Making Agile Innovation Work For Both Marketing And IT

23 December, 2016 / Articles
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The technology, tools, and systems that enable the analysis of marketing data are often the responsibility of the CIO. But many IT teams haven’t dealt with marketing data before. The fact that it’s uniquely messy, diffuse and complex makes it hard for them to develop timely, cost-effective solutions. What’s more, IT usually isn’t conversant in marketing (nor marketing in technology), so the marketing team has to devote resources to help IT understand how the data relates to the business.

Similarly, it’s rare that someone becomes a marketer solely because they love data. Usually, they’re passionate about telling impactful stories and developing strategies for helping improve consumers’ lives. They look to data to improve the customer experience and drive growth.

This article—the third in a six-part series on agile marketing with a panel of experts—covers how IT and marketing can collaborate better, leveraging each other’s skill sets to use data to market at the speed of the customer.

Whitler: Do you think marketers are ready to tackle the data side of agile marketing?

Smart: In general, I don’t think marketers have sufficient experience with data and the language that surrounds it. But this extends further, to our experience managing technology and software in general. That said, as a profession, marketing is becoming increasingly technical, and there’s been an influx of technical professionals from product management, development and data science teams into the marketing organization. Our ability to learn from them and to leverage their experience will be critical to our success and the modernization of our profession.

Verone: I think the role of marketing is evolving, especially in digitally focused companies. Marketers are now driving the bus when it comes to data and analytics. More marketing department are bringing in the data gurus or have hired people that can speak that language and act as the interpreter between the BI teams and marketing team. In other cases, the tools are becoming so robust that many of the data tasks are becoming more app- and tool-based, allowing the marketer to run queries without having to know SQL.

Whitler: Do you think most IT departments are well positioned to support agile marketing? If not, why not? If so, can you give a few examples?

Smart: There’s a lot of change and transformation taking place, which is putting a lot pressure on IT departments. There is a shift of IT to the line of business overall, but there’s also a need for the line of business to better understand how IT departments work (especially if they are agile). Every company that I’ve engaged with is different so it’s hard to make generalizations here, but my sense is that the IT departments that are most set up for success are those that take a dev-ops approach, have embraced agile and are focused on being an enabler for the business.

Verone: No, I don’t believe they’re set up to support marketing. If they were, all these cloud-based, marketing-focused technology solutions wouldn’t exist. IT has always been too slow and too difficult to navigate at most companies. So marketing got tired of waiting around for a solution.

The science man and innovator, Fernando Fischmann, founder of Crystal Lagoons, recommends this article.

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