Marketing and IT need each other more than ever, especially to enable new data flows. So how do two functions with a poor history of understanding each other make sure they work better together? DataIQ Link may be the place to find an answer.
How optimistic are you that your marketing automation project will deliver the features and benefits you expect? If you are a marketer, you probably tend towards a rosy view of the world, but also run the risk of optimism bias. That is, your assumption that all will be well is based on your own personality, rather than the facts of the situation. Equally, you may just be willing to trade off a little extra time on a project if it leads to the outcome you want.
On the other side of that situation, as an IT professional, your own frustration may be at constant delays as the specification gets changed mid-project. Nothing adds time like the need to rewrite a data model or add functionality after the software has already been specced-out. For data professionals watching on, this all generates a lot of head scratching and the doomed feeling that whatever data finally emerges will still need a lot of manual work-arounds.
At the heart of this faulty relationship is the fundamental problem of two partners speaking a different language. What to a marketer might seem clear, like requesting a real-time data feed into a third-party ad network, could contain complex engineering challenges that require an additional layer of ETL middleware just to match up the data before any functionality is added to the system, for example.
DataIQ has recognised the significant uplift in the positive outcomes from marketing automation projects which could be achieved through better interaction between marketing and IT. In response, we have launched DataIQ Link - a unique one-day conference on 14th October focused on these two high-spending and inter-dependent business functions. After all, nobody wants to find themselves in the position of the National Health Service which scrapped its central e-record system in 2013 at a cost of £10 billion with no benefit.
In that case, the cause was a failure to specify the data strategy clearly or to consider the data management implications of holding such sensitive information centrally. Poor project management also played a part. But then a 2012 study by McKinsey found that, on average, IT projects run 45 per cent over budget, 7 per cent over time and deliver 56 less value than predicted. Who wants to end up being the one to report those numbers to the board?
DataIQ Link has exclusive two-handed presentations by Comic Relief, King Digital Entertainment and National Trust which show the inner workings of companies where the relationship between marketing, IT and data has really paid off. Success stories offer great value to practitioners in all three functions by revealing what the critical success factors were and how to avoid some of the bear traps.
In some companies, this vital point of contact is sited in one individual, such as Robbie Burgess at RBI. As she notes, “I have had the opportunity to shape how marketing operates by placing data at its core, building an entire marketing technology eco-system that truly supports the business.”
In the research which Mastercard’s Andrew Buckley recently carried out among marketing and IT practitioners working on technology projects in service companies, this translator role emerged as one solution to the challenges. Alternatively, a cross-functional working group can be created which brings together the stakeholders and creates a framework for them to align all of the needs and requirements.
Opening the event will be former McKinsey partner Thomas Barta, whose keynote on "How to become an influential leader in the digital age" will set the transformational theme of the day. With insights from the headline sponsor, a QBE-chaired panel on the essential issue of cyber-security (a cross-functional problem if ever there was one) and practical, outcome-focused sessions from sponsors autoGraph, Blue Group, Dot Digital, RAPP, Triggar and others, the day promises to be a genuinely helpful step on the path towards true understanding between very different partners.
Meet the Keynotes
Who they are: Laura Scarlett, programme director, supporter loyalty platform and acting director of supporter data, and Andrew Bedwell, IT programme director
What they do: As part of a three-year, £7.2 million transformation project, they have been building a single supporter view in the cloud and running an award-winning Adobe implementation for its supporter marketing.
What they’ll talk about: To succeed, the transformation needs everybody involved in the new processes to adopt the new culture and ways of working, just as much as the new technology. Gaining the confidence of users in the new operational environment is at the heart of the story.
Who he is: Andrew Buckley, senior vice president, core products
What he does: Responsible for consumer products for Europe, including debit, credit, commercial, pre-paid and cardholder solutions.
What he’ll talk about: Innovators often run into problems with the collaboration between marketing and IT, which impacts on the effectiveness of the delivery of IT-enabled projects. Addressing these problems, Andrew will outline a framework for making the relationship work based on research he has carried out among leading IT-driven service brands.
Reed Business Information
Who she is: Robbie Burgess, data and technology director
What she does: For the last 15 years, Robbie has been working on the group’s consolidated customer database and now leads a team of 20-plus data professionals.
What she’ll talk about: As the individual with ownership of all three dimensions of the project within RBI, Robbie will explain how to succeed, having built the data team from scratch and shaped how marketing operates by putting data at the core of the marketing eco-system
Who they are: Liz Curry, head of CRM, and Rachel Morarty, technical project manager
What they do: Part of the data team that looks after a SQL database and BusinessObjects in an innovative and forward-looking organisation that likes to work with cutting-edge technology and very talented people.
What they’ll talk about: Comic Relief is unlike other charities in that it only raises funds and does not hold donor data. So when it looked into introducing a CRM system, the result of the dialogue between IT and CRM was an interesting one...
King Digital Entertainment
Who they are: Andy Done, data platform lead, and Vince Darley, chief scientist
What they do: Part of a team of 70-plus data scientists and responsible for King’s vision for data and sophisticated analytics technology platforms to serve the business both today and in the future, using information across the business to improve the player experience.
What they’ll talk about: Making use of open source solutions, the data team supports designers and marketers with the data they need to make decisions. Balancing the data and IT-focused skills with an ability to talk to the business has been one of the core components of achieving this goal, as Andy and Vince will explain.
* To see the full programme and to book your place at Lancaster Hotel, London on 14th October click here