We have a running joke at the office that our marketing department and IT department are mortal enemies. We imagine that each is a fortified tower waging war on the other through long ranged ballistics and industrial espionage. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. For other companies, this is an under-exaggeration.
Over the last eight years I’ve had the privilege of working side by side with one of the most revered internet marketers in the country. We’ve run several companies together in that time, me directing IT and him directing marketing. Starting out, neither of us knew much about each other's craft, but we knew they were both vital components to any digital business.
After years of product launches and client projects, we’ve come to learn a great deal from one another and now have a firm understanding of how and why marketing needs to be involved with development, and vice versa.
From an IT perspective, understanding the core needs of the internet marketing team enables you to lay the proper foundation for a technical project that will allow marketing to execute their goals. From a marketing perspective, knowing the fundamentals of how a technology functions will let a team optimize the strategy to suite the product, as well as better communicate their needs to IT.
It goes without saying that one department relies heavily on the other for success. Without marketing, your brilliant piece of software will never see the light of day. Without development, marking won’t have the ability to execute their directives, or may not have a product to market at all.
When I say that your internet marketing team needs to move in with your IT team, I mean that literally. In our office, I share a workspace with a colleague from marketing. The head of marketing? He shares a workspace with a colleague from development. We’re aware of what each team is doing and we communicate constantly. This ensures that one team never gets too far detached from the other.
This arrangement is the result of consulting for dozens of larger companies whose marketing and development departments are completely segregated. Marketing is at war with development because the technology IT guards the gates to is preventing marketing from producing the results they need. Development will work behind closed doors to build a product which, while technically sound, is damaging to marketing efforts and too costly to undo.
This stems from some basic problems on each side.
Lack of communication
Not understanding the basics of internet marketing
What’s easiest,best, or most efficient technically may not be best for marketing
Marketing often regarded as a burden
Tendency to stick to what they know rather than the proper tool for the job
Lack of communication
Failure to consider needs at the planning stage
Poorly constructed requirements
Not understanding the basics of the technology
By bringing these two teams together, each will learn to anticipate the needs of the other. Development will start structuring new projects with flexible URL routing to allow for SEO. They will plan ahead to facilitate dynamic meta information, conversion code injection, remarketing, and rich snippet markup. Marketing will tailor their efforts to take advantage of greater access to these resources which can now be executed quickly and easily thanks to the anticipation.. After a while it will be harmonious and both groups will benefit. When these two groups benefit, the business as a whole benefits, and that is the ultimate goal.
While we do still wage war between IT and marketing, the rivalry has become a contest to see who can use the combined knowledge to produce greater results.