Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and IT Departments

Data has the power to positively drive business outcomes this is why so many companies are pouring significant resources into business intelligence and data analytics these days. But one major hindrance that may stop companies from realizing the true value of their data is the gap that often exists between the marketing and IT departments.

Put simply: It’s difficult, or impossible, to fully capitalize on data when there remains a gulf between these key departments. Here’s some advice on bridging the gap between IT and marketing.

Define Shared Business Goals

Defining shared business goals is such a simple step, but it’s very easy to overlook. MarTech cites a study that found 63 percent of marketers and IT professionals “acknowledged the two teams often don’t share [common goals and incentives].”

It’s imperative for employees to understand how their day-to-day tasks connect to overhead business goals. Strategy can make or break the bottom line. One possible solution here is defining the same broad objective for both IT and marketing teams but phrasing key functions in team-specific lingo.

Identify Points of Disconnection

Harvard Business Review notes an underlying challenge for companies is marketing and IT departments often seem like they’re speaking different languages and pursuing distinct goals. While marketing leaders are “focused on adopting the latest technologies,” IT leaders are “focused on governance, security, and enterprise architecture.”

The first step is really taking stock of any points of disconnection that currently exist between these two teams. Only then can you identify targeted areas for improvement and create a shared language leader can then use to create shared goals and communicate departmental needs.

Work Together on Initiatives

A common scenario involves the marketing team coming up with a new project or initiative, then asking the IT team to make it happen, technically speaking. There’s plenty of potential for discord here, like if the IT team sees the request or the timeline as unrealistic. This approach leaves lots of room for important details and collaboration opportunities to slip through the cracks.

A more effective approach is designing a workflow in which marketing and IT work together more closely from start to finish. This requires bringing IT decision-makers in at the inception of marketing initiatives and working from a shared vision of the end result.  Also consider options for managed services IT as well.

De-Silo Data Insights

Another possible point of contention between marketing and IT accompanies the mentality that IT experts gatekeep data insights. It’s easy and understandable for resentment to build if marketers feel they’re cut off from easy access to stored data forced to submit a report request to IT whenever they have a question about performance. This model gives rise to significant IT backlogs in which the timeline for requests becomes days, weeks or months meaning the marketers are left waiting for answers while IT experts become swamped with a constant accumulation of requests.

The more accessible marketing analytics are to non-IT users, the less pressure organizations will experience in this regard. Using the search-driven analytics engine from ThoughtSpot, for instance, a marketer can query data directly, in seconds, without having to work through IT. On the marketing side, this has the potential to reduce the time to insight while empowering marketers to ask questions constantly. In terms of improvements for IT, organizational adoption of accessible data analytics reduces the strain on IT to handle ad hoc queries so the department can instead focus on more strategic initiatives.

However, your company goes about bridging the gap between IT and marketing teams, it’s impossible to understate the value of shared language and shared goals. It’s also important to deploy technology capable of de-siloing data access, which will help both teams work together more efficiently.