With social media, email marketing, and other marketing tactics that are much more prevalent as technology advances, it has become more common that Marketing groups will oversee and maintain their own tools while Information Technology (IT) focuses on other priorities. IT has traditionally not only “kept the lights on”, being focused on server up-time, no connectivity disruptions, etc., but has also run the principal business systems. This has changed to allow businesses to reduce internal touch-time to these areas by using service clouds and other X-as-a service providers. So, given that these newer marketing tools are cloud-based, mobile applications in many cases, IT then loses touch and awareness of the tools.
Whether we talk about a CMO, CIO or another leader of the marketing or IT organizations there are ongoing power struggles since technology is not just software or hardware that the business uses anymore. Let’s be honest. Right now, innovation in the technology space is rapidly changing the tools and how they are used, and these disruptive technologies are driving where the company is taking their technology landscape. This power struggle, however, is not a matter of right or wrong and who should “make the decision”, but in order for the process and technology to work seamlessly (and of course in times of need be supported) there needs to be more collaboration. Let’s not put “implementation of a new system” in our yearly goals. It won’t enable collaboration if someone wants to get “credit” for it.
Sometimes it is just easier and better for everyone if we check egos and titles at the door and sit down to the table to work collaboratively to get things done. As an example, imagine a marketing organization that wants to move to a new, more sophisticated, customer acquisition system. They perform lots of diligence and say, “Yes, ABC Company has shown us their solution and we want to move to this system and streamline all of our customer acquisition processes.” Well, depending on the underlying technology, integration points and various touches to other systems required, it’s likely that the sales person for this new system did not include all the costs, resources, etc. that it would take to implement and support this system. Probably because they didn’t know to ask about these things. It might have a slick front-end UI, but your IT folks are likely the only ones who can help you navigate your way through how the back-end and system-to-system communication will work. Likely, when the bid comes in it will be 300-500% above budget and you won’t no what hit you, as the core data requirements aren’t scoped out in the proposal.
If IT maintains control, then there is “slow” progress based on structure, governance, policies, etc. If Marketing maintains control there is a lack of technical knowledge and a drive to get to results, which may get a solution faster, but IT will likely be cleaning up a bit of a mess at a future date (and probably not too far in the future). The process experts, who are the Marketing folks, should be working with the technology experts, or as some companies are doing, have a CMO that knows technology, a COO that knows technology… well, you get the point. Instead, since that isn’t quite mainstream yet, think about all of the existing marketing data coupled with the IT analytical skill sets and imagine what you can do with that!
Does that sound like enough reason to have more collaboration between marketing and IT? I mean, seriously, can’t we all just get along?