Session 1 – Crossing the divide between Marketing and IT / Digital

29 June 2018 Jodi Garratt

Marketing Training   Session 1

Session 1 – Crossing the divide between Marketing and IT / Digital

Alex Crompton, Senior Marketing Leader


Alex started off by asking how many of those in the room had a good relationship with their IT teams, where one hand was in the air out of ten. He then asked how many people in the room struggle with IT within their organisation, to which almost everyone in the room raised their hands. Alex went on to say that it is not unusual that Marketing teams often do not work as closely as they should with their IT teams. The issue is that whilst the Marketing division is viewed as the ‘business’ and holders of ‘requirements’, IT is often viewed as a delivery entity without sufficient licence to engage in ‘strategic’ development. They are ultimately both seen as self-contained functions within a business.
According to a survey of several hundred Marketers and IT professionals from a few years ago, 79% of IT professionals believed they worked collaboratively with Marketing, whilst only 58% of Marketing professionals believed this was the case. The disparity between Marketing and IT suggests that although they are working closer together, they are struggling to collaborate and align on their respective goals and objectives for business growth.
So how does it look when Marketing and IT work together on selecting and deploying marketing technology? The below graph from Gartner in October 2017 shows that 54% say Marketing will lead, with guidance from IT.

The issue with the disconnect between Marketing and IT is that Marketing executives will often hire a “Marketing Analyst” before they think to work with their IT teams, with 43% of Marketing executives saying they plan to hire Marketing or Customer Analytics talent and only 10% of

Marketing executives saying they plan to work more closely with the CIO and IT department. Overlapping hiring policies and aims do not help to build bridges between the two teams.

As an insight into why this is, when asked if relations between Marketing and IT are collaborative and productive, 30% of Marketers agreed vs. 13% of IT. They were then asked if Marketing and IT working together has significantly improved alignment, 20% of Marketers agreed vs. just 4% of IT. This showed that Marketers are much more optimistic about having a collaborative relationship compared to their IT teams.

Leapfrog Marketing Institute revealed the following data after analysing 131 B2B and B2C executives in the United States:

  • IT professionals measure success based on functionality, such as whether a website is up or an app is working.

  • Marketers contrastingly, have to benchmark their performances against not only their customers’ standards, but also those of industry leaders.

This shows that what could be a complete success in the eyes of an IT executive could be an utter failure from Marketing’s perspective.

So why do we need to fix this? The key word being data, ultimately it is because IT holds the key to making you a more effective marketer.

The reality is that IT and Marketing working together is only going to become more and more important in the next 10 years as the marketing disciplines in the below diagram become table stakes! The below also shows just how much IT is involved in the Marketing process.

Today, there is a wealth of data available to marketing teams, from purchase history and demographics, to social interactions and sentiment, to customer lifetime value. When integrated into a web strategy, these insights and information can drive advanced, data-led marketing initiatives such as personalisation and automation to transform the customer experience. Some of them being:

Customer engagement – identifying who customers are, where they are, what they want, how they buy and how they want to be contacted.

Customer retention – building loyalty by going beyond initial engagement to understand what brings customers back.

Optimisation – using testing and analysis of data to improve how the sales funnel operates.

Combined Strength

Information taken from Live Ramp shows that for Marketing, the goal is to leverage best-of-breed technology to optimise the consumer experience and shape the customer journey. For IT however, the primary goal has historically been maximising efficiency and scale while minimising cost and risk. Both of these specialties and perspectives need to be brought together for the technology to be the most effective. Marketing brings expertise in determining what technology will best produce the best experience for the consumer, but IT brings the expertise of actually implementing and running the technology in a scalable and cost-effective manner when the two are brought together, organisations see great results. An example of this being successfully implemented is the Dominos pizza tracker.

What are the benefits to collaboration between Marketing and IT?

  • Stronger/more compelling and relevant marketing messages

  • Faster speed to market with new products and services

  • Improved user experience

  • Improved customer focus

  • Agile and data insight-driven culture

  • Acceleration and adoption of change management

  • A shift from departments to integrated processes

  • Reduced lead times and costs

Build a roadmap

  1. Top Down Alignment – Make sure you have buy in on collaboration and shared goals from the CEO, CIO and CMO.

  2. Build Relationships – Find out who they are, what they believe, what they want and how they work.

  3. Joint Strategic Planning – If you can’t deliver your plan without technology, invite them to be part of your planning process.

  4. Goals and KPI’s – Aligned, understood and shared.

  5. Budgets – Allocate money to marketing technology and develop a governance model.

  6. Aligned Vision and Shared Roadmap – Agree on he ideal customer journey and keep each other honest as you execute.

  7. Quantify your requests – Use revenue value to motivate and prioritise.

  8. Over communicate – Take them on the journey. Meet regularly to share wins and challenges (Agile scrums are ideal).

  9. Physical Proximity – Same office, same floor. Sit with or next to them. Hot desk and drop in. Stay close to each other.

  10. Self-serve – Ask for access to the platform or BI tool NOT for access to the data itself.

Parity Plus is a value-add initiative designed by Parity Consulting to contribute to our clients and applicants skills development and industry knowledge. We regularly partner with industry leaders and specialists to provide opportunities to engage with and learn from market leaders at the cutting edge of industry transformation. 

This series is the first of its kind facilitated by an Australian based recruitment company specialising in Product, Marketing, Communications and Digital. 

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