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4 Reasons Marketing and IT Lack Synergy and How to Fix It

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It is well-known that marketing and IT teams do not play well together. Marketers are thought of as aggressive, impulsive, and more creative thinkers. These traits typically don’t mesh with the processes and procedures that IT teams try to put in place. There is a value for having analytic and well thought processes. The problem with this clashing of the departments is that it costs businesses unnecessary amounts of money, time, and resources, which in the end costs them business.

While the world of marketing grows ever-reliant on technology, IT teams are being challenged to expand their responsibilities. Gone are the days of distinct departmental separation and clearly cut job descriptions. The overlap of technology and marketing is unavoidable for any business that wants to stay in business.

When there is dysfunction between the two departments, there are usually a few key issues to blame. Understanding these four culprits will help your marketing and IT teams unite for the success of the company.

LACK OF UNDERSTANDING

With the increasing pressure for marketers to intimately know their customers, the technology stack required to keep up grows more complex. On average, large marketing departments use over 20 systems to carry out their daily tasks. This can quickly become unmanageable and do more harm than good.

At the same time, marketing’s demands consistently challenge the old responsibilities and procedures IT departments are used to. Integrating and implementing that many applications causes real security concerns, increased costs, and takes up precious resources. IT teams are now tasked with managing internal infrastructures as well as web and data based marketing systems.

Often times, conflict happens due to a lack of understanding. Understanding the other department’s challenges, processes, and goals provides insight when there is pushback. Learning why they do things, how they do things, and their specific pain points, much like you would with a market segment, will allow you to show patience and grace in the face of a disagreement.

DIFFERING AGENDAS

In an ideal world, every department of every company would make every decision based on the company’s vision. Realistically, each department and each person in that department has their own vision that drives what they do and how they do it. When teams come into meetings, contracts, decisions with their own agendas, conflict happens.

Marketing and IT executives do not usually speak the same language or understand each other’s goals. IT is typically concerned with security, governance, and enterprise architecture, while Marketing is concerned with adopting the latest technology to improve the customer experience, drive sales, help companies scale.

When visions misalign, it’s time to take a step back and get on the same page. At the end of the day, each department should be focused on the company’s success, which usually means more clients. Solid partnerships between marketing and IT teams are built when there are shared goals, metrics, and a common business language.

LACK OF PLANNING

When one team does not plan well, other teams suffer.

When Marketing needs 3 landing pages, 2 dedicated phone lines, and integrations into 2 new software applications by tomorrow, this disrupts the IT team’s entire schedule. In order to stick with proper process, IT will need to define requirements, specifications, and ensure the new applications do not provide security risks or bring the whole network down. This takes time and resources.

When IT does not deliver promised projects on time due to a lack of organization, proper processes, or poor planning, Marketing is hindered in meeting their goals. Marketing team’s rely heavily on technology and any disruption can cause chaos, unmet metrics, and loss of business. The Marketers main concern is the customer experience, and this takes thought-out strategies that typically utilize multiple tech applications.

Both departments must learn to plan in advance. They need to have processes and procedures in place that set them up for success. While taking the time required to develop, refine, and implement processes is something overlooked because it does not appear to have a direct ROI, a lack of it will absolutely affect ROI in the end. When there are not proper ways of doing things, fires happen, and turnover increases, employee engagement decreases, and business will suffer. 

If you must, bring in a consultant to develop those processes. Long term it will pay off!

ALL WORK NO PLAY

Teams that play together work better together. When teams are solely focused on metrics, goals, and projects, they lose connection with each other and the vision of the company. The more employees know each other on a personal level, the more likely they are to work through conflict peacefully and willingly. When teams truly feel like teams, they start to act like teams.

Having some fun together as a company has so many great benefits, one of them being departmental unity. Scheduling time for employees to socialize and get to know each other not only increases unity, but morale, performance, and ultimately, business. Offer monthly team building activities, free lunch Fridays, annual retreats, or random surprise breakfasts. Play games, go to a brewery, have a friendly competition, and see if departments start playing nicer together.

START TODAY

These four challenges can plague any company of any size, but they are easily solved. When department leadership steps in and tries to understand each other, get on the same page, plan and prepare, and play, amazing things can happen! The Marketing/IT war does not have to continue year after year if team leaders and members are dedicated to the success of the business. A little understanding, laser focus, and fun can go a long way in increasing departmental unity.

An easy fix is to establish a four step process for implementing marketing technology changes.

  1. Establish a common understanding of growth and marketing goals. Marketing departments are geared towards growing revenue and complement all sales goals. IT departments need to know what levels of growth they should be prepared for.
  2. Establish a joint code of values for time and automation. These two things both departments value greatly. Any technology that is implemented in the marketing process should hold these values high for the long term.
  3. Join each other in the buying process. Every step of the way the IT department should be involved in implementing new technology. If your company is using a consultant they can also bridge the gap. Following the first two steps
  4. It is imperative they have an understanding of the technical implementation process and follow the ROI over time. By being hands on both marketing & IT will have a common understanding of the hard and soft costs new technologies result. Be sure to track the benefits of the new technology as well. When both departments have an understanding of what works and what doesn’t more educated.
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