Traditionally, IT and marketing have functioned in two separate spheres of the organization, with IT knee-deep in algorithms and APIs and marketing laser focused on crafting the perfect banner ads and email campaigns.
But as customer data becomes the linchpin of business success, there is an unprecedented need for these two departments to collaborate and work closely together. Case in point? More than two-thirds of business execs believe they could lose their market position in the next 1-3 years if they don’t adopt big data strategies (Accenture).
CMO tech budgets are expected to surpass those of IT by 2017 as they are tasked with mining the insights necessary to reach consumers with relevance across campaigns – but they can’t go it alone. This quest has major technical requirements and implications when it comes to privacy, scalability and security – just to name a few IT concerns – and more than half of marketers are not sure whether their marketing technology investments are providing tangible business value (CMO.com).
However, a recent survey showed that 40% of CMOs believe their companies’ IT teams don’t understand the urgency of integrating new data sources into campaigns to address market conditions, while 43% of CIOs said that marketing requirements and priorities change too often for them to keep up (CMO.com).
Rather than letting tensions run high, modern marketing and IT leaders need to start thinking as joint business partners, putting business success and customer relationships at the forefront of their cross-functional strategies. Here are 3 key challenges plaguing businesses today, and how IT and marketing can work together to solve them.
Creating Omni-Channel User Experiences
Consider these statistics:
- 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether it’s via smartphones, tablets or TVs (Mobify)
- Worldwide mobile commerce sales will account for almost half of total web sales by 2018 (Goldman Sachs Group)
- Connected devices are projected to total 26 billion by 2020 (Gartner)
Emerging multi-channel trends are changing the face of marketing and are presenting businesses with an interconnected web of opportunities – and challenges – to serve up more meaningful and immersive customer experiences. But getting the single customer view necessary to succeed is becoming increasingly challenging as channels and devices multiply.
To make it happen, businesses need to focus on capturing customer identity in a first-party, permission-based manner. For marketers, this means adding both traditional and social registration and login options to your site or mobile app, giving users plenty of incentive to sign-in, and asking for the right amount and type of information. For IT, this means choosing an end-to-end registration and profile management solution that is easy to implement, scale and customize.
Ideally, this solution should enable marketing administrators to build registration forms and flows independently, while providing the APIs necessary for developers to opt for complete customization. While this system should provide users with a seamless registration experience, it should also be built to take on security and data management concerns with features like field validation, CAPTCHA and email confirmation.
Optimizing Data Application & Integration
As businesses face increasing pressure to become data-driven, marketers place a growing burden on IT to turn customer identity data into actionable consumer insights. Days are often spent working overtime to crunch numbers and create reports for marketing, sales and C-Suite execs to quickly digest, many of which are outdated well before completion.
Enabling the use of first-party consumer data and intelligence in existing marketing campaigns and business initiatives is another issue. Many technology leaders are forced to query individual data silos and manually port aggregated intelligence into third-party platforms. In fact, 42% of executives cite integrating data technology into existing systems as one of their greatest challenges (KPMG).
IT and marketing must work together to choose a customer identity management database that has the ability to capture, reconcile and organize all types of customer data, including social, transactional and behavioral. This data should be made accessible for analysis and immediate campaign use via direct integrations with existing third-party marketing platforms, as well as a marketer-friendly dashboard.
Enabling marketers to query, segment and apply customer data in real-time improves personalization, UX and conversion rates, all while saving valuable IT time and resources.
Balancing Privacy and Personalization
A recent Gigya survey showed that, when sent irrelevant information or products from a brand, 43% of US consumers ignore all future communication from the brand, while 20% discontinue buying products from the company altogether. On the flip side, 84% have abandoned a registration form because they were uncomfortable with the amount and/or type of information being requested.
Clearly, personalization is here to stay – but it must be done in a permission-based way with consumer trust and privacy compliance in mind. Marketing and IT must collaborate to reconcile these two traditionally competing goals by putting the necessary checks and balances in place to manage customer data responsibly, providing personal yet permission-based user experiences.
When it comes to managing consumer identities and data from today’s multitude of networks and applications, your business must adhere to the privacy policies created by countless lawmakers and third-party identity providers. Yet a single regulatory update can mean hours of complex queries, time-consuming data cleansing and involved infrastructure updates for IT.
Choosing a database solution with the ability to automatically manage privacy updates in real-time takes the burden of compliance from ITs shoulders. And adding an official, certified privacy seal, like Teefury in the below example, is a great tool for marketers to build transparent customer relationships and foster consumer trust.
As the volume and variety of consumer channels, devices and data continue to expand, marketers and IT will be forced to put aside their differences and work together for the good of the business. Start collaborating to put the strategies and solutions in place that support overarching business goals, customer satisfaction and benefit both IT and marketing teams.
To learn more about how IT and Marketing can work together to better manage customer identities, download our free eBook, “Achieving A Single Customer View: The Holy Grail for Marketers.“
By Tobias Meyer-Grunow