Gone are the days when IT and Marketing could wage war and still meet customer expectations. CIOs and CMOs can no longer operate their own fiefdoms and expect to deliver a best in class customer experience. It’s time to replace those silos with collaboration and a joint vision of what is best for the customer. I know… it’s not easy. Marketers complain that IT is slow and unresponsive. IT complains that Marketing has gone rogue – believe me, I’ve heard it all. But now is the time to come together.
Here are 5 good reasons to walk down the hall and call a truce:
- Data Analytics – This information is key on both sides of the aisle. Marketers must know what your customers are doing, saying, reading, buying, and learn from their behaviors and react. Create more personalized experiences where it’s possible. IT can provide this data. It goes beyond the Google Analytics report – it’s within your CRM, ERP, and CMS systems (and I’m sure a host of other 3 letter acronyms). Delve deeper than page visits to dive into the real meat of how customers are behaving. Which leads us to….
- System Integration – The more integrated the systems, the easier it is to tell a consistent story. If front end marketing systems are walled off from backend systems, getting the full data analytics picture gets more complex. If IT is part of the process of implementing analytics technology and involved in how data is collected, there can be synergies with the rest of the backend technology platforms.
- Platform Buy-in – Customers demand real-time responses and robust experiences. Marketers need flexible and agile systems to allow them to respond quickly to customer requests. However, when a marketing-focused platform is selected in isolation, this has repercussions for the IT organization. Support, maintenance and integration all come into play. Consider both sides of the coin when selecting Content Management Systems, CRM systems, and other tools that are part of the overall customer solution landscape. IT – recognize that existing tools and technologies may not meet the increasing demands that marketing requires. Marketing – understand that without IT buy-in, it will be difficult to get ongoing, long-term support, and to put together a full data analytics picture.
- Consistent Experience – Ensure the customer will have a consistent experience with all of their digital interactions. If there is a division between Marketing and IT, there can be a breakdown in the experience during the customer lifecycle. If the customer moves from browsing the web to picking up the phone and calling customer service, will customer service understand that they may have run into problems on the web? Working together ensures systems and processes at the front and back end of the customer experience are in sync.
- Solution Execution – It takes a village… to get your digital strategy humming. Marketing wants to meet customer needs and deliver a delightful customer experience. IT wants the technology to be stable and supportable. When delivering web sites, mobile solutions, shopping carts, intranets, and all other sorts of digital initiatives, it takes both marketing and IT to bring it all together. Working collaboratively improves on-time, on-budget project delivery. Leverage business and system analysts to act as liaisons, ensuring that each area understands what the other needs. Communicate… a lot… and then some more, at every stage of the project.
The other day I was talking to one of our guest bloggers, Doug Loots, who has traditionally been on the marketing side. As part of his career growth, he is considering digging deeper into technology, since it’s becoming such a critical component of the overall solution. Just another anecdote indicating the need to break down barriers between Marketing and IT in order to act as a cohesive team in meeting customers’ needs and delivering outstanding customer experiences.