There is a widening digital chasm in many organizations today with respect to operationalizing digital technologies. These aren’t the usual systems of record such as email or back-end business systems but more of front-end customer systems of engagement. This new class of applications, also called marketing technologies, is becoming front-and-center for marketing teams.
Marketing, as a function, is not restricted to brand building or incremental revenues anymore – Marketing is now transforming business models. Marketing teams will soon, if not already, find themselves in the middle of a tech revolution.
Marketing folks can turn to IT teams for executing these technologies.
IT teams, whose focus till date has been systems of record, do not have the expertise to handle marketing technologies. Further, the thinking and mindset within IT is generally systems-focused instead of being customer-focused, emphasis on technology and execution over customer experience and design, reliability and governance over agility and speed-to-market. All these internal challenges could mean missed opportunities when it comes to testing the digital waters and capitalizing on emerging opportunities. As a matter of fact, agility and customer centricity are key elements for success in any digital transformation initiative. Read our post on to know more.
Alternatively, marketing can turn to their agency of record (AoR) for help with digital technologies. AoRs have traditionally been strategic partners to marketing teams. The AoRs bring the brand to life with depth of design and vision, but executing the vision with deep technology expertise remains a challenge.
So, how can a company bridge this digital chasm?
First, acquiring in-house expertise is an option. It is time-consuming and expensive if at all possible to attract and retain the right skill set. The technology is fragmented and hiring to address all the needs is expensive.
Second, is to integrate IT and Marketing teams to operate in unison both from an expertise and culture standpoint. This is hard to do given the diverse mindsets prevalent in the two functions. As a result, many companies are nowadays creating another C-level position called Chief Digital Officer who plays a transformation role (sometimes temporary) between CMO and CIO.
Third, look for strategic digital partners to help close the gap. These partners may not be the traditional IT shops or agencies. There is a new class of boutique companies that are small and nimble, bring fresh thinking and novel ideas to conversations, offer deep emerging-technology expertise, emphasize customer journeys with user interface and experience design, and subscribe to speed-to-market mindset with agile processes that will help close the digital technology gap. Here are 8 factors to keep in mind when choosing the right digital partners for your business.
In summary, organizations today have a “gap” between their IT and marketing teams in their ability to explore digital strategy and handle execution. This digital gap needs to be addressed so that your organization can seize new market opportunities and create new revenue streams through the use of emerging digital technologies.