Why Marketing Needs Closer Ties to IT

Here are some best practices we’ve developed that work: Focus on a common goal. Technology, integration, process, modernization, data … but most importantly, marketing and IT want to demonstrate value to the organization. Because we now rely heavily on data and analytical tools to do our work, we need a greater level of help from experts in how we could both create and collect enterprise-level customer data while ensuring data integrity. At SAS, we created more engagement by having IT representatives attend our marketing meetings. She also saw our partnering as a chance to engage her team more in business objectives beyond the usual IT focus areas – back-office IT projects; and to jointly define what value looks like from both a business and a technology view. As proof of how fully engaged IT became in our new partnership, Mobley even created a new integration analyst position to make sure that at the outset of any marketing project that our needs are met using the latest technologies and that would work seamless with the company’s ever-evolving infrastructure. IT gains a much deeper understanding of the business and acts as a communication bridge between the two departments, ultimately helping IT deliver a better product for marketing,” Mobley said. Weber said he had fallen into that old sometimes-friend-sometimes-foe relationship with IT. A newly forged relationship with IT and a new data architecture (based on its existing platform) enabled Comerica’s marketing team to implement marketing efforts such as next-best offer and personalization. Making the shift to establish a deeper partnership between IT and marketing can take time.

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While many teams within your organization contribute to your success, one that cannot be overlooked or understated is the relationship with your IT group. As marketing continues to shift and improve, we’ve come to rely on IT to provide expertise on current technology and, perhaps more importantly, to provide a road map that shows where technology will lead, where integration is critical, and how to make the best use of increasingly sophisticated tools.

In the past, marketing teams might have developed their own tools and databases or bought hardware and software without considering whether they had the know-how to maintain the systems — perhaps because IT was seen as a roadblock or didn’t move as fast as marketing thought they should.

At SAS, we’ve learned to embrace the IT team as our partner. Redefining our relationship in terms of accountability to each other was crucial. IT needs to rely on the business to define a direction and establish clear objectives. Marketing needs to rely on IT for technology, integration, and implementation expertise. The care and feeding of the data, the reliability of systems, and an eye toward futures.

Like any relationship worth having, you both have to invest time and effort and communicate to make it work. IT has to understand your marketing needs to know what questions to ask when capturing the most important data. This relationship can’t be neglected, because as customers change and your marketing changes, engagement channels and data explode. Ultimately, the partnership will be a gateway to new opportunities. This means your communication must be regular, frank and transparent. It may mean repairing broken relationships or forging new ones. Here are some best practices we’ve developed that work:

Focus on a common goal. What do Marketing and IT have in common? Technology, integration, process, modernization, data … but most importantly, marketing and IT want to demonstrate value to the organization. And, ultimately improve the customer experience. Unless you have that conversation, you may not know that many similarities actually exist.

Because we now rely heavily on data and analytical tools to do our work, we need a greater level of help from experts in how we could both create and collect enterprise-level customer data while ensuring data integrity. Without good, clean data we can’t market very well no matter how sophisticated our tools are. We simply didn’t have expertise on our team to maintain these systems. What we decided to do is what every organization should be consider. It’s the most logical option. Make IT your business partner. Let’s call the shift “the emerging IT.”

Collaborate on a digital road map. As I see it, the emerging IT is more focused on external customers. This means being more strategic. And being more strategic means being more engaged in discussions and planning with marketing. At SAS, we created more engagement by having IT representatives attend our marketing meetings.

Senior Vice President of IT at…

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