Blog: Marketing, Selling, or Self-Promotion? No Wonder CIOs are Confused

Blog: Marketing, Selling, or Self-Promotion? No Wonder CIOs are Confused

Enough. Why does IT recoil from the word 'marketing? Because it sounds like 'selling' which sounds just plain yukky: many execs I speak with equate it with deception and used cars.

So to placate them, the experts call it 'communication' or even provide CIOs with a how-to on self-promotion. I grant you, to advance in the work world, self-promotion is a given. But to run an IT organization, marketing is required. Resistance (wide-spread, I might add) results in sub-optimizing the benefits of technology use in your company. Period.

Here's a marketing definition, one of many: the process of interesting potential customers and clients in your products and/or services. Selling, then, is the art of closing the deal. Both are honorable and at their best, are step-by-step process-based. Without marketing, no one would be aware of what products or services they might buy. And without selling, none of those products or services would be bought. Substitute 'might use' for 'might buy' and 'deployed' for 'bought'.

That is the simple essence for what CIOs and their IT organizations should WANT to happen. Now ask yourself a few starter marketing questions:

  • Is it someone's job in IT to market IT initiatives?
  • Do you deliver a newsletter (any form) more frequently than quarterly about new IT initiatives or capabilities?
  • Do communications use business language constituents would recognize?
If you are doing these three, then we can ask, are you: tailoring messages to specific constituent groups, using multiple channels to communicate about new deployments, having a mission and brand recognized outside of IT, and more.

You and your people should then be out selling: ideas to people, participation in pilots, activation of new software in individual business units, funding for new technologies, and more.

Finally, in the category of 'self-promotion', you should be making sure that those who should know actually do know the role that you play in leading your organization and the firm's use of technology, and more.

That's it. Simple. Your thoughts welcome.

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