Brands battle for way forward in IT/marketing relationship

Marketers from JC Penney, FICO and Penton Media are an example of the vastly different relationships that exist between IT and marketing teams thanks to the rise of marketing technology

If you have seen Accenture Interactive's latest report, you’ll know that while several CMOs and CIOs find their relationship to be mutually beneficial, plenty more still haven’t worked out how to bridge the gap between the two sides.

Nowhere was this more apparent than during a customer panel at Oracle’s Marketing Cloud Interact conference, where marketers from FICO, Penton and JC Penney shone a stark light on the varied and not always conducive nature of their relationships with IT.

Penton Media vice-president of demand generation solutions, Rhonda Wunderlin, said that when she first joined the company more than six years ago the plan was get marketing automation in place so that marketers could do their jobs without having to lean so heavily on IT support.

“By rolling out marketing automation, the idea was you didn’t need IT to build the forms or create the database anymore,” she said.

“If I fast forward to where we are today, I feel like I need IT still, yet they want me to do my own thing – they’re not there for me and I really need them to help with the data, how it’s siloed. I’d really like more support from IT.”

Rather than any corporate or executive directive to encourage IT and marketing to collaborate more effectively, it’s left to the two sides to figure it out, Wunderlin added.

I feel like I need IT still, yet they want me to do my own thing – they’re not there for me

Rhonda Wunderlin, Penton Media

On a completely different end of the marketing/IT relationship spectrum is JC Penney. Its vice-president of customer strategy, Elmer Smith, said he and his team have worked very collaboratively with IT over the past 18 months, as the retailer looks to transform the way it goes to market.

He admitted the two teams “really had no choice” but to partner on the company’s decision to revamp a suite of technology solutions including its customer database warehousing, email provider, and investment in the Responsys campaign management platform.

What was more encouraging was that the two sides simply found a way to interact and got on with the work.

“We have been attached to the hip with IT, get great support from our CTO, and I have a person on his team that is our marketing representative,” Smith said.

As part of its change management approach, the two teams leveraged internal resources and set up a number of ‘swim lanes’ around areas such as campaign management and data feeds.

“We put certain people in charge of each internally, and we had cross-functional teams from IT and my team working and getting together,” Smith said.

“We meet once a week, are involved in all the project meetings, go together to our capital approval team and get things approved together. I have a small group working now with IT on change management within each of the platforms. I’m also blessed to have my own campaign team.

“We didn’t really have to put rules of engagement in place – it just came together very nicely. We have had our healthy disagreements, but it has worked out well because we all had the same end game in mind.”

Smith noted all sides recognised the changes were necessary if they were going to turnaround the brand.

“We were broken from an infrastructure point of view. I previously couldn’t have two campaigns being developed at 3am, let alone trying to do any analytics without the whole thing coming to a halt,” he said.

“Our CTO and our SVP of marketing made a conscious decision to collaborate and they’re pushing that down to the rest of the team. And it has been good.”

At analytics software group, FICO, its marketing automation technology rollout was accompanied by a dedicated technology resource for the marketing team, its digital marketing director, Kelly Rausch, said.

“He started in IT, moved into marketing, and his role is 20 per cent IT, and 80 per cent marketing today,” she explained.

Rausch noted that FICO’s unusually heavy infrastructure and stringent industry regulatory compliance requirements made it imperative that digital marketing assets sat separately to the rest of the organisation.

“To try and put the digital marketing assets into that environment just makes it heavier. IT isn’t as worried about keeping marketing automation secure,” she said.

“Marketing owns all the marketing cloud and digital assets. And there is a big firewall between our marketing data and the rest of the business.”

So does the rise of marketing technologists, automation and more sophisticated marketing solution stacks mean CIOs and the IT team aren’t going to be needed in the future? Wunderlin didn’t think so.

“I don’t think the CIO can be taken out of the technology ownership entirely, but as more marketing technologies become more prevalent and more required by organisations to compete, marketers have more say in what is selected and what path you go down,” she said. “IT has then to figure out how that pans out.”

Krebs saw marketers increasingly bringing in technology skills to their teams, as well as skilling up.

“The more software that is able to be configured by ‘super users’, and the more you invest in software like that, the less you’re going to need or rely on IT,” he claimed.

“But with a lot of what we own, I still need to partner with IT.”

More from Oracle Marketing Cloud Interact 2014

- Nadia Cameron travelled to Oracle Marketing Cloud Interact 2014 as a guest of Oracle.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Signup to CMO’s email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

The best part: optimizing your site for SEO enables you to generate high traffic, and hence free B2B lead generation. This is done throug...

Sergiu Alexei

The top 6 content challenges facing B2B firms

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Check out tiny twig for comfy and soft organic baby clothes.

Morgan mendoza

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

NetSuite started out as a cloud-based provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software or as NetSuite solution provider, which companies...

talalyousaf

NetSuite to acquire Bronto's digital marketing platform for US$200m

Read more

Thanks for sharing this post, its really good information I get through this blog.CDPO Online Exam Training

Infosectrain01

3 ways Booking.com is improving its B2B marketing game

Read more

Blog Posts

Getting privacy right in a first-party data world

With continued advances in marketing technology, data privacy continues to play catchup in terms of regulation, safety and use. The laws that do exist are open to interpretation and potential misuse and that has led to consumer mistrust and increasing calls for a stronger regulatory framework to protect personal information.

Furqan Wasif

Head of biddable media, Tug

​Beyond greenwashing: Why brands need to get their house in order first

Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance is a hot topic for brands right now. But before you start thinking about doing good, Craig Flanders says you best sort out the basics.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

​The value of collaboration: how to keep it together

Through the ages, from the fields to the factories to the office towers and now to our kitchen tables, collaboration has played a pivotal role in how we live and work. Together. We find partners, live as families, socialise in groups and work as teams. Ultimately, we rely on these collaborative structures to survive and thrive.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in