The Lines are Blurring Between Marketing and ITAs the worlds of marketing and IT continue to collide, many are asking the question: Is the wall separating the two departments coming down? While I wouldn’t go to the lengths of assuming that marketing and IT can or will ever fuse into one, what I do believe is that the two departments must form a more ‘symbiotic’ relationship in the future of business. There are two main reasons driving this need. First, with businesses going digital, it’s becoming virtually impossible to carry out any marketing operations without involving technology. Secondly, marketing is playing a bigger role in the customer side of business. Let’s discuss the two factors in detail.

Modern marketing is tech-dependent

Today’s businesses have entered a phase of digital revolution where technologies like mobile, cloud, big data, and social are fundamental for survival and success. Moreover, marketing is constantly being reshaped by modern consumer habits and the ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, and laptops. In this always-on, hyperconnected world, marketing needs to leverage new ways to attract, nurture, and maintain their client and/or customer base. Without technology, this is next to impossible.

Customer-centricity is the new marketing mantra

Being customer-centric is the ‘gold standard’ for businesses today. But, nowhere is the buzz of customer-centricity stronger than in the marketing space. According to a recent Gartner survey, customer experience is the top area of marketing technology investment and is the “#1 innovation project for 2015.” Mercedes Benz USA President and CEO Steve Cannon described the situation aptly, saying “Customer experience is the new marketing.

In order to reap the rewards of this new trend towards customer experience marketing, you need to gather and analyze data. Lots of data. And data-driven marketing can be implemented only with the proper tech tools, solutions, and support. It goes without saying that the IT department is your “go to” source for those solutions and support. Also, IT has the best knowledge about tech costs and the required SLAs, and continuing to by-pass IT is a surefire recipe for tech disaster.

The changing dynamics of marketing/IT relationship

Marketing is often pitted against IT by drawing reference to the prediction that in the future, tech budgets are going to be greater in marketing departments than in IT. But this isn’t necessarily the case. If we look at marketing and IT as partners rather than opponents, it makes a lot more sense from a business standpoint. However, the problem is this partnership, though highly desired, is lagging dreadfully.

A 2013 report by Accenture shows that nearly 90% of CIOs and CMOs don’t think there’s enough collaboration between their departments. Closing this divide should be one of the top business priorities. Why? Because missing the boat on marketing/IT alignment, failing to close the gap on customer relationships or capitalize on the reams of data at your fingertips, will hit businesses where they dislike it the most—their bottom line.

This is why the existing silos must come down. Marketing and IT need to work together, and stay on top of what each department is doing in order to make the most out of our rapidly evolving advances in technology. Current predictions show marketing/IT partnerships will be a major deciding factor for business success in the coming years. As such, organizations working towards building a powerful partnership between the two departments are successfully positioning themselves to compete successfully down the road.

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