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Does a reliance on the “IT guy” highlight a lack of digital skills within marketing teams?

Many marketers are struggling with the digital side of their jobs, and recent research from digital content and commerce provider Episerver, in its State of Digital Commerce report, shows that half of marketers don’t go one week without having to contact their IT department for help with marketing-related tasks.

Over a quarter (28%) of marketers can’t even edit their company’s website from within the marketing team and need to work with IT or a web-design agency to introduce new content. Around a third (34%) of marketers find themselves working with their IT department on marketing-related tasks multiple times a week, with 15% contacting IT on a daily basis.

How often must marketers contact IT to do their jobs?

The marketing-IT disconnect
Discussing the findings, James Norwood, CMO at Episerver says that they highlight a marketing-IT disconnect: “Marketers have been talking about the so-called “marketing-IT disconnect” for as long as I can remember. For years, marketing professionals have been unable to develop the type of interactive, digital campaigns that consumers are demanding, simply because they don’t have ownership of the tools required to make such campaigns a reality.”

Norwood says it is no surprise that marketers are so dependent on digital experts: “Given that so much of what marketers do is now reliant on digital technologies (web content, landing pages, email marketing, social media, etc), it’s understandable that today’s marketers are expected to work ever-more closely with those who often control this tech – the IT department.”

Relying on IT wastes time
One problem is that relying on another department holds things up: “Whilst there has been a significant push to unify the visions of the marketing department with the realities of IT, many marketers have grown frustrated with the current state of affairs. IT can be seen to cause an unnecessary bottleneck that undermines the real-time nature of their digital campaigns.”

Another problem is that PR people are struggling.with digital as it is so different from more traditional communications activities. Norwood says: “For both in-house communicators and agencies, PR is now about so much more than just media relations. Today’s PR professionals find themselves increasingly working in the digital space, producing web copy, creating downloadable materials and running content-led campaigns.

The power of IT departments
“Many PROs are now experiencing their own marketing-IT disconnect for the very first time. From the managing of customer data sets, to the installation of media databases, right through to the purchasing of content management systems, IT departments increasingly hold the keys to a successful real-time communications campaign.”

Luckily for those who hate having to rely on “outsiders”, the future looks brighter because digital work is becoming easier, thanks to new tools. Norwood concludes: “As tools evolve – and grow increasingly user friendly – there is no reason why PR professionals can’t be managing their campaigns from start to finish themselves. Whether uploading web copy, launching a landing page or sending an HTML email, with the right tools today’s marketers and PR professionals can cut out the ‘middleman’ and develop their campaigns directly.”

Episerver’s State of Digital Commerce report incorporates original research from 100 in-house marketing professionals across the UK, 1,200 UK consumers and a benchmark of 100 brands across five different markets. The study was commissioned by Episerver and conducted by independent research house Censuswide.

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