Why Even the IT Department Must Think Like a Marketer

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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.

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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.


The Marketing Hourgalss

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