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7 things marketing wants to say to IT

Mary K. Pratt | Feb. 6, 2014
As marketing becomes fully digital, CMOs need more than just plain-vanilla tech services from their IT departments -- much more.

There are, not surprisingly, companies where IT and marketing don't play well together, she says, but most organizations are moving along a continuum of having the two functions work collaboratively with increasingly blurred leadership, whatever the titles might be.

That momentum will continue, McLellan predicts, as customers increasingly use technology to interact with business. "It's a big shift, and it's going to be a bigger one as we move from digital marketing to digital business," she predicts.

6. Teach us how to dive deep

Monroe, the NineSigma marketing director, knows her marketing staff can get more of out the company's existing marketing systems, but they need help coaxing it out. She wants IT to give her team some advanced training, such as working with them on writing code for the company's customer relationship management (CRM) system.

"We need to build up our skills and be a DYI operation," she says.

Monroe is motivated in part by tight deadlines. She needs her marketing folks to be able to get what they need quickly; waiting for an IT staffer to show up to help takes too much time. Plus, she says, the more technically proficient her own staff becomes, the more likely they'll be to explore the outer limits of their existing systems.

"We want to know where this system can help us generate more data. For example, how can it help us measure our performance?" she explains. And rather than waiting for IT, "you really have to build up your own skills."

7. Help us meet our customers wherever they are

For a long time, marketing focused almost exclusively on outbound messaging — reaching out to current and potential customers — but social media has made marketing's work increasingly interactive. Not only does marketing need to pay attention to inbound and outbound messages, it needs to do so in real time.

I really want IT to understand how we need to use technology [to reach] external audiences. David Perry, Bentley University

CMOs say they need IT to have a keener understanding of these requirements so they can design systems with the agility that marketing now requires. "I really want them to understand how we need to use technology [to reach] external audiences," says Bentley University's Perry.

In many organizations today, marketing handles all customer interactions -— outbound, inbound and those happening on social media — and they need technology that allows them to interact with customers at any time in any of those media.

"All these things are coming together in ways that make marketers say, 'We have to make more sense of this,'" McLellan says. "It all has to be managed, and that has to happen in as close to real time as possible. Agility and speed are two major drivers, neither of which have traditionally been the purview of IT."


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