Bridge the gap between marketing and IT in digital marketing projects

    Marketing is becoming a big user of technology - and IT's input diminishes. How can you bridge their differences during digital marketing projects?

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    Chief Marketing Officers (CMO's) will have a larger budget to spend on IT than the Chief Information Officer (CIO) himself. Whether this is true or not (it’s probably not true) doesn't really matter.

    What matters is that marketing is becoming a big user of technology - and that the IT department's input diminishes. But both departments still have their role. This infographic gives an example of what their objectives could be.


    The most important goal, of course, is working together. Forrester has compiled this into a simple three-step recipe, focussing on process, people and technology.

    To make this work, it is critical to understand how the relationship between marketing and IT is evolving. As a provider of Enterprise Content Management solutions, we have extensive experience in bridging and aligning the objectives of both stakeholders.

    Business is taking the lead

    On the floor, we see a swift transition where business is taking the lead and IT acts as some kind of kind of controller. We see this in all our projects, not just for Digital Marketing, but also for Document Centric Solutions where departmental managers take the lead or - for instance - HR departments take over the communication part of an Intranet.  Nevertheless, the transition is most spectacular in Digital Experience Management.

    Quite often, the transition is tough. Marketing departments are not used to running large IT projects, with their inherent technological challenges, their rigidity and their many processes.  IT, on the other hand, feels a bit lost and out of control, while they are still supposed to run the solution after delivery. And on top of that, all this is happening in a new and rapidly evolving environment, with very young tools or software solutions that, in reality, are acquired from different companies and in a young phase of integration.

    How to bridge the divide

    Fortunately, there are clear solutions to this challenge.  We run our projects as often as possible in an agile modus where marketing and IT learn the tools during development, and where priorities are shifted when necessary. This approach includes regular demonstrations of the solution so we can get away from the abstractness of software packages, and educate marketing on how our tools perform in reality.

    Often, we are asked by IT to take responsibility for the solution after delivery (in other words: the run phase).  Together with IT and business, we define the Service Level Agreement for support, for upgrades as well as improvements and uptimes. The advantage for IT is that they don’t have to train or recruit specialists (which are often hard to find) for Digital Experience Management, and that they remain in control of the performance of the solution.

    Last but not least, we regularly bridge the gap between IT and Marketing. Thanks to our experience, we are well placed to explain what the solution will do and how it will deliver to IT, or we can express the requirements of Marketing to IT in a more tech jargon.

    Aligning CIO and CMO

    What’s the status on the marketing versus IT alignment? According to a study by CIO Magazine at the end of July, they are still nowhere. CIO Magazine sees a big battle for budget and for ownership of (mobile) apps. But more importantly, the study shows a huge misunderstanding about terminology and thus probably also about what marketing and IT want to achieve.

    But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. In a recent study from Accenture, released in June, analysts see great progress in the relationship between CIO and CMO, specifically when compared with their 2013 study. Accenture is convinced that CMOs and CIOs are aligning – the only remaining question is how and how to do it better.

    Focus points to help bridge the gap between marketing and IT

    The relationship between marketing and IT is evolving, with marketing steadily gaining ground on what used to be IT’s territory. Bridging the gap between the needs of the marketing and the IT department becomes a significant part of Digital Experience Management projects. The following focus points can help:

    • Adopt Agile methods, educating both parties simultaneously about the tools used
    • Use a Service Level Agreement that defines who is responsible for tool performance and support to take some of the pressure off the IT department
    • Translate the requirements into a terminology that makes sense for both parties
    Published on    Last updated on 26/11/2018

    #Digital Marketing, #Digital Strategy

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