Not too long ago, I headed up marketing for a company where the CIO said to me on my first day, "If we both do our jobs, we'll never have to talk to each other again." It should be little wonder, then, that that company is no longer in business. If marketing and IT are not working together or are working against each other, your company simply will not be able to compete in today's marketplace.
Over the last three decades, my teams have used the following best practices for working cohesively and cooperatively with IT for better outcomes (one of which is a happier workplace).
1: Learn how you each contribute to the business and where you can improve
Once marketing and IT start talking to each other and compare notes, it's often remarkable at how much they have in common. Both departments are responsible for improvements to the bottom line, process optimization, and enhanced productivity. The key here is to figure out where those items intersect.
For example, I recently implemented marketing automation software at SiteSpect. Our IT department and various software owners helped make that happen, and I could not have done it without them. But I also tried to do as much on my own as possible, knowing that we're a thrifty, agile company with not a lot of overhead. By respecting those parameters and working within our culture, I helped contribute to the business by not creating additional burden on our technical resources.
2: Align goals, roles, and procedures
There was a time when marketing came up with the strategic and creative execution of its programs and relied on IT to do the heavy lifting on infrastructure and technology. Today, so much marketing technology exists that marketers are investing their time, budget, and staff on using tools that enable them to get the job done on their own.
At the same time, this creates an imperative to work even more closely with IT to ensure that security, privacy, and other corporate IT standards are met. A good example of this happens every day with our customers, some of the world's largest online businesses who use SiteSpect's Web and mobile optimization software to improve conversion rates and revenue.
At the start of every SiteSpect implementation project, we figure out and agree ahead of time what we need to achieve, who should do what, and when and how those things would get done. It was as close to flawless execution as you can get because we align goals, roles, and procedures ahead of time. You can do this for any project, plan, or day-to-day task: it's the easiest and most efficient way to minimize interpersonal conflict and confusion in the workplace.
3: Take joint responsibility for wins and failures
The obvious place where marketing and IT win or fail is marketing technology. If you are not making processes more efficient across the board and creating better experiences for customers, you're not winning. And neither department can do this alone. The only way you can win is together.
That's why it's more important than ever for marketing and IT to be in alignment and collaborating on a regular basis. Whether it's building a new website, mining data, creating a better e-commerce flow, or rolling out new apps, both marketing and IT have their role to play, individually and together.
- Kim Ann King is the Chief Marketing Officer of web and mobile optimization firm SiteSpect