It’s deployment day. It’s Monday. It’s 9:00 AM.
You’ve just built and deployed a kickass application that business users have wanted forever. It was a 12-month-long project with multiple sleepless nights. This weekend was extremely stressful, thanks to the go-live activities. You’ve had a light breakfast because you’re expecting donuts and cupcakes coming your way, congratulating you on your feat of making everyone’s life so easy.
No cupcakes; you’re hungry. It’s 11:00 AM.
A quick look at the dashboard tells you that no one even logged into the application, let alone start using it. You’re confused because you listed down the instructions clearly in the email that you sent to the department heads. There’s a 30-page help document in case the users get stuck. You did everything you could but nothing, nada, zilch!
No one knows; no one cares. They’re just going about their day as always.
Why No Cupcakes?
Well, you just deployed code; you didn’t launch an application. Many tech organizations assume that their jobs end when code is committed to production. That is far from the truth. Technology organizations are missing a critical piece after deployment.
Let’s face it. Business users are busy. They don’t have the time to notice everything that comes their way. That’s where launching something (as opposed to simply committing code) can help drive outcomes for the business.
Developers deploy. Marketers launch. That’s why you need a marketer on your team.
Enter the Marketer in IT
It might sound like a misfit, but hear me out. I’ve worked with many IT teams in the past and humans of IT take a lot of effort to market what they’ve built. It doesn’t work out, for two reasons:
- IT teams don’t have the time
- IT teams don’t have the skillsets
I love IT teams to death, but let’s be honest. There’s no way you’re going to find time between fixing production databases and upgrading to the latest versions. It is also incredibly hard for you to find someone in IT who is a naturally gifted marketer (if you already have someone like that in your IT organization, turn them into “The Marketer in IT”).
Hence, a new role is justified.
Where Will the Marketer in IT Fit in?
If the CIO (or the highest held role within the IT org) is serious about the organization realizing value from IT, the marketer will directly report to them. This will ensure that the marketer has full context about what happens in the IT organization.
What Will Their Responsibilities Be?
This can be slightly tricky, so I’m going to stick with the consultant’s answer, “It depends.” New roles can be very tricky as it usually involves taking out multiple things from multiple other roles and merging into one.
If I have to highlight three key responsibilities of the marketer, I would choose the following
Own all outward communication. If there’s one thing that a marketer can drastically improve, it’s this. Communication is a key part of IT that’s often underrated, for the right reasons I’m sure. The marketer will bring the focus that it deserves and will ensure that all information from IT is channelized and delivered to the right audience in a way they can consume.
Communication is a key part of IT that’s often underrated.
Drive Adoption for Internal Applications. IT builds technology. IT maintains technology. End users use technology. IT usually follows a “Let’s build it and they’ll come” approach. Well, they won’t. Here’s where the marketer can add a lot of value. The marketer can take up a goal to ensure they drive adoption of applications. And, this isn’t new to the marketing world. Product marketers usually own adoption goals and there are lot of proven techniques that can be reused in a different context.
Evangelize All the Great Work IT Does (Internally and Externally). I’ve always believed that IT is too busy to talk about the great work they do around the year. If you had to choose between that email outage and writing a blog post to explain how you’ve just saved the business thousands of dollars, which one would you choose? The marketer can help. There are loads of industry awards and interesting opportunities to showcase the awesome work that’s been done. Let them focus on getting you all the glory while IT does what they do best, saving the day!
What Kind of Skills Do They Need?
They would most definitely need all the skills of a marketer, but I’m going to highlight the two most important skills that they would need.
Articulation. The marketer in IT will be talking about IT to a potentially non-IT audience. Therefore, the ability to break down technical concepts into a simple, human understandable format is paramount.
Attraction. The marketer in IT is trying to get the attention of a business user who may or may not want to consume what’s being sent their way. The marketer is expected come up with creative ways to get eyeballs turning their way.
Copywriting is also generally an important skill for a marketer and worth highlighting in case of a marketer in IT.
Where Can You Hire the Marketer in IT?
Start by looking inwards. You might already have a rockstar marketer within the IT organization, waiting to be unleashed. The next logical step would be to poach someone from your marketing team. Anyone who’s looking for a challenging new role would find this opportunity enticing. If that fails as well, you can throw a net outside your organization to find your marketer.
What Would Their Job Description Be?
Here’s an outline of a potential job description for your marketer in IT:
The CIO (Or highest held position within IT)
We are looking for a marketing professional to work within the IT organization to own marketing and communication for IT to rest of the world. You will be responsible to drive adoption for all things IT builds.
Responsibilities and Duties
- Be the megaphone for IT by owning all communications from IT
- Create awareness amongst employees about internal product and services
- Be the brand ambassador of IT both within and outside the organization
- Write how-to guides and documentation for internally built applications
- Master of the Explain-to-Me-Like-I’m-5 game
- Believes less is more when it comes to copywriting
- Past experience in product marketing preferred
- Enjoys talking about technology to family and friends
- Truly believes that technology can change the world
Sanjeev NC is currently a Product Marketing Manager at Freshworks, makers of cloud-based ITSM software. Sanjeev started his career in IT service desk and moved over to process consulting where he led award winning ITSM tool implementations. Sanjeev is passionate about user experience and evangelizes a concept called selfless service as an evolution of self-service. Sanjeev was also a highly commended finalist for Young ITSM Professional of the year in itSMF UK’s annual awards. Sanjeev is currently on a mission to ensure that every customer support interaction yields the best possible experience. Follow him on Twitter