back to article If IT isn’t careful, marketing will soon be telling us what to do

Every business today is a multichannel business with more communication channels generating more data than ever before. Marketing is a key driver here as it struggles to keep the business relevant and on the agenda of a new breed of buyer - and supplier. It needs to be social, integrated, responsive, open, honest. But IT has …

Huh?

Since when has Sales and Marketing not told us what to do?

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Re: Huh?

And marketing and sales have been multichannel for a long-time...

Don't see what has suddenly changed.

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Devil

Re: Huh?

I guess the difference now is that the Sales and Marketing department can if has its own budget go off and get some cloudy service without the involvement of those of us in IT.

Well until they want it integrated...

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Megaphone

Re: Huh?

I guess the difference now is that the Sales and Marketing department can if has its own budget go off and get some cloudy service without the involvement of those of us in IT.

Broken record alert!

Of course, sales, marketing, and virtually every other department may attempt to get budgets approved to fund "shadow" IT projects outside the purview of IT. This has been true since before IT was a distinct entity in organizational structure, so define what has changed recently to create increased pressure to allocate IT funds without IT oversight.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huh?

Don't you just love how sales and marketing promise the customer the earth then kindly drop the shit storm on the back office and leave them to pick up the pieces when the customer finds out they were lied to mislead.

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Holmes

Re: Huh?

"""Well until they want it integrated..."""

And do not forget managed, outside IT the same people who jumps IT to make shitty decisions is incapable of managing anything but the most basic services**.

** Sharing files they should not be sharing.

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Re: Huh?

MUH DROPBOX!

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Re: Huh?

<quote>Don't you just love how sales and marketing promise the customer the earth then kindly drop the shit storm on the back office and leave them to pick up the pieces when the customer finds out they were lied to mislead.</quote>

Been there. Done that. Lost a lucrative, desirable posting because I showed up the sales rep as a lying, manipulative cunt. When the only answer to the client is "the product that was sold to you cannot do that, you need the product that is $eek more for that", and you then find out the salesperson categorically, unequivocally lied to the fucking ruler of Dubai (well, his direct representative), it's only fair that the person who provided the accurate version of events gets tossed aside while the lying little fucker keeps his job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huh?

But then someone still needs to deliver to the ruler of Dubai without getting his balls used for an appetizing deep-fried afternoon snack.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huh?

You lost the posting because you spoke to the client without discussing internally first - or thinking.

If you had discussed, someone in a much better suit may well have decided to provide $superior_product at $original_price

If you had thought, you would have realised there is no upside to being the bearer of bad tidings especially when you dont have a good win-win answer.

You may have been right, but making the people you work with look like a liars or fools - not just the salesman - to outsiders is a rather career limiting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huh?

Marketroid please go.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah, we're already there. Sound technical reason not to do something? Tough... do what they want.

Of course,t he fact that the VP who effectively runs the org came up through marketing, know sweet FA about "computers", and still has a hands on role in marketing has nothing to do with it, no sir.

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Paris Hilton

Erm?

Isn't IT a tool to help rather than a force to takeover business aims?

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Re: Erm?

"Isn't IT a tool to help rather than a force to takeover business aims?"

Absolutely - a point lost on too many, I think. In some places, IT staff understand that, and work to support the outfit as a whole - so you get the marketing people a new domain, a Wordpress install and some email addresses if that's what their plans call for, the design people get Macs, whatever helps get the job done best. Others, you get power-crazed obstructionists giving everyone a locked-down XP box and telling them they have to use Sharepoint instead because it costs money, whether it actually suits anyone or not, and no, the graphic designers can't have any graphic design software because it's too much effort to install for them.

I've seen both sides of the coin up close. The day marketing say "we need X, $company retails that for $10k" and the IT department's reply is "no, you have to go through us and it'll cost $50k", the IT department doesn't just need to start taking orders from other people - those orders need to involve fries and mikshakes. Conversely, if the answer is - honestly - "$company's product won't do what you need, you'd be better with $otherthing because of A, B and C", marketing should listen to it.

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Re: Erm?

>"Isn't IT a tool to help rather than a force to takeover business aims?"

The question comes down to whether Marketing is trying to make IT decisions. You don't have to set up an IT department, but if you do, the implication is that you need their skill in the field of IT.

That's why "requirements" are so important. Vendors will often do the easy stuff cheaply, its the hard stuff which they don't do well, or don't do cheaply. If marketing says, "Company X can do Y for $Z" that's fine, but there's usually a whole range of stuff marketing haven't considered. We shouldn't expect them to - they aren't IT experts. Some things your IT dept won't be able to do easily or as cheaply as a cloud provider, but there are lots of things they can do better. What you need is not an "insource/outsource plan" but good IT personnel who know when to use external vendors and when to use internal resource.

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Re: Erm?

"The question comes down to whether Marketing is trying to make IT decisions. You don't have to set up an IT department, but if you do, the implication is that you need their skill in the field of IT."

Really, you need to bridge the gap - either Marketing will need to understand the IT side to some extent, or the IT department needs to understand Marketing (or both).

Having a departmental "IT person" is a model I've seen work well for a lot of things - they get to know that department's needs much better, as well as knowing how to get services delivered from the central IT department when needed. Much better than having a homogenised "Helpdesk" knowing nothing about everyone, IME.

(Personally, I'm a systems guy - originally Solaris and web servers, filled in for a while doing some departmental support as a sideline, now DB and development, so I've seen it from each point in the food chain. The whole "all requests must go via the Helpdesk" ... "Helpdesk, port 1A-31-7 in building 11 is on the wrong VLAN, can you tell $(guy from the desk next to my old one) please?" "What's a VLAN?" experience was quite depressing...)

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Anonymous Coward

May the salesfarce be with you

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IT Angle

Huh!

What goes around comes around. This scenario is nothing new, the buzz words and jargon are, the scenario is not. It has always been a balancing act between IT and the business.

Some Marketing, Sales or business drone has read an article on the latest and greatest bit of vapourware and wants it operational as soon as possible. It's the job of IT to bring some sanity and forward thinking to the process. Denying it outright is dangerous; not thinking about how it integrates into existing business and systems is disastrous. It’s the art of balancing these two extremes that is the key. Regardless though it’s IT that’s blamed for the failure. The other department if it succeeds.

It’s the way it was, is, and always will be.

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Holmes

Re: Huh!

""It has always been a balancing act between IT and the business.""

The business (the majority) refuses to acknowledge IT as part of the company, we are seen as in-house electricians in most places. A cost that doesn't add any value.

Not all companies are like that, but many see IT that way.

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Re: Huh!

Many see it that way, because they are right. Many departments frankly add nothing in value, and so are simply seen as a cost. And yes, I work in IT. If you simply say "you can't do X" then you are going to be seen as obstructive and as a cost.

You add value by providing things that exceed expectations. Advertising is actually largely done through IT here, rather than through marketing. Funny hey?

The reason is because I have call monitoring on our telephone switch, a large pool of DDI's that don't actually exist as telephones and are just routed to the same place. Each advertiser has a different telephone number, so I can track how many telephone calls we get from each advertiser via that method. I track how many visits we get to the website through web tracking tools and how many conversions we get from each source through our customer management system.

The value I have delivered through eliminating non productive advertising in the past year is multiples of my salary. Hence, i'm an asset. I'm listened to and invited along to meetings because I can turn up with facts and figures showing what is going on (such as cost per customer from each advertiser). Suggestions that I make on this basis adds value by saving money that would otherwise be unproductively expended. (i've also heard of due dilligence and don't book adverts without checking rules on what you can say and do, which marketing had failed to do repeatedly)

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"Marketing ... needs to be social, integrated, responsive, open, honest."

Who writes this stuff?

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Joke

nine letters, starts with M, hint; you just named them.

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That was probably a question from "Jeopardy"

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Coat

Marketing needs to be honest ?

Someone's drinking WAY too much kool-aid there.

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Coat

IT could use marketing...

...in the form of a representative of IT, to interact with the rest of the business, someone who speaks the speak, wears a snappy outfit and uses appropriate amounts of hair product, who can sell what the company needs to the people who don't want to understand or spend.

It is a bit silly that any IT person or department would have to fight to get the resources they need to provide the services that they were hired to provide to the very same business that hired them to provide them, but whatever works...

It's like the toilet attendant having to battle over cleaning supplies ("those toilets are pretty new, you should take better care of them and make sure people don't make a mess, then you would not need all that, so no."...), or the cafeteria person having to explain that in order to have them make coffee, yes, the company will have to invest in an honest to goodness real world coffee maker, and supplies to keep the thing going. Or the marketing person not understanding what the company sells. Oh wait...

How it is acceptable that C-level execs, or any manager for that matter, can barely endure the very technology and people that keep the business going is beyond me, but then again, it seems few care about what goes on on the workfloor in any department, or what anybody wants or needs to get their work done and improve things- even relevant things like productivity, output quality and reliability.

Alas it's not like there are common productivity metrics for IT, like: we processed 280.000 documents and connected 60.000 sessions this month versus 150.000 documents and 32.000 sessions a year ago, but production metrics like that could give management a better idea of what is actually happening in that dark basement - better than only using cost as a metric for IT, which naturally never sits well.

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Re: IT could use marketing...

But in many companies they do! These people are called consultants!

Many companies tend to use consultants because they are from outside the organisation and hence are quasi- independent. Also unless IT is well funded, it tends not to have the additional resources needed to run new projects outside of "business as usual". (To use the example, you don't expect the toilet attendant to refurbish the toilets.)

The problem is that many non-IT business people think they can get the necessary advice etc. from the purveyors of bespoke systems rather than incurring the additional cost of getting their own (independent third-party) manpower in. The result is, as comment upon, the bespoke system vendor gets the customer (end user department) up and running with their application, but don't generally involve IT, as that is typically out-of-scope and plays havoc with the 'agile' delivery schedule...

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Re: IT could use marketing...

...in the form of a representative of IT, to interact with the rest of the business, someone who speaks the speak, wears a snappy outfit and uses appropriate amounts of hair product, who can sell what the company needs to the people who don't want to understand or spend.

Congratulations! You've just invented the CIO!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IT could use marketing...

Congratulations! You've just invented the CIO!

I think that was the point...

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Good

As it should be. Roll on the day when the transition away from 'IT' as a monolithic function is complete and I don't have to listen to wilfully ignorant cube monkeys talking about 'the business' as though it were a separate entity.

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Maybe?

Many places I've worked marketing WAS telling IT what to do.

I have yet to meet a more egomaniacal bunch outside of "entertainers" and politicians, although to be fair, many an alpha basement boi qualifies as well.

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What's a "mutli-channel world"?

Have we finally been taken over by Dick Dastardly, or what?

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Funny, we outsourced our Marketing department, all they did most days was check one Google analytics email per day and Google search the companies name to see if anything was being said about us.

We don't even have Facebook or Twitter accounts because our customers don't need to follow us on either, once they go through getting their home loan, they hardly need to deal with us.

I don't see the fuss, every company is different yet most articles try to pigeonhole everyone into one set of circumstances.

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This and that...

This is nothing new (by 20-30 years or so). However, also nothing new is that 'marketing' knows not what it is, nor what it wants. Today it's "x" tomorrow it's "y". IT doesn't move to that drum, so it seen as being 'slow' or 'obstructive'. However, most of what 'marketing' wants actually doesn't move that fast either - one's "SEO" doesn't change overnight, neither does one's "social media score", and even less anything in meatspace.

Marketing, being who they are, are very convincing to the Cxx folks. IT, being who they are, not so much. If your Cxxes are shit, then Marketing will get their way and will rule the roost for a period of time. During that time, all the decent IT folk will leave, the company will most likely go down the shitter and eventually the Cxxes get replaced until balance is restored.

The only companies that succeed in the long term understand that Sales, Marketing, Finance and Engineering/R&D/IT have to exist in equal measure. Sure, one may dominate for a short period, but over the longer term, they all have to have an equal place at the table.

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Holmes

Waddya mean, "SOON"?

I've been in this business for roughly 4 decades, and this has been SOP for all of that.

And we let it.

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Devil

Marketing-As-Management Is A Great Way To Kill A Company

There is a fundamental personality clash within business that, if allowed to fester, will destroy a company. It's the Producer personality, as found in IT, versus the Relator personality, as found in marketing. Never mix the two or you'll discover trouble.

IT Producer personalities find the Relator marketing folks to be annoying and out of touch with their version of 'reality'. They'd just as soon not have to deal with them, but they grudgingly will.

However, Relator marketing personalities will not tolerate IT Producer personalities whatsoever and will go out of their way to UNDERMINE them and destroy their work as well as the people themselves. If Relator marketing personalities are put in charge of a company, the creativity and innovation will rapidly come to a screeching halt. The IT Producer personalities will become demoralized, justifiably paranoid and will QUIT the company in order to retain a semblance of personal sanity. I've been there, done that, left the company.

Great examples:

Apple Inc. after Sculley took over. Notice how he alienated Producer personality Steve Jobs and inspired him to quit Apple. Notice how Apple immediately got back on course when their Marketing-As-Management was tossed out and Steve Jobs returned.

I personally watched this happen at Eastman Kodak. Not pretty. It drove me nuts while I was there. Kodak never recovered. Instead they went to pieces.

The same thing is happening at Sony right now. They have a Marketing-As-Management CEO and the prospects are dire.

Summary: Keep marketing folks doing marketing. If they move up into company management, run for your life. Sell your stock. Find an entrepreneurial company for a new and better job.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Marketing-As-Management Is A Great Way To Kill A Company

Steve Jobs is a "marketing person" as hard as they come. The producer was The Other Steve. Maybe Jobs' bigger-than-others' sociopathy made him a winner.

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Joke

Torn

Having a hard time dreaming of a place where the IT knows what they are doing AND (note logical operator) the Marketing Department is giving orders

A little boy in Texas turns to his mother ... "Mom when I grow up I want to be a musician"

She looks down at him ... "Son, you have to choose, it's either one or the other"

Kind of like that, but without the stolen joke part (thanks Kinky)

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Silicon Valley

I was at a Silicon Valley company in the late 1980s. The marketing people (on commission) always pushed for products to be shipped before they were ready. This is not new.

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Re: Silicon Valley

The financial people wanted products shipped before they were written. It was a compromise.

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