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Marketing and IT are the new powerhouses of business: it’s time to have a MarTech department

By Alan Butler, Director of EMEA CPSD Marketing, Dell/EMC

In 2011 there were 150 companies operating in the Martech arena. Today it is more than 5,000. Growing business and consumer cynicism means that organisations need to market their products with ingenuity and personalise their marketing based on customer preferences, needs and desires.  Not only that, but smart marketing departments are looking to gather data, insights and analytics through a variety of tools and systems that help drive more intelligence into the sales and marketing process. Along with reporting tools and automated engagement systems, the list of technology marketing teams now require is an ever growing one.  And the speed at which the CMO is demanding these technological advancements is yesterday. The push to get to the customer first is paramount as competitors race to deploy the technology that gives them the edge.

But new technology requires new systems integration, user analysis and budgets, all of which the IT team often need months to evaluate. It is of little surprise then, that marketing is considered one of the worst proponents of shadow IT. And, with mounting pressure on marketing teams to deploy the right technology, but an overwhelming bazaar from which to choose, the two departments are often not communicating to achieve the speed to value expected for the business.

But despite this, technology and marketing departments have much in common. Both speak a relatively different language to the rest of an organization, both are viewed by the board as cost centres and when budgets are tight, both feel they are the first department from which to be cut. 

Although contentious, by joining the two teams together they can united under the common goal of serving the customer.  And it works; Adidas is a prime example. The sportswear manufacturer united the two disciplines under a Digital Experience Team umbrella, and has seen great success. Car manufacturer Nissan also shares this spirit of focusing on the digital customer experience by uniting the two factions. But to do this calls for not just a level of humility from both teams (admitting that they cannot do the role the other does), but also a level of upskilling.  Gone are the days of the single skillset. Now we are all required to be literate in multiple business languages, whether that be marketing, IT, sales, finance, tech or board-speak. To get ahead we need to have multi-faceted abilities and be dexterous in areas we may previously have felt uncomfortable. 

It is not acceptable to just be the social media guru or the data network guy.  In order to properly fulfil the potential of these roles, individuals must know about how data streamed from external sources feeds into the wider marketing plan, how the latest digital evaluation tools can be integrated with the CRM to help decipher customer intent and where the sales team are feeling the pressure.  Fundamentally, they need to know what customers are saying and how this influences their role directly.

Splendid isolation no longer exists in business. We will only be successful by uniting under a common goal; how can we reach the customer together to create the greatest business advantage and provide the best customer experience. 

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