There was a time not too long ago — the mid-2000s, to be exact — when IT professionals focused on things like network availability, software patches, and data security. While those things are still at the top of IT departments’ priority lists, the recent evolution of online technology in mobile and tablet devices, have created a partnership between many IT and marketing departments.
These two groups may seem like polar opposites in an organization, but as social media and online presence take a greater hold on campaigns, marketing goals wind up driving IT goals — and vice versa. Who holds greater sway in the relationship? When looking at an organization’s best interests, the right answer is neither; instead, a happy marriage between IT and marketing departments can drive an organization to greater heights. Here are three reasons why these two opposites need to work together.
Marketing is all about connecting with the target audience — understanding their choices and knowing what they respond to and why. For market research, there’s always the time-honored tradition of focus groups. However, online analytics can provide much of that data if it’s properly configured. When IT and marketing departments work together, the marketing team can let the IT staff know what analytics need specific tracking. And as more and more campaigns become focused on online traffic, a robust analytics system can streamline data collection and crunching so the marketing staff can focus on what really matters — reaching the target audience.
Every company’s goal is to grow, and with growth comes the need to scale things accordingly: budgets, resources, time, and of course, IT support. This is where marketing plans and IT plans converge. Marketing campaigns are often the driver to growth, and without communication to the IT department, plans can quickly go south for both. A successful marketing campaign can lead to a spike in web traffic, either from general growth or a specialized push, such as an ecommerce sale or a hosted viral video. If the IT department hasn’t been included in the planning process, servers could be left struggling to keep up with demand, leading to downtime that both derails the marketing campaign and frustrates IT staff . On the other hand, a strong partnership between IT and marketing accommodates large scale-up needs for smoother organizational growth.
Social media has made marketing a 24/7 conversation with the customer. Just about every campaign has a social media component, whether it’s a contest through Facebook, a coupon on Pinterest, or a hashtag meme on Twitter. With new customer input coming in at all directions at all times, IT departments need to make sure that marketing staff can respond in a timely fashion. From this perspective, cloud applications, VPN access and mobile connectivity become much more than just ways to check email from home — anywhere/anytime access ensures that opportunities to engage both potential and existing customers are never lost.
The idea of working together across company departments is still in its infancy. Forward-thinking companies have recognized the value in a partnership between marketing and IT is nothing new. However, this model is something that deserves a closer look for wider adoption, particularly as marketing focuses more and more on the digital world. As some organizations have already discovered, this joint effort can bring plans to fruition faster than ever before. Teamwork: for some organizations, that’s a bigger — and more important — concept than ever before.