I recently got a dizzying flashback to the days when digital marketing was all emails, databases, banner ads and, if you were lucky, websites that actually let users DO something.
The flashback was caused by Steve Hart’s interview with IDC group vice-president, Rich Vancil, in the Weekend Herald. Vancil was visiting NZ from the US to speak at the CIO Summit but the interview focussed on the urgent need for Marketing and IT leaders to communicate better.
It brought back vivid memories of a similar article I wrote back in 2001.
The piece was inspired by hearing the class of marketers I was teaching for the NZ Marketing Association speak of their frustrations with their IT departments and ‘the geeks’ that inhabited them. The marketers’ poor relationships with their IT counterparts was in stark contrast to my own experiences, where strong and lasting friendships had been forged in the furnace of collaboration with IT colleagues, in my earlier corporate, start-up and agency roles.
Having a first generation software engineer and robotics entrepreneur as a Dad has no doubt helped. But I’ve always seen technology as an opportunity to do more brilliant marketing. Back in 2001, I declared the “convergence of IT and marketing” was “becoming the most important trend in business today”. It would be a further two years before LinkedIn would launch and five before Facebook opened to the public.
In 2001, I urged marketers, as the communications experts, to make the first move through ‘A 5 point plan of beer and understanding’.
In 2015, Vancil similarly identifies the problem as “people working in each discipline having a different culture, mindset, and speaking a ‘different language’.”
Vancil calls on the CIOs to “spend more time with CMO – understand the importance of marketing and selling, and try to make more contributions on the tools and IT support you can give to the marketing area.” He cites IDC research which found over 75 categories of marketing software and systems, from hundreds of suppliers, and claims Marketing heads “are struggling to fully use technology to market their firms to customers.”
But as marketers we too still have a duty to step up, up skill and engage with the trickier sides of tech stuff, and to work constructively with the IT experts in our organisations. If we don’t CIOs will increasingly be the ones delivering the customer experience – and reporting customer insights to the Board.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s fabulous tech-sector has some very smart CEOs and CIOs who increasingly get the importance of good marketing. It makes us very happy some of them, like Deptive and Vadacom choose GoodSense to help them plan and action it.