I own the technology, you own the content

Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept By lumaxart on flickr“I own the technology, you own the content”

Those eight words are shared every single day between an IT professional and a Marketing professional. Some conversation occurs and the CIO tells the CMO “I own the technology, you own the content”.

What the CIO means is fairly simple..and understandable too. The IT group ‘owns’ the technology. They ‘own’ the security and they ‘own’ the data.  That’s the fact of life…and, in fact, that’s the way it should be.   Does any marketing professional out there really want to find themselves at the center of a data breach like what’s been reported at Epsilon recently? I doubt it.

Let’s leave the ‘ownership’ of security, privacy, data and technology in the hands of the IT professionals where it belongs.  That’s their job…that’s their livelihood.

But…let’s make sure that ‘ownership’ doesn’t hinder the ability of the marketing group to do their job. Let’s make sure that the ‘ownership’ doesn’t mean ‘hands off’.

When a marketing professional hears “I own the technology, you own the content”, what they’re really hearing is “let me worry about how it is going to work, you just make it pretty and add the words“.  Now…nothing wrong with that, per se, but I can tell from my many years of working within Marketing teams/groups, that the comment is pretty condescending.

Why condescending? Simple….it makes it seem like a marketing professional can’t understand technology. It also makes it clear that they aren’t capable of managing technology nor should they try.

For you IT pro’s out there…think of it this way:

How would you feel if you were told by the marketing team that you could no longer write your own emails?  You own the technology, Marketing owns the content…right?  From now on…you can only open your email message but you cannot type anything….you’ve got to wait for the marketing team to add your new email text to their busy schedule. They’ll write it for you and once ‘approved’, you can hit ‘send’.

Pretty ridiculous, wouldn’t you say?   Maybe…but think about it. How long would you have to wait to get someone from your marketing team to write each email for you?  How much would that slow you down in your daily activities? It would slow you down quite a bit, no?

If your job depended on your responding to email – and we all know IT professionals spend a considerable amount of time in their email – wouldn’t you do whatever you need to do to get your email ‘typed’?  Maybe find an outside email writer? Maybe just do it yourself?

Sure…this is a silly way to look at things…but it really is a good example of what marketing professionals (and other non-IT professionals) put up with daily…they have a job to do and, if they can’t get their IT staff to help, they’ll look elsewhere (or do it themselves). While marketing waits for new features and functionality from IT, they may just be unable to do their job.  Perhaps they start looking for other approaches. Perhaps they start reaching out to cloud services to get their job done. Perhaps they start their own Shadow IT initiatives. Perhaps the marketing group outsources the entire marketing technology platform.

And it all starts with a simple, statement of “I own the technology, you own the content”.

Next time, rather than using “I” and “You” next time…how about using “we”?

How about changing the statement to be more along the lines of  “we’d love to help…let’s figure out how to put the right technology in place to meet your needs”…or ‘we have the technology in place, let’s figure out how to get the marketing team up to speed on using it”.

Marketing is much more than just throwing words on a webpage…there’s data, there’s video, there’s technology embedded in technology embedded in marketing.   Technology is enabling marketing, which is enabling more technology.  Get where I’m going here? (hint:  more technology = more opportunities for technology professionals)

Stop using ‘I’ and ‘You”.  Stop thinking in terms of “us” versus “them”….IT and marketing are linked at the hip these days so we better start thinking about ‘we’ more when talking to marketing.

Image Credit: Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept By lumaxart on flickr

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A story of a CIO, IT and Marketing | Eric D. BrownMichael TayagScott BrinkerdigitalassetmanBrian Makas Recent comment authors
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Elmer Boutin

Did you and Julie Hunt collaborate on the timing of your posts today? Her’s is spot-on in line with yours: http://jhcblog.juliehuntconsulting.com/2011/03/it-marketing-innovation-through-collaboration-in-b2b-software-companies.html

You are so right in your thoughts on this. Teamwork and collaboration is the key to success for any organization. If “we” can’t get beyond the “who’s more important” debate and start looking at it from the perspective that “we” are all on the same team our organizations are doomed to mediocrity and/or failure.

Well done, Eric.


Published: I own the technology, you own the content http://bit.ly/fc97Y6 #CIO

Scot Herrick

You own the correct take on this issue, I own the admiration of you writing it.

Shim Marom

Eric, I’m not sure I share your sentiments on this issue. Before I go any further though, do you mind sharing the specific experience you’ve had/shared/witnessed that prompted you to write this post?

Cheers, Shim.


[…] Innovation Through Collaboration in B2B Software Companies” by Julie Hunt, the other was “I own the technology, you own the content” by Eric D. Brown.  Go check them out because each writer makes some excellent […]


"I Own the Technology, You Own the Content." How IT and Marketing misconstrue and piss off each other. @ericdbrown http://ow.ly/4zOcy


terrific piece — RT @ericdbrown I own the technology, you own the content http://bit.ly/i9n0Xa


RT @ericdbrown I own the technology, you own the content | Eric D. Brown http://bit.ly/i9n0Xa


(symantics -> perception matters) RT @chiefmartec terrific piece — RT @ericdbrown I own technology, you own content http://bit.ly/i9n0Xa


RT @chiefmartec: terrific piece — RT @ericdbrown I own the technology, you own the content http://bit.ly/i9n0Xa


[…] all heard (and some of us have said)…he said “IT is hear to help, but remember – IT owns the technology, Marketing owns the content“.The meeting ended well. The marketing group felt like they’d be able to work with this […]

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