Revisiting the Marketing Technology Office

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

My post last week titled A Marketing Technology Office…the next fad? got some interesting feedback via email and my contact form….funny that these same people didn’t leave a comment on the blog for the whole world to see. 🙂

Rather than respond in private to those emails, I’ll respond in public here via a Point/Counterpoint approach with their comments being the “point” and my response being a “counterpoint”.

Point #1:  Marketing should own technology

I received a few comments around the fact that the Marketing team should own and will own all their technology and  the IT group will not and should not have anything to do with this technology.

Counterpoint #1:  Since when did marketing want to be IT Operations?

99.9% of Marketing professionals have no clue how  much work goes into keeping technology running. Its what takes up most of the time for IT Professionals. Its the part of an IT Pro’s job that they get zero respect or recognition for….but its one of the most important.

Additionally, IT professionals have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the technology selection process.  They know what to look for and what to focus on to ensure proper security, integration and stability.

If you, as a marketer, want to grow your own team to 3 times its size and hire IT professionals to manage your technology operations, have at it…but I think its a horrible use of budget. Let the IT pro’s do what they do best.

Point #2: IT Takes too long to do anything…we should just bypass them

This was another main point from these emailers.  Phooey on this point I say. Its an argument that everyone uses when they really have no clue what they are talking about.

CounterPoint #2: IT takes a long time to do something because what they do is complex.

Have you asked IT why it takes so long to do anything?  Have you spent time walking through a technology selection process? Or…have you sat down with IT and saw just how difficult their job really is?  Have you talked to the IT leadership about getting a better process for your team when you make a request?  I’m sure the answer is yes…but if you are still finding that IT is taking ‘too long’, then there’s a bigger issue to be dealt with then just Marketing Technology.

Point #3: IT doesn’t understand Marketing, therefore Marketing needs to be in control.

This was the biggest complaint I read in the emails on the subject….and the most inept complaint as well.

Counterpoint #3: Marketing doesn’t understand IT, therefore IT needs to be in control.

How do you like that? Kind of a stupid counterpoint, no?   Each group is different. Each group does different things.  If neither group understand the other, why aren’t both groups sitting down at a table and digging into the real underlying issues?

Final Comment on the subject:

Let me make something clear.The Marketing Technology Office (MTO) is a great idea, if executed correctly.  This type of office will allow the marketing team to focus on technology while allowing the IT team to focus on operating said technology.

The MTO can be thought of as a Project Management Office (PMO). Some companies have wonderful PMO’s, some have horrendous PMO’s.  Most most have average PMO’s that are effective but not really driving any real value.   The same can be said of the MTO’s that pop up over the next few years.

An MTO that steps out in front and leads while working hand-in-hand with IT will be amazing. The MTO that tries to lead without IT will be a waste of money and time.

Image Credit: WhatCounts Travel Email Webinar Logo on flickr

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

2 responses to “Revisiting the Marketing Technology Office”

  1. […] Eric D. Brown follows up on a post from last week with some point/counterpoint: Revisiting the Marketing Technology Office […]

  2. G N Nagaraj Avatar
    G N Nagaraj

    A few questions Eric.

    1) Do the marketing depts have Marketing Print Office and Marketing Television Office?

    2) What is the fascination with technology?

    3) Marketing depts will end up buying service. If they start running technology by temselves, then so can sales, operations, risk and accounting. If this is encouraged, then maybe, sales, marketing, HR and IT can run their own accounting practises. Sales, IT, Marketing, Accounting and Risk can run their own HR services. I think it makes sense to think thru this rather than adopt MTO model without a forethought

    What we see is a fallout of the model where IT has shaped itself as service provider to the business, and hence giving business teams an option to choose from amongst the plethora of IT service providers the market has to offer, its a competition they cant win even if they manufacture code internally as they will not have the necessary resources to compete on efficiency and innovation. Also, building such competencies internally is a distraction for the business. If Internal IT turns a service broker, then there would not be a need to have a MTO. I frankly dont like the idea of a service broker as well, because Internal IT will then start competing with consultants and we are back to square one again. The moment Internal IT becomes a SBU, and starts leading by suggesting the path forward for various business units, Internal IT will have a future. To do so, Internal IT needs to understand the business – not just business operations, but business dynamics.