and strategies, or follow the same road maps. Marketing is focused on the latest technologies, demanding real data in real time. The IT depart- ment, however, is concerned about security and how to integrate com- pany and customer data. Some ques- tions that must be answered include: Who will lead the effort? What role will sales play? Will IT simply support marketing or will it be a partner in strategy and planning? What percent- age of the marketing budget will be allocated to digital marketing? What percentage of IT’s budget will be dedi- cated to marketing? A 2016 article in
magazine estimated that approximately 33% of a marketing department’s budget is spent on technology, and of that third, 28% is allocated to operations— creating the enterprise architecture necessary to support marketing. Digital marketing is on the rise, and companies that don’t get on board will be left behind. The first step is getting the company’s heads of marketing, IT, and sales together to address the issues outlined above.
Opportunities for Collaboration
Once the issues above have been re- solved, it’s time to identify ways to integrate data-driven technology into the marketing plan. These include: • Marketing planning and strategy: building a road map for success with clearly stated goals, objectives, strate- gies, and tactics • Customer journey mapping: understanding the customer experi- ence to unearth content and market- ing opportunities • Developing e-commerce plat- forms and solutions: making it easy for customers to get information and buy, even after hours • Marketing automation: incorpor- ating software that automates repeti- tive tasks like emails, social media, and other marketing activities • Content marketing and manage- ment: consistently creating, ware-
housing, and distributing valuable, relevant information through videos, blogs, and social media (for example) to a clearly defined audience, ulti- mately to drive sales • Analytics and business intelli- gence: using technology to gather data that is analyzed for reporting to man- agement or to improve how business is conducted • Mobile strategies: connecting with customers and enabling transac- tions on hand-held devices, usually via apps on smartphones and pads
This is not a complete list. Each company’s approach will differ de- pending on its goals and marketing plan. Also, it may take months to fully integrate digital technology. But the more marketing and IT work together, the more opportunities they’ll find to combine their unique skills and exper- tise to drive engagement and sales.
Best Practices for
After working together on a few proj- ects, IT and marketing will begin to un- derstand each other’s goals and strat- egies. Then they can work together to develop a plan or road map to achieve the company’s sales and marketing goals. The following are best practices for facilitating this collaboration (con- sider including the head of sales in these discussions as well):
• Learn (about) each other’s jobs.
✓ Discuss what marketing is ex- pected to deliver and how IT can help.
✓ Discuss what data marketing needs to make informed decisions and implement strategies. ✓ Invest time learning each other’s processes, i.e., how they do their jobs. ✓ Determine what information and metrics will truly impact marketing’s efforts. ✓ Be aware of security issues and how they affect access to data. ✓ Assess the time and costs in- volved in each project.
• Grant mutual respect, au- thority, and power.
✓ Both marketing and IT must have equal status; IT cannot effec- tively “deliver” without understanding the larger strategy. ✓ Marketing must realize that IT has priorities and responsibilities beyond the website and digital mar- keting projects.
• Develop strategies and plans together.
✓ Marketing must realize that it lacks the technical expertise to know whether its initiatives are feasible or realistic. ✓ IT may have better, easier solu- tions to achieve the same outcomes/ results/goals.
• Bridge the gap with special- ized staff.
✓ Consider hiring a chief market- ing technologist, a marketing technol- ogist, or a content specialist. ✓ Alternatively, try working with a digital agency, freelancer, or external project manager before adding staff. Getting marketing and IT to collab- orate isn’t difficult, but it requires leadership from the president or CEO and some thoughtful discussion. Don’t have the time, desire, or expertise to manage the transition? Consider hir- ing a consultant.
Lower Costs, Better Results
Savvy marketers are shifting their budgets from traditional marketing
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