demands of the digital world. Data-driven marketing and technology are con- stantly changing how we market to our customers. It has become critical to have the proper training in technology, even for those not working in an IT department. With the relatively new relationship between marketing and IT, an investment in keeping your market- ing department up to date on current technology is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the digital marketing game. According to the global marketing lead- ership council CEB, customers are spending more time learning independently through digital channels than any other activity within the buyer’s journey. Having a multi- channel digital presence with content that can help make customers’ buying journey faster and easier is now required. Customers expect every touchpoint along their buying journey to be seamless. CRM programs, marketing automation, and dynamic content on websites are helping marketers gain insights to better track and understand customers than ever before. But as distributors are learning to take steps toward the digital marketing transformation, a question arises: Is mar- keting responsible for managing all of these digital tools and platforms—or is IT? To help companies adapt, new roles are emerging that help bridge the gap between marketing and IT. Companies are hiring CRM managers, e-business managers, and digi- tal marketing specialists. Companies that can’t expand their traditional marketing teams are finding immediate value in cross-training staff between the marketing and IT teams. Silos are falling as companies evolve to meet the demand of today’s digital world. In an effort to foster collaboration and communication between the marketing and IT departments, NAED’s Technology Conference has been merged with the IDEA/eBiz Forum and will run concurrently with the AdVenture Mar- keting Conference in Chicago this month. One of the speakers—author and busi- ness strategist Gerry O’Brion—says that to win in distribution today, it’s no longer sufficient to have great selection, fair pric- ing, and excellent service. These are just the price of entry into the market. To fend off the competition, distributors must provide unique value to customers. The best distributors see what is possible when others do not. This is something we have been work- ing on at Springfield Electric. Like many, we have limited resources. By forming a cross-functional team from mar- keting, IT, purchasing, and pricing, we are leveraging each department’s strength to give customers an excellent digi- tal experience. The result: Our silos are tumbling down. What is your strategy going forward? What sets you apart from your competition? Why should your customers continue to buy from you? Now is the time to develop a for- mulated strategy before it’s too late. ; Dungan is executive chairman of Springfield Electric Supply, Springfield, Ill. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. your mar
8 the ELECTRICAL DISTRIBU TOR • Aug. 17
MEETS TECH by Daniel Dungan
An invest- ment in keeping your marketing department up to date on current tech- nology is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the digital marketing game.
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