How To Get IT and Marketing on the Same Page

By Patrice Meadows — Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 11:00am

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The introduction of Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) to C-suites was hailed as formal recognition of marketing’s value.  Years later, some CMOs continue to feel less empowered than their counterparts C-suite--especially those responsible in tech.

Tensions between Marketing and Technology is rooted in the emergence of technology in marketing. Marketers use more and more digital tools to implement integrated programs while IT teams are simply tasked with making them work.

Misalignment can lead to a mashup of tools that solve problems for marketers and cause problems for technologists. Here’s a bit more about the main challenges these cross-functional teams face.

What are marketers and technologists working on?

Lead attribution: So much of marketing happens online so attribution has become a lot more complicated. Instead of just trying to figure out which half of the advertising budget is working, now marketers also must determine;

How content marketing initiatives feed the funnel
Whether social media has an impact
If, or how, any number of other integrated tactics played a role

Marketers desperately want to figure this out, and often invest in ever-more tools to help them do so. Their counterparts in IT end up managing a growing list of vendors, products, and integrations that come and go quickly.

Personalization: The challenge of creating one-to-one digital experiences at scale has hit fever pitch among marketers and technologists. Personalization means different things to either group and discussions around how, when and to what extent companies should pursue personalization further highlights the differences between the two.  

Tech fatigue:  The move away from fully-integrated enterprise solutions toward a hodge-podge of best-of-breed software caused more than a couple of problems for technology departments around the world. Sure, having the best is awesome, until you find that one or more of them do not work together. Finding a fix means implementing workarounds that can cut functionality and compromise security.

Fostering understanding between these groups can mean major success for companies. To get there, leaders must work through barriers in communication, values, and outcomes.

What are the barriers to alignment and how can I fix them?

Communication: Non-technical marketers can often seem uninformed to IT professionals. While those in IT can strike marketers as staunch and unyielding. Facilitating alignment means focusing on what will make both groups successful while empowering them to do so.
Values: While marketers may be more concerned with the look and feel of assets or UX, technologists tend to value security, flexibility, configuration options, and support. Getting the two to adopt opposing perspectives can breed cooperation. Understanding how and why certain features are important to their counterparts can help each group better evaluate new tools and subsequently opt for ones that meet the needs of both.
Outcomes: Success looks very different in marketing and IT. Marketers want to maximize campaign reach, increase engagement, and attract [and convert] better leads more quickly. IT professionals want to protect user data and company networks from multi-level threats while ensuring that systems work properly and are maintained according to schedule.  Devising goals that reward both groups for their contribution to larger success, provides the opportunity to collaborate instead of compete.

Helping these groups realize the value of working together can lead to real changes for your company. On top of making collaboration easier, more alignment between marketing and technology can lead to more innovation, employee retention, and less waste.

Are you a marketer, technologist, or both? How do you balance these competing priorities? Share your comments below or tweet us @hannon_hill.

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