The worlds of marketing and technology are merging. Ad agencies which rely on storytelling, are becoming dependent on the data-driven technology, especially in B2B online marketing. And information technology, which once sat on mainframes and printed reports, is now running digital social media streams and is based in the Cloud. In this online age, a new way is needed to get these former independent, ‘siloed’ departments of marketing and IT infrastructure to work together.
One way to get these seemingly polar units integrated was explained in a recent Forbes article by Peter Horst and Waheed Zaman, in which they stated: what is required is a focus on overall leadership, shared departmental beliefs and company culture.
Horst and Zaman worked at The Hershey Company, as Global Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Knowledge, Strategy and Technology Officer, respectively. Together they evolved the company’s marketing strategy into one that takes advantage of data analytics. They created a SEO digital marketing campaign, while at the same time improving upon the technology architecture to support this new model.
The key was an adherence to the following core principles:
- Total focus on the consumer/customer.
- Commitment to simplicity: Rigorous focus on a simple solution.
- Incremental improvement over postponed perfection: Follow the old adage, “Be sure to knock off a convenience store on the way to the perfect crime.”
- One team, common goals, shared success: Marketing and IT managers working hand-in-glove with no notion of conflicting vertical allegiances or competition.
- A culture of confident humility: The courage to act, to trust others, to speak up and to change one’s mind in the face of better perspectives. Humility to be open to others’ ideas, to embrace continuous learning and to admit mistakes and move forward.
For success in implementing these core principles, what was required of leadership was the creation of a collaborative decision-making atmosphere. For example, both IT and marketing had to work together through issues and decisions, regardless of where the competencies would traditionally place decision rights. And by leaders embracing ambiguity, accepting that there will be lack of clarity and potential re-work needed, they were allowed to get teams to focus on bigger goals.
What made this a reality was “empowered decision-making” a style of leadership that allows choices to be made by the people doing the work, rather than at an executive level.
And with this re-imagining of leadership roles, the CMO & CIO of Hershey were able to merge their marketing and public relations departments with their IT department. The key to their success was agreeing to a common set of principles. Working together the teams were able to implement a social media business plan which launched a social media campaign that transformed the old company of mailers and billboards into a new one based on data analytics and wireless technology.
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For more insights on Digital PR agencies and digital transition, please access, “How The Best Digital PR Firms Add To Pipeline Leads.”
Author: Mike Emerton, Founder, BridgeView Marketing