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Digital Marketing: The new it crowd?

By: Jacky Carter, Hays Customer Experience Director on June 1st 2021

The dominance of data and its importance to modern marketing practices has led to a massive increase in demand for IT professionals in the digital marketing space. With this in mind, are the two sectors destined to merge?

How does it benefit digital marketing?

Analysts, data scientists and automation experts are bringing IT into the digital marketing space. Marketing directors and managers are finding speed to market of any new systems or digital strategies being vastly improved by having IT professionals as part of the marketing department. Their practical experience and logical mind-sets are also assets, particularly with regard to implementing automated digital marketing strategies and analyzing customer data more effectively.

The benefits are not only enjoyed by marketing however, as front-end developers are increasingly being directly pressured to prioritize user experience and optimize apps and websites to be both intuitive and visually engaging.

As our Global Head of Technology, James Milligan, notes, “Demand is outstripping supply for data scientists, SEO experts and front-end developers to work within the marketing space. The need for mobile optimization and social integration has evolved the front-end developer role in particular. Websites, apps and social pages are digital ‘shop-windows’ for businesses. They need to be attractive, intuitive, reactive to change and constantly reviewed for SEO. Marketing and IT professionals working closely together in this regard can greatly increase speed to market, gain higher SEO ranking and deliver more effective final products.”

The crossover has its drawbacks

The advantages of involving IT in digital marketing processes are clear, however, as the scope of both IT and digital marketing expands, professionals in one department are being pressured to undertake tasks traditionally assigned to the other. Without an overseeing project manager, this can result in mistakes and inefficiency, and even duplicated or conflicting work in large organizations.

Despite clear links of communication between the two areas, details can be lost in translation. Most marketers have experiences of IT projects impeding or disrupting their own, and the same is true vice-versa.

Professionals sharing responsibilities need to be managed closely, with mutual understanding, as Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of Hays Marketing & Digital, explores, “Marketing leaders understand that technology is a key enabler for any effective digital marketing program. It enhances customer experience, raises engagement and adds value to the customer journey. However, there is a perceived blurring of the functions of IT and digital marketing – particularly in regards to data use and analysis.

“The creation of digital roles such as CMT (Chief Marketing Technologist), data scientists and group data managers can lead to confusion about where their functions sit within an organization. The scope of any digital marketing roles involving IT needs to be defined and clearly understood within the business. IT leaders must work closely with marketers to understand the client journey, and marketers need to take more care to understand the challenges and importance of IT.”

By further uniting IT and digital marketing, projects could be coordinated, budgets better managed and resources more appropriately used. With the digital space the dominant platform for marketing, it seems increasingly likely that marketing and IT will begin to share even more responsibilities, blurring the line between the two departments further still.

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