Robbin Steif of LunaMetrics asked this question on the Web Analytics Forum: "What do IT people need to know about marketing?" Only one person has replied. So Robbin emailed me to give me a kick :)
I saw the post and I didn't reply (guilty!) because I thought she was asking Information Technology (IT) folks to respond. I'm mistaken. Robbin wants to hear what all of us wish IT knew about marketing. So here goes. I'll limit myself to one wish.
Situation: IT folks think Marketing's job is to get people to buy what the company has to sell. That is, Marketers pitch to get sales.
Wish: I wish IT understood better that there is a process that leads to the pitch. Marketers listen to the market's needs and analyze what they hear. Marketers want IT to help them do that analysis faster, with less effort, and more punch!
This isn't a "beat up on IT" rant. IT doesn't understand Marketing but neither do R&D, Accounting and Manufacturing. This also isn't a "beat up on Marketing" rant. We have a gap that's an understandable outcome of traditional functional organization silos. But let's put history aside and move forward. Efficient and effective Web analysis demands an ongoing and closer partnership between Marketing and IT.
What's at the root of IT not "getting it" about Marketing? What's caused the gap? Here's my take:
- IT has not had the opportunity to know that Marketing's "pitch" is the outcome of analysis:
- Analysis into the wants and needs of prospective customers.
- Analysis into how our company's core competencies can be used to meet these prospects' wants and needs. Uniquely. Better than our competition.
- Once Marketers uncover an unmet want or unsolved problem, Marketers excitedly move to constructing the pitch.
- The pitch is crafted to communicate to customers. And yes, Marketers deliver their messages with enthusiasm! To gain attention!
- Unfortunately, all IT (and other non-marketers in the company) sees is the end product, the pitch. Thus, the widespread misconception that "pitching" is the most significant part of a Marketer's job is understandable.
- And because the IT folks may not be part of the target audience, they probably don't understand Marketing's communication. Sure, IT's eyes might glaze over or they give you a blank stare when they hear the pitch, but we shouldn't expect the pitch to be compelling to them if they aren't part of the Marketer's target audience.
Wishing for change without suggesting solutions isn't very helpful. I've sat in the DMZ between IT and Marketing many times, having been a part of each camp at one time or another. So here's my suggestion on how to close the gap. My suggest is directed ... to Marketing, because your skillset is perfect for this.
Try this: Market "marketing" to IT.
- Set up a persuasion project that will have your IT partner walking in your shoes, seeing through your eyes by the end of the journey. Your goal is not to have IT able to do your marketing job but to open their eyes so that they appreciate that Marketing isn't just about "pitching" and "getting people to buy". Convert your IT support partner into a collaborator.
- How should you start trying to convince them?
- Analyze specifically how and when your IT partner could benefit from understanding a bit more about marketing. Consider asking your IT partner...
Have you ever had to persuade the senior management team to support your project? Didn't you do some analysis before you "pitched"? Well, that's marketing, just internally.
Have you ever had to compete for a budget increase against your peers? That's marketing also. You're competing internally for your share of our internal budget dollars. Marketers compete externally for the attention of prospective customers and a share of their wallets.
- If your IT collaborator comes through for you, reward them by recognizing their contribution in a meaningful way. Nothing feeds success like success.
OK...over to you! What are your thoughts? Any other ideas?
Give us your 0.02. Comments below are welcome. Do send Robbin your thoughts or "wish list" by replying to her Web Analytics Forum post or her blogpost.
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