Any organization that has more than one employee has never made an important decision alone —important choices are negotiated and decided via committee. When considering a martech investment, by definition of the topic, you’re including two divisions within that decision-making process: Marketing and IT. These are two very different groups who speak different languages and are judged on a job well done in very different ways.
By the way, it’s not just marketers who’ve read Marketing will have larger tech budgets than IT in the coming years — believe me…IT has heard it to. Scott Brinker said it best last week:
If the CIO and the head of sales invite you out for a drink, just make sure to meet at a well-lit bar with plenty of witnesses people around.
Add to IT’s deep dev queue and seemingly endless supply of constituents and you’ve mixed yourself a cocktail with high potential for a hangover. What then can Marketing do to ease the burden and create healthy collaboration?
It’s marketing’s job to advocate for IT
The notion of advocacy is how we marketers must treat our infrastructure decision-making role. We now have a seat at the table with the mechanics of our companies, the actual brains behind building the organization. Marketing is art with a growing amount of science (especially with new roles such as Marketing Operations). Our ability, however, to effectively leverage science to manage, measure and modernize our marketing programs is dependent on our systems talking to each other. They must be properly set up and connected to perform like the well-oiled machine we invested in it — that will always involve IT to some degree.
“No IT Involvement Necessary” doesn’t mean circumvent IT
SaaS-based solutions including Integrate’s are what I call “IT light.” The software is managed off premise; it doesn’t clog the network, require IT to maintain it or ever pose a security risk. Systems do need to be connected however, and the impact of any infrastructural change always needs to be properly vetted by those who manage the network. In comes Marketing Ops — information techies all dressed up and working full-time under the auspices of Marketing. In fact Marketing Ops is probably the best example of IT-Marketing alignment. These hybrids plug systems into each other on the frontend and, more and more common these days, the backend as well.
Sit next to IT at the table, not across from them
I write this figuratively but also literally. Sit next to your colleagues in these discussions and share notes. As my colleague Triniti Burton wrote in an earlier blog post:
Involve your developers in the planning phase. Your development team is likely one of your strongest assets. Get them involved early and often.
The way a meeting is approached physically as well as mentally makes all the difference. You know how complex and challenging your peer’s job in IT is. I know you do. And remember: The slice of IT time you’re vying for will just add to their already full plate — not to mention the very real possibility they aren’t feeling great about Marketing now owning a healthy portion of their budget — which means you need to do this right. Here are my simple tips that should be common sense, but after sitting in hundreds of these meetings with clients, I’ve learned they’re often neglected. When in meetings with IT:
- Sit next to them
- Ask their opinion
- Be a kind person
- Make eye contact
- Take notes and ask them if there is anything else you can find out for them as you birddog this opportunity
- Follow up with what you’ve learned
Our collective charter today is to get real and get it right. Our customers and prospects demand complex marketing systems speak to them in the manner they want to be spoken to, at the time they want to hear the message and using the cadence they prefer. The advanced marketer can accomplish this, but never without IT.