In many businesses, you don’t often find Marketing and IT working closely together. They sometimes tend to be two rather polarised functions, with limited reason to collaborate. However, as organisations adopt digital marketing more, the gap is starting to close between Marketing and IT.

The Marketing and IT partnership

To build a successful digital marketing toolkit, there needs to be a genuine partnership between the strategic, the tactical and the technical business functions. By working together they can plan, design, implement and use the powerful systems needed for marketing to support the business.

Marketing automation

The biggest piece of technology used by marketers – aside from the CRM system – is the marketing automation platform. This typically uses email as the main communication method, although most modern marketing automation tools now also integrate web and social media channels. (As for email, there are many opinions on how “alive” or “dead” email marketing truly is, but there is still plenty of room to innovate with targeted email campaigns and automatic responses to downloaded content.)

The key reasons you need marketing automation

Regardless of your industry, there are a number of major benefits to working with marketing automation systems. These include:

  • Better customer engagement 
    A good marketing automation platform gives you the ability to measure user behaviour and responses, helping you to understand what your customers are truly interested in. This knowledge enables you to shape your products and services to target your audience better.
  • Nurture leads until they are ready to buy
    The majority of the people visiting your website or downloading your content are just finding out more about your offerings and are not yet ready to buy anything. But with the help of an email marketing automation system you are able to nurture those leads with tailored messages over time, to keep them engaged with suitable content.
  • Integrate your various channels and platforms
    The modern marketing team uses a wide range of digital systems for speaking to different audiences and managing various types of data across websites, social media, e-commerce systems, email and more. But the more systems being used, the more complex it can become to manage all the information. This is where the marketing automation system can help, to collate data and give you access to a single interface for monitoring all marketing activity.
  • Helps marketing track attribution
    One major challenge for marketers is the ability to track and measure return on investment – and to get credit for the leads generated using marketing budgets. With the help of software that allows leads to be tracked across multiple channels over time, the attribution can become easier and marketing can get more transparent reporting on their results.

Custom made or off-the-shelf?

When it comes to choosing the right marketing automation system, there is often a temptation to go directly to a ready-made packaged product. While this can sometimes be sufficient, depending on the specific requirements of the business, there are many distinct benefits to considering a tailored marketing software solution.

  • Don’t pay for functionality you don’t need. 
    A generic, off-the-shelf solution is designed for the average user. There will inevitably be features included which may not fit your needs – but the price will still be the same, whether you use them or not.
  • Avoid being locked into long-term subscriptions.
    Most marketing automation systems on the market are available on a subscription basis. While this does give the business a predictable monthly or annual cost, it also means that you continue paying – regardless of how long you have been a customer. Buying a custom made solution, on the other hand, gives you the chance to own the software without being tied into a monthly cost.
  • Don’t lose your favourite features.
    A generic product provider can decide to suddenly discontinue a feature or remove a particular integration, even though customers use them and sometimes depend on them. As a user, you have little or no control over which functionality is included in the product roadmap.
  • Adapt the software to your processes, not the other way round.
    Your business is unique, your teams are unique – and you will have processes that may not look the same as those in another business. Rather than changing the way you operate in order to make the software work, it may be worth considering designing your own marketing systems that are completely tailored to your organisational structure and operations.

We all want good, dependable marketing efforts that show tangible results. The better tools your IT team can give your marketing teams, the better your workforce can perform and support the business with new sales opportunities. And by working in partnership across the business, you can identify the best solution and get everyone involved in the adoption and successful on-boarding of an effective marketing system.