7 tips for improving IT-marketing collaboration

A strong relationship between IT and marketing correlates with improved business growth. Here’s how to bury past frictions and build a better business-focused, cross-functional team.

7 tips for improving IT-marketing collaboration
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In many organizations, CMOs now spend more on technology than CIOs. Marketing budgets amount to 11.2 percent of company revenue, according to the 2018-19 Gartner CMO Spend survey. In fact, technology is now the single biggest area of investment for marketing, according to the report.

As data and systems have become central to marketing strategy — and overall business results — the relationship between IT and marketing organizations has grown crucial. “This is a relationship of necessity,” says Jeff Fleischman, CMO at Altimetrik, who has seen the relationship between marketing and IT evolve from skepticism to acceptance. “A modern marketing program cannot exist without a strong technology foundation.”

What’s more, a good relationship between IT and marketing correlates with improved business growth. A 2018 McKinsey study showed that companies whose CMOs worked closely with IT to reach company goals were more successful, growing their revenues at 10 percent a year or twice the average rate of the S&P 500.

At New York Life, three factors drive the need for strong collaboration between marketing and IT. “First, technology needs to be at the center of the marketing discussion to enable early identification of consumer needs; highly targeted, uniquely customized messaging; follow-up and message reinforcement; and easy to discover information should a consumer wish to delve deeper into a product or service,” says Dave Castellani, senior vice president and business information officer for New York Life. “This targeted, end-to-end view requires the right software, data integration, and intelligence to work effectively.”

In addition, the organization is pursuing a mobile-first strategy that both IT and marketing have a stake in. Finally, that wealth of customer data driving the marketing engine needs to be secured by IT. “A firm that fails to respect and protect data will see brand erosion by creating irreparable distrust,” Castellani says.

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