Imagine that you are at a client workshop, with colleagues from different departments (marketing, IT, finance etc). Everyone begins aligning into groups, and sorting out their cards. However, after the workshop, while in the hallway drinking a cup of coffee, an IT guy casually whispers, “Well, we are perfectly aligned, except for the area about what the marketing guys want to do”.
Clearly, there has always been a big chasm between the marketing and IT departments. Most digital marketing professionals who are in the business of selling software products know that sales talk ending with the sentence ‘no IT involvement needed’, will usually result in an easy sale. In most companies, the marketing and IT departments have different mindsets, as well as a set of different business goals. People who have worked in both these departments know just how poles apart they are.
The inherent differences between the IT and digital marketing departments make it difficult for them to work together as a cohesive unit, basically because both are strongly competing for the year-end bonus offered by the company. In the end, it comes down to a battle of speed vs control. Digital marketing is about speed, while IT is about control.
Professionals who are involved in digital marketing have to be quick to respond to market shifts and quick to make sales. They have to think in terms of cycles for their digital marketing campaigns, and experiment with different channels. On the other hand, IT is more about decreasing the number of systems, formalising various processes, cutting down operational costs over the long term, and reigning in rogue initiatives. So, what needs to be done to align them?
Many digital marketing articles have been written, and many people have spoken on how to align the digital marketing and IT departments. There are hundreds of large consultancies with their balanced scorecards and other features, and entire ‘best practices’ for improving alignment with IT departments. The IT industry, as it usually does, has also created industry frameworks for governance, with codes on how to align themselves with the needs of the company. And still digital marketing professionals complain!
No matter what alignment approach you choose, the first thing to do is to recognise your differences. It is important to understand that the other side also wishes to innovate, and a continuous conversation has to take place if you both wish to achieve your goals.
Qudos Digital is a leading digital marketing agency, and can be contacted on 0845 388 5583 or email@example.com.