This week’s episode – 018: Douglas Karr

October 31, 2018

How many marketers do you know who began their careers as electricians (…in the Navy)? Do-it-all marketing aficionado Douglas Karr has perhaps the most comprehensive perspective of anyone on how to mend the IT-marketing chasm. Marketing folks aren’t schooled in technology (and that’s perfectly OK!), and, conversely, most of their IT counterparts haven’t much experience in dealing with marketing. In today’s show, Douglas shares a first-hand account of a massive ‘marketing-managing-tech’ failure, and shares tips for mending that sometimes daunting divide.

“There’s 8K+ #martech co’s — no marketer can analyze every single platform, optimize, & find the right one” says @douglaskarr       CLICK TO TWEET

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Show details and highlights

► (3:13) Tech stacks & overwhelmed, under-exposed marketers (we never learned “technology” in school!)

► (5:34) Why it’s so key to choose the right martech solution for your business

► (7:24) The 4 main problems in digital marketing

► (11:40) The two flavors of IT at companies – disablers & enablers

► (14:55) Douglas’ IT-marketing anecdotes: a start-up & ExactTarget

► (19:05) Cultivating a change management/transformation mindset together with IT

► (23:16) Douglas on the future: ML & AI will counteract flaws/challenge biases of humans

“If your #marketing team is stuck w/ #technology, partner w/ an ‘enabling’ IT dep’t, or go get a consultant to bridge that gap” says @douglaskarr       CLICK TO TWEET

Working with IT could save your marketing organization

There’s so many areas of vulnerability in martech today — evaluating, choosing, and putting together new marketing systems, managing tech stacks, shadow IT, integrating existing platforms, taking data protection protocols, and many more. As a result, there’s a growing degree of frustration as more marketers are becoming more overwhelmed (instead of being truly creative). The true key is partnering closely with IT. Let your IT team (or third party consultant) direct the technical aspects (which is their job!) so you don’t have to manage tasks that aren’t your job (or bear the burden if something goes south).

“How important is working with IT? We were once working with a very large automation system [with a client], and the marketing automation system lost all of their point-to-point data — all behavioral activity on the database. When we went to them and said ‘restore it,’ they said ‘well, we didn’t back that data up.’ This company lost a good six months of scoring data and everything else. An IT group would always ask ‘well, do you have it backed up’ and ‘is it off site?’ and all those questions — but a marketer just assumes. We assume that an online marketing platform would be readily backed up and restorable. That’s one nightmare story… they lost so much time and money.”

“#IT will always ask the important questions about #datamanagement while a marketer often assumes” says @douglaskarr       CLICK TO TWEET

Lindsay’s key takeaways

  • Build relationships with IT – grow allies, and partner with tech experts that can look at your tech stack through a different lens. IT can be an disabler or enabler. As enablers, IT will be your ally and friend – a secret weapon, even!
  • Tech isn’t a strategy. Though it seems tech will ease the pressures we face, don’t get so wrapped up in it that you ignore the risks, redundancies, or inefficiencies of solutions you’re considering. Douglas worked with a client who lost all their customer behavioral data and who never backed up that data because marketing didn’t think to run a back up. IT was never involved. That’s why you must build relationships and work through IT.
  • AI is here and growing. It’s taking on manual work currently bogging us down, and scaling personalization we couldn’t have conceived prior. AI gives us time back to be more strategic and creative.

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