Marketing & IT: So Happy Together Part 1

Having worked as an IT Director for marketing agencies for nearly 7 years, it took me a while to understand the role IT management plays in such companies. I do believe that IT and marketers are smart and talented in their own fields. But, there can be some occasional friction. Though both groups humorously portray each other based on personality, I think it is more based on the mindsets each group has and how these pertain to their roles in the company. In his blog “Chief Marketing Technologist” Scott Brinker addresses this very subject.

For example, here are some of IT priorities in no particular order:

  • Process – to have a process for all work flows
  • Stability & reliability
  • Security – make sure the systems are secure
  • Ongoing support, maintenance – we are the fixer-upper for anything and everything

As you can see, some of us in IT seem to be more conservative and buttoned-down in nature. Even while innovating or architecting new solutions, it’s IT’s job to make sure that a client implementation is thoroughly tested. Eleventh hour changes to requirements, adding content to CMS while a site is in QA, deploying something without going through vigorous testing, etc. are generally not encouraged in my world of IT.

Marketers, on the other hand have a slightly different set of priorities:

  • Automation
  • Acquiring more customers quickly, cost-effectively
  • Speed to market of new ideas
  • Flexibility to change direction quickly based on client feedback
  • Trying to be unique in the marketplace

They basically want everything to happen instantaneously. And it’s justified – markets are in constant flux and there is an insatiable demand for more prospects, more customers, more sales. Marketing does respect stability, security and standardization, but those values can sometimes conflict with their primary mission of reaching more people quicker than the next brand.

As Scott Brinker says in his article, (and I am paraphrasing here):

“IT and marketing should conflict. Businesses as a whole succeed by balancing competing priorities. You need to have both IT infrastructure stability and innovative marketing experimentation in some reasonable proportion to each other.”

Do you agree? Next week I’ll share some steps each group can take to make their coexistence possible in peace and harmony. Until then, let me know your take on it!