There are many reasons marketing always has and continues to need help, support and a partnership from their IT colleagues.
Here are 5 examples:
Analytical Dashboards - Marketing metrics such as Web visitors, shares, likes, etc., are easy to measure but the most important ones, such as ROIs, Cost Per Acquisitions, etc., can only be calculated by integrating sales and operations data ranging from leads converted to revenue and profitability.
Marketers spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to identify and compile this data when they should be analyzing it and using it to make informed decisions and smart marketing investments. This is an area where IT can help marketing access the data, integrate it with the marketing data and present it in a centralized, real-time dashboard that can be used to measure the impact various marketing initiatives are making on the company's bottom line--the ultimate measure of success for many marketing initiatives.
Knowledge/Resource Center - Content is still King and plays an even larger role than ever before. Not only does marketing need the content, but needs it to be indexed by customer needs including industry, company size, business requirements, etc., and then presented on a company Web page or Extranet with a variety of password protections, downloadable features and visitor analytics, not to mention SEO/SEM tags and links.
It's a tall order and a system that can't be built in a marketing silo as it serves to generate inbound leads, help sales win deals and provide marketing intelligence for existing customers. This kind of initiative relies on pulling data from cross-functional teams and organization-wide systems, all of which work with IT, who should be a key driver of any Knowledge or Resource Center.
Company Intranet - Marketing creates dozens of tools to support Sales and all employees in the organization. Sales needs quick and easy access to the latest sales presentations, Proposal Templates, images for social media profiles, content, and access to their prospect database with accompanying lead scores. And all employees need a centralized location for items such as Social Media Policies, high-resolution logos, employee photos, company fast facts and much more.
Having an up-to-date, easy-to-use, secure platform to manage all this content is not as easy as it may sound. It requires inputs from all departments and a dedication to its integrity and its upkeep. Marketing's role in this is not only in providing content but also in advising IT on the User Interface, branding and design, and overall organization of the content to make it as user-friendly as possible, especially today, with a growing number of virtual employees.
Systems Integration - this one is so important, it is going to take two steps. For #4, Marketing needs help integrating its technology platforms. Some of these include Website Visitor Analytics, email automation systems, database engagement analytics, social media KPIs and prospect/client personas, to name a few.
Many of these marketing tools didn't exist a mere five or 10 years ago, at least not at the level of granularity and personalization that they provide now. But like so many other industries, big data, or A LOT of data, is not useful unless it can be sliced and diced into digestible pieces that enable smart decision making. This is where IT can fill the void and help marketing integrate all of their tools and analytics into a logical and meaningful resource of data that will support marketing, as well as sales.
The Second Part of System Integration is bringing operational and client data into the marketing analytics dashboards. Marketing needs client profiling data that exceeds the traditional profile. Industry and company size is nice, now the profiling needs to include email addresses of each client influencer, their titles and personas, their buying habits, their technology systems, their feedbacks, their growth trajectory and a potential revenue analysis.
This is not always an easy task for a high-growth organization with limited financial resources to invest in sophisticated operations and CRM tools with features beyond just managing the sales process. While this type of initiative should not be difficult, it can be because it requires pulling data from a variety of cross-functional departments and maintaining all the data. It will be dependent on a commitment from IT and other stakeholders in the organization. The ROI from this initiative could be tremendous though, since, as we all know, most sources say that it costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
This is a short list of just some of the ways that IT can help marketing but all in all, the key is ROI. Thanks to technology, marketing can finally measure its effectiveness but ironically, it needs more technology to truly leverage its potential.