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Marketing-IT Alignment Is Possible: Why You Need Your IT Department

by Adele Sweetwood  |  
November 8, 2013

In this article you'll learn...

  • Customers and the market are evolving, data is exploding, and so collaboration between IT and Marketing will be vital to harness new opportunities.
  • When IT is invited to collaborate with Marketing, and to attend Marketing's meetings, it gains knowledge that can help it plan for Marketing's future needs.

My marketing organization has a great partnership with our IT department.

But it wasn't always so. And I know we're not alone in that. We did a quick poll during a recent AMA/SAS Webcast about IT-marketing alignment: 34.2% said although their marketing department is aligned with IT, challenges remain, and 22.4% said they were just starting.

You can't afford to neglect this relationship: As customers change, the channels of engagement morph, and data explodes, ultimately it's going to be the partnership between IT and Marketing that will be the lynchpin to grasping new, emerging opportunities.

For all those struggling, here is why we value our partnership and how we built it together.

1. Recognize the problem

First, we had to recognize there was room for improvement. In 2011, representatives from all SAS marketing groups—field marketing, digital marketing, messaging, advertising, PR, and others—formed a workgroup to tackle what we termed "digitizing the business."

Our monthly meetings prioritized modernizing communications across digital channels and focused our efforts on the most impactful projects. Enhancing the overall customer experience was our objective. We wanted to develop a joint vision by identifying hot topics, key marketing initiatives, and collaborating on problem-solving and innovation.

We quickly realized it wouldn't work without IT to shepherd the initiatives. So we invited IT to the table.

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Adele Sweetwood is vice-president of Americas marketing and support at SAS. She is responsible for directing interactive marketing plans and investments with a focus on increasing and protecting revenue.

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  • by Gracious Store Sat Nov 9, 2013 via web

    I wonder why there should be conflicts among different department of a company. "A house divided against itself cannot stand". So for optimal progress for every company, every department should try and work harmoniously with others

  • by Recent Coin Mon Nov 11, 2013 via web

    1) I rather resent being forced to check the box that says "Yes, please send me all kinds of things I'm not remotely interested in from your marketing partners" in order to be able to comment.

    2) I'm in IT and we're looking to build exactly this type of bridge with our marketing department.

    3) In response to "Gracious Store" below, it's not always easy to get people to see that they ought to invite IT to strategic planning sessions. One, we often are placed in the position of telling people "No, we're very sorry but we're not going to (insert item here).". Quite often, that "item" involves something ridiculous like "can you please remove the firewall because we don't like it." When we start probing to see why they don't like it, we find out that it's blocking their pr0n chat.

    Two, we're relegated to "those IT geeks" and often we're only brought in after contracts have been signed, SOW's, etc. with little to no regard for the expertise we could offer. Odds are that your IT peeps have seen at least one implementation of (fill in product type here) and we've seen what can go wrong with it and what can go right with it.

    Three, most other departments have no idea what we're capable of or how we can help them. We have a LOT of expertise that centers around collecting, managing, and displaying data. Those functions should be of great interest to anyone in marketing. We've also generally got a lot of experience evaluating products and vendors. Most IT people have a good idea where their user base falls in terms of technical ability and what kinds of things they need in a user interface on a product.

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