Have you heard the definition of an extroverted IT guy? He’s the one who looks at your shoes while he’s talking to you, instead of his own.
How about this one:
Q: How many marketers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It’s not too late to change it to neon is it?
Cue the rimshot.
Yup, we get it. IT guys are a little antisocial and marketers like to change their minds a lot.
With so much interaction between the marketing team and the technical team these days, there’s much that can be lost in translation. So often when marketing says one thing, the technology guy hears something completely different -- and vice versa.
I thought it might be fun to look at some of the “miscommunication” that happens so frequently as marketing people try and talk to their IT colleagues, and vice versa, and then provide some actual translations.
Here’s my top five from each point of view -- please feel free to share your own favorites in the comments.
What Marketing Says to IT
5. “We need that new customization done ASAP!”
What the IT guy hears: “Um, when you are done with everything that’s on your current list, and you can fit this in -- would you start this for me?”
Actual Translation: “Gah! Help, I need you to drop everything except all the other stuff that I need and get on this!”
4. “Can you guys support this software?”
What the IT guy hears: “Can your team make sure this application actually functions and will stay up?"
Actual Translation: “Hey, can you implement and then customize this software, and make it do a bunch of stuff that the vendor says is really hard?”
3. “Is it possible to have this integration done by next week?”
What the IT guy hears: “Is it theoretically within the realm of physics and given a team of experts and no other obstructions that the integration can be completed within a week?”
Actual Translation: "Can YOU finish all this by next week?"
2. “Can we make it personalized? You know, like Amazon.”
What the IT guy hears: “We just got an unlimited budget and unlimited time -- so is it theoretically possible to make our site have some elements of personalization?”
And drum roll please ... the number one thing that marketing says to IT that drives IT crazy:
1. "It’s Just …"
What the IT guy hears: “Yeah, I’m about to say something that I know nothing about …”
And that’s the truth. Any time a marketing person asks for anything technical and starts out the sentence with the words “it’s just,” you know there’s going to be trouble.
What IT Says To Marketing
Of course IT also has its problems in communicating with marketing.
5. "It will be ready tomorrow."
What the marketing guy hears: “Tomorrow this new feature/application will be tested, ready and completely bug free.”
4. "Right now we have a challenge to solve the Null pointer exception which appears in our stack trace …"
What the marketing guy hears: “Blah, blah, blah, blah -- we can’t do it.”
3. "We need the requirements for this project."
What the marketing guy hears: “Can you tell us your wish list for what you need?”
2. "We can hack something together for you."
What the marketing guy hears: “We can make it work flawlessly.”
And another drum roll please ... the number one thing that IT says to marketing that drives marketing crazy:
What the marketing guy hears: “Um, yeah, let’s talk about it.”
These days, as big data and creating great customer experiences become a huge business imperative, it’s incredibly important for technology people and marketers to get along -- and communicate well.
And, we can all learn a lesson about the way we create these experiences for customers. Creating experiences that are meaningful for customers is the promise of both big data and personalized content. So, as marketing people and technology people we need to be interested in each other. As Dale Carnegie said, “you can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Here’s to IT and marketing becoming the best of friends ….
Editor's Note: Read more from Tjeerd in CXM Isn't a Job for One