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Have You Made Friends with Your IT Department?

by: Jay Jhun (@emailrocks)
11 February 2016

Recently there’s been a nice rash of Facebook video automation running wild in our news feeds as part of how Facebook celebrated its 12th birthday. A few friends’ robo-reels were actually pretty good. Mine stunk. Nevertheless, this celebration of friends is the perfect springboard for this question for marketers: 

Have you made friends in your IT organization?

Not in a flimsy, pass each other in the elevator or at the company cafeteria type of chit-chat friendship. And not necessarily in a work-spouse, live-in-the-same-neighborhood, carpool-buddy kind of way either.

What I’m referring to is friendship in the sense of a mutually beneficial (albeit outwardly unnatural) relationship that maybe looks like The Odd Couple (the 1968 movie turned ‘70s TV show that was resurrected again last year). IMDB describes the characters as “a neat freak and a slob separated from their wives, [who] have to live together despite their differences.”

You decide whether marketing or IT is the neat freak or the slob, but there are a few points to make here:

1) Don’t let differences get in the way of serving your customer.

The original “odd couple” consisted of two friends who both needed a roommate. Guess what, marketing and IT share a common need too – serve the customer. Whatever differences you have, it’s fine to spar over things now and then, but you’re ultimately going to need to grill up, eat whatever beef you might have with each other, and engage to find solutions that serve your customers and make your business successful.

2) Connect the right data with your marketing toolset.

The Facebook Friend Day video automation was a well-calculated gamble in terms of how the videos might turn out. Facebook connected the right data source with a high enough degree of reliability in data quality to (generally) pull it off.

Another Facebook feature that seems to be taking flight is the “On This Day” application, which takes a date field and turns it into a virtual time machine. Creative paired with data are the “peanut butter and chocolate” of 21st century marketing.

3) There’s an inherent win-win waiting to happen.

Experience has shown me that IT doesn’t like dealing with marketing content management, nor do they like being peppered with ad-hoc data requests. Organize, document and feed the data to the marketing toolset and watch and see what the marketing team can do with that data!

Marketers would do well to sell the benefits of establishing and maintaining those data feeds to their IT colleagues. Moreover, they’d do well to give props when props are due. When you go collect some big marketing award, be sure to acknowledge your IT team.

We’ve all learned that friendships (and relationships) are a powerful thing. They can also be clunky at times, but more often than not they’re worth the investment. So marketers, make it a priority to invest in building a strong relationship with your IT team. Not only are you likely to accomplish more in 2016, but you might just find that your IT colleagues are part of your “Friend Day” reel in 2017.

Related Resources:

1) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Digital Marketing Success in 2016

2) Video: “IT Is Not the Enemy

3) Blog: “Social Media and Automation Will Combine in New Ways to Improve the Customer Journey


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