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Adopting ITIL Best Practices Into Marketing Processes

By | March 6, 2013 in ITIL


Marketing is a mess. This isn’t a secret. The average marketing department needs to take care of marketing materials for internal and external purposes, content creation, advertising, social media, the corporate websites, and so much more.

There are many tools around today, which can help the modern marketing professional to bring some order into these processes. They can be task management tools such as Trello or Asana, they can be complex project management tools such as Clarizen, or they can be dedicated marketing management tools that are built especially for marketing departments: Pardot, Google AdWords, HubSpot, etc.

Recently, after almost two years of working at SysAid, marketing IT management software, I realized that the modern marketing department is actually quite similar to the modern IT department. Both departments:

  • Are service-oriented: mostly to internal company departments, but many times to external sources.
  • Have assets: IT departments have computers, servers, laptops, mobile devices, etc; marketing departments have images, documents, logos, template, PDFs, videos, and any other marketing material asset.
  • Require monitoring abilities: IT departments require network monitoring; marketing departments require web and social media monitoring.
  • Require structured working processes to cope with the scattered project and task flows.
  • Rely heavily on technology.We see a new organizational job description arising: the marketing technologist, which is the IT representative within the marketing department. Scott Brinker, a Chief Marketing Technologist, describes it best in his blog ( “Marketing has become a technology-powered discipline, and therefore marketing organizations must infuse technical capabilities into their DNA.”
  • Exist in an ever-changing, environment and have to be agile.

As we all know, IT departments use IT Service Desk software, which is being implemented at all size organizations from small to enterprise. This leads to the following question:

Why haven't the dedicated marketing management software tools become as popular as IT Service Desk software tools?

The answer to this brings us back to the IT departments:

  1. There is no single marketing management tool that brings you all the essentials integrated in one system: web & social media monitoring, advertising, automation, project management, marketing asset management, reporting, analysis, etc. Building such a system is a complex and expensive project, and I assume that there are several companies out there already dealing with this challenge.
  2. There isn't a structured set of marketing best practices that helps marketing departments build effective agile work procedures.

This brings us to ITIL.

So What is ITIL?

For all the marketing people reading this, here's a short explanation of ITIL:

According to Wikipedia ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, and "is a set of best practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business."

Such practices can focus on request management, problem management, change management, and more. It works as a circular learning structure, which leads to continual service improvement.

According to Stephen Mann, IT analyst for Forrester, ITIL is based on people, process and technology.

So How Can ITIL Best Practices Be Adopted by Marketing Departments?

Let's look at how request fulfillment works:

Request fulfillment starts from a service request, which is a request from a user for information, advice, or for a certain change.

Examples for requests sent to an IT department could be: to reset a password, to provide a new printer, or to upgrade the memory in an existing computer.

Examples for requests sent to a marketing department could be: provide a file of the company logo, create a PDF, or update a web page.

According to ITIL, the lifecycle of a request model is a pre-defined process flow showing the stages needed to deal with a recurring request. This model is used to fill the recurring requests.

In IT departments, many times these requests can be solved by self-help solutions such as an end-user portal or a knowledge base. In marketing departments the self-help solution can be a shared network or cloud-based folder containing the company's marketing materials (logos, templates, etc.).

Self-help solutions improve responsiveness, reduce costs, extend hours of service, reduce demand on staff, and improve quality.

A solution could be offered using a change management process such as: build a brief → write text → design images → implement in website → review and fix.

Adopting the ITIL best practices into marketing processes can help keep marketing departments agile and ready for fast change.

So Where Does ITIL for Marketing Processes Lead Us?

There are many ITIL best practices in IT departments that can be adopted by marketing departments, but there are also many processes unique to marketing departments that require unique best practices. ITIL provides a great tool set to begin with, but in the long run I think we will need to create the MIL (Marketing Infrastructure Library). Who's ready to start it off?

Please sound off in the comments below or on Twitter – follow me @ilan_hertz.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

Ilan Hertz

About Ilan Hertz

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