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Uniting marketing and IT

Getting IT and marketing to work together will be increasingly important this year as new marketing technology investments are made.

While marketers overwhelmingly see technology as mission critical, that sentiment is not mutual with IT managers.

A recent survey from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. found that of 111 marketing executives, 96% said IT is critical to their success. Yet, IT in turn needs to consider marketing mission critical, something it often doesn't do, said Elana Anderson, principal analyst. Marketing needs to help IT understand marketing's importance to the company, she said.

"At the same time, marketing is classic at building data silos," Anderson said. "The bottom line is, it takes time to build that bridge. Marketing needs to sit down with IT and explain and think about the longer-term picture rather than the campaign for next week." @8311

That's just one of the marketing trends in the coming year, according to the report.

Bringing IT and marketing together will likely require that the chief information officer (CIO) and the chief marketing officer (CMO) talk about the strategic needs of the organization, Anderson said. Expect to see more CMOs in the coming year as well, Forrester predicts. Nearly 50% of firms surveyed have a CMO today, according to the survey. With leading brands like McDonald's, Revlon and GE all having CMOs, expect more companies to follow, Anderson said.

Firms will also focus on customized e-mail delivery, according to the report. Despite the consensus that most are already using it, only 41% of marketers said their e-mail delivery capability is fully rolled out while 39% are either piloting or planning to adopt e-mail delivery technology.

"The challenge there is companies are more concerned than they ever have been before with how to integrate e-mail with other direct marketing campaigns," Anderson said. "Fragmentation in the e-mail and direct services market will mean e-mail won't get as much of a boost from marketing."

While e-mail delivery has seen the most adoption, marketing automation ranks first on the list of priorities for marketing. In the survey, 25% said they are planning to implement technology to improve the effectiveness of customer communications.

Data mining tools, CRM and optimization round out the top five marketing technologies. Web analytics, e-mail delivery and business intelligence are most likely to be outsourced, according to the report.

Meanwhile, campaign optimization will be an up-and-coming technology. Forrester has seen a lot of interest in campaign optimization, and respondents placed it at the bottom of the list of technologies that have been adopted and high on the list of technologies that they are planning to implement. CRM, on the other hand, is a relatively mature technology and has been widely adopted already, according to the survey.

With all the interest in implementing and adopting new marketing technology, it requires a bigger budget and more than half of those surveyed expected an increase in their marketing budget this year. Yet, at the same time, marketers are being held more accountable by C-level executives and are having a difficult time finding ROI.

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