When you decided that you wanted to go into IT, I’m willing to bet that you thought that this meant that you had closed the door on a career in what are traditionally called the business fields: sales and marketing. Well guess what, that door isn’t really closed, it’s actually open just a bit. This means that as a successful IT manager, in addition to your IT manager skills you’re also going to need to develop your marketing skills.
The Marketing Skills That Every IT Manager Must Have
Your company makes some sort of product or service that they then offer to their customers. How they come to understand what problems their customers are trying to solve and the processes that they go through to both design solutions and then make customers aware that they have the solutions is what marketing is all about.
Although you don’t work in the marketing department, your IT team is responsible for supporting the efforts of the marketing team. That means that even though it wasn’t part of your IT manager training, you are going to have to create IT processes and solutions to support the following marketing functions:
- Promotions: At different times during the year, triggered by the calendar, outside events, or the release of a new version of the company’s products, the marketing department will launch a promotion program. Your IT team may be called on to assist in getting information delivered either via social media channels or though the company’s web site. Additionally, if the promotion is successful, then the processing load on the company’s servers will go up and must be managed.
- Publicity: In order for the company’s products and services to be purchased, the outside world has to know that the company exists. This means that the marketing department will be generating a constant stream of publicity material that will need to be securely and reliably delivered to various media outlets. Publicity is a two-way street and so outsiders will also have to be able to contact members of the marketing department. Your IT team will be responsible for making sure that data flows securely and reliably in both directions.
- Electronic Marketing: Welcome to the 21st Century where everything is done electronically. This means that marketing programs that include video, online coupons, and webinars now need your IT team to support them. This means that critical IT issues such as bandwidth, storage, and processing power need to be addressed before they are called on to support an electronic marketing program.
- Trade Shows: At a trade show, your company is going to be trying to capture the attention of both customers and the media. This means that they are going to need to have the support of your IT team in order to be able to put on slick demos, process visitor contract information, and perform effective follow up email campaigns once the event is over.
- Consumer Marketing: The ability to reach out to each one of your potential end user customers is a powerful new marketing technique. However, in order to do this effectively, a great deal of support from your IT team will be required. This means that email lists need to be created and managed, email and mailing templates have to be created and correctly populated, and open rates along with web site hits need to be tracked and analyzed. Your IT team is going to be busy!
What All Of This Means For You
The world of IT is a complex place. As an IT manager you might think that your only job is to find ways to have your team help the rest of the company get the most out of technology. It turns out that there is actually more that the company wants you to do.
The marketing of the company’s products and services is a key part of what needs to be done in order for the company to be successful. As an IT manager, it’s important that you understand the different marketing functions that exist and how your IT team can support them.
One of the most important things that you can do as an IT manager is to always be increasing your understanding of how your company works. IT is only one part of the larger company; however, what your team does supports everyone else. Take the time to include the marketing team in you IT team building efforts. Learn what marketing does and you’ll be well positioned to make your company be even more successful.
- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: What’s the best way for marketing and IT to keep each other updated on what they are currently working on?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
We all want to become better IT managers, but the big question is always how? Sure, sure – we could attend yet another online technical training program in order to get some IT manager training and boost our IT manager skills, but those never seem to really change how good of an IT manager we are. We’ve all been hearing that IT managers need to become better at working with the rest of the company, but there never seem to be any details on just exactly how to go about doing this. Perhaps it’s time for you to take a skills test.