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Who Manages Martech – IT or Marketing?

July 06, 2017 | By Cristina DeMartini

  • Marketing and IT must share the responsibility of managing martech to achieve the full benefit of technology alignment
  • IT uses technology to execute strategy and has valuable experience in large-scale implementations, vendor relationships and change management
  • Marketing operations aligns marketing tech with the marketing strategy and ensures synchronization with corporate initiatives

In a survey conducted at the end of 2016, SiriusDecisions found that marketing operations functions are focusing on four major priorities: marketing measurement, marketing planning, marketing infrastructure management and marketing data management. Within these priorities, marketing operations is spending a disproportional amount of time (almost 40 percent) in the infrastructure category, which comprises marketing technology management and marketing process improvement. This level of time and attention devoted to marketing technologies by marketing begs the question, “Who owns the management of marketing technology – is it IT or marketing operations?”

marketing technology

Marketing technology – which is the technology used to enable the successful achievement of the marketing strategy such as marketing automation platforms, marketing resource management systems and marketing attribution tools – is almost never used in a silo. Nearly all marketing technologies impact more than one function within an organization. With that said, it’s important that organizations avoid siloed decisionmaking and ensure close alignment between marketing ops and IT, both of which bring a healthy perspective to the complete marketing technology solution stack.

While there is no “right” or “wrong” function to manage the marketing technology, assessing your organization’s resource allocation, workflow processes, roles and responsibilities, competencies and collaborative efforts will help determine who should be involved where. Here is the value each team brings:

  • IT provides corporate perspective and technical expertise. IT is responsible for the establishment and management of the corporate technology roadmap and aligning the technology strategy to the corporate growth goals and corporate imperatives. IT leads the steering committees for cross-functional alignment among technologies and developing an understanding of the intersection points of the technologies among the organization’s functions. IT also manages the list of vendors, maintaining the corporate inventory of technologies and associated budgets. IT is equipped with the technical expertise to deploy, implement and integrate systems across the organization.
  • Marketing operations provides business perspective and marketing expertise. Marketing operations typically develops and maintains the marketing technology strategy and roadmap that will enable the successful achievement of marketing’s goals. The marketing technology strategy is a subset of – and is aligned with – the corporate technology strategy maintained by IT. With its knowledge of marketing, the marketing operations team can overlay the martech stack with the marketing ecosystem and serve as the business owner for marketing’s technologies – collecting, organizing and prioritizing business requirements with stakeholders. As part of its infrastructure responsibilities, marketing operations also leads business process model improvement and management initiatives. While IT may serve as the technical deployment arm, marketing operations is typically involved with leading the business integration of the technologies to their application and ensuring adoption across the various marketing functions. Marketing operations may even be responsible for user administration and training of the marketing technologies; these responsibilities may also reside within a marketing enablement function or with the marketing function that is the primary user of the system.
  • Collaboration will accelerate strategy achievement. Technical components are mostly managed by IT, and business components are mostly managed by marketing operations. However, both IT and marketing operations have a shared responsibility in the establishment and deployment of the marketing technology process models as well as identifying outsourcing options. Collaborating on strategy, budget, process flows, business requirements, accountabilities and governance enables the organization to accelerate the achievement of its corporate goals.

All in all, the answer as to who should manage marketing technologies is not marketing operations or IT, but rather marketing operations and IT. To begin this collaborative effort, assess your resources – their allocation, competencies and succession planning, and then establish the appropriate steering committee to ensure close alignment between marketing operations and IT.

Cristina DeMartini

Cristina is a marketing operations executive with extensive domestic and international planning, market intelligence, measurement and analytics, and business process management expertise. Cristina has pioneered marketing performance management technologies and tools and served as the change agent for ISV channel program development, recruitment and enablement.