Marketing vs. IT

November 4th, 2009

How do you balance the need for technology security with marketing needs? This question is a constant battleground between IT and marketing departments – leaving countless numbers of marketing opportunities killed in the line of fire.

If you’re a marketing person who is feeling resistance from the corporate IT group, how can you possibly change their minds? The most important thing is knowledge. It’s important to remember that most IT people look at things from a technology perspective. Functionality and security are their primary focus. The problem is they may not take the time to understand how effective a marketing idea can be.

Think of it this way, an email marketing system stores lists of information, creative executions, opt-out lists, and campaign data. It also sends email messages and tracks opened emails and click-through information. This is the functionality on a purely technical level. But from a marketing perspective, the messages can inform current and prospective customers of promotions, change perceptions regarding your brand and products, facilitate commerce and allow the collection of information regarding a customer’s interest in specific products or topics. All of the collected information can help your organization better promote your brand and offerings.

So how do effective marketing ideas make it out of this battle alive? The first step is to really engross yourself into information relative to your perceived needs. Maybe it’s a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter, or it could be a new email marketing service such as ExactTarget or Constant Contact. Start by documenting the benefits of each of these services relative to your marketing strategy. Determine your plan for each selected option and determine the projected outcomes. If you really want to impress, assign an actual dollar value for potential revenue. But always remember, you’re the marketing professional – it’s your job to be the customer advocate. So make sure you truly understand their desires related to your tactics.

Once your strategy and tactics are defined, research other organizations that are leveraging the same type of tools in their marketing mix. Be selective and only include samples that will help you state your case. Lucky for us, the web supplies an enormous set of tools to glean information from. Then using this research, create a proposal for the IT group, outlining the business objectives and a series of case studies showing how these techniques are effective. It’s also important to show how other companies, potentially even direct competitors, are already competing in the space.

The simplest way to end the IT vs. marketing battle is to not have a battle at all. If as much information is presented as possible, the resolution should present itself. But both marketing and IT teams need to remember:

Yes customers’ habits change faster than most organizations. And while we strive to engage them using the most current trends, we still need to ask ourselves if what we offer them has value. If we can truly believe in our strategies and tactics it will help to create a stronger dialogue between groups and, in time, even stronger collaboration within your organization. If all goes well, nobody will get hurt.

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