Bridging the gap between marketing and IT

10 Apr 2016 » Opinion

My job as an Adobe Analytics consultant has involved, very often, bridging the gap between these two worlds. I have seen myself many times as a translator: getting a message from the marketer, translate it into technical terms and communicating it to the developers; and vice-versa. My developer background has helped me a lot in this case. In quite a few cases, I have been requested to join meetings just to make sure that the IT team understood what the marketer wanted. It does not help either the fact that web analytics is not considered as important as it should be.

The divorce between IT and marketing

Unsurprisingly, the marketing department is full of graduates with a degree in marketing and the IT department has lots of computer scientists. These two backgrounds cannot be more far apart. Very few universities offer a degree where both skills are combined. As a result, there is a big disconnect between the marketing department and the IT department

Developers tend to enjoy being in their world of bits and bytes and marketers do not like to get into the details of technology. Do not get me wrong: as I have said, I have been a developer for many years (ranging from C to JavaScript and HTML) and my customers are now, mainly, marketers. I have nothing against these two roles and I like working with both. What I am saying is that there is a real challenge connecting the two worlds, which leads to a lot of frustration from both sides: marketers who feel the IT department ignores them and developers who never get it right according to the marketing department.

The reconciliation

So, how do we fix this divorce? As with most things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each organisation is different and one solution that works well in one case cannot be applied to a different situation.

What I can share with you is what one of my clients has done. The digital marketing team agreed with the IT department to get one developer full-time. Now, read again the previous sentence: doesn’t it sound like the most obvious solution? In this particular case, it was not possible to get the developer to be part of the marketing department, which, from my point of view, would have been the best solution. However, the comments I received from the head of analytics was that they were delighted with this developer.

Some benefits of this approach:

  • The developer is trained on the digital marketing tools used by the marketers. In fact, I met the developer from the previous example during my Adobe Target training. This guarantees that the developer knows what the marketer needs him to know.
  • Having full-time dedication means the developer can concentrate on the marketing issues. Usually, when the marketer needs developer’s time, she needs to get into a queue until someone in IT is available. My client gets immediate response from the developer.
  • This also guarantees a faster time to market. Obviously, if you have a developer that works only on your marketing issues, you get a quicker response.
  • The developer can learn about marketing. There is no need for a translator, as the communication can flow seamlessly. Not all developers are willing to learn this other skill, so remember to choose someone with an interest digital marketing.
  • Bright career for the developer. It is very rare to find someone with these two skill-sets and it is a much demanded profile.
  • More fluid communication between IT and marketing. No more issues between the two departments and more co-working. Remember that both teams are in the same company and both of them want the same thing: to make the company successful.

To be honest with you, I do not see any disadvantages with this solution. Do you see any?

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