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Marketing and IT – building the company success

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Jelena Simakovic

Have you ever wondered how big the gap between marketing and IT is? Can that gap be bridged? There is an on-going talk about how the two very different disciplines should work towards cross-functional collaboration for the purpose of positive business outcomes, and ultimately the business’s success.

Who is right?

Marketing and IT departments differ in a number of ways but the main differences between the two lie in the structural dissimilarities of their organisational missions, as well as the differences in their skill sets. It is for this reason that they have difficulty understanding the way in which each department does its job. While IT focuses on stability, disaster recovery, security, maintenance and data integrity, marketing works towards acquiring more customers quickly, differentiating in the marketplace, embracing disruptive innovation and adapting to changes in the market.

While marketers may find that IT isn’t concerned with the customer and slows down business by going through the long process of defining requirements, specifications and ensuring there are no loopholes in security for example; some IT experts tend to see marketers as ‘spin makers’ in the sense that they are frequently thinking of new ways to bend the truth and focus on the performance of upcoming campaigns, instead of long-term integration of data into corporate systems. So, who is right in this case? The reality is that there is no right answer here, as both marketing and IT experts possess both positive and negative attributes. If marketing and IT departments were to join forces they would help the company accomplish its objectives quicker, as well as bring harmony and balance between the two.

Why collaborate?

It might seem like these two departments cannot work together as they do not understand each other’s priorities and have a language of their own, however this is not entirely the case, nor should it be. Integrating the two departments can only help a business deliver better outcomes. For a truly collaborative relationship between IT and marketing, traditional barriers need to be broken down in order for each team to benefit from the other’s skill sets.

Today’s businesses are affected by various external factors and if they wish to maintain their competitive advantage, adapting to the ongoing market and technology trends is crucial.

Factors affecting the two departments

As the marketing landscape is continually evolving and crossing over into the digital sphere like mobile computing, social media and Big Data, marketing departments require the assistance of IT to manage, process and analyse vast amounts of data using sophisticated technology and tools. Both departments have a mutual interest in establishing an innovative culture – marketing tries to stimulate innovation by identifying new products and services to satisfy emerging customer needs and put emphasis on automation, while IT experts work towards applying technology in new ways to help the organisation achieve its mission.

While technology is a key enabler of any effective marketing program, the rise of multiple customer channels pushes IT to work closely with marketing. The main barrier between the two departments lies in the fact that time to market, speed of reaction and business priorities does not move at the same pace in the IT sector, as it does in marketing. Marketing needs to move at the speed of the customers, which means that sometimes it is changing messaging by minute, whereas IT professionals are cautious and tend to work towards minimising and controlling the risk, which is often not in line with the speed of customers.
IT and marketing must consider a range of technologies to gather customer data, analyse it to provide customer insights, distribute customer information and deliver exceptional customer experience.

In order for the two departments to effectively and efficiently collaborate, both need to overcome their misconceptions and misunderstandings about the other team. Regular staff meetings will enable both departments to understand the needs of the other team and build mutual respect and trust between them. This will help with gathering valuable customer data in a consistent way by both departments and enable analysis of that data to create actionable insights that support specific business outcomes. As such, the company will be able to thrive in the ‘age of the customer’ as marketing and IT together, with their skills and capacity, will shift the company towards the rapidly changing customer needs. Additionally, both departments will focus on using the technology to increase revenue and competitive advantage.

All business departments ultimately have the same goal which is to work towards building the company’s success. However, in order to effectively acquire customers and make sales, establishing efficient communication and working relationship between all departments needs to be taken into consideration. Likewise, there is a need for marketing and IT departments to work together towards positive business outcomes. For the sake of building a company’s success, a combination of both IT infrastructure stability and marketing innovation needs to exist.

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About Jelena Simakovic

Jelena Simakovic
Having graduated with a master degree from QUT and been internationally educated, Jelena has developed enthusiasm for Internet marketing. The international experience has helped her develop diverse skills and motivation to overcome any challenges, which she applies in the working environment. Jelena is very passionate about learning foreign languages and speaks Serbian, English, Italian and French. She also enjoys learning about different cultures and travelling.
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