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9 Why Even the IT Department Must Think Like a Marketer

I’ve been asked by a consulting group to present ideas on marketing to an audience that will consist of IT managers for professional services organizations. Now, some of you might wonder what these folks need with marketing – in fact, some in the audience might wonder the same thing.

photo credit: Rosh PR via photo pin cc

Here’s my take though. Every department in an organization has objectives to meet. Maybe in the case of IT department it’s increased productivity, lower costs, greater automation, security or better inventory management.

So, let’s say that the CEO charges the IT Department with finding and installing a new CRM system for sales and marketing to use. All of the sudden the IT Department’s objectives intersect squarely with two other departments – two other departments that have been down this road before and may have no interest in playing.

This is where effective marketing comes into play. In most every organization the scenario above is doomed to fail, because there’s no alignment. IT tells people, here’s what we are doing and here’s what you are going to do. It’s like running a tiny ad for a very expensive and complicated product and expecting people to line up to buy it. There’s no alignment of objectives.

Marketing creates alignment.

What if the IT Department created a very marketing like process that was based on building the kind of trust required to get total buy in, loyalty and even evangelism for their objectives?

What if the internal IT Department built an internal marketing campaign based on the 7 stages of what I call The Marketing Hourglass?

What if the marketing plan for the internal project addressed the logical stages of know, like, trust, try, but, repeat and refer before any roll out meetings ever occurred?

So, going back to our fictional new CRM installation, the IT Department’s road map might look more like this.

Know – Schedule interviews with users of the software from other companies to understand highs and lows of the process. Schedule interviews with potential internal users to understand what currently works and doesn’t work.

Like – Put together peer 2 peer panel with sales and marketing folks from companies currently using the software and internal sales and marketing folks to discuss CRM and technology challenges as a whole.

Trust – Identify internal champions that are vocal about the needs for the new CRM tool and include them in vendor discussions and planning path.

Try – Create beta user groups with exclusive access to the planning process and input in the building. Publicize this beta group’s activity and timeline.

Buy – Let beta group train and evangelize on the functionality. Create orientation materials featuring tips and traps from the beta group.

Repeat – Aggressively measure and report improvements in every key performance indicator and release new and more advanced feature to the beta and champion group. Fix what’s not working.

Refer – Gather testimonials from all users and allow beta and champion groups to promote others within the organization into the champion group. Hold champion user group events.

Certainly this takes far greater coordination, but it’s just a plan.

You see, meeting objectives in IT, Finance, Management, Marketing HR, every department, is just good marketing when it comes right down to it.

1 The Five Most Engaging Podcasts of the Year

marketing podcastI’ve been recording podcast interviews since some time in 2005 and it’s one of my favorite things to do. The show has opened some pretty cool doors and allowed me to meet some very cool people.

This year I met the likes of Harvey MacKay, Stephen Pressfield, Eric Reis, Derek Sivers, Kevin Kelly and Hugh MacLeod through my podcast and reconnected with old friends such as Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott, Peter Shankman and Scott Ginsberg.

The following five episodes make up what you my readers called my most engaging shows of the year.

1) Anything You Want

This week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby and author of Anything You Want 40 Lessons (When you buy any version of the book you can grab 200 musical downloads as a gift from Derek too!)

2) The New New New Rules of Marketing and PR

My good friend David Meerman Scott stopped by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast recently to talk about the release of the 3rd Edition of his mega best selling book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. This book changed the way many people think about marketing and has remained on many a “must read” list since it was first released.

3) 5 Google Plus Tips and Chris Brogan

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I grabbed a few minutes with Chris Brogan. Chris is the founder of Human Business Works, writes and speaks on all things related to social media and is a documented Google Plus fanboy.

4) 5 Types of Content That Every Business Must Employ

The creation and distribution of content has become such a significant aspect of effective marketing that it requires a high place in the strategy conversation in most every business.

Some might go as far as to suggest content marketing has become the most effective way to build a business.

5) Understanding the Most Fundamental Shift in Marketing

When I want to make marketing extremely easy to understand, I sit small business owners down in front of the above graphic and have them fill in some process, touchpoint, campaign, product of service in each of the seven blanks. The idea behind this graphic I call the Marketing Hourglass is that marketing is no longer a hunt and close business, it’s a be found, build trust, nurture, wow and refer business.