Marketing and IT: Why it's time for them to play nicely

But can they overcome their false perceptions of each other?
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

But can they overcome their false perceptions of each other?

Marketing bosses need to work more closely with IT chiefs to engage more effectively with consumers, according to an analyst report.

But to work together more effectively, marketing and IT teams need to first overcome certain perceptions of the other department, according to the Marketing and IT Must Align for Business Success report from analyst house Forrester.

IT professionals feel that marketing departments have no clear governance and are always in a hurry to get things done. Meanwhile, marketing teams see IT as an obstacle to what they want to do and feel IT doesn't always appreciate the role of marketing in the business.

Ford's marketing team were quick to get on Google+

Car maker Ford was quick to make a splash on Google+, something marketing departments from other companies could learn fromImage: Ford

But the two departments need to work together in order to satisfy tech-savvy customers. Social networks are allowing consumers to quickly share information and opinions about products, which is having an immediate impact on their success.

Meanwhile, product development life cycles have become shorter, making long-lead marketing campaigns less relevant.

"The changes that technology adoption has brought to the marketing landscape are enormous. More than half of consumers in North America and Western Europe make daily use of the web and a mobile phone as well as check their social profile online," Forrester principal analyst Luca Paderni wrote in the report.

If marketing professionals are able to understand how potential customers interact with the company and each other online, Forrester said, they can better cater for their expectations and thus drive revenue.

"As marketers seek to link their marketing programmes to these platforms and with other customer activity, they need the IT department to help them develop and manage the use of these new channels in conjunction with the rest of the business," Paderni added.

One of the main ways in which marketing and IT could work better together is by managing customer data flow more effectively in order to give their customers a more tailored brand experience than rival companies.

Customer-facing staff and systems should be provided with this data to create a consistent approach which will boost brand loyalty and sales revenue as a result.

Forrester estimates companies in Western Europe will invest €14bn in interactive marketing in 2011, 14 per cent of advertising budgets. Investment in online marketing now exceeds TV as the main advertising platform in the UK.

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