At HoneyBaked Ham, IT and marketing follow the same menu

At HoneyBaked Ham, IT and marketing follow the same menu

Date: Nov 26, 2013

At The Original HoneyBaked Ham Co. of Georgia, IT and marketing didn't always pair up so well, according to Mark O’Brien, vice president of marketing, and Bill Bolton, vice president of IT. Historically, marketing acted as a rogue IT group, O'Brien confessed. Under the leadership of Bolton, the dynamic is dramatically different. "What Bill has really built and continues to reinforce is the need to make sure we're not operating in silos and that we're collaborating," O'Brien said.

In part two of this SearchCIO interview from the Kodak Alaris Global Directions 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., Bolton and O’Brien tell SearchCIO's Jenny Laurello how they developed a recipe for successful collaboration between IT  and marketing -- and why it's so important now for the Alpharetta, Ga.-based food purveyor that these two groups work together.

In your session this morning, you went over some background as to how IT implementation decisions are being made at HoneyBaked, including the project selection and project-enablement processes. Could you talk a bit more on how these frameworks were determined and how things have changed since implementing them?

Bill Bolton: Our IT committee was established over a number of years, actually. It took a while for us to get the pattern and the cadence correct. First, we had too many people in the room, and then we had too few. So we found the right balance of stakeholders to actually move the projects along and be effective and really considerate of everybody's time.

Mark, how does marketing play a role in the decision-making process?

Mark O’Brien: Well, I think first and foremost, Bill's leadership enables great collaboration. There's a very strong service orientation to the [IT] team. The actual role we played oftentimes, historically, has been as a rogue IT group, and what Bill has really built and continues to reinforce is the need to make sure we're not operating in silos and that we're collaborating.

Through his leadership, I've benefited from seeing a huge opportunity for us to collaborate to drive business and to be more efficient. So our bottom line? Being resourceful and partnering with the IT department. Our role as a group is trying to find new things to take to market or to measure our efforts and to collaborate with his group. From an IT committee standpoint, we have a seat at the table as part of the broader decision making [process] and a voice where we feel those resources would be best deployed under Bill's leadership.

What are the main bits of advice you have for IT and marketing leaders who are trying to wade through these changing waters?

More on IT and marketing partnerships

Don't be a digital underdog

Align technology and marketing strategy to meet customer needs

Zipcar CMO personalizes customer marketing

O’Brien: I would say, from my own learning, when you partner with IT as a marketing group, IT shouldn't be looked upon as just a service component within the organization. Maybe historically it had a little bit of that spin to it. Now, in this environment in which we operate, marketing and IT need to be absolutely connected to make sure that you're moving the business forward and addressing the needs of the consumer first and foremost, because we're all on the same team. There's absolutely no reason to work in silos or work independently when strong collaboration can lead to better business growth and an overall better consumer experience, which ultimately is our goal. With Bill's leadership, he's helped our organization get closer together and identify opportunities in which, with better collaboration, we can do things more efficiently, be more impactful and really affect the bottom line in a positive way.

Bolton: Mark's dead on. In the past, IT services was email and file and print services. We were off in the corner in kind of a Wizard of Oz mentality, and marketing really had a small presence in our world. If you think about how they went after reaching the consumer, it was with the [TV] networks and radio and the newspaper. Today, those have gone by the wayside. I mean, there are 900 stations, so which one are you on? And there are tons of radio stations with different demographics, so the digital world is here for them. So the IT demand and needs from the marketing group are huge. Digital, talking email -- we're talking social networking, we're talking e-commerce, virtual stores. It's the Web 2.0, coming with a huge marketing angle. I've got to be ready, we've got to partner, and he and I need to be in the room together because he's coming in large. His whole world will be digital before the end of it. It needs a technology answer.

Listen to part one to hear about Bolton and O'Brien's efforts to extract insights from consumer data, keep the company website in sync with customers' changing tastes and ensure ham remains on holiday tables.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Jenny Laurello, senior outreach and communications manager.

More on Web 2.0 applications

  • canderson

    Dell IT finds overlap between internal and external customer demands

    VIDEO - In this video interview, Dell CIO Adriana Karaboutis describes how her team is responding to the increasingly blurred line between internal and external customers.
  • canderson

    AT&T CIO says customer relations will be 80% digital by 2020

    VIDEO - Thaddeus Arroyo, AT&T CIO and winner of the 2014 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award, outlines a 'bold' digital-first strategy for internal employees and the company's external customers.
  • canderson

    Sensor data acts as virtual mechanic for Daimler Trucks

    VIDEO - Daimler Truck's CIO discusses how sensor data is connecting the dots between truck maintenance, driver and the service station.
  • Gartner's four steps on how to better manage public APIs

    Tip - Do you know what APIs are being leveraged inside your enterprise? Performing an internal audit is the first of four steps required for managing APIs.
  • 10 ways CIOs can prepare for the Internet of Things

    Opinion - Is there a 'd-i' missing from the middle of the IoT acronym? Read on for IT and business strategist Harvey Koeppel's humorous take on the meaning and disruptive nature of the Internet of Things and the 10 things CIOs can do to prepare for the IoT.
  • iPhone 6, Apple Watch start another mobile revolution in the enterprise

    News - The new iPhone 6 and iWatch force CIOs to up their mobile app game and steel themselves for the wearable wave. Also in Searchlight: Home Depot and Google's data breach troubles; Netflix protests the FCC's net neutrality proposal.

    ( Sep 12, 2014 )

  • dot-com bubble

    Definition - The dot-com bubble, also referred to as the Internet bubble, refers to the period between 1995 and 2000 when investors pumped money into Internet-based startups in the hopes that these fledgling companies would soon turn a profit.
  • information superhighway (infobahn)

    Definition - Information superhighway is a term that was used mainly in the 1990s to describe a national communications network that would span the United States and allow Americans to quickly access and exchange information via voice, data, video and other services.

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: