Marketing and IT. Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery
Marketing + Technology = MarTech. The role is simple, someone with enough knowledge in two disciplines to combine them and create something new.
Trends such as SAAS (Software as a Service) and wide spread initiatives to improve the "customer experience" make marketing departments reach across organisational silos and globe possible.
Armed with powerful marketing solutions and their fingers on the pulse of the customer experience a Marketing Technologist could set out on a solo mission for world domination.
These missions, while enabled by advancements in technology, without cross functional support from traditional players such as IT, Supply Chain, Accounting, etc. they are doomed for failure.
Focusing on the relationship between Marketing and IT, a recent emarketer article points out that these relationships can be challenging and take time to build.
The article indicates marketers are doing their part to forge the relationship. Imagine that! Marketers, by generalization, a social species are 15% more likely to be taking the steps to be collaborative than their IT colleagues.
While at times seen as rigid and bureaucratic, there are several principles the marketing department can learn from the manner in which their IT counterparts operate.
Policy obsessed: Documenting a policy takes work, lots of it. Forethought to anticipate future situations whereby a policy will be rigid enough to mitigate risk but flexible enough to empower professionals. Not to mention acceptance (at the very least compliance) from all those it was made to govern.
Marketing adaption: The establishment of a "playbook" whereby standard operating procedures (SOPs) are documented such that success can be repeated or failures can be analyzed in a post-mortem fashion.
Change Control Meetings: On a recurring basis, IT brings cross-functional representatives together to discuss upcoming changes or maintenance activities to information systems. The purpose is to facilitate a conversation of how proposed changes may affect these departments and if possible reduce (improve) negative (positive) impact.
Marketing Adaptation: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Bring appropriate people to the table to set course and provide on-going support for initiatives. Pulling on the expertise of departmental/subject matter experts can act as lubricant to a machine. Without oil, a machine will eventually grind to a halt. The same is true for your initiatives. Get input early and often.
Continual Improvement: IT is used to being the "bad guy". Since organisations have had information systems, IT has had a backlog of bugs, issues, and enhancements. You can't do or be everything at once, thus iterating an MVP (minimum viable product) over an established timeline turned IT into an MVP (most valuable player).
Marketing Adaptation: As Marketing Technologists, continue to own technology to accomplish marketing objectives, don't ask yourself or the technology to do everything at once. Groom a long term vision and take a logical, bite sized approach to get there.
Assimilation into or adaptation of these IT principles/processes can not only help a Marketing department mature into a well governed operation, aligned to the overall business strategy, but it also may help forge a relationship with your IT organisation.