You Can Bridge the Marketing — IT Canyon!
Marketing automation, loyalty programs, drill-down data analysis, and even simple direct marketing list pulls… Today’s marketing, more than ever, requires working closely with your IT team for success.
But why is it SO hard for us marketers to get IT to help us out with our marketing requests? As professional persuaders and communicators (!) shouldn’t it be easy for us to create a smooth, productive, happy relationship with IT?
Is your answer one of these?
“Yes! Of course we know how to communicate perfectly with IT people! …There must be something wrong on their side.”
“Well, they just don’t get how Marketing works – they think everything we do is wheel-spinning fluff that has no real effect on the buying decision. “
“It’s because IT never really invests in my projects, they just do the minimum required and we always have to keep going back to ask for more features or data or edits, which they should have given us the first time”
8 Secrets to Get Your IT Team to Love You
Whatever the exact culprit is blocking a smooth, productive relationship between Marketing and IT, here are 8 secrets that can help you bridge that gap.
1) Know your audience
IT and data loving types are engineers in the way they think and they way they operate. Tailor your talk, presentations, and processes to that mindset and you’ll get faster results with far less stress.
Engineers respect a well-organized process with clear objectives, facts, and no distractions. Go for minimalist wording, coloring, and bulleted communication. (Also, go to lunch with them sometime so you aren’t just “the Marketing Gal/Guy” asking for help again. You can do it!)
2) Direct marketing secret #1: Make it EASY for them!
You know people buy faster and buy more when it’s easy to buy. Make it easy for your IT team when presenting a new project. Come prepared and talk their language… read on to see how
3) Give them what they want.
IT/Data engineers want the process thought out, laid out, and all the unknowns spelled out in advance. You don’t have to know everything – in fact they’d hate you if you did — just show them you‘ve thought it through and aren’t dumping a half-baked idea on their laps.
SPECIAL INSIGHT – they actually want to fix your process for you, via some special IT tool or knowledge they have, thus making them the hero (and oftentimes they can, and they are!). But, IT types can’t do that easily if they can’t see your exact planned process.
4) Show it visually, literally, and verbally!
People value information in different formats differently. Engineer types are readers far more than scanners. They trust their ability to process and attain information better and faster from original sources. If you only show Powerpoint slides and web demo videos of the new marketing automation tool you want supported, your IT team may feel they are only getting partial information. Show them the overview but also supply the full documentation for them to “explore and verify” later.
5) Recognize that you may not know what you don’t know
You are smart at marketing. You’ve studied it, researched new tools, tested new ideas, and learned from good and bad test results. Heck, you make even be a database and pivot-table wielding wiz unafraid of orchestrating variable printing with 1,000 data fields, but you aren’t in IT and you’re not a data analyst.
Like you, IT professionals know their stuff and are paid to consider every potential systemic, data quality, and technical pitfall of your seemingly “simple” project. IT is not (usually) just trying to complicate or kill your project. It’s on them to insure the outcome is flawless. So, bear with them as they move cautiously for your project’s sake.
6) Give ‘em all the ammo they can hold
In IT-land, knowledge is power and information is ammo. Feed their curiosity and thirst for proof by documenting any sources, articles, or marketing results that support or give background to your project. It’s less work that you think and yields big results. Help your IT/Data team research your idea independently. They are vetting the idea and learning to trust you too.
SPECIAL INSIGHT – This type of information transparency will create trust from a skeptic – although know that s/he will come back and challenge you if you’ve got your facts or conclusions wrong! Embrace that too because this constant questioning is what makes them good at their job – and what will help avoid technical glitches (or catastrophes) for your projects.
7) Don’t make IT have to call the sales reps to ask questions
Unless it’s reached the highly technical implementation level – you should handle the communication with the sales representatives. BUT BE SMART – AVOID RE-WORK: get IT to review your written understanding of their questions before you email the sales rep. Direct IT to IT discussions are a good thing. Be on the call as well, so you can understand and track the issues, options, and forward momentum.
8) Remember your mission
Get IT to judge your project as a “good, easy-execute idea” and your project changes from “1-of-100 on our docket” to an “achievable win that can be delivered this quarter”. Success!
Start using these 8 secrets and your IT and data teams will love you.
(Well, they won’t SAY that, but you might get your calls and emails answered FIRST!)