IT and Marketing: The Reese’s Cup of Associations
- Kathleen McQuilkin
- December 10, 2014
One day, the IT director was walking down the hall on his way to the CFO’s office. He was so completely immersed in his notes about the annual technology plan that he didn’t see the marketing director walking his way. And she didn’t see him either. She was reviewing her annual marketing plan on her way to the CEO’s office when…
Ouch! Sorry! My mistake! Papers everywhere. They both knelt down to pick them up when each noticed some highlighted phrases in the other’s notes.
“Capture member data.” “Understand what members need.” “Reports by membership segments.” “Integration capability.”
They looked up at each other.
“You got your technology on my marketing!”
“You got your marketing in my technology!”
Two great plans that plan great together.
IT and marketing departments really are coupled together nowadays. They make sure association staff has the tools and data they need to do their jobs. Both departments serve as internal advisors. They help colleagues identify and implement strategies, tactics, and tools to achieve departmental and organizational goals.
But the relationship goes beyond that.
Association marketers especially rely on having access to the right data to better understand the behavior, interests, needs, and aspirations of different membership segments and target audiences. The IT department helps marketing staff select and implement the systems they need to collect and analyze data – website and email analytics, social media dashboards, association management systems, and exhibitor and event management systems.
The IT department provides a holistic view of the association and its technology – a perspective that’s needed to integrate disparate systems and bring data into one hub so marketing staff can have a 360-degree-view of someone’s interactions with the association. Querying and business intelligence tools help transform this data into useful and actionable information. These tools are critical if marketers and other staff are to make wise, data-informed decisions.
The IT and marketing staff are best positioned to share the benefits of these technology solutions with their colleagues by helping them learn how to use the association’s systems and tools to access, analyze, and leverage data. Many association positions involve marketing to some extent, and the same technology tools that assist the marketing department can also assist other departments with their work.
For example, association lobbyists wants to know which members are most affected by proposed legislation. Membership data housed in the AMS can help identify those members. Email marketing tools and tactics can mobilize these members to take political action.
The IT department makes sure the lobbyists get the training they need to competently use the AMS and email marketing platform. The marketing department helps them craft the messaging and design of communication pieces. Together, the IT and marketing departments make one sweet in-house data team.