Why IT needs to focus on contents over containers

We hear over and over again that enterprise IT must be better aligned with “the business” in order to build an internal brand that can survive. I’ve written many times about my disdain for the words “the business” because, quite frankly, I don’t know what else there would be to focus on as “enterprise” IT.

As an international marketing wonk for most of my career, I’ve had an opportunity to view IT from the outside-in. Over the past 10 years I’ve studied the disconnects between CIOs and CMOs and how the former have made a desperate attempt to transform themselves into marketing technologists. Ironically, like ships passing in the night, CMOs have tried to expand their technology skills and in many cases embed technology professionals in their organization.

But there’s one “shiny object” related to marketing and marketing technology that both CMOs and CIOs fixate on at the expense of understanding their own respective businesses: containers.

IT is always looking for places to store things. The cloud is arguably now the largest (virtual) container known to mankind. And while CIOs and their teams obsess with cloud containers, CMOs have started doing the same.

Marketers are relentless about inventing their own digital containers to put stuff in. While the underpinnings rely on IT, these containers are quite different in their form factors. For instance, this blog resides on a cloud-based WordPress content management system or container.

For insight into marketers’ favorite containers, check out this research report from eMarketer. They apply to enterprise IT because, in reality, they are marketing containers that reside within technology containers, such as cloud or an enterprise database.

Marketers are interested in packaging their messages in containers that best serve their customers but they must always remember that contents matter. Just like certain technology containers can have an exponential effect on glitches across the enterprise, so can a marketing container magnify the flaws of marginal content.

So how can a CIO get the attention of the CMO or Chief Revenue Officer ? Lead with a discussion on content! Study the eMarketer link and ask your counterparts if they concur with the research findings. Then ask them about their content strategy to populate these formats.

Many of them could have a direct effect on your technology infrastructure. For example, video is regarded as one of the most effective content formats. Unfortunately, the IT discussion is typically related to storage (container) capacity when it should move toward how video is being linked to other equally compelling content pieces across the enterprise.

One might think that this content all sits in the marketing department’s content management system, but that’s rarely the case. The content-driven CIO will seek to build digital connective tissue to leverage the content across the enterprise.

When IT moves the conversation from storing content to leveraging content, its brand within the enterprise becomes stronger — and the risk of being made irrelevant or marginalized in the business goes down.

How does your enterprise leverage the value of content as opposed to managing places to store it?

RELATED LINKS

Now that’s digital marketing

Will CIOs survive the IT evolution?

Securing the server programs hiding in your Docker containers

 

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