2017 is the year in which CMOs are expected to outspend CIOs on technology, according to Gartner, which is no surprise given the way in which consumers of all kinds are increasingly using technology in their everyday lives.
But how effectively will IT and marketing work together? Research by ClickZ Intelligence in partnership with Zayo shows there are some significant differences that need to be addressed in order to provide the foundational backbone for success in face of disruption.
Three of these differences are explored below, but for more insight on what businesses should be doing about it, register for our February 9th webinar where we’ll be discussing how marketing and IT can align.
Marketing rates communications infrastructure less favorably than IT
As shown in the chart below, there is a significant difference between how IT and marketing departments regard the quality of their communications infrastructure.
A third of IT professionals regard their infrastructure as ‘cutting edge’ (33%), while a further 55% say it is ‘good’. Only 10% say it is merely ‘serviceable’ and a tiny 2% say it is ‘poor’.
Marketing professionals are four times less likely to regard their communications infrastructure as ‘cutting edge’ (8%), though a similar proportion as IT professionals say it is good (53%). However, more than a third (34%) say it is only ‘serviceable’.
According to the research, the reasoning behind this stark difference lies in the impact marketers are likely to feel. Just small delays in a customer’s digital experience can lead to reducing conversion rates and even lost search ranking positions. Emerging technologies such as push notifications and increasing use of video will only add to the needs of marketing.
Reduced speed can also impact on acquisition activities due to the real-time nature of digital advertising. According to Erin Malone, a program supervisor with Publicis Seattle interviewed for the research, the impact of communications infrastructure on performance is a “big concern”.
Marketers and IT have very different views on their organization’s priorities
IT professionals and marketers also have fundamentally different views on their organization’s priorities. The chart below shows the percentage of each who cited the listed priority as one of the top five for the year ahead.
While marketers list their top two priorities as grow revenues (73%) and improving customer retention / organic customer business growth (56%), the top two for IT are to upgrade technology (49%) and data security (44%).
Although these categories are not mutually exclusive from each other (e.g. upgrading technology could result in increased revenues from a better customer experience), these differing priorities illustrate how marketers may struggle to get the requisite attention for critical elements of technology.
While it must be borne in mind that IT needs to service multiple departments, the difference between the percentage of marketers (19%) and IT professionals (45%) who strongly agree with the statement that “marketing and IT work closely together to ensure the best possible delivery of our product/service” may illustrate the need for marketing to get IT to take notice of their challenges.
IT seeks data privacy and security while marketers need agility
The final key difference within this post illustrates the difference in what are perceived as the greatest technology challenges.
Around a quarter of marketers cite moving from legacy to state-of-the-art technology (27%) with a similar proportion listing addressing the need for agility (23%). By contrast, four out of ten IT professionals cite maintaining data privacy and security (42%) with a one in four (25%) choosing adapting to a connected world.
With hacking and data breaches seeming to occur at a seemingly increasing rate, and as often being the sole guardians of technology safety in the organization, it is easy to understand why IT rate security so highly – particularly given the rise of the Internet of Things.
But given the nature of digital disruption, companies need to achieve a pragmatic balance of security through control and agility through freedom. IT professionals that lock too much down may reduce the impact of marketing to keep up with the competition and shifting customer expectations.
So how should these differences be addressed?
Aligning marketing and IT is the key topic of our upcoming webinar where we will be covering more of the findings from this report and discussing some of the ways in which these two departments can more effectively work together.
Register for our February 9th webinar today to listen to the views of our expert guests and achieve greater alignment in your organization.