Three Ways to Bridge Gaps Between IT and Marketing

Eva Maria Schmidt
January 14, 2020

It’s no secret that a major historical challenge for implementing martech has been a disconnect between marketing and IT. For various reasons, IT and Marketing departments haven’t seen eye-to-eye, creating challenges to implement, adopt, and ultimately, prove value in investing in a martech solution.

A recent Gartner study found that marketers only use 58 percent of their martech stack’s potential, despite 26 percent of marketing budgeting spent on martech solutions. The report also notes that IT will shift from being a “top inhibitor” to marketing’s vision and strategy to being a “top supporter.” But the question remains: what does that look like for the day-to-day challenges that these two departments face?

Here are three ways that marketing and IT can create better collaboration:

  1. Develop Common Goals. IT and marketing are measured by vastly different things; therefore, each department looks at success differently. However, while metrics are different, common problems often revolve around the expectations of how much is spent on tech and how well it performs. Perhaps the most successful way marketing and IT can co-succeed is to get a buy-in early and develop a common set of goals. This accomplishes a number of things, including a better understanding of barriers to success and challenges for each group, and using the goals as a map to develop specific strategies and tactics that may be tackled together. Common goals also drive a higher-value result: being customer-centric becomes a regular part of everyone’s strategy, not just the marketing team.

  1. Create Joint Buying Decisions. Martech buying decisions are largely driven by marketing teams — with IT often providing little guidance — that may have limited understanding of how a specific solution will operate alongside other parts of a company’s tech stack. This is naturally a point of frustration for IT, which is tasked with figuring out how everything works together after the decisions have already been made, further perpetuating marketing’s inability to make the most of solutions. Processes, redundancies, and data inconsistencies quickly become a challenge that’s incredibly difficult to fix, and IT and marketing are left pointing the finger at each other. By bringing IT into the fold long before a decision is made, IT can provide a valuable range of insights, from how solutions interoperate to whether an existing solution may be able to do what marketing is looking for. This will ultimately help keep costs down, in addition to maximizing value and adoption of each part of the stack.

  1. Organization-Wide Marketing Training. There have been quite a few perspectives shared on the notion that ‘CMO’ will be a title of the past, as we see the role and responsibilities previously relegated to marketing — like strengthening customer relationships and experience — be a shared responsibility throughout the business. With this comes the need to educate the entire organization on marketing’s importance, strategies, and goals. It will be necessary for every employee to understand how their role is evolving and how they can contribute to key business drivers like customer experience and revenue – and what tools are needed to do that successfully.

In the process of writing this blog, I spoke to various IT team members and what I came away with from our conversations is that a greater understanding of both our roles – IT and marketing – can help us do our collective jobs better. For example, IT benefits from knowing how specific martech solutions benefit the business and can strategize how to make transitions to new technology smoother. That, in turn, helps marketers do their jobs more effectively. For other parts of the organization, it can be a new view into why products or services are designed the way they are. It could also help everyone better understand the market, and build a strong teamwork approach to nearly everything the company does.

As the industry tackles head-on the new normal of the IT-marketing relationship, collaboration, communication, and a more intimate understanding of each group’s challenges will be the path to success and growth.