I can’t believe it’s two months since I wrote my previous post! Let’s call it 8 weeks, that doesn’t sound as long.
And so to carry on a theme with what’s new in digital, this time I’m going to talk about the increasing complexity of internet projects and how the lines between marketing and IT are starting to blur.
I recently worked on a project which started as a brief to redesign a failing basket – they were losing over 90% of people through checkout. This project moved on to become the re-development of the front-end of the website and also into driving traffic and conversion through customer journey planning and follow-up comms. A great little project.
The starting point is of course the digital marketing elements:
- Identifying the role of the website and constructing a journey that takes visitors through to product selection effectively
- Streamlining the basket to make it friction free and convert as many as possible
- Driving responsive traffic, cost-effectively
- Taking non-converters and following up to convert them
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Next two things have to happen in today’s web projects, and both result in the project turning from a marketing one to an IT one.
- IT need to be involved in the discussions, because more than likley today there will be a need for integration with in-house systems. Creating customer records from the website is the obvious way, but it’s also often pulling product data from internal data sources to assist on pricing etc.
- Your adviser needs to be able to have a business focused view and to work with IT on your behalf. They need to give your business the benefits of digital integration without losing the plot in terms of stifling the project and losing the customer focus.
So what does this mean for marketing teams in-house?
- Your agency and supplier strategists need to be multi-faceted – able to be a marketer, but equally able to converse and influence IT
- Client marketers need to be involved and to understand the IT and system issues. Without that how can you hope to influence IT to do what’s right for the customer and the company. IT can be great at taking the route of least resistance for them
- Your account manager needs to become a project manager – the project will not be just a week or two long. It will be a one that can take a number of months and a significant proportion of someone’s time. The project needs to be project managed not just account managed – those are skills that don’t always exist in agencies
- You need an account manager that is technically savvy – it’s not sufficient now just to be able to do the marketing bit and handle copy amends. Everyone in an agency says that they do digital but how many think digitally and truly understand the complexities? Project issues are often technical – what needs to happen for this address software to talk to that payment gateway? A technically savvy account manager will be able to solve these and will also be always looking for ways for the project to be improved … because they think truly digitally
Take a long-hard look at who’s going to be working for you
I used to say that the last person I want to discuss online strategy with is IT. And to be honest today they are still the wrong people to own the website. But I also know that web and database marketing projects will need them on-side to be most effective.
I’ve seen plenty of clients who have projects that have ballooned in terms of scale, time and internal (if not external) cost. Almost always it’s not the marketing or software skills that are the issue, but the technical awareness and capability of the client and account manager, and the way the project is being managed.
I’m sorry to say it but … it’s time to get in with the IT crowd!