IT Must Get Involved Alongside Marketing in Customer Flow Process

By September 09, 2011

At a time when company strategies are becoming more customer-centric, this approach will only achieve real success if it is based on interaction between the two departments most closely involved: Marketing and IT.

Launching marketing campaigns on the social networks and constantly monitoring those networks - this kind of initiative is becoming usual practice for company Marketing departments. According to Forrester Research, these changes pose a challenge for another sector as well - IT. In order to react quickly, Marketing teams need access to well-organised, real-time data. Which means that efficient data management is becoming the key to success, but all too often IT is still the only department that has these skills. The problem, as a Forrester study points out, is that these two departments often have trouble communicating and collaborating. But all of a sudden their ability to work together is becoming a key competitive factor.  "Marketing managers have obviously begun to apply dedicated technology solutions by themselves. But many have come to realise that if they work in isolation it’s difficult to use the data obtained to best effect,” Nigel Fenwick, Analyst and Vice-President at Forrester, told L'Atelier.

Identical priorities, but…

The study reveals that although the business priorities of the two departments are per se exactly the same, each has a different approach to reaching its goals. As a general rule Information System Managers set longer term objectives than their colleagues over in Marketing. Forrester Research points to another stumbling block: each department often has an outdated, stereotyped view of what the other group does. One of the solutions put forward to remedy this is of course to hold regular meetings between the two departments, the aim being to focus on common goals which can help to build mutual trust. The study also recommends that Information System Managers hire staff who have some knowledge of Marketing and will understand the challenges Marketing faces. Another prerequisite, says the market research company, is to set up a third group tasked to deliver real-time analysis of the data obtained.

A structural change…

It’s also important to note that this Marketing-IT collaboration reflects a change within the very structure of the company, a change triggered by the spread of Web 2.0 tools. "This new way of working together marks a turning point within the company towards what could be described as an “obsession” with the customer. Companies are focusing more and more - and in great numbers - on all possible ways of showing their appreciation for the customer in order to stand out from their competitors", says Nigel Fenwick, adding: "Customer focus isn’t just the exclusive domain of Marketing. It represents a shift in the goals of the whole company". This is why creating the new organisation calls for a more cross-cutting approach. "The technology people must stop seeking to monopolise this field within the company," he stresses. "Just as Marketing people should no longer claim to be the only ones with any knowledge of the customer".

Legal mentions © L’Atelier BNP Paribas