Historically: the conflict between marketing and information technology


Before we go into the details of the (emergency) disagreement between marketing and information technology, which is urgent because it is very recent and has only appeared in the last 15 years, let’s get acquainted with very important terms that will define the common areas of disagreement between the two parties (these are controversial terms, meaning that there is no definition for them. Agreed and the definitions below are my personal view):

  • Digitization : It is the process of converting a manual, paper-based process (such as filling out a passport form) into a computer-based process, whether it is via the Internet or at the headquarters of this activity, and I find that the closest Arabic description for this step is “automation”.
  • Digitalization : is the use of modern technologies and data collected from “automation” to improve or radically change the work that creates added value for the customer, for example: when your passport is close to expiry, you will receive an alert message on your mobile phone, you will enter the Absher system, renew the passport and pay via a channel A bank linked to the Absher system, then the new passport will be delivered to your home via a postal carrier, so this term completely changed the concept of the customer’s experience and adapted the technology to serve him. The closest description of this in Arabic for this step is “digitization”, of course it is clear that “digitization” cannot be done Without “automation”.
  • Digital transformation : digital transformation is simply a mixture of the two above, so why use this term? The answer is because it is more general and comprehensive. First, and secondly, the important thing is: you can automate and digitize in a primitive island all the basic and luxury services, but no one will use them because the country is not equipped with an infrastructure, for example there is no Internet, so how do you ask them to use automated and digitized services? Digital transformation is related to people, culture, and their acceptance of the use of technology, a simple example:
    1. Suppose we are in the year 2014 (it seems very close) and you are told that within a year from now there will be a large number of individuals (not employees of a company) during their spare time waiting for you to order anything from anywhere and they will bring it to you for a small amount, it seems crazy. ! We know that we can order things but they are from specific places, shawarma from Shawarmer, pizza from Domino’s, they will deliver it, but I ask someone (an individual) to go to the crowded IKEA store and buy me things that I have specified for him and pay for them and bring them to my house and I will pay him for the items and the trip , I don “t think so.
    2. In the year 2015, a messenger was established with the same idea above and it took some time for people to accept this disruptive idea, and today we are in 2020, and I do not think that there is a Saudi or a Saudi who did not ask a messenger, this is called Digital Transformation.
  • Digital Economy : The digital economy is the part of the economy that produces financial mobility and creates jobs depending on fully technical products. For example, Facebook’s income for the year 2019 is $ 70 billion, its net profits are $ 18 billion, and it has 45,000 employees around the world. Completely digital.

To go back in time, businesses were managed by paper, pen, notebooks and records, and marketing existed in various forms, until the invention of the computer in the thirties of the last century, then came the information technology revolution in the late seventies and early eighties, which changed the life of (business) significantly and was accompanied by a wave of the establishment of small departments For corporate information technology to ” automate ” and facilitate business, it soon turned into larger and larger departments until it became a major part of any business, accompanied by the emergence of several university specializations and many job titles such as CIO, Chief Information Officer or CTO Chief Technology Officer, but it did not affect On the big marketing, why?

One of the common fallacies is that marketing is communication and advertising only, while this is partly true, but marketing consists of 4 main sections, or the so-called 4Ps :

  • P: Product
  • P: Pricing or Pricing
  • P: Communication or Placement
  • P: Publication, Promotion, or Advertising

The information technology revolution served the first part of marketing (product and pricing) greatly, but the second part (communication and advertising) was not significantly affected? Because the information technology revolution did not reach the main marketing channels: (television – newspapers – magazines – outdoor advertisements and road advertisements), so workers in the field of marketing communications continued to tweet outside the flock, neither benefiting nor affected by the power of technology, until the Internet began to spread in the mid-nineties of the last century, What happened? Let’s look at the following sequence :

  1. IT departments used to rely on building, purchasing (or licensing) products and operating them inside their data centers, there was no cloud in the sense that there is now and there was no SaaS
  2. The Internet has opened the gates of bliss (and hell) for marketers, on the one hand it has become easy to reach millions of users, and on the other hand, the Internet is branched and branched and has complex characteristics in terms of the quality of the content and the recipient different from what marketers are accustomed to in traditional channels, in addition to the fact that the recipient here can express his opinion. Unlike television, outdoor advertisements, and newspapers, they are one-sided channels. But it was a very simple stage and there was no difference yet between marketing and technology, this stage can be dated from 1995 to 2007 or the emergence of the iPhone.
  3. In my view, the Internet has moved to a new stage for three main reasons, since the appearance of the iPhone until today:
    • The development of communication networks and the introduction of mobile internet products (I tried the first PAYG mobile internet on a laptop around 2006-2007)
    • The type of device used to access the Internet changed from fixed devices to mobile devices, which gave users more time to interact with the world via the Internet. Marketers’ desires to discover this world increased.
    • The social networking revolution.
  4. Marketers’ desires to use technology have increased, and this was accompanied by the emergence of many products that serve the goals of marketers, whether they are hosted within companies (and this is rare) or products on the Internet SaaS, accompanied by the emergence of many stars in this space.

The disagreement between marketing and technology began to appear here, and to know the basis for the difference, we must first know what the interests of the two parties are:

  1. Marketing:
    • Acquiring new customers in the shortest time and least cost.
    • Excellence in providing products and advertising them.
    • The time required to reach the end consumer should always be shorter, which is called Speed-to-Market
    • Flexibility to change the product, pricing, or advertising method based on customer opinions.
    • Brand or customer perception of the company as a whole.
    • The desire to experience everything new on the ground.
  2.  Technology :
    • Systems stability
    • Information Security
    • Maintenance and support.
    • Standardization.
    • Data quality
    • Improving the return on investment in technology infrastructure.

To take a general example of this disagreement, it will bring you closer to reality. Marketing wants a tool to schedule its posts on social networks and asks for that from information technology. The technology team returns with a proposal to develop a system to do this goal or license one of the available solutions and host it within its data center, and this will cost × It will take 30 working days to complete it. The marketing team replies that the service is available and its name is Buffer.com. Subscription to it takes place within a minute and the cost is low and in all cases is less than the cost of developing it internally. .

This is a simple illustrative example, but it is repeated on several levels. Is this disagreement a problem and may it cause difficulties in the work? In my personal opinion, this disagreement is very healthy when it is on the surface, when the two parties agree that the solution is not only white or black, but rather it is a new equation for a changing world that puts all criteria of cost, time required for completion, return from service, information security and customer privacy in one basket for decision-making. the correct.

You can read more about this topic, there are many articles that discussed the idea of ​​the dispute, I tried to explain it in a historical context so that the recipient could know the origin of the problem, and in later posts when we talk about solutions.

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