IT and Marketing Don’t Mix: 3 Reasons You Need Dedicated Database Marketing

“Why can’t I just use my IT group?” is a question many businesses ask when they are charting the course of their database marketing. It’s tempting to take advantage of an existing resource, keep the whole process in-house and save money. Sounds like a slam-dunk. Yet, after years of all kinds of different approaches to making these independently purposed resources fit into one smooth system, the same issues show up again and again. Here are the three top reasons not to use your IT department for database marketing.

1. Marketing’s Customer Intelligence Challenges are Unique
Customer Intelligence (CI) is a unique challenge for marketers and serves very different purposes than those for which most companies’ IT infrastructure has been designed. The IT system has been traditionally set up with the top priority of supporting business/customer interactions at customer touchpoints, because that is the closest point to customers—marketers’ bread and butter. The CI-type of analytics, critical but affordable, are often delayed compared to daily operations at customer touchpoints, and almost always treated secondarily whenever competing against customer-facing operations.

2. Valuable Intelligence Is Lost
IT is broad. When CI is lump-summed into IT, it often gets lost and misused by the talent that handles hardware, storage, software and networking. That is a huge loss.

The true value of CI needs to be tapped by those who understand loyalty programs and marketing ROI and how data is turned into impactful intelligence from meaningless bytes and bits. Then assemble and align those servers, disk drives, software and network devices to support those purposes. That’s where marketing services providers (MSPs) come in. Customer intelligence should always be the focus and product at an MSP, flowing in its culture and blood. No matter who you go to—strategist, analyst, database and Internet developers, and network and system administrators, they should all be able tell you how their work is related to acquiring and retaining loyal, good customers for a business.

3. Get the Attention You Need
For any marketers looking to avoid a fight with their sales and supply chain management for IT attention, or who don’t want to devote the resources needed to make their CI operation cutting-edge competitive, going to the right MSP is a logical choice. It is also important to remember that if a chief marketing officer is looking for quick proof that direct marketing is working effectively, it is unlikely to get the priority treatment and expertise from internal IT that you can from a dedicated MSP.

Judong Song is vice president of marketing intelligence technology for 89 Degrees, a Burlington, Mass.-based marketing solutions provider. He can be reached at

Publish date: April 27, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT