In recent years the boundaries between Marketing and IT have grown increasingly blurred. Through the joint ownership of web content, customer experience management and data strategy, the vast majority of CIOs and CMOs have already found themselves collaborating on a regular basis.
Yet despite this increased cooperation, recent research suggests that there is still a clear disconnect between how marketers and IT professionals perceive their relationship. Conducted with 110 IT managers, and 100 IT managers, the research highlights that while 79 per cent of IT professionals believe they work collaboratively with marketing, only 58 per cent of marketing professionals feel the same way.
IT Wants To Collaborate
When asked to identify the areas where both roles should have joint influence, IT professionals place far greater importance on collaboration than their marketing counterparts. For the most part, this importance was largely driven by the IT departments’ desire to become increasingly involved in driving business growth within the digital space, an area which – until recently – has traditionally fallen within marketing’s remit.
Despite IT’s growing desire for collaboration, marketers remain fixed in the belief that decision-making over the different elements of their digital strategy should be specifically silo-ed to either the IT or marketing teams.
Up until a few years ago this strategy may have been the standard, with many businesses delegating platform selection, implementation and hosting to IT, while leaving website experience and customer relationship management to the marketing team. But it seems that IT wants to play a more integral role in company web strategies.
Interestingly, there remains one area where marketers are pushing for greater collaboration with IT: improving customer experience. According to EPiserver’s findings, over 70 per cent of marketers believe that customer experience should be treated as a joint venture between marketing and IT.
One potential reason is that, in the age of unified branding, marketers are increasingly looking to create a seamless customer experience throughout all areas of their business.
While this seamless customer experience may prove valuable to both an organisation’s web strategy and its wider business goals, it can only be achieved once the boundaries between marketing and IT have started to dissolve.
Until genuine collaboration is achieved between the two departments, businesses will never succeed in their efforts to provide a truly unified customer service experience. The critical question is: what can organisations do to encourage the collaboration that IT professionals are pushing for?
4 Steps To Improved Collaboration
1. Align from the top: Where possible, organisations should employ an authoritative figure to work across both the marketing and IT teams. By working with both departments this individual will help to improve strategic thinking, while also providing a direct line of communication between the two teams.
2. Define the buyer journey: IT and Marketing need to hold a common understanding of the customer journey and the experience they want to provide. This will help to align their focus while also proving a clear and unified end goal. Once this process is understood, marketing can provide a picture of what the customer’s current journey looks like and begin working with IT to identify potential technological improvement areas. Ideally, organisations should have a dedicated team working on this to add value on an on-going basis.
3. Set the right metrics: While the majority of marketers have basic access to customer data and website analytics, many still need to determine which metrics and advanced data analytics are most suitable for building a full understanding of their customers. Once this is clear, marketers can better collaborate with IT by prioritising data integration areas where personalisation and real time marketing can improve conversions and deliver better business results. Such metrics and roadmaps should be mutually developed, as should the measurement metrics; thus driving shared business objectives and the same goal.
4. Never be afraid to change: According to a forecast by Gartner, CMOs are predicted to begin outspending CIOs within the next three years. This shift is likely to encourage marketing professionals to refined their roles and focus on developing an increasingly tech-savvy skill-set. As a result, we may begin to see a rise in new cross-department roles such as ‘Marketing Technologist’ or ‘Chief Digital Officer’. Rather than attempting to discourage this change, businesses should look to embrace these roles, encouraging greater diversity across both of their corporate teams.