Posted by Amanda Steeves
Every industry has its own language. As a B2B marketing professional, I’m no stranger to using lingo – SEM, SEO, PPC, Lead Nurturing, Stats – and admit, can get caught up in the language of my day-to-day world. However, any skilled marketer can quickly and easily explain one of our many terms acronyms to a non-marketer.
The language that can cause us the most grief and many of our clients is the language used by IT departments/firms. Their ‘tech’ language can cause foreheads to wrinkle, heavy sighs and periods of frustration when lack of understanding leads to gaps, missteps or delays.
For marketers, we have a responsibility to learn ‘tech’; we need to understand the technical implications of some of our efforts, particularly, with online and digital tactics. Marketers and IT must work together because the more we can communicate effectively, the more our clients benefit and the more effective the end result.
For example, we recently worked with a client whose IT department had switched to a new hosting website provider for their website. Sounds easy enough for an IT department. Right? What could go wrong? For this company, once the switch had taken place, the Content Management System on their website (the functionality that allows non-programmers to make content edits/deletions to the web pages of their site) was not functioning properly due to a setting on the new hosting provider’s server.
Terms such as ‘front page extensions’, ‘iFrames’, ‘”filedir” field’, ‘PHP’, ‘Linux’ were being exchanged back and forth in emails. You can imagine the confusion that occurred. While some of these terms are understandable on their own, when they are all part of the same issue it can be an overwhelming situation.
In the end, we solved the problem by connecting the right technical person with ourselves and the web programmer. It wasn’t an overly complicated problem, where the breakdown occurred was in the language used and the approach.
While we need to recognize the language, we also need to understand it in terms that make sense to us. Second, this issue could have been resolved by connecting the IT specialist with the web programmer earlier in the process. So, the lesson here? Make sure you understand the issue (even if you can’t understand each technical term) and be sure to push back when you’re uncertain of next steps.
Here are some very common marketing situations in which you’ll need to ensure you understand the technical implications and take time to connect IT personnel with vendors (such as web programmers) at the start of any project, addition, or system change.
1) Website Requirements – When building your website, always bring in your firm’s IT department or consultant to ensure you understand what technical requirements must be met. For example, it may need to be programmed in a particular language in order for it to be hosted on your company’s server.
2) Hosting Set-up / Hosting Changes – There are often issues that need to be addressed when setting up a new hosting solution or changing to a new hosting provider. Be sure to connect the right people together to ensure the set-up or transition is seamless.
3) System Integration / Changes – When setting up tools that include other internal systems such as CRM, email, it’s important to understand any specific technical actions that may be required on the part of your vendor.
Next time you embark on a new project or are looking to implement a new system, do your due diligence – ask questions, meet with the right people, get up to speed on the technical language – and set forth a plan that effectively brings together the necessary parties as early as possible in the process. It will save you time, energy and make you more effective at your job because are equipped with the right knowledge.
Have you encountered a similar situation? And how did you solve it?