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Marketing and IT: The Key to Successful Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a marriage of two vastly different worlds: marketing and IT. In Episode 1 of the How Digital Marketing Works® podcast, Eric Brown talks about the relationship between the two teams and why they need a successful working relationship for digital marketing to work.

Eric is the CIO of Sundial Capital Research and knows a lot about making marketing and technology work together. His doctoral thesis focused on analyzing Twitter sentiment and its effect on financial decision-making. Eric turned his project into a marketing technology startup and merged with Sundial after earning his Ph.D. in 2015.

Although the relationship has changed over the past 10+ years, the strain between the two is still a challenge to most companies. Eric says there’s been a lot of push to have IT departments run like a business — so if marketing has a need and pitches it to IT, the answer is a price tag. As a result, instead of working together from the outset, they have been operating as vendor and customer, unable to see each other as working for the same team.

Fundamentally, the two departments function and think very differently. Marketing might be considered a creative or left brain department, and IT is the analytical or right brain department. Marketing needs to change direction “on a dime,” explains Eric, and looks to IT for help, but the answer takes too long or costs too much, so marketing looks for easier avenues themselves, often turning to software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Marketing may end up buying a new tool every month to sidestep IT, blowing budgets out of the water. The takeaway, Eric says, is that keeping marketing and technology in silos is a big mistake.

Enter marketing technologists, the hybrid baby of marketing + IT, the warm, fuzzy unicorn that might be able to speak both languages and help the two departments understand each other. Marketing technologists are those rare animals who specialize in both marketing and technology and don’t see how anyone can separate those two in a digital marketing era. So they’re primed and ready to jump in and help both sides understand the value of the other, and maybe even communicate.

Uniting marketing and IT is key to a truly successful digital marketing business model. The two should be marching side by side, their strategies aligned, working together to accomplish larger company goals. A marketing technologist in the mix can be a great way to get the two departments speaking the same language.

Listen to Episode 1 of the How Digital Marketing Works® podcast for more, including a brief discussion about digital maturity.