Information Technology and Digital Marketing: Where Business Owners Get Confused
Information Technology is something every company needs, but sometimes there is confusion about what really falls under its umbrella. One major confusion involves digital marketing. You may have known the difference this whole time or were unaware Information Technology and Digital Marketing were different. Knowing the difference can save a lot of people from headaches.
It's that pesky word “digital” that might make some business owners mistakenly think that digital marketing is something they can hand over to their IT department.
What is Information Technology?
The most basic definition of information technology is that it applies technology to solve your problems. Therefore, a lot of people think digital marketing falls under it. They think that IT professionals can handle things like click funnels and drip campaigns.
In truth, Information Technology typically has three responsibilities:
- Governance, that is developing policies and processes to make IT more efficient.
- Operations, which is providing tech support, network maintenance, security, etc.
- Infrastructure, which is setting up as well as maintaining all your physical equipment and hardware.
These are all practical things that support your day-to-day operations. The best IT department is the one you forget is even there because you don't need tech support and they just hum along in the background, keeping everything moving. Most IT professionals are meticulous, good at math, and have a very high understanding of the systems they work with.
They don't necessarily have the skills needed to be a marketer or to help you advertise your product or service to the world.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is an umbrella term for any sort of marketing that happens online. If it involves using the internet or an electronic device, it's digital marketing. Thus, digital marketing encompasses:
- Email newsletters
- Social media marketing
- Internet and mobile advertising
- Blogs, podcasts, as well as other forms of content marketing
So, here's a big difference: Information Technology is primarily about keeping your networks running. Digital marketing is about getting in touch with people. Digital marketing is how most people will find you (unless they hear about you from a satisfied customer). Most people begin their search for a product or service online and they use mobile devices more and more. If you trust your digital marketing to your IT department then, unless you are very lucky, they will be providing dry and bare-bones service that won't appeal to your customers at all.
This doesn't mean Information Technology doesn't have a role to play in digital marketing, but they have a very different skill set. While IT is vital just to keep your company running, digital marketing is more and more essential to ensure that it thrives.
For most companies, digital marketing is now more important than “analog” marketing such as giving out flyers, although still not as important as the ever-vital word of mouth. Having a digital marketing team is necessary if your company is to grow. Digital marketing strategies do vary by business and industry and are also different between B2B and B2C.
How Information Technology and Digital Marketing Interact
IT's primary role in digital marketing is, of course, to make networking and infrastructure work. The best-designed website in the world achieves nothing if the server it is hosted on is not stable.
Digital marketing often employs something called “martech.” Martech is short for marketing technology and refers to the specific technologies used in digital marketing.
Martech thus includes:
- Websites and related technology
- Social media networks
- Customer management databases
- Email marketing automation
- Interactive technology such as Slack, chatbots, etc.
- The technology used to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing.
Information Technology plays a role in supporting and in choosing these solutions. Ideally, the martech stack should work together. Herein lies the problem. Most IT people don't know marketing and most marketing people don't know IT.
IT plays a specific role in a few aspects of marketing, which include:
- SEO. So-called technical SEO is designing your website with SEO in mind. This includes things like image compression to increase loading speed, ensuring site reliability, as well as making sure that integrations between your website and social media work smoothly.
- Marketing automation, such as scheduling posts, sending out newsletters, as well as helping with tracking and reporting.
- Ensuring that digital assets are properly optimized for mobile and tested on multiple devices.
Coordination between IT and digital marketing thus becomes more and more important as marketing becomes more online and ever more automated.
Do Digital Marketers Need to Understand IT?
Digital marketers don't need to be IT professionals. However, they do need to have a solid, basic understanding of how the technology they use works.
They need to be able to properly use all the technology at their fingertips, especially when it comes to measuring analytics. This combines with an understanding of buyer personas. They need to know how the internet itself works as well as how different social media networks are put together at the level of coarse architecture.
Most of all, they need to know how to automate everything which can be automated, freeing them up for the more creative parts of the job.
Past that point, it's important for digital marketers to work with IT to ensure that everything implemented to support digital marketing works well with the rest of the company's IT infrastructure. Martech needs to be integrated properly, especially when it comes to customer data that is useful to both sales and marketing.
How Can You Create a Good Digital Marketing Team?
A good digital marketing team is expensive. You need a variety of specialties to be covered, including SEO, content marketing, social media manager, automation coordination, etc.
And no, you can't hand it over to IT because, while they very much matter, it is still not their specialty. For most companies, the answer is to outsource your digital marketing to specialists. This allows you to pay for only the time you need instead of having to bring on a full-time team.
If you are ready to take your digital marketing to the next level, contact Viral Solutions today. Our powerful digital marketing team can help your company develop a digital marketing strategy that is suited to your industry and audience. We can work with your IT department to help you find the tools you need to thrive. Digital marketing is the future. Viral Solutions can help.