Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing

Michael Hugos, Principal, Center for Systems Innovation | 10/17/2013 | 25 comments

Michael Hugos
In the last eight years, social media, mobile apps, cloud computing, and big-data have made it a digital world. Now we are in that phase where we try to figure out what it all means and find out where the new opportunities are in this new world.

Since digital is what IT is all about, it follows that IT and marketing groups need to be collaborating in a big way. The CIO/CMO partnership should be one of the biggest win-win, career-enhancing opportunities around. We should be hearing all kinds of CIO/CMO buddy stories, and inspiring tales of great things achieved and more great things in the works. But those tales are few and far between. Why?

In many companies (maybe even most) the CIOs and IT groups report to CFOs and COOs, and marketing and customer experience issues are often not high priorities for CFOs and COOs. At the same time, CMOs are under increasing pressure to do something (as shown by the high turnover rates in that position), so they go with whatever solution they can find today, and deal with the technology consequences later.

This social/mobile/cloud/big-data technology that CMOs are trying to figure out how to use is front office technology in every sense of the word. It is customer-facing and integral to any company’s ability to find and satisfy customers. It is quite different from traditional back office finance and operations oriented technology such as ERP systems, server farms and websites. But without effective involvement of their in-house IT groups, marketing groups will turn to outsiders and "depend on the kindness of strangers" as the saying goes. Bad decisions will be made as a consequence.

There is a learning curve for both IT and marketing people. It is going to take work for these two groups to learn how to collaborate, and use this new technology effectively, and integrate it securely with in-house systems. Yet pressure is growing relentlessly on companies to deliver increased revenue and customer satisfaction that can only come from smart collaboration between IT and marketing.

Marketing people need to figure out how to best use this new technology to find, communicate with, sell to, and service customers. In this economy the ultimate asset is profitable customers. Everything else is secondary. IT people need to figure out how to integrate the new technology with relevant company systems such as order entry, inventory control, accounting, and business intelligence. And they need to figure out how to monitor the real-time data that comes from this technology so companies can sense and respond to changes and opportunities as they arise. IT people need to do more than just provide a technology platform; they need to be strategic partners with marketing groups.

For IT directors who want to become CIOs, and for CIOs who want to become business leaders, here is your opportunity. Figure out how to use this technology and how to effectively collaborate with marketing, and watch your careers take off.

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kstaron   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/29/2013 2:37:17 PM
learn the speak
You may have to learn marketing speak or at least find somebody in the marketing department with a bit more tech talk that your average marketer. Find that person and figure out what marketing needs and how you can get them there.
The_Phil   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/22/2013 7:59:22 PM
Re: Learning Curves
I'm with you. I think everything should be done under the same umbrella.
mejiac   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/22/2013 4:08:44 PM
Re: Partner With Marketing
"It is going to take work for these two groups to learn how to collaborate, and use this new technology effectively, and integrate it securely with in-house systems."

I think this is key, and there's definitly the need to have a "bridge", since IT and Marketing are like two people from different countries, with different languages, trying to work together... it takes time and effort to get to a middle point.

This is why I think that having compenent, seasons Business Analysis does provide a lot of value, since it can provide that "bridge' necesary to identify what needs can be satistied using existing resources.
Susan Nunziata   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/22/2013 12:00:40 AM
Re: Partner With Marketing
@zerox203: Well stated. Nobody likes to step out of their comfort zone, but the rewards generally outweigh the risks. In most companies it's beneficial to be seen as someone who wants to collaborate and to be proactive about reaching out to your colleagues in marketing and many other parts of the company.

The best way for the CIO to statt is to leave his/her office: Walk around, talk to people, ask questions about what they're doing. Be visible.
David Wagner   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/21/2013 8:01:54 PM
Re: Learning Curves
@The_Phil- I don't think so But i'll be curious what Michael thinks.
The_Phil   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/21/2013 7:56:28 PM
Re: Learning Curves
"We've seen that a lot of CMOs have their own IT budgets now. they can use cloud services to go around IT. "

Is that a good thing? Since, in the end, it will all represent the company.
Michael Hugos   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/21/2013 5:32:57 PM
Re: Learning Curves
@David - It's never too late. Where there is a will there is a way. It just may take longer if IT people before you have poisoned the well. That will test your resolve to see if you really want to to this and to see if you really can figure out how.


User Ranking: Blogger
David Wagner   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/21/2013 4:21:09 PM
Re: Here is why Marketing should Partner with IT
@jmafisher- Excellent stats. I wonder if you asked that question every two years if you'd still get the same answer. :)

Don't we always fear the change we have now more than the change we adjusted to a year or two ago?
David Wagner   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/21/2013 4:19:28 PM
Re: Learning Curves
@Michael- I think you are absolutely right, but here's a question? Is it too late? What if marketing says no?

We've seen that a lot of CMOs have their own IT budgets now. they can use cloud services to go around IT.

Is it possible the CMO just doesn't care about partering anymore and if so what do you do about it?
zerox203   Advance Your Career – Partner With Marketing   10/20/2013 10:56:54 PM
Re: Partner With Marketing
Thanks a lot for this, Michael. I think there are a lot of professionals out there who want to take their career to that next level, and still aren't sure how.  We are living in a new time, but the truth is this is an age-old problem. It's about stepping out of your comfort zone and being proactive rather than reactive. I think that's still advice that a lot of IT people need to hear.

The really interesting part about this is that the way you describe it here highlights how this is far from the only way to do it. You can and should partner with marketing, but the most important point is to get up and do something, anything. You're not restricted to your silo, and if you're in a management position, you have the ability to go and talk to people and build new relationships and new partnerships. That's what takes you from 'doing your job' to 'making a difference'.
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