Take the CIO to Lunch: Why You Need a Marketing and IT Partnership
Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live skit with Jimmy Fallon who plays “Nick Burns, your company’s IT guy”? Nick Burns is not very well liked. When he comes to trouble-shoot a problem, he can be a bit condescending and will often use his trademark command, “MOVE” to take over his co-workers’ desk to fix the issue. He wasn’t exactly a guy you’d want to take out to lunch.
While we know of fantastic IT professionals who would never do that, IT hasn’t always had the best relationship with Marketing. We’ve found it’s because they don’t often speak the same “language,” as it were. IT is traditionally seen as process- and detail-oriented, whereas Marketing is home to creative people who find process inhibiting and maybe even a little scary. The result is that Marketers and IT professionals are hesitant about working together. In a study by the CMO Council, “Driving Revenue through Customer Relevance: Aligning the CMO and CIO to Achieve Agile Intelligent Marketing,” 48 percent of IT executives said that Marketing teams commonly bypass IT in implementing projects. The result is chaos and resentment on both sides.
Hopefully that’s about to change.
According to a recent marketing survey, 78 percent of marketers feel pressure to become more data-driven. This is especially true in the face of another of the survey’s findings: the number one barrier to ROI calculations is lack of data integration.
Who holds the key to the data? IT, of course.
Unfortunately, that same survey also found that 74 percent of marketers don’t believe that Marketing and IT are strategic partners. Therein lies the disconnect.
The strategic partnership needs to start at the very top, with the CMO, and continue down throughout every level. You should first start out by recognizing that IT and Marketing share some common goals. Both are traditionally seen as cost centers but are striving to be seen as revenue generators.
As organizations begin to see the importance of data in their overall business goals, IT and Marketing become integral components of a company’s strategic plan: IT as the “guardian” of data, and Marketing as the business unit that uses the data to establish and develop the company’s brand and customer loyalty, enable Sales to reach out to prospects more effectively, and ultimately increase revenue and profits.
We’ve talked in past posts about the need to involve other business units such as Finance, Sales and IT in developing a shared vision for Marketing, whether it be for a Marketing Operations initiative or Marketing Automation strategy. It’s especially critical for Marketing and IT be on the same page when it comes to any strategic planning. That means more than letting IT in on what the Marketing plan is — it means involving them from Day One in the planning, through building a blueprint or roadmap to successfully implement projects, through the implementation and beyond.
In this discussion, you need to have open and clear two-way communication. You’ll be discussing critical issues such as your current technology and future needs – and why these needs exist. You’ll also be outlining resource requirements, budgeting, building a business case, discussing how IT and Marketing can work together to make processes go more smoothly, and more.
Marketing’s successful use of data typically means more revenue, but it also means more validation for IT that it plays a vital function in the success of the organization as a whole. That should hopefully be a good motivator for the CIO and his or her business unit to work more closely with Marketing.
We were only half joking about taking the CIO out to lunch. It’s actually not a bad place to start. With any luck, what will follow is a candid discussion of each business units’ needs and how both Marketing and IT can benefit from becoming strategic partners in the smart use of their company’s data.
Want to learn more about how you can take your organization’s marketing technology to the next level? If you have any questions or thoughts around this topic, let’s connect.
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