While at the One North Experience Lab, I was approached by several marketing clients who explained a similar interaction they all recently had with their IT department. Each story went something like this: “My IT department called me and told me they would like our next website to be built on XX technology.” Their question back to me was, “How do I know if IT’s technology suggestion is correct?”
I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a hint of skepticism on their part regarding IT’s motivations. And honestly, that’s not entirely inappropriate. The IT group’s priorities in relation to a marketing technology project are not necessarily aligned with a marketer’s priorities. A marketer will look at a website project and will want to pick out a technology that helps them best achieve their marketing objectives. While understanding this, an IT group will likely be thinking more about supportability, cost, risk mitigation, etc. These are definitely important, but they should not control the decision.
So in this situation, what should a marketer do? My suggestion to the clients I spoke with at the event was to take this as an opportunity to partner with your IT department. The IT group has shown an interest in your website project, that’s a good thing. Really, it is! As a next step, you can capitalize on this interest by agreeing to investigate all available technologies so that you can both understand the pros and cons of the different technology options on the market. As I mentioned at the Experience Lab, Gartner predicts the CMO will spend more on technology than the CIO by the year 2017. This led me to make my own prediction: The CMO and the CIO will soon need think of themselves as work spouses. From my experience working with law firms, I know that most successful partnerships and collaborations between marketing and IT tend to be focused on specific projects. However, as we move to a technology-enabled marketing department, this partnership needs to grow beyond projects and even beyond a particular calendar year. Successful CMOs will need to partner with their CIOs/CTOs and be 100% sure they are aligned on long term plans. This also means that when IT shows an interest in marketing technology projects, a forward-thinking marketer will take advantage of the opportunity and begin to lay the groundwork for a successful future partnership.
After you have partnered with IT to investigate the web technologies available in the marketplace, what’s the next step? At One North, we encourage our clients to contact their Senior Account Director; they'll pull in one our marketing technologists, who have worked with many of the available technologies out in the market. We've found that when both Marketing and IT get involved in these discussions, it helps everyone at the firm move in the same direction.
Don’t have time to call your Senior Account Director? Not a problem. As a follow up to this blog post, our One North marketing technologists will be providing posts that discuss the advantages/disadvantages of specific website platforms, such as SharePoint, Sitecore and other leading solutions, including open source.