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7 Tips to Better Align Your Marketing and IT Teams when Evaluating New Technologies

Your success as a marketer can often depend on one pivotal thing: How well you're in sync with the IT team in your company. Optimove's Director of Product Marketing shares some winning insights

A key element to marketing success is its relationship with IT. Although many technologies look to limit the dependency between the two groups when onboarding new technologies, marketers should continue to work hand-in-hand with their IT departments.

Marketers trying to create more synergies between their systems of insights and engagement by purchasing a technology that creates an ecosystem approach to marketing technologies will need the IT team to set up this new solution.

However, many times, teams are not aligned during the procurement process, and in many cases, they don’t set common goals. Look at this as the overrule tip. At Optimove, we’ve encountered this scenario many times in the past. Following hundreds of conversations with companies of all shapes and sizes, we’ve collected a few top tips to improve marketing-IT alignment during new technology evaluations.

1. New technologies should significantly reduce day-to-day interactions between the teams

Most marketing and IT teams interact daily. Advanced solutions should help mitigate this interdependency, allowing each side to focus on their core tasks with less overhead. For example, since the Optimove UI enables marketers query customer data, create sophisticated customer segments (without knowledge of SQL), access predictive analytics, analyze campaign performance, and produce detailed BI reports, IT no longer needs to allocate resources for these recurring tasks. When aligned on this goal, both departments win, IT departments can focus on their core goals, while marketing teams can focus on forging better customer experiences.

2. Look to limit ongoing integration tasks

As stated, IT involvement should be leveraged at first, but once the initial tasks are completed, their efforts should seldom be needed again.

IT can assist in the initial compilation of all customer data from multiple systems and creating a process to update customer data on a daily basis. In some cases, IT can also help implement mobile or web SDKs or construct custom integrations. As such, integrations should be kept to a minimum and be clearly stated, heading into the project.

3. Preparing data for the new solution should be easy

If IT is expected to do some heavy lifting in the early stages of the project, Marketing and IT need to agree that this should be as easy as possible. For example, Optimove’s data infrastructure excels at accepting all data formats and structures, with our approach to data ingestion being source agnostic and subscribing to the following methods:

  • Leveraging Azure Data Factory’s over 80 out-of-the-box connectors to the most commonly used data sources
  • Connecting directly to customer databases using site-to-site secure connections
  • Downloading data files from SFTP servers

In Optimove’s case, this also means we connect to multiple disparate data sources, and function as the central repository of all historical and real-time customer data marketers leverage.

4. Data cleanliness is of paramount importance

Marketers are becoming more data-driven than ever, and need clean data to operate. One of the IT department’s responsibilities is to make sure the company’s technology stack isn’t impaired by poor data hygiene. This means making sure any data circulating in the company’s solutions is properly deduped and cleansed according to the IT departments specific requirements.

At Optimove, we remove the burden of customer data cleansing and maintenance from IT teams. Through a combination of proprietary algorithms and third-party software, Optimove dedupes customer records and cleans data before uploading it to the system, by following each customer’s specific policy.

5. New solutions should limit the need for complex marketing channel integrations

Limiting the need for complex channel integrations will go a long way in ensuring both departments are happy partners. Identifying solution providers who have a professional integrations team and maintain a comprehensive documentation portal that includes detailed API documentation and use cases is vital.

Optimove contains its first-party execution channels for email, mobile push, and website pop-up messaging, as well as out-of-the-box integrations with over 50 marketing campaign execution channels (email, SMS, mobile push, web push, ad networks, and others). If companies need to integrate in-house or third-party channels, our rich API makes it easy to deploy two-way integrations, and access customer segments, campaigns, real-time triggers, and more. For those trickier integrations our product integration team helps IT departments navigate to smooth waters.

6. Leading security standards and regulations must be complied with

Customer data security is not something to be taken lightly. Vendor data and deployment security standards need to ensure that you will remain compliant with the highest global standards and regulations, as well as more industry-specific ones as required. Identifying vendors with clients that stem from data-security-conscious industries can go a long way in appeasing both the marketing and IT departments.

In Optimove’s case, this means complying with leading standards and regulations, such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, GDPR, and the EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield Frameworks, while including clients from multiple industries including financial services and healthcare.

Optimove employs security best-practices on multiples levels. On the application layer, Optimove uses an Imperva defense layer, which defends against DDoS, brute force, SQL injection, and other attacks (and alerts Optimove’s Security Operations Center when any such attacks are detected). Additionally, Optimove embraces the zero-trust networks security concept for network perimeters, allowing the company to audit, track, and monitor all employees, third parties, and clients with access to system resources. Optimove also employs log anomaly detection that alerts the Security Operations Center upon detection of suspicious activity. Finally, for data recovery in the event of data corruption due to any cause, Optimove’s full disaster recovery site is available for restoration of affected data.

7. Legacy system performance should not be impacted

A common concern among IT teams is whether integrated third-party software will degrade performance. Web and app SDKs are a common source of concern. SDKs, for example, should load asynchronously, with the web page or app screen always loading first, and customers are experiencing zero delays. With this in mind, Optimove developed its SDKs from the ground up with performance as a prime objective.

In conclusion:

Too many organizations are still structured to have distinct, siloed teams, and yeah, separate functions and specialties sometimes require that. But as customer centricity is taking center stage, you should also start embracing the idea there’s another type of customer: The guy from your company’s IT team. And like with the actual customers you are continually thinking of, in this case also – making sure he’s satisfied is a must, that will have an immidiate effect on your own success.

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Rony Vexelman

Rony Vexelman is Optimove’s VP of Marketing. Rony leads Optimove’s marketing strategy across regions and industries. Previously, Rony was Optimove's Director of Product Marketing leading product releases, customer marketing efforts and analyst relations. Rony holds a BA in Business Administration and Sociology from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.