Marketing Versus IT: Why Marketing Software Should Declare Independence!

During marketing software purchase IT often has a large casting vote, going for structure and control.
But in the ideal world the marketing department should have control over his own software and data to make optimal use of them.

Here is why in marketing software selections, independence should be a priority!

IT versus Marketing

These days it is impossible to justify that existing data systems that the IT department uses (manageable and controllable) do not cover the software needs of the marketer (to respond and market in a flexible manner).

IT are expected to know the ins and outs of what software does, how it functions, and how it integrates with other systems. Data security is often the responsibility of IT too. IT has experience with data systems within its domain, for example the data warehouse from which internal reports are produced.

However, the needs of the marketer are fundamentally different from that of the IT department. and most companies don’t have a Marketing technologist on staff. Precisely because the differences are so large, it is difficult for the IT department to move into the world of experience of the marketer. It is therefore important that the marketer itself has access to the actual data at hand.

So what is the conflict about?

What Marketing wants:
external data
flexible marketing communication
immediate adjustments
flexible systems
respond to current events
What IT wants:
internal data
structured changes
fixed routines
predictable, structured change

It will help you to first simplify the playing field of marketing software selection. This is why the marketing department must have the data at their fingertips.

  1. Data Independence enhances agility
  2. Trying, testing and learning requires a lot of flexibility in terms of data of marketing software. When you as a marketer have a grip on the necessary data and functionality, you can start working with it whenever you need. However, if you’re dependent on an IT department, you enter into a queue every time or you will be asked to make a business case. Thus the effectiveness is greatly limited.

  3. Difference between software needs of the IT department and the marketer
  4. By definition IT-managed data systems contain all internally available information that is necessary for managing the organization. On the other hand, the contact moments with customers through many channels contain crucial information that the marketer wants to use to optimize its marketing practice.

    This is particularly true for external data. That means that the database needs to be fed with information that is not important for an IT department. Irrelevant, automatically means less priority for IT.

  5. Different functionality means different tools are required
  6. An IT specialist refers to reporting when it comes to data systems. An application that is invented by IT! Reporting is structured by definition. So a fixed format, fixed frequency, fixed source, fixed set of professionals that get the marketing analytics and reports. That’s about the opposite of what a marketer needs.

    The main task of the marketer is tempting his audience to own and relate to the marketing communication. A marketer is always looking for the right form, the right channel, the right message to the right audience, the right tone of voice, the right timing. That means flexible formats, frequencies, sources and receivers. In everything the opposite of reports! When the desired functionality is fundamentally different, the required tooling is also fundamentally different.

  7. Adapt and learn
  8. Marketers like to get direct feedback and see how the selected target group and proposition match during the design phase of a campaign. If the situation demands it, a marketer should be able to adjust these immediately. That is at times ad-hoc and chaotic. An important goal for an IT managed system is correct structure and stability. Unplanned changes to such a structure are not (always) greeted with enthusiasm, especially since IT resources are often scarce and are carefully planned.

  9. Marketing needs flexible and scalable marketing software
  10. The marketing domain is seeing enormous growth. There are always new channels being added. And new data should become available. This requires flexibility and scalability of a system, while IT-managed systems often run on fixed routines. Development and changes (or rather change requests) are slow or sometimes won’t even be realized.

  11. Real-time events means unpredictable changes
  12. Respond to current events is one of the more successful marketing strategies. Real-time events are by definition unpredictable. Choosing a system that is run by an IT department, means that the IT department has to handle unpredictable changes. Such a form of cooperation is very rare in organizations.


The ideal world is one in which the marketer himself has control over his own software and data. Ideally, he or she do not need to rely on another department to gain access to data he or she needs.

Make data independence a priority for your marketing software selection

Marketing software more often is created so that implementation and use can be made with a minimum dependence on IT, a great development. In your marketing software selections make data independence a priority!

There are examples where an IT department can spend less than half a day per month to support the data systems of a marketing department, since implementation, integration and use is so automated and / or intuitive. It is very important for you to properly educate yourself in this area before making a choice for marketing software.

Ed Kassens

About Ed Kassens

Ed Kassens has 20 years of experience in the field of data driven marketing. Ed is a passionate marketing believer with the conviction that Database Marketing for every organisation can be a fantastic money-maker if it is applied in the right manner. Ed has a Master’s degree in Econometrics, and lots of experience in applying segmentation principles in targeted marketing processes. He has a large number of publications and keynote speeches to his name about the subject.

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