How many of you woke up this morning thinking, 'I can't wait to start marketing IT's value today!' It sounds like a strange question but it's a thought and an orientation that's becoming more and more critical to IT organisations.
What do you think of when you hear the word 'marketing?' For many it conjures up images of the used car salesman or trying to force or manipulate people into buying something. That's not what we are talking about here.
What we are talking about is building a team or organisation which is oriented towards marketing, communicating, sharing and educating the entire organisation to the value that is being provided.
Task versus orientation
To create an awareness of the value you provide into your culture, marketing must be viewed as an orientation, not a task. Marketing is not something that you do and then it's done — a task to be ticked off the "to do list" and marked complete.
It is a constant and consistent way of messaging and an orientation that is brought forth in all interactions between other areas of IT and the rest of the business, as well as with your actual end customers.
There are three foundations to marketing. Firstly, it involves every in IT — from the CIO to senior managers to support staff — just about every human touch point. Secondly, it consists of formal and information plans and messages — everyone should be on the same page and delivering a consistent message.
Thirdly, it uses formal versus informal marketing. Formal marketing consists of our traditional marketing plans and initiatives, which take on more of a structured and planned nature.
Informal or what is known as 'hallway marketing' is the marketing which is most often overlooked but it is what creates and shapes the culture of the organisation. It is all the day-to-day interactions between different areas of IT and the interactions between IT and the rest of the business.
One way to tell if you are managing hallway marketing effectively is to imagine there has been a breakdown in an IT system and one of your team members was in the lift with the CEO.
Would you be comfortable no matter which team member it was? Or would you be extremely concerned about who was in that lift with the CEO? Effective hallway marketing means you have a prepared team that is delivering a consistent message from all of IT.
Think of hallway marketing as your way of leading, developing, and maintaining the foundation of communication which will build the culture of your organisation.
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