Thursday, March 3, 2011

Will the Next Generation of IT Pros Need to Be Marketing Technologists?

Have you noticed that technology and marketing have begun to overlap? Tech gadgets that were formerly reserved just for geeks are now business tools for the masses. Years ago, early adapters were mainly tech guys. But today, most men and women are tech-savvy, which causes ripple effects in the workplace. Users have iPhones or Blackberries – and even scarier for IT – they know how to use them. Here are some areas to prove that the lines of technology and marketing are beginning to blur.


Databases are the unquestionable intersection of data and technology. The gold for many companies rests within their database of customer data, prospect data, and customer interactions. Who is responsible for researching database options, database creation (translation, coding), selection of database purchase if a customer relationship management system (such as, SalesForce) is an option, upgrades for the database, and data entry? There are countless skill sets necessary to accomplish all of these actions ranging from budgeting, coding, customer analysis, etc. The answer is that both technology and marketing departments must be involved.


Who is responsible for website design? While techs would argue that they own the coding responsibility for web design and maintenance, it is the responsibility of the marketing department to create promotional campaigns and track their effectiveness. For consistency, the marketing team needs to own all branding and outreach campaigns, and the website is only one tool in the marketing tool box. However, most marketers are not web coders nor do they wish to be – so the two teams must work together. Another tool within the marketing tool box is email marketing. Most techs believe that anything that involves the Internet and emails should be funneled through the IT department. And then, of course, there’s social media. Depending on a business’s product or service, the social media sites of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Flickr can be used to generate publicity. But, they can also cause harm. There is constant debate within many companies as to which department owns the sites and the responsibility to update their content.


Most companies have virus protection and other methods to protect their networks from harm, but do IT departments communicate with users? How many IT departments send email reminders about changing passwords regularly? What about communications to remind users to create different passwords for different purposes, e.g., a network password, an email password, etc.? What about explaining the need for a consistent company “voice” when participating on social media sites, e.g., Facebook company page, Twitter company page, and LinkedIn company page? Who is best suited to teach employees about network security and privacy concerns in a language that they will understand, and more importantly, follow? While not the ideal answer for information security professionals, the answer would have to be the marketing professionals because they are the most qualified to communicate and promote – those are their skills.

How have you seen the lines of marketing and technology overlap in your business?

1 comment:

  1. Debbie,
    With the advent of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), especially ITIL V3, as well as other IT Service Management (ITSM) disciplines, IT has recognized its primary responsibility to align itself with the objectives and processes of the business. Major projects and initiatives are undertaken in conjunction with stakeholders from the relevant business departments, whether marketing, finance, production, sales, or others. The decisions of the business are not (or should not be) made by IT, which should be offering services that add value. Basic information about ITIL is available here So your post is certainly in keeping with current thought in the IT world. Thank you.


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