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Digital transformation: Marketing and IT collaboration is crucial

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Just this month we saw the government release the Digital Economy Bill outlining plans as to how they will implement successful transformation strategies.

At Squiz, we believe that whatever the sector, from publishing to education, a winning digital strategy that will truly enhance business performance comes from the effective collaboration between marketing and IT departments.

According to our recent research into the UK State of Marketing Technology, Marketers’ revealed their views on digital transformation. From these insights, the research suggests that there are three key areas that marketers must focus on in order to foster an environment where digital transformation can flourish.

(1) Increased collaboration

Collaboration, and the involvement of key stakeholders across the business, is vital and digital transformation should be seen as a shared responsibility between marketing and IT. The aim of any transformation project is to provide a better service for the customer, and so ultimately requires a cross-functional strategy.

Better services will always require more than one team or discipline, and gaining insights and expertise from multiple sources of knowledge will prove indispensable.

In light of this, we were pleased to see that 66 per cent of people across the board identified marketing managers as the key stakeholders when purchasing new marketing software. This statistic exemplifies clearly how the marketing manager is becoming more tech-savvy and focused on new platforms and technologies.

This is a shining example of how technology is no longer the sole responsibility of the IT department and siloes are breaking down.

Read more on transforming:

(2) Smart investments

Our research also revealed the areas in which marketing departments are investing. Marketing automation software topped the list, with a 92 per cent increase from 2015 to 2016.

However, although it is a positive sign that marketers are investing in technology and are looking closely at the potential it has to drive digital transformation, our study implies that many Marketers are not optimising on these investments. 53 per cent of the respondents identified marketing automation software as an area of the digital spectrum that they would like to understand better, with lead nurturing, customer experience, and SEO, proving to be top three priorities at 40 per cent.

While having a plethora of technologies at your disposal is a step in the right direction, to profit on an ongoing basis, you must be able to know how to implement, integrate and maintain them to get the most out of them.

If you’re struggling to manage the tool, confusion and misunderstanding arises. This confusion results in poor ROI and is therefore detrimental to a digital transformation strategy.

In recent years, we’ve seen a new generation of Marketers coming through to the wider marketing space, for whom technology is in their DNA, and who are now reaching senior managerial positions. Having used technology for their whole personal and professional life, millennial CMOs understand completely how it works.

The best, however, are able to leverage it to not only personalise and market more effectively, but to prove its (and marketing’s) worth. They are the people within organisations who can understand and improve the customer journey across our organisations.

(3) Prove ROI

Unsurprisingly, half of marketers said that the biggest constraint that they currently face is acquiring budget. However, there are ways to make proving the worth of digital transformation less of an uphill struggle.

A solid starting point is understanding that each department’s output has an impact on others, and this allows departments to work towards collaborative goals. Once this is achieved, proving ROI to senior stakeholders will be an easier process.

Integrating existing systems, investing time and effort and connecting the dots through analytics or primary client research, are also vital building blocks in forming the business case for further technology investments. Data-driven, objective insights will win any argument.

Also, marketers often have the best view of the customer journey, from unknown prospect to repeat customer. It can, therefore, be them who can coordinate and work with different business departments to create cross-departmental plans (with their IT peers) for technology investments.

With this process, it is also possible to identify strategy and process refinements that can be made to gain a wider business benefit.

Marketers hold a unique position within their organisations, having the ability to lead the call for change and wider digital transformation projects. This position consequentially demonstrates how, with the cooperation of the IT department, winning digital transformation strategies can be implemented and successfully executed.

Stephen Morgan is co-founder of Squiz

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Image: Shutterstock

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