No business today can run effectively without technology. That’s why IT teams are a part of nearly every organization. But does having an IT team mean you don’t need a marketing operations team?
Listen to Season 3: Episode 16
What Does an IT Team Do?
Most organizations larger than five people have some kind of information technology (IT) or information systems (IS) department. This typically starts out as a vendor and then, eventually, people and resources are added inside the organization. But either way, we really can’t run a business these days without technology, and an IT team is key to getting that technology implemented. Tensions arise when we get to the periphery of what the IT team does. Well, what do they do? New computer? Check. Install software? Check. Security? Absolutely. Marketing automation? Well, kind of. It is an application. We do need to install it or get access to it. We do have to set our users up, and then…well, the lines are already a little blurry.
Using your IT team as your marketing operations team can be problematic in many cases, especially when you ask them to be out of their depth of expertise. The IT team’s role is to make sure that the organization has all the technology it needs to operate. In some cases, when you are choosing a new tool or platform, like what kind of CRM you’re going to use, adding a marketing automation tool, sales attribution tool, or even website platform, those decisions will definitely need to involve IT. But the team that’s going to use the tool is really the one who can best voice the requirements and needs. IT can help with the understanding of how the organization can implement it and what is needed as far as security and integrations, but then there’s still this gap of expertise about matching the marketing team’s needs with the right tool set.
Where IT Falls Short
The IT team is not an expert in this area. They have lots of problems they are solving, many areas of expertise they bring, but knowing the current landscape of the available marketing tools, as volatile and changing as it is, and then matching those tools with what the marketing team needs and how it wants to work is beyond what IT can do.
Marketing teams are being asked to run more races, even faster than ever before. To keep up with the demands of the organization, they need more sophisticated pit crews. The reason that marketing operations has been defined as a separate function is because the needs have evolved to a point of requiring a separate set of expertise and execution.
How to Best Leverage IT
IT certainly needs to be involved when considering new tools, thinking about implementation, or larger integration with other organizational systems and software. They aren’t the best fit for helping the organization articulate its needs and then match those needs with available solutions and platforms.
This is when you want someone who is at that junction of technology and marketing to be able to translate what the marketing team is trying to do into platform needs and then choose the right fit and define the process for how it will be used. Marketing operations can also bring priority and timeliness to the decisions that need to be made and create a plan for the right kind of implementation. One of the greatest pitfalls of relying on IT is that the needs of the marketing teams are not able to be prioritized and executed in a timely manner, and opportunities in the market are lost because they couldn’t execute in time.
The Benefits of Knowing Where IT Stands
The payoff in understanding that IT is not a substitute for marketing operations is that the marketing team can get the right-fit solutions that are functional and current, as opposed to taxing the IT team with requests outside their realm in areas in which they may not have current expertise. Being sure to involve IT in the process helps to unearth any constraints that the organization already has and get them on board for easiest implementation when it’s time to roll that out.
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We’re not yet to the end of the list of marketing operations alternatives. Catch the next episode to hear about using a marketing agency as an alternative to marketing operations.