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Better Together: The Quick Guide to Marketing & IT Alignment


Table of Contents Introduction......................................................................................3 Data Security.....................................................................................5 Platform Integration...........................................................................9 Control............................................................................................12

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Introduction Marketing is increasingly digital, data-driven, and real-time. As a result marketing is becoming a fundamental driver of IT purchasing. In fact a recent study predicts that by 2017 CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. As the marketing department continues to embrace new technologies there is a growing need to work seamlessly with the IT department to implement and manage the technology stack. In the past, marketers were dependent on the IT department for every technical issue, from the slightest website content change to setting up an email list. If the IT department advised against using a certain marketing tool or deemed it impossible to implement a new strategy, marketers took their word as gospel. There was a clear line in the sand – the marketing department did marketing and the IT department handled anything technical. This relationship often held the marketing department at the mercy of IT’s schedule, level of expertise, and willingness to try new things. The advent of software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud based platforms brings an entirely new set of considerations for members of both the marketing and IT departments. Instead of building and maintaining on-

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premise systems to deliver commodity infrastructure and applications, the IT team can now focus on solution evaluation, implementation, optimization and innovation that creates competitive advantage for the business. When the marketing department evaluates a new technology they likely focus on the application’s functionality, how it will improve the results of their marketing efforts, and provide measurable ROI. Members of the IT department are focused on data security, integration, reliability, and control. As organizations continue to add new layers of technology to their business systems, both marketing and IT will play a crucial role. This whitepaper is designed to give marketers an understanding of the changing face of business technology, highlight the new role and responsibilities of the IT department and act as a guide to improve the working relationship between marketing and IT.

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Data Security As marketers, we don’t think about IT security very often, but it is an important thing to be aware of as more data becomes distributed across various cloud services. For many organizations, data is their most valuable asset and biggest competitive advantage. Any breach in an organization data security could have catastrophic impact. Would you want your competitors to have a list of your customers contact information? Your website, social media accounts, inbound marketing platforms, or any place that your organization stores data can be a potential security threat. There are a number of IT security considerations that marketers should understand when evaluating new marketing platforms.

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Changing startup landscape The social media, web analytics, and big data marketing arena is full of budding start-ups. This poses both an opportunity to leverage new marketing technology and a potential threat to data security. If you are dealing with a startup company your IT team will likely want to evaluate the portability of your data that will be collected in the application. In some cases, startups might not have engineered a way for customers to easily extract their data. Marketers need to be aware that startups can change their product or service offering, close shop, or be acquired at any time. In any of these events, organizations need to have a contingency plan to ensure their marketing programs can continue if the startup changes course.

Protecting Customer Data Well established service providers will have a number of safeguards in place to protect sensitive customer data like personal or financial information. These safeguards include things like encrypted data backups, distributing your data in facilities in a number of geographic locations to protect against natural disaster, and limiting the access that the service provider’s employees have to your sensitive data. SAS 70 is a widely recognized data security auditing standard. Organizations that hold the SAS 70 certification have been through an in-depth audit of their ability to provide adequate controls and safeguards while hosting or processing customer data.

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Data encryption There is no disputing that cloud computing is transforming how IT can be delivered, managed and consumed but it does raise new questions about how to control, secure and protect data that is processed and hosted by third-party services. This is currently a very hotly debated topic, and you have likely heard lots about the recent NSA data mining scandal. Data encryption essentially means scrambling data in such a way that unauthorized viewers can’t make sense of it, while authorized viewers can unscramble the data using a secure decryption key. Encryption of data-in-transit and data-at-rest has long been recognized as a best practice to enforce the security and privacy of data, regardless of where it resides. Data-at-rest refers to data that is being stored persistently (e.g. data stored in a cloud service provider’s database) while data-in-transit refers to data that is being sent between two locations (e.g. data moving over the public internet between two cloud service providers). Many argue that these two states of encryption are no longer sufficient as they do not address data-in-use, which refers to data that is actively being processed (e.g. stored data being manipulated by a cloud service provider in order to generate a report for the end user). The Cloud Security Alliance now recommends that organizations also implement encryption of data-in-use to ensure that data is secured for the entire duration of its lifecycle.

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Shopping Cart Requirements From a customer point of view, you want to do business with organizations that have made it a priority to protect your data. Demonstrating your organization’s commitment to protect customer data is not only a legal requirement, but helps to build a level of trust with potential customers. No matter how small or large your organization is, if you collect payments online, there are a number of security regulations that the IT and marketing team are required to meet. To ensure payment protection and reduce credit card fraud the payment industry collectively adopted PCI DSS as the requirement for organizations that process, store, or transmit payment cardholder data. If you are using a reputable eCommerce platform like Shopify or Magento you are well on your way to becoming PCI DSS compliant. To complete the certification organizations must complete a self assessment that covers internal procedures for handling payment information.

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Platform Integration The marketing technology stack continues to grow at an exponential rate. Marketers often use a number of independent platforms for things like social media management and monitoring, email marketing, and customer relationship management. Each platform in the marketing stack is constantly gathering data, and marketers are faced with the challenges of distilling actionable insights from this sometimes overwhelming wealth of information. To reduce the time required to maintain each independent database and connect insights from each data source marketers must integrate the various platforms in the marketing stack. In most cases platform integration requires some level of collaboration from the IT department, and if applicable the CIO and data warehousing team.

Master Data Management Organizations with a formalized information management procedure practice what is known as Master Data Management (MDM)– a set of processes, governance, policies, standards and tools that consistently define and manage data. MDM is used to remove duplicates, standardize data structure, and incorporate rules to eliminate incorrect data from entering the system in order to create a clean, reliable source of master data. For many organizations, Salesforce, or their CRM of choice, houses their master data collection.

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With your CRM as the master data collection, the goal is to integrate the various platforms that sales and marketing use (email, social media tools, landing pages, etc) and let the appropriate data sync between platforms. For instance, if a website visitor converts on a landing page their contact information should be synchronized with the master data collection. Data synchronization across multiple business applications is vital to ensure everyone within the organization can access single customer view – a single, consistent, accurate and holistic view of your organisation’s customers, prospects and their data.

Application Synchronization Depending on the applications you are integrating, you might have the choice of one-way or two-way synchronization. With one-way sync data only flows in one direction. For example if you are using one-way sync, data flows from HubSpot to Salesforce. If a contact is updated in HubSpot, Salesforce will automatically reflect this change. However, because the data only flows in one direction, if the contact is updated in Salesforce it would not be reflected in HubSpot. Twoway sync allows information to be exchanged between platforms in both ways. This more sophisticated exchange of information between two platforms allows data to flow freely, in near real time, while maintaining accurate data across multiple platforms.

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Application Programing Interface If the applications that you wish to connect do not offer out of the box integration, or you would like to implement more sophisticated integration, you might have the opportunity to build a custom integration using the application’s APIs. An API is the set of “switches and levers� that a software service exposes so that other programs and services can interact with it. You can request data from the service through its API, and with the proper permissions you use the API to send data to the service. Each exchange of data is know as an API call. Most applications have a daily or monthly limit on the number of API calls that you can make.

Data migration In cases where you are moving marketing data from one platform to another it is important to consult the IT team and plan a data migration strategy. Data is gold in the digital economy and any complications or inaccuracies resulting from data migration could have damaging downstream effects to your master data collection. Your IT team will have skills required to evaluate if data can be exported from one platform and imported into another, ensure that data integrity is maintained, and that multiple data backups are maintained.

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Control Traditionally, the IT team owned and managed most company data. The IT team is used to having control over data sources, how data is governed, and the technical environment that the business’s applications run in. Cloud based technology is quickly shifting the role that the IT department plays within an organization. Instead of building and maintaining on-premise IT infrastructure, cloud based technology enables organizations to the take advantage of world class information technology infrastructure, often at a fraction of the cost of building lesser homegrown systems. IT teams can now focus on leveraging new technology to create operational efficiencies, audit new solutions, and train new users.

On-premise systems vs Cloud computing Ever wonder what all that technology in the back of your office does? Traditionally, corporate IT teams built and managed on-premise IT infrastructure – a complicated network of physical hardware and software responsible for powering things like your corporate email, phone systems, or business applications, like CRM. Because each office location had to own their own hardware within their four walls, organizations incurred huge capital expenditures on servers, memory, and networking infrasture. Additionally, IT teams constantly had to install software updates and run security audits to ensure all systems were running properly. With an on-premise IT infrastructure model,

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the IT department has complete control over the organization’s data, business applications and IT environment. Cloud solutions eliminate the requirement for physical infrastructure or software to be located within your office. From a consumer point of view, Gmail is a cloud solution – it doesn’t require you to download any software or have any specific infrastructure to run your email. When an organization leverages a cloud based application they are essentially renting service from a provider that has a warehouse of cutting edge IT infrastructure, software, and security. Because many organizations leverage the service provider’s infrastructure, organizations experience economies of scale, which in many cases means a superior service and a significantly lower cost. While cloud technologies offer tremendous advantages, there are a number of issues related to data control and availability that marketers should be aware of.

Data residency In heavily regulated industries like banking, education, and insurance there are often strict data residency laws that organizations must adhere to. When you use cloud based services like Gmail, Google Drive, Salesforce, or HubSpot your data is being stored in third party data warehouses. Data residency laws stipulate where in the world your data can be stored. If you do not abide by these laws the penalties can be significant.

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Service level agreements Service level agreements (SLA) have been commonplace in IT-related purchases for quite sometime, but are a relatively new concept for most members of the marketing team. An SLA is part of a service contract where the service provider makes commitments to different aspects of the services they will provide. A service provider might outline guarantees for availability (or uptime) of their service, the response or resolution time you can expect if you encounter a problem, or the percentage of incoming calls that can be resolved without the use of a callback or without having the caller call back the helpdesk to finish resolving the case.

Guaranteed uptime Service providers that make aggressive SLA guarantees demonstrate confidence in their ability to consistently deliver the product or service that they are offering. If your website host goes down, and as a result your website is inaccessible, that means you are losing valuable traffic, and even revenue. The same applies for web-based marketing platforms. If you subscribe to a web-based marketing platform like HubSpot or Hootsuite, you need the service to be available in order to do your job.

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Expectations for cloud service uptime have continued to rise. Most industry-leading services offer a guaranteed uptime of over 99%.

99.95%

99.9%

99.9%

What do these numbers really mean? • 99% means an acceptable downtime of 87 hours and 40 minutes • 99.5% means an acceptable downtime of 43 hours, 50 minutes • 99.9% means an acceptable downtime of 8 hours 46 minutes • 99.95% means an acceptable downtime of 4 hours 23 minutes • 99.99% means an acceptable downtime of 52.56 minutes a year

Scalability Your website or mobile app might work fine with your current traffic volumes, but what happens if you experience a significant influx of traffic? Will your infrastructure be able to scale with the additional demand? These are the types of questions that marketers should consider and members of the IT department can evaluate from a technical point of view. In addition to collaborating with members of the IT team to understand how an application will scale technically, marketers should be considering scalability from a business process point of view. During the solution evaluation process marketers need to not only think about Kula Partners

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how an applications fits their current business processes, but how it Conclusion will perform if their business rapidly scales up 2x, 4x, or even 10x.

Conclusion Regardless of the product or service your organization provides, in today’s digital business environment you are really competing in the information business. The accuracy, speed and precision of IT systems means the difference between winning and losing customers, being able to accurately measure marketing’s revenue contribution and forecast future business growth. Marketers now have access to a plethora of technology, customer data and communication channels. With CMOs on pace to outspend CIOs on technology by 2017, the importance of aligning IT and marketing has never been more evident. Organizations that align their business processes and IT strategy to become a customer-centric organization are positioning themselves for success. The bar is set very high, consumers now expect a delightful customer experience from every brand no matter if they are buying kitchen soap or enterprise software.

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Guide to marketing & IT alignment