The IT and marketing marriage: A match made in heaven or hell?

With marketing technologies on the rise, IT and marketing departments are now working closer than ever before – but how can businesses ensure it’s a successful union?

In an increasingly digital marketplace, the role of IT has become a more pivotal than in the past. With IT staff often responsible for creating and managing many of the technologies that businesses use to profile and connect with their customers, their relationship to the marketing department – who rely on them for data, insights and support – has also changed dramatically.

State of the industry

Recent Robert Half research asked Australian businesses the question: “Given the growth of marketing-based technologies, how closely do the IT and marketing departments now work together?”

The results found – regardless of the size of the business – that IT and marketing generally worked together. Some 35 per cent of small businesses said they worked very closely, with 24 per cent of all businesses saying the same.

An additional 44 per cent of small businesses said they worked closely, as did 46 per cent of medium businesses and 55 per cent of large businesses. Only 3 per cent of small businesses said the two departments didn’t work together at all.

Opposing views

Traditionally, IT and marketing operated as different and separate functions of the business. Each had their own objectives and mindset. Marketing had the task of promoting and selling products and services, while IT ensured the technology that supported the business was functional and reliable. The rise of marketing technologies – as the survey results reflect – signals a change from this divided approach towards a more unified one.

There are plenty of positives to this new alliance – if businesses implement it well. Recognising the key differences between IT and marketing is a fundamental part of making this redefined relationship work. The marketing mindset is one generally led by creativity and a desire to be the first and most successful in the market. Their view of the brand and the customer and how they measure this is likely to differ from the IT department.

The IT department, on the other hand, is generally tech-led. Results and data are at the centre of their work. IT staffers must problem-solve and may not prioritise innovation and speed as highly as they do reliability, safety and accuracy.

Come together

For a successful union, the silos that separate IT and marketing need to be removed, and there needs to be a cultural shift within businesses that embraces collaboration between divisions. The establishment of honest and clear communication, shared goals and objectives, transparency of information, a common customer profile, a respect for processes and timings, and a clear understanding of the roles of each department are all essential.

With a structured strategy in place, a redefined relationship between IT and marketing will result in a more cohesive customer experience and, subsequently, better results for the business.

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