Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Why IT and marketing should go out for coffee (or something stronger)

Sandra Gittlen | Aug. 19, 2013
Sophisticated marketing initiatives that rely heavily on analytics and back-end systems integration are inspiring IT and marketing pros to collaborate more closely.

To mend the rift, Juliano combined both teams under his CIO umbrella and began outlining common goals. The IT team used its familiarity with standards, frameworks and libraries to help the marketing team construct shared services models for field teams, and marketing helped improve the branding and message of IT communications.

Working together, they also whittled the timeframe to render server farm models from several weeks to a couple of days. "And we're able to crank them out with much higher resolutions," Juliano adds.

While Juliano sits at an extreme end of the IT/marketing collaboration spectrum where marketing falls under the CIO, TruGreen's Kelly is more focused on establishing close ties with marketing chiefs.

Like Juliano, Kelly understands marketing's hesitance to rely on internal IT and works hard to earn the department's trust. IT's roadmap, compared to the pace of marketing, can seem unbearable. "Getting to market slower than the competition is just not acceptable in their world," Kelly says.

He promotes agility among IT teams supporting marketing, and he and other tech executives have become more tolerant of risk a trait that helps marketing teams thrive.Kelly also keeps close contact with marketing, getting in on the ground floor of ideas. For instance, Kelly and his team proposed deploying a CRM solution so marketing could more accurately target customers for new programs such as irrigation and smart sprinkler systems. "If IT hadn't reached out, marketing would have partnered with an external provider, not worrying until later how to integrate it with ERP. By getting involved early, we were able to add substantial value," he says.

Both Juliano and Kelly admit a big obstacle is that marketing has the ear of the CEO and other key c-suite executives. If they want to proceed with a project and say that IT would hold it up, then chances are they'll get the go-ahead to work with an external provider even if it means more work for IT down the road.

One key factor, Kelly says, is to acknowledge that marketing knows the customer best and to aid them in serving the customer. "IT and marketing tend to butt heads on who owns various parts of the marketing function such as the Web site and social media. Because they bring customers to the company, I feel that marketing owns them," he says. IT's job, he feels, is to introduce marketing to technology that will improve their relationships with customers.

Business intelligence, according to Global Institute for IT Management Professor Jerry Luftman, provides the perfect opportunity for IT to attract marketing. External providers lure marketing by saying they understand BI and how it will better the organization. In reality, IT holds the access to company-wide data that would offer such insight.


Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.