Should marketing manage the IT budget?

Read time 3min 10sec

Digital marketing is changing the demands made on the IT department, and presents a good case for the marketing department to have a say in the technology budget.

This is according to Roan Mackintosh, business director at digital marketing agency Acceleration.

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Mackintosh says marketing effectively now relies heavily on advanced IT tools running in the background. Deciding what digital channels to use, what information should be tracked, and how this data should be integrated and used should be driven by marketing, he says.

“Traditionally, CRM and analytics would have been part of your IT budget. But what this data allows you to do is marketing - therefore marketers should have more say in IT spend.”

Mackintosh says local businesses have proven quite receptive to the benefits of various forms of digital marketing. Social media is not playing a major part of the digital marketing mix yet, he says, because many marketers find it difficult to quantify the value of it, although they know they should be there.

Nevertheless, some are starting to use social media in innovative ways, and link that to other digital marketing platforms. “On a very simple level, you may find someone engaged on your community, happy with his or her new cellphone. You could capture the conversation, tie it back to a cookie level, link to a unique identifier in your data management system, and then target them with ads promoting a related product. Social media gives you insights you can use to target a very specific market with very focused communication.”

The problem, he says, is that few are integrating all their digital marketing tools to deliver a complete view of their customer interactions and campaigns.

“What streams do you have across the various channels to consolidate the information you gather? And looking at a broader perspective, how do you make that data actionable?”

Mackintosh says clicks are not a measure of success. Marketers need to track exposure to conversion. “They need to get a better view of customers on a consolidated level - it should not sit in silos. If you track your social media, e-mail, search and Web analytics in isolation, you will have no idea what the overlap and cross-feed is between them.”

A complete view of market patterns and campaign effectiveness across channels will deliver insights you can use, he says.

Mackintosh says that, when it comes to the big data management problems generally associated with social media, “big data management is a buzzword. It could be a problem, but only if you get caught in the trap of trying to track everything.

“The challenge is to be selective about what you need to track and what is driving value for your business, and then have a mechanism to make that actionable.”

With tools now available to integrate these channels, businesses can revisit their architectures and develop solutions that will take them closer to strategically useful insights.

There's no single solution to take you there, says Mackintosh, but with an effective blueprint with achievable milestones, marketers and IT can collaborate to deliver greater insights to marketing success and customer behaviour.”

Roan Mackintosh will be among the industry thought leaders addressing the upcoming ITWeb Social Media Summit, to be held from 14 to 16 August, at The Forum, in Bryanston. For more information, click here.

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