As new marketing technologies proliferate, businesses face a dramatic shift in the traditional model of technology management, creating an emergent need to bridge the IT-Marketing gap with marketing technology champions. With this shift has come the advent of the Marketing Technology Office, which, according to a new report from Forrester Research, works to organize all customer data in a central framework for the adaptive enterprise.
The data supporting the high level of complexity created by this shift is well documented. According to the 2011 IBM Global CMO study, From Stretched to Strengthened, CMOs face four converging factors central to the changing technology landscape: the explosion of data, social media, the proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics. With respect to these factors, 79% of CMOs expect a very high level of complexity over the next five years, and only 48% of CMOs feel prepared for that complexity, according to the report. Here are some ways you can prepare for the shift.
1. Hire experts. Keep the frame of the Marketing Technology Office in mind when you are hiring and developing staff. Build a department of marketing technology champions who are able to conceptually and innately grasp the convergence of multiple technologies and platforms and work with IT to centralize customer data for advanced analytics and insights. Don’t be afraid to expand marketing’s stake in IT systems, because with more web-based, software as a service (SaaS) platforms entering the market place, marketing technology champions don’t have to be developers or hard coders. SaaS puts the power directly in the hands of marketing users to analyze large customer data sets from within a user-friendly interface, but it takes a true marketing technology champion to leverage these systems to their potential.
2. Make friends with IT. New marketing technologies have blurred the traditional lines of technology ownership, and the need for effective collaboration between marketing and IT has never before been more critical. In the new model of collaboration, marketing and IT are equal partners in reaching organizational goals, and neither can exist without the other. IT leaders are important and consulted stakeholders in marketing’s success. IT is a valuable partner in sourcing the right SaaS partner for marketing automation and in helping to optimize technology integration and interoperation. As we’ve mentioned in a previous Marketing Organizational Leadership interview with Diane Menendez, building strong relationships is key to effective cross-functional leadership: Marketing leaders should be collaborative, seek IT’s input and feedback at the beginning of projects, and give credit to IT when it’s due.
3. Consider full-service technology partners. A full-service SaaS partner can provide captive expertise and turnkey solutions for marketing automation. SaaS-based Marketing Resource Management (MRM) systems are a swift path to marketing enablement and bypass the advanced technical integration required for enterprise solutions. MRM systems provide a robust platform for content customization and localization at the user level, including process workflows to manage approvals and marketing assets.
The proliferation of new marketing technologies demands expert collaboration between marketing and IT. To prepare for the technological shift towards managed end user self-service, organizations should hire marketing technologists and build cross-functional teams who can jointly develop marketing technology platforms, including Marketing Resource Management systems.
* For more information about how marketing can build effective cross-functional relationships, join our Marketing Organizational Leadership LinkedIn group.