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How IT Stays Relevant in Digital Marketing: Find Your Place at the Table

April 13, 2011
By David Sims - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor


You might have seen the lengthy article recently in Information Week titled “IT and Marketing: How Digital Media's Changing The Relationship.” If you haven’t taken a New York - Seattle direct flight you might not have had the time to sit down and read the whole thing, though.


Author Doug Henschen builds on the correct observation that modern marketers aren’t your Mad Men stereotypes: “They want some statistical assurances before they spend one red cent, for which they're relying on technology tools and expertise.”

In fact, Henschen gives what he considers to be “the latest formula: Add social, mobile, Web, and email to conventional marketing channels, including print and broadcast advertising, billboards, telemarketing, and direct-mail campaigns.”

From there, all you have to do is target and test desired segments. “Measure results across all channels. Spend accordingly.”

No that’s not a new approach, but the channels are. The original Mad Men never dealt with Facebook (News - Alert), or even with the dynamic of social networks -- direct customer interaction. Mad Men never studied YouTube and Hulu to see which ads are being replayed. Today’s marketers sure do.

As Henschen sums it up, “the thing that has changed most in recent years is that marketers want a more comprehensive, cross-channel examination of campaign results, and they expect more detailed analyses. It's now all about the data.” And the bad news, as he says, is that “marketers are still frustrated by gaps in measurability across channels.”

So what’s the answer: “It's high time for IT pros to be working more closely with their marketing colleagues to understand marketing's needs and goals.” And find their value-add in that.

The conclusion Henschen reaches is that “marketing technologies are essentially following the same path as many other enterprise technologies have followed: Point software tools are becoming modules in more comprehensive suites, with the promise of easier and tighter integration and improved visibility across activities.”

IT services firms are targeting marketing analytics, he finds at the end of his long study. He ends with the call that IT organizations “need to step forward. Almost half of the marketers surveyed (46 percent) don't think their CIO understands marketing objectives.”

Grim joke: The other 54 percent know the CIO doesn’t (rim shot).

If IT is going to be relevant, Henschen thinks, “It needs to show it can help marketing teams with information management and the analytics of modeling and testing results. Marketing has been a data-driven discipline for a long time, but the number of data sources keeps multiplying and the richness and volume of data keeps growing. The IT jobs tied to supporting those efforts will stay in house only if IT teams bring a unique understanding of the company's products and strategy. If not, that work will swing to outsourcers with specialized expertise.”

In other words, find a reason to stay at the table and you will.


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny



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