The roles that marketing and IT professionals have held within organizations has traditionally been very unique, with only minimal overlap. With most organizations, marketing was responsible for the brand and demand creation while IT was responsible for the systems and software utilized, typically on premise, and in many cases the website.
With digital transformation occurring across all industries, the website and online experience are becoming more and more a pure marketing function. In addition to this, the marketing role is now so closely tied to the sales and CRM functions that marketing has begun to take ownership of the many systems used to implement and track campaigns.
The Argument for Why Marketing Must Own the Digital Experience
In short; the website and online experience have become the primary lead source for marketing teams. Marketing teams are now in a position where they must have immediate access to make changes and implement campaigns in a short time frame. Updates are being made daily in many circumstances based on user interactions.
Before the digital era for marketing, measuring the overall effectiveness of campaigns was a difficult thing to do. The primary metrics were typically around overall reach, and even these were estimated based on averages. In today’s digital world, each view and interaction can track at a contact and account level. With the right toolset, marketers can now show the effectiveness of each channel and campaign. Having the right tools and access is critical for this to occur though.
The Argument Against Marketing Owning the Digital Experience
It’s well established that it’s important for marketers to have marketing automation and CRM tools in place with the appropriate access rights in order to track marketing efforts effectively. The reality is that most marketers are not entirely trained with many of these tools given their recent emergence. This can lead to numerous issues, including potential cyber security risks. The data that sits within these platforms are often extremely sensitive and typically includes customer contact information.
Due to these risks, many enterprise companies are limiting the implementation of some of these tools. Some are allowing them to be in place, but not properly integrating them with the rest of their internal systems (i.e. a marketing automation platform in place that is not integrated with the company's CRM) causing a gap in reporting capabilities. The thought process is often that cyber security and protecting customer data is more important than closed-loop reporting for marketing functions, which is a tough point to argue against.
Tomorrow’s MarTech Role
With the emergence of technology in the marketing space, more and more individuals are entering the marketing field with a strong understanding of how these tools work. In addition to this, a number of free certifications now available that are highly valued by marketing organizations are growing at an exponential rate (i.e. Hubspot’s Inbound Certification).
Collaboration between roles and divisions, especially in the enterprise space, can be challenging to accomplish at times. There are very different objectives at a role level even though the company goals are the same. This strengthens the argument for a single owner or team that oversees marketing software and tools as well as the marketing functions themselves.
This future role we are likely to see understands the marketing objectives, how to develop creative and innovative campaigns, and how the technology available helps implement and report on these functions. It also must be responsible for the processes to ensure data security is at the forefront at all times in addition to user onboarding and offboarding processes.
It Starts with Collaboration
Creating a new role within an organization doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it shouldn’t since there are likely individuals already in place to perform these functions. Long term, many organizations will see the benefit of a single owner given the overlap. In the mean time, there must be active collaboration in place between the marketing and IT teams. The best way to ensure this is the case is through shared goals that equally affect both roles.