Strange Bedfellows: Marketing and IT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a special alliance between two business departments that aren’t always a natural fit: Marketing and IT. The glue, according to John Tudhope, Director of Business Transformation at Sprint Business, will be a growing cohort of Chief Marketing Technologists (CMT).

People in this role will be responsible for fulfilling the marketing promise of IoT to (among other things) turn products into media and service delivery vehicles and connecting it all to third-party payment systems. According to Mr. Tudhope, “IoT use cases offer huge opportunities for Marketing—creating the potential for rich, nuanced, ongoing customer interactions, throughout a product’s lifecycle.”

With IoT set to have a game-changing impact, marketers have an incentive to become strategic partners with IT professionals. Marketing is already fairly comfortable with technology, thanks to the proliferation of tools such as content management and marketing automation platforms, social analytics and customer-facing apps.

That’s not to say that there aren’t significant problems. Just this past spring, for example, tech execs were bemoaning their weak relationship with Marketing. Mr. Tudhope predicts that “with the advent of connected products, this will change. The opportunities of IoT enabled marketing are too great to ignore, as are the privacy and security questions around the huge volumes of customer data they’re set to generate.”

It will be the job of the CMT to bridge whatever gap remains between the two departments. According to The Harvard Business Review, this will include: “Aligning marketing technology with business goals, serving as a liaison to IT, and evaluating and choosing technology providers.”

Mr. Tudhope believes that “it’s that second job—keeping Marketing and IT on the same page, and pulling in the same direction—that’ll cause the role to really take off in the age of connected products.”

To make it happen, Mr. Tudhope tells companies to scan their teams for “natural CMTs in-waiting—people with the knowledge across Marketing and IT, the business vision, and the interpersonal, relationship building skills needed to bridge the departments effectively.”

Written By: Kristin Owens

Director, Strategic Marketing, Avnet Embedded

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