Speaking Geek: How Marketers Can Work with Web Developers to Achieve Business Goals

Moderated by:
Tracy Falke, Social Media Specialist, Freestyle Interactive

Casey Rovinelli, Director, Digital Marketing, National Hockey League Players' Association
Jonathan Allen, Director, SearchEngineWatch
Puneet Bhasin, Independent IT Consultant

First up:
Casey Rovinelli, Director, Digital Marketing, National Hockey League Players' Association

We're seeing massive change in our industry. We need IT.

Audience Participation question:
Marketer: Our CMS sucks and the IT team is pushing back and I need some tips on how to work better together
IT: You need to explain WHY you need things done

While at Virgin, Marketing

What IT thinks about Marketing:

  • Un-realistic
  • Too many changes
  • Where are we going?
  • Don't understand
  • Pain in the ass

What Marketing thinks about IT

  • Not design focused
  • Too slow
  • Too expensive
  • Don't understand
  • Pain in the ass

3 Takeaways:


  • Take accountability
  • Talk and Sell
  • IT and Marketing Social contract: Build a roadmap together!


  • Include vs. Exclude


  • Beware of big capital projects
  • Get a sandbox!
  • Find efficiencies together

Getting Real by 37 Signals
Don't Make Me Think by steve Krug
Managing the Customer Experience

What was the most angry confrontation you had at Virgin?

Rushing in and launching Omniture before talking to IT because of wanting to make an impact quickly

Next up:
Jonathan Allen, Director, SearchEngineWatch

What IT and Marketing need is Cash vs. Detail

Swarm Theory
Birds don't pay attention to everything, but only the birds next to them when they are flying.

SEO for Editorial Teams:
Use infographics

Think about where users really are - you can post content to different services - SEO/Search, RSS/Aggregators, etc

You can graph out your web traffic:

  • Your Website (most close)
  • Blogs & Aggregators
  • Social Networks (farthest)

This is what SEO's don't explain to IT. IT's are like superusers, they are very technical. Turn your page into a hub of information.

You should explain all this to IT so you can have a more technical conversation about what you need to use. Show them SERP's to get IT behind you.

Case Study: Widget users can send traffic to the website, and can have a higher conversion rate than Google.

Next up:
Puneet Bhasin, Independent IT Consultant

"Hi, my name is Puneet, and I'm in IT".

Constantly dealing with requests vs. reality.

When Marketers build a site, it's all about building the brand.
When IT builds a site, it's about security, launching bug-free.

Marketers need to share the vision with IT. IT usually gets involved after the vision & design has been set. Join IT into the conversation at the beginning. Simply designing a functioning site is no longer enough.

There are a lot of requests vs. goals. The PMP process breaks down the project into too many small steps, and this means IT sometimes gets small bits of information instead of the whole picture goal.

Case Study:
SEO Director asked to set up 5 virtual servers.
IT: Sure!
SEO: (the next day) They aren't working.
IT: what do you want them to do?
SEO: Want to query major search engines without getting our IPs blocked.

Working together, created a system that was 10x faster.

Stay Informed:

  • Know Your Terms
  • Forums are your friends
  • Use the tools you're already familiar with: twitter, facebook, forums, network


Question: What are your thoughts of taking SEO completely away from IT?
Casey: Yes. Gone are the days that you can design a pretty page and that's enough. If the job of the marketer is to understand the market, it's their job to do SEO.
Tracy: If SEO isn't involved in development, you end up with websites that aren't being indexed.
Casey: That's a failure of the marketers.
Questioner: most successful websites I work on; IT doesn't touch the SEO at all.
Tracy: But definitely IT has to be involved in structuring the CMS for SEO.
Casey: IT has to be on board, but marketing should be responsible for the strategy.
Puneet: SEO isn't just keywords, there are architectural issues. Or robots.txt issues. We put SEO training at the heart of the CMS system. It was developers who told them how they could republish content. Left to marketers, they would have had a seperate CMS for every part of the website.

Question: We are a smaller B2B company, and IT does online, and marketing mostly does sales and print. How do you communicate to a print person that yes it does take 2 weeks to create a form on a website.
Tracy: make friends with IT

Question: One of the challenges we've had is where sales would want access to all the social media tools, while IT was blocking this at the firewall level. How do you deal with this?
Tracy: Working with a large bank in the UK, she sent out a questionnaire to the IT team on what are the challenges. None of IT returned any of the questionnaires.
Puneet: As IT, he started noticing that people were using YouTube, Twitter, etc. So he started blocking them. It took 10 minutes before the CEO called him in and gave him an earful. But remember that these things take bandwidth. You need to monitor this.

Question: Marketing and IT is "us" and "them", even if we're having lunch together and getting drunk. When did we divert into each side? And why is it crucial to fix this?
Tracy: IT could have started as geeks in the basement, and now they have power, but now it could be changing because digital is changing
Jonathan: Marketers have to understand the technology.
Casey: Marketers have to get a geekier. Designers aren't designers unless they can code. Now we have mobile, CMS's and web compliant code. Anything that is consumer facing should be marketing. Anything else belongs to IT. But we need each other.
Puneet: It used to be a novelty to have a typewriter in the office. Right now we're dealing with "who gets what tool?". At the end of the day, we're all going to have to know how to do it all. To be an English Teacher, you're going to need to know how to use Word.
Tracy: And your clients need to understand all this.