Defrag Blog

The Blending of Marketing and IT

by Eric Norlin on Sep.15, 2009, under Uncategorized

There are a couple of posts out today about Jive and Radian6 partnering around a solution that begins to bridge the chasm of social media and enterprise 2.0 that I’ve written about here in the past. I’m glad to see companies like Jive (who should be a defrag sponsor, but isn’t - yet - AHEM!), and MindTouch (who is a defrag sponsor - tks guys!) beginning to tackle the “chasm.”

I’m glad because I’m hearing more and more from attendees about precisely this problem. But, specifically, I want to talk about one aspect: the blending of IT and marketing.

The people I’m talking to are enterprise IT guys that find themselves suddenly tasked with “understanding this social stuff” and figuring out “how it connects to our collaboration stuff.” Their first reaction tends to be, “isn’t that social stuff marketing’s (or PR’s) problem?” And the geekier they are (i.e., if they’re senior level IT guys that are really just developers at heart), the more likely they are to recoil at any indication that they’d get involved in marketing (ewwww, right?).

There’s a blending of roles that’s beginning to happen here, and I think it is critical to recognize this: IT and Marketing are rapidly merging (or at least over-lapping). This is like insert-your-favorite-dichotomy-here coming together in peace and harmony. And the importance of it should not be underestimated.

What’s driving this?

From the marketing side, the internet changed everything. “Mass” marketing used to be wonderful because you really couldn’t ever measure anything (other than a sales increase), and as such, it provided a certain level of “job security” for “marketing professionals.” Yea, that’s gone. Now you can measure pretty much everything - and the “real time web” (I can’t stand that term) is only making that drive to analytically understand “engagement” worse. When everything can be measured and analyzed — well, guess who’s really good at that? Yep, IT.

From the IT side, we really are rapidly approaching the day when APIs (application programming interfaces) are key to a marketer’s job. Social media is unescapable - and it’s getting geekier. Plenty of enterprise IT guys that I know just don’t get twitter — until you say, “think of it like an open API, messaging bus for everything you could possibly dream up” — BING! — they’re there.

Social media (marketing) meet IT. IT - time to think about what “marketing” means.

What does all of this mean? Well, for one thing, it means that companies like Networked Insights (defrag sponsor- tks guys!) and Radian6 (should be a defrag sponsor - ahem!) need to start selling to IT departments. That’s where the buying nexus is moving. On the other side, “collaboration” vendors better get their ducks in a row around analytics and social media because the line that divides “internal” and “external” is pretty rapidly going away.

And if you’re an IT professional that suddenly finds yourself tasked with all of this marketing and PR stuff? Well, coming to Defrag’s a good start (sorry, you knew I was gonna say that, right?). ;-)

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