To Improve Marketing, Look No Further Than Your IT Department

Written by: Wayne Morris

As a CMO, I am in the middle of the marketing evolution, as are all my fellow marketing professionals. We are adopting new ways of connecting with and engaging our customers, prospects and partners. While our ability to substantially increase our reach is growing through social outreach, viral adoption, and an increasing number of communication channels, conversely our ability to manage our brand image is impacted by this very same new marketing reality. At the same time, through the use of behavior analysis, social listening and analytics we have much more insight into the concerns and interests of our customer and prospects. Using this and the shift to more focus on digital channels allows us to do more two-way engagement and deliver more personal, differentiated experiences.

This has led to an increasing awareness of the business value marketing can bring – we are now very much in the spotlight. Because of this, there are higher expectations of the results marketing can deliver and a corresponding increase in and accountability for technology budgets allocated to the marketing function. The majority of us are under a CEO mandate to improve marketing effectiveness, while most of us are struggling to account for how our budgets are spent and how to quantify the associated returns from this spend.

Typically, we have limited ability to obtain a complete 360 degree view of our prospects and customers. If we don’t have a closed-loop approach to measuring and optimizing campaign effectiveness our visibility is reduced, which makes it harder to improve the return on our marketing investment. Many of us have felt frustration at our IT department’s slowness in delivering these capabilities and so we may have moved to cloud-based marketing and CRM solutions that didn’t involve the IT department as an expedient way to obtain the supporting systems we require. However this may be a short term fix with longer term consequences.

We already understand that marketing needs to partner closely with the sales and operations functions to ensure we are delivering qualified leads into the hands of a selling organization equipped to take the lead through the sales cycle to closure. Similarly, we also need to build strong partnerships with the IT department to ensure we have an integrated marketing management system that enables our ability to execute effective marketing while also supporting overall business and financial goals. The benefits of this partnership are two-fold:

  • It ensures we have a safe, secure environment that protects customer and prospect privacy;
  • It enables closed-loop measurement and analysis of marketing effectiveness across the full customer lifecycle.

We’ve all heard or experienced the negative consequences associated with privacy breaches and the loss of trust from customers and prospects that is a result. This continues to be a highly visible concern for most organizations, not just in terms of a brand’s reputation, but also in regards to compliance. A core competency of professional IT departments is security and privacy protection, so by working together, we can mitigate the risks associated with potential security breaches.

While we are mostly concerned with the outreach to and initial engagement with potential and existing customers, we really need to see a complete picture of what happened to the lead generated by these marketing. What was the outcome in terms of purchase? How much revenue did we generate? How are the customers using our products and offerings? Are they experiencing any issues or usage difficulties? How satisfied are they? Are they advocates? What might they want or need next?

These questions can only be answered if our marketing, social, sales, customer care, financial and product instrumentation systems are all working together. Most IT departments able to implement the necessary integration or, at the very least, will be needed to open access to these core systems.

Enlightened CIOs and IT departments already understand the business reality and want to support effective marketing. As CMOs we can champion strong partnerships with IT in the same way we have built strong working relationships with our sales channel partners. If we do so, we mitigate risk and increase our overall marketing effectiveness. CMOs and CIOs – delivering better business results together.

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