Marketers don't have to become programmers, but they should have a clue about the technology running a digital operation. First in a series.
Marketers must be able to work closely and effectively with their counterparts who are responsible for managing an online business' technology. That's because technology is at the core of all digital operations. And the more a marketer understands what goes into successfully implementing the technology piece of a project, the better the marketer will be able to work in unison with her technology colleagues. And the more smoothly projects will go.
Of course, it's not necessary for marketers to learn to be programmers. Marketing and IT come from different worlds, but they intersect in more areas, especially in our world of convergence.
Keep in mind technology is:
By understanding technology, you'll:
Therefore, "core technologies" is the next of my 12 Cs for Thriving in a Digital World.
Depending on your organization, the online technology responsibilities may reside in different places. They may be the responsibility of a centralized digital or e-media team, managed by a centralized IT division or a departmental IT team, or outsourced to a vendor.
Key Technology Components
Understanding the scope and number of technologies and systems helps one appreciate the complexity of what runs behind the scenes. A large number of systems and technologies go into running an online business. We'll talk about some of the following in more depth in upcoming columns:
It's a lot. These systems need to have requirements defined, then be developed, configured, or customized. They must be installed, tested, deployed, and managed. And these systems must be integrated so they work together and support comprehensive reporting. They must also be fast and stay up 24/7.
Build vs. Buy
When evaluating systems and technologies, technology teams often have to decide whether they should build a system from scratch or buy something they can configure to meet business requirements.
The answer depends on many issues, such as whether there's a product available that can be configured to meet a business need or whether building a system will give an organization a competitive advantage. Organizations must also evaluate the cost for each approach and whether they have the resources, including staff, to build a system. Other issues include the time-to-market goals, marketplace pressure, integration with other systems, and security requirements.
In my next column, we'll drill down on a few more key technology concepts that will help you work more effectively with your technology counterparts. With this knowledge, you'll hopefully have an answer to the commonly asked question from the business side: Why does it take so long to do X? More important, you'll be able to partner with the technology team so you can proactively help reduce the time it actually takes to accomplish your business goals.
What's your favorite marketing tool or service? Which one made your campaign a success? We want to know! Nominate your choice in the 2008 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards. Nominations are open until August 14. Nominate now!
Lee Huang specializes in developing digital strategies that enable companies to monetize their digital assets, create innovative online products, and leverage emerging technologies to better serve their audience and advertisers. He is director of digital strategy and product development at NBC Universal. Before joining NBCU, he led the development of successful Internet strategies, Web sites, and interactive solutions for media and entertainment companies, including Billboard, Hearst, Scripps Networks, Hollywood Reporter, and Consumer Reports. Lee created The 12 Cs, a framework for thriving in the digital age that focuses on developing an integrated business and technology strategy, along with an adaptive infrastructure that enables rapid execution.
He serves on the board and leads the New York chapter of the Internet Strategy Forum, a professional association for executives who lead their company's Internet strategy and initiatives.
Lee lives in New York City. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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