I just attended a joint meeting or the Project Management Institute (PMI) Marketing and Sales SIG, Marketing Operations Partners, (MOP) and the Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance (MOCCA) on the subject of the future ... of the marketing operations field (just in case you were wondering.) It was, in a word, revelatory.
PMI has realized that a great deal of the input and output of marketing and sales is not organized, but has a significant impact on it's own resources, especially with the growth of social media. The IT departments of companies are most heavily impacted with the development and maintenance of dynamic websites featuring blogs, video and audio podcasts, forums and customer services. They formed the Marketing and Sales SIG to get some insight into the issue and reached out MOP and MOCCA to get some clarity and direction on the issue. What came out of the two-hour session was a dynamic proposal to establish a marketing operations forum, seeking input from all over the communications industry to establish best practices and ... well all the stuff organization like that do.
What came out of it most particularly for me was that I have been talking to the wrong people in trying to expand my business. I should not be talking to marketing executives but to project and IT management.
Most marketing people, especially in the tech world, don't really know what to measure to determine ROI on the marketing programs. And if they do measure something it is a useless measurement like how many news releases they put out in a year and how many web hits they got. What's more, they don't really want to add the process of determining real measurement parameters to their already heavy workload ... not to mention the budget cost.
The IT world, on the other hand, is given the responsibility of creating and maintaining most companies' most important communication tool: the website and is given no authority to determine how best to implement it. It's like giving a contractor materials and tools and saying "Build me something. We'll figure out what later."
So it hit me about a third of the way through the discussion. What my company does would be of more value to the IT department than to the marketing department. Marketers want data about the market and the customers to pass on to sales and their measurement is what sales brings in. The IT department wants to create a communications infrastructure and their measurement of success is determined by the value the marketing department puts on the information. But the marketing department doesn't know what kind of information would actually be valuable so they can't give direction to the IT department. Someone like me knows exactly what kind of information is needed but can't get the marketing department to give up any budget to do it because they don't know what I can help them produce, but the IT department knows it needs to produce data and budgets specifically to produce data, all it needs to know is what kind.
It's a revolutionary concept: taking the communications function out of marketing, but in a world where the internet is the media, communications programs and IT is a marriage made in heaven.