Why Marketing and IT must succeed… together

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Nerd Time!For so long IT and Marketing have lived in separate worlds. We’ve always eaten lunch at separate tables, watched different TV shows, and lived in different neighborhoods. Marketing’s goal is to deal with people, get customers fired up about the product and brand, and drive leads. IT’s goal is to make sure the systems that everyone relies on are working. Before we talk about success or marriage, what are some things these two worlds need to understand about themselves first?

To be effective, Marketers need to understand technology.

Technology today is no longer optional. We’ve transitioned ourselves from pages and print to RSS feeds and websites. We gobble up new technology by the boatload. How does Mobile change the internet landscape and get me leads? How does SEO work for my business? All of these new ideas are Marketing functions but are driven by Technology. You can’t have one without the other… not anymore.

IT people need to understand the business they work in.

I’ll use myself as an example here. When I started for Maryland Management as the IT guy back in 2001 I had no clue about what Multifamily was. I was an experienced Marketing dude with some computer classes under my belt but that wasn’t going to help me “fix” their processes. Over the past 9+ years I’ve spent that time learning as much as I can about what everyone does. I’m no expert (and will never claim to be) but I have a good understanding of things not only from a tech guy standpoint but a Marketing one as well. I think to be a good IT person you must understand the business you work in, your company, and determine what processes can be helped by using technology.

So what has caused this IT and Marketing marriage?

Alcohol. Social Media for one. New technologies for another. Think about what has come about over the past 5 years. iPads, Facebook, Smartphones, Twitter, tons of brand new web technologies for driving leads, mobile websites, DESIGNING and understanding the core components of a website, setting up SEO to improve search and employing social media for your company brand. Marketing needs to explore new opportunities to expand their business and stay competitive. They need these new technologies but don’t have the technical prowess to get it done and IT is too busy playing Warcraft.

So you mean Marketing and IT are Bosom Buddies now?

Maybe not cross dressing roommates but good friends having a cocktail. We need each other. You want your new agendas pushed through and we’re the ones that can help you. Strike down that “them” or “us” mentality. We need to abandon our individual departmental silos, hold hands and sing some love songs.

How can we bridge the gap our disparate goals create?

  • Stop chatting about what we CAN’T do and figure out how we CAN do it.
  • This starts with communication. Brainstorm how we can get our differences to meet in the middle. I normally find meetings to be a real big time waster but sometimes if the moon angle is right, they can be productive. Bottom line is to communicate exactly what each group is expecting and what roadblocks there are. Compromise but make it work.

  • Get IT involved early.
  • The worst quote I hear is this: “We met earlier today and here’s what we need.” This won’t work for several reasons. Technologically you might not know everything it’ll take to implement and there could be other ways that technology could work that maybe you didn’t think of. This learning works both ways too… there are things that IT might not be understanding either. Leaving out or bringing in relevant departments too late isn’t a positive team building exercise.

  • Empower and Excite
  • Get IT people excited about the technology you’ve found. If you show them what it can do and how it can improve the business they are more apt to be driven toward its success. Don’t forget… IT people can also analyze new technologies that they think can help Marketing. Empowering employees is never a bad thing.

Final Thoughts

The world is so technology driven that IT is vital to helping you get things done. Do you have a Chief Marketing Technologist at your company? More and more companies are adopting individuals to fit this new role. It’s a cool title for what is really just a Marketing Geek. Who reading this is a Marketing Geek or a Geek? Who gets too much push back from IT or Marketing? What other things can you add that I might’ve missed? See those comments below? Just type something… I’m all eyes.

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