Blog Technology

Essential Cuts: Technology

No gotchas, no disconnects, no dead ends. Chris "Whitey" Geiser explains the essentials of fast IT/core IT, where brands need the most martech help, and how to find a marketing partner with a legit digital skillset.

Chris shares his insight on the essentials of technology.

Chris's Perspective

I oversee our technology strategy, both for our internal technology as well as our clients technology. Right now there is so much out there it can be completely overwhelming to both marketers and to the technologies that support those marketers. Understanding how it benefits your customer is probably the first place to start with what you want to assemble in your MarTech stack.

Connecting Core IT and Fast IT

Core IT and fast IT are a relationship that exists between the systems of record, or core IT, that you depend on for the data that carries your customer relationship. Fast IT is how your customer interacts with that and the things that you need to be in market with quickly to keep up with the Joneses and to actually have an experience that your customers will find to be somewhat invisible as far as technology is concerned. Now, the trouble and the disconnect happens between core IT and fast IT when those silos are created between, say, the IT department and the marketing department. The core IT/fast IT relationship is sort of like digging a tunnel between two points. If you start that project and you don't have everyone in the room at the same time aligning on where the midpoint is for that and where those two points will intersect, then what you're going to have is the tunnel that doesn't, you're going to dig both holes and they're not going to meet up in the middle. And then you're going to have to figure out what your contingency is after that, and that gets messy.

When you have stakeholders from IT, stakeholders from engineering, stakeholders from marketing, stakeholders from, let's say product management or whatever the business function is, that's important to the customer, you can align the goals of the business and the goals of the customer at the same time so that those two points at the tunnel actually meet up where they're supposed to, and you're connecting that core IT data to that fast IT experience, making it complete, right? Otherwise it's just an interface, and otherwise it's just data. There's no magic in it outside of having that tunnel between the two items, core IT and fast IT, that actually make for a complete customer experience that allow you to grow the business, right? So delight customers and grow the business are the two places to start. Those are the two ends of the tunnel. But you want to make sure that you have everybody in to meet in the right place.

What To Look For in a Marketing Partner

Where an agency would help with some of the problems of connecting core IT and fast IT is if you have an agency that has the technical chops to be able to speak both languages of both marketing and IT, to connect that core IT mindset with that fast IT mindset of what the marketer needs to satisfy the customer. So having both of those lenses allows someone in the room to speak both languages and at the same time unite that group, that stakeholder group, and seeing success in the same minds' eye. Delight the customer, grow the business.

Everybody wants the same thing, but everybody needs to be attentive to their particular discipline. So when you bring those stakeholders in to help them own that process, having someone be able to facilitate that conversation that understands what those core it needs are: governance, security, performance, that those all have to be a key part of how core IT and fast IT and direct, and at the same time understanding what part of the MarTech stack or the MarTech stack concept is relevant ,and what parts of it are just noise.

When you look at what is out there in the blogosphere currently about what the MarTech stack is, there's so much noise, and to distill that down to what's actually appropriate to satisfying a customer need and growing the business, that's the challenge that marketers are facing. And then how do you relate those systems back to the core IT systems that provide that customer value to those MarTech items? So having an agency like a GLG or an agency that's got a technical disposition the way that GLG does is a great value to a conversation like that, where a system integrator might not be a good fit because they're really just concerned with how do we get the system to fit with everything else that's there, right? So they're there and they're concerned with that one system that they're there to fold in to the core IT process or maybe even to the fast IT process, but an integrator is there to do one thing, and that's basically get an environment stood up and get things running. So they won't have that lens of why it's valuable to the customer. A traditional consultancy might not have that lens of what it takes to put it into action. They'll think strategically maybe for awhile, and then they won't necessarily get to, "This is how we can move quickly on this and actually start to win in a short-term timeframe as well as a long-term timeframe."

The Foundation For Success

What's been beneficial to our clients about our process is the ability to take those stakeholder conversations, turn them into some documentation about what's going to delight the customer and what's going to help grow the business, how are we going to satisfy all the requirements that are existing around the entire field of stakeholders, and then turn that into an action plan that allows the client to move forward with internal projects, allows specialized partners to come in and move forward with their phase of the project, and then allows the agency partner, like a GLG, to come in as sort of the general contractor and understand what the overall blueprint for the tunnel that we're building between core IT and fast IT is, and how to make sure that everybody ends up at the right point.