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Marketing and IT: Can We Be More Than Just Friends?

A few notes on how two important teams can bring out the best in each other to make a happy union (no really!)

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Imagine you’re the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of a new tech start up. What’s your biggest challenge? Creating a digital presence that returns on money spent, lowering your cost per acquisition, the data driving your presence or your customer relationship management system?

Or is it trying to avoid the Head of IT at the water cooler?

For many marketers, IT departments are both their fuel and the thorn in their foot. Their special power and their kryptonite. To quote John Legend if you will, it’s both marketing’s beginning and its end.

In all companies (but start ups especially) the IT and marketing departments need to bring out the best in each other, in order to achieve fast, successful results. At best, the two are able to work together in order to achieve the key goals of the organisation. But often as businesses grow, and particularly in corporates, the two become siloed.

At its worst, marketing projects frivolity, pushing tools and systems which are unexplained in a non-strategic way and asking for them to be implemented last week. Likewise, IT acts as the gatekeeper, refusing to play ball and filling new infrastructures with paperwork and questions and seemingly pointless process.

Marketing increasingly relies on tech-driven tools, data and digital process. As SaaS products have begun to take hold, IT’s role is less about complex hardware and software infrastructures and more about solutions, allowing them to evaluate process and systems and optimize for best results.

So what barriers are still holding up between Marketing and IT and what can organizations do to bring them down?

Marketing and IT: a case in action

Of course, digital signage is where we at ScreenCloud set our heavy scene. Digital signage within an organization was once the sole responsibility of an IT team. After all, it required a serious amount of technical expertise (and a lot of button pushing) to set up a screen or tablet into a digital display. Expensive media players, commercial-grade screens and/or a setup which allows for the plug in of a laptop or USB stick running a Powerpoint loop were all serious digital signage applications.

Back then, the marketing team were often focused on getting nice looking content up onto the screen ready for a sales presentation or event, whereas the IT department had to journey through a different, but equally as important, set of criteria such as security, reliability, timing and control.

Maintaining digital signage displays would then require frequent maintenance. The screens could switch off, new DVDs would need to be rendered with new video (taking hours each time), a power cut could render the powering media player useless. Often in this case, IT would appear to marketing as a roadblock stopping them from getting to the outcome that seemed most simple: content on a screen.

Software as a Service (SaaS) products such as our ScreenCloud player have changed the way this type of technical set up works.

With ScreenCloud, anyone can set up a screen (or digital sign) to show content, without needing support or an IT infrastructure in place. It’s as simple as taking a Smart Android TV screen (or a regular TV screen made smart with a plug and play device such as an Amazon Fire Stick 4K, Chromecast with Google TV or the Station P1 Pro) and downloading the ScreenCloud app. Content can then be added, edited and arranged into an assortment of playlists and schedules from a PC or laptop. The marketing person can be out on the road, holidaying in Antigua or anywhere else, and still be able to access the screen content and update it with the latest images, video or presentation.

It is the job of SaaS products like ScreenCloud to put ‘marketing’ tasks back into the hands of marketing, therefore allowing IT to get on better with IT-led priorities and infrastructures. This plays to each team’s strengths; marketing can adapt screen content and initiatives at what often feels like a relentless pace, allowing them to test, measure and refine each week, or even by the day. IT departments are left to concentrate on the implementation of large-scale projects which support such marketing activities, but don’t meddle in the day-to-day running, testing and optimization.

This doesn’t mean that marketing shouldn’t employ IT’s opinion in order to evaluate and select such a marketing application. It just provides marketing with autonomy to reclaim marketing solutions that are customer-facing in design and deployment.

Marketing and IT: destined for after-work drinks?  

We believe that when marketing and IT are given the right tools, they can become more than just two departments rubbing friction. It is often the complexities of products and services which raise the barriers between the two, rather than the activity itself. When it comes down to it, today’s marketing and IT team members are not that fundamentally different.

Both are trying to achieve long-lasting results for the company, both use technology, data and digital process to get there. Companies who are able to align their marketing and IT teams by providing access to the tools and products to make their lives easier are doing everyone in the company a service.

Now isn’t that a nicer way to run a business?

To help connect marketing and IT workers everywhere, we offer a 14-day free trial of our easy digital signage platform ScreenCloud. Tell your marketing and IT friends everywhere!

 SC Gradient

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