Marketing and IT: Working Together as One

An effective Marketing Operating Model (MOM) is "the engine that drives continual growth," according to a recent McKinsey & Company report. As an example, the report goes on to describe a financial services company that was able to generate an additional 25% of revenue by accelerating the delivery of IT-dependent functions to marketing, a value equivalent to $100 million per year - so we're not just talking about nickels and dimes here. On the other side of that, though, every time there was a week delay in deploying an IT-developed capability, the business lost roughly $2.8 million in incremental revenue.

What is Marketing Technology?

Marketing is a technology-driven discipline that is creating a new type of marketing professional. A marketing technologist designs, implements, and maintains technology solutions in support of marketing initiatives. The marketing technologist is tasked with reimagining how to apply digital technologies to marketing. As a technologist, they help nontechnical marketers create better campaigns, programs, and customer experiences leveraging software, data, and the networks connecting to customers.

The marketing technologist is there to manage the new kinds of technical interfaces with service providers -- APIs have become the major focus as of late. The technologist stands in two worlds speaking both marketing and IT. This means marketing and IT have to break through their limiting silos to be more effective at responding to market goals and changes.

Making Marketing Technology Work

The technical challenges include selecting, integrating, and operating all the systems through traditional IT management. The larger challenge is changing the way marketing uses IT and network tools. The API has to be used in marketing to create and execute marketing programs and campaigns.

A major impediment is changing how marketing groups think and operate. Marketing management needs to develop iterative experiments (time-to-failure can be short) and produce adaptive feedback loops that are more responsive than the traditional yearly marketing plan and budget (see the McKinsey & Company article, "Marketing technology: What it is and how it should work").

IT and Marketing Together

Successful marketing and IT collaborations are constructed with specific and conscious decisions that implement policies to support them. Creating a to-do checklist is not good enough. McKinsey & Company discovered that 45% of the executives surveyed reported that marketing and IT are not working together in any significant way. In the majority of cases, marketing still depends on IT to implement and configure the marketing technologies, on-premises or in the cloud.

The report also showed that only a quarter of respondents either have a joint-venture model or a technical presence embedded within marketing reporting to the chief marketing officer (CMO). This needs to expand if an organization wants to stay current or lead its vertical market(s).

The Impact on Networks

Marketing traffic can be hard to predict. It can be a burst of streaming video that has a life of days. The network requirements can expand and contract in days. The "Third Network" concept is a network that allows the customer to change its network resources to satisfy an organization's real-time requirements.

The Third Network vision centers on the idea of network as a service, or NaaS. Dynamic resource allocation allows network services to align with marketing initiatives and other on-demand service capabilities. In a Third Network implementation, marketing applications automatically specify their requirements for bandwidth, packet loss, jitter, and latency through a standard API. With NaaS, enterprises would no longer need to provision static classes of service for marketing applications.

The network offers the capacity to connect. What travels over the network is mostly traffic generated by the organization or its customers. Marketing is positioning itself to try campaigns that attract customers now but may have to change as customers lose interest and move to other marketing efforts. Content, as part of marketing, has grown significantly, and content-rich media with extensive video is becoming more of the norm. However, this is a significant consumer of network resources. Therefore the network has to:

  • Expand and contract capacity rapidly, that is within days if not hours
  • Cover or terminate varying geographic coverage
  • Accommodate changes from text and graphic images to real-time streaming video

Network agility is mandatory. But if the reliability of the network is not high, customers will become frustrated and buy someplace else. Customers also want to ensure that when they access the organizations network, the security is high and the possibility of cyber security threats is low.

For the smaller organization, it's going to be very hard to satisfy these requirements. Therefore, it is much more likely that network as a service will look more attractive. Even large organizations with widely distributed locations will also see NaaS as attractive. The Third Network concept and its delivery will be an answer to these requirements.

The network staff does not want to be hit with an unexpected marketing campaign that consumes network resources. If, however, NaaS is in use, the network capacity and geographic coverage can be changed in real time or near real time to meet marketing needs.

The network staff has be part of the group that supports the CMO. Some network staff may even have to be integrated into the marketing organization.

For more on this topic, see related blogs: "Is NaaS the End of Networking, or the Beginning?," "Why Real-Time Comms Needs a 'Third Network'," and, "Making the 'Third Network' Work."