7 things marketing wants to say to IT

As marketing becomes fully digital, CMOs need more than just plain-vanilla tech services from their IT departments -- much more.

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Chief marketing officer David Perry knows exactly what he needs from his organization's IT department.

To maximize the success of his marketing strategies, he needs a CIO and a technology team that go beyond conventional support, Perry says -- he's looking for a partner that can help transform marketing. "The CIO has to have a broad view and help us figure out what works," says Perry, CMO at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass.

Of course, IT must continue to keep the infrastructure running and the systems secure. But these days especially, marketing needs more than that -- sometimes much more.

Computerworld caught up with several CMOs and marketing executives to find out what they'd ask of IT if they could speak frankly. Read on to discover their seven key requirements.

1. Understand our new KPIs

Many IT leaders aren't tuned in to what marketing does or how it measures success, says Gartner analyst Laura McLellan.

Social media, viral marketing, omnichannel customer engagement, big data -- those forces are each generating new key performance indicators, or KPIs, which are used to measure the marketing department's effectiveness.

"It's no longer about just acquiring a customer," explains Kevin Cochrane, the CMO at software company OpenText. CMOs must maximize a customer's total lifetime value, he explains, and that means marketing must optimize all customer interactions. "If you can deliver a truly outstanding experience that [matches] your brand's promise, you'll have a happy, engaged customer."

To reach that goal, CMOs need as much insight as possible into all customer interactions, from sales and servicing to billing and other experiences once considered back-office functions -- which is where IT can play a role.

"The technology team needs to understand what generates marketing success," says Glen Hartman, global managing director of digital consulting at Accenture Interactive. "There is so much pressure on CMOs to redefine KPIs -- they need to take the outcomes and new metrics and, from that, create heightened engagement."

2. Deliver on analytics

Everyone is talking about big data and analytics, but at many companies, data remains locked in multiple silos, says Shuba Srinivasan, marketing professor and academic co-lead of the Digital Technology Sector at Boston University's School of Management.

"Marketers really need integrated databases," Srinivasan says. "The CMO's job would be a lot easier if CIOs could provide an integrated solution that tracks from lead generation through sale and post-sale information such as returns and how customers interact with the company on social networks."

It's a critical area for marketing executives. In fact, "managing, collecting and making use of internal and external data" is one of their top five challenges, according to more than 500 marketing professionals who responded to IBM's 2013 Global Survey of Marketers.

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