Marketing and IT Partner to Meet Business Needs
Monday, April 9, 2012
Posted by: Chris Leja, CDP/CCP, CEO Le Com Enterprises, Inc.
Two very different line organizations, Marketing and Information Technology (IT), are partnering to meet today's business needs. Marketing and IT have been very separate organizational entities but with a surprising similarity in its growth as a viable partner in today's business. Let's begin with a brief look at the history of IT followed by the path of this emerging partnership.
Information Technology (IT) began its commercial entry in the 1950s for its computational value. A huge mainframe that could do mathematical calculations for science and for the military and be transformed to do mathematics found in accounting. IT took the Accounting Department from rooms filled with people using mechanical calculators to producing reports that reflected the results of accounting calculations to automated business processes, and now, to business analysis. Information was transformed from a historical record of business transactions to real-time analysis and everything in between.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Western Electric presented a picture of transformation occurring in large business from rooms of mechanical calculators, one on every desk, 50 desks to a room, to a subset of those rooms where employees analyzed the reports that arrived each morning. Soon paper reports that were daily, weekly, monthly, etc. were delivered across the enterprises giving managers and workers the information they needed to conduct business. These paper reports of the 1970s and 1980s were historical reports of what had transpired the day before, the week before, the month before, etc.
The invention of the Personal Computer in the 1980s provided individual departments to view their business in a more timely fashion and begin to do some analysis and projections of where their department needed to go to support the enterprise. But, the disconnect between the personal computers and the mainframes caused endless discussions on whose data was correct and what the data reflected. How could an enterprise move forward when data became departmentalized and left out of the overarching business strategy?
Gradually, IT created software that brought an interactive system of transactions together to reflect what was happening in the departments of an enterprise, receive information from the departments, and integrate a business strategy that reflected what was happening in the business that gave direction on how to move forward. Software systems such as Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) emerged. During the 1990s, businesses could automate their manufacturing and have a daily view of business transactions.
The development of a web browser in the 1990s changed businesses forever. Now, Marketing had a tool to present business offerings that went from just paper to include electronic presentations of business offerings.
Y2K was the event that transformed IT and Marketing from back office services to partnerships with the sales offices. During the first decade of 2000, IT and Marketing became direct influencers for the sales divisions. Software for the Sales Force and marketing presentations found their client and customer audiences "on line” as well as via snail mail (post office mail). "In-person” presentations began to be augmented with PowerPoints and teleconferences. By 2010, videoconferencing became an option for some large companies. Today, with free conference calling, YouTube, and significant bandwidth, many initial sales presentations can be done via the Web.
The early 2010s see social networking in the form of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as vehicles to sharing information with potential and current clients and customers. In 2012, you have IT infused across most industries with younger employees who are comfortable with technology and showing older employees how to use that technology effectively.
The transformation of Marketing is following the rise of ubiquitous technology. Marketing is moving from a "push” platform to an integrated "push and pull” platform. The "push” platform mailed or delivered marketing pieces to the client or customer. Advertising moved from just TV and radio to an integrated conversation with clients and customers that is real-time. The era of consumerization where companies can influence customer purchases is swiftly moving to an era where customers can influence the development of products and services to fit their needs.
Real-time between industries and clients and customers is really real-time! Product life cycles have shortened to more swiftly reflect consumer needs. Consumers are influencing what is the next iteration of a product or service. And, consumers are freely sharing with industries what they would like to see in the next product or product upgrade and what they expect by way of services.
Today, not only does marketing need to respond swiftly, but it must show consumers that their input is part of the next product or service. When there is a flaw in the product or service, swift response of validation must be presented and the consumer must be directed to the revision or replacement in a very short time frame. Consumers will no longer wait or accept an inferior product or service. Waiting consumers can kill a product or service faster than a less-than-stellar review of the product or service.
Interested in a look at Marketing's historical perspective to this partnership or the direction of mark-IT-ingTM? If yes, send an email to Christine.Leja@LeComEnterprises.com.