IT Department Wrecking Internet Marketing? It’s Your Fault.

Ian Lurie

At least once a week, I see an e-mail exchange like this:
Portent: Please make this one change on all pages of your site.
Client: OK, we’ll have that done in 2 months.
Portent: What?!
Client: Our IT (Information Technology) guys told us it’ll take 2 months.
Portent: We’re asking you to change ‘bumpers’ to ‘buggies’ on the home page.
Client: Well, the IT folks said that’s a big change, and that they’ll have to batch it with 3,000 other changes.
Portent: (Pulls pin in head and explodes)

Don’t Blame IT

If you won’t let marketing run the web site and the rest of internet marketing, then it’s your fault.
IT’s job is to minimize risk.
IT’s job is to maintain infrastructure.
IT’s job is to push back when the rest of the company asks for anything not directly related to the previous 2 goals.
If you ask them to become the online arm of the marketing department, you deserve the result: Delays, frustration and poor internet marketing.

Would you ask marketing to do IT’s job and manage the corporate network? Not if you’re sane. So why would you ask the reverse?

You’re Not Saving Money

You are not saving money by forcing IT to manage the web site.
You’re losing search rankings.
You’re losing time.
You’re losing customers.
You’re losing sales.
You’re increasing the work necessary to get yourself back on track later.

Fix the Problem

Here’s how you fix the problem:

  1. Take the web site offsite. Host it somewhere else.
  2. Remove it from the IT department’s ‘to do’ list. Forever.
  3. Hire an internet marketer. Don’t have the budget? Allocate part of someone’s time to it, get them the training they need (ie: Buy them a book) and hold them accountable.
  4. Send your IT department chocolate. Apologize for trying to make them manage the site.

Related Posts:
15 Principles of Internet Marketing
All I Needed to Know About Internet Marketing I Learned from David Ogilvy
What is Internet Marketing? A Lesson in 4 Acts


Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Dead-on correct! This is such a problem. Unfortunately, small companies often times have no choice but to allow IT to basically do everything. Your recommendation to hire or train someone in some capacity to handle a marketing role is the right way to go, however!

  2. I sympathize, in my situation I am both marketing and IT. Its a small company. 🙂
    I certainly agree with you on the separation of responsibility. You don’t ask a pipe fitter to paint the Sistine Chapel. 🙂

  3. I sympathize, trust me. If you’re too small to have a dedicated person, it’s OK to have someone on your staff double as the internet marketer. Just manage your expectations, AND their time. Don’t expect someone who’s putting 1/4 of their time into the site to get the same results, or do the same amount of work, as a full-timer.

  4. Its a fun job, I work full time for and do absolutely everything that has to do with it, coding, graphic design, pc and network maintenance for the 20 pcs in the store, SEO and SEM, also including answering the phone regarding website questions. 🙂
    Then I get to go home and run One Take Media in the evenings. Its tiring but really fulfilling!
    Your site really has helped me and made my job easier with the knowledge I’ve gained from you and people like Seomoz.
    Matt 🙂

  5. Oh right … you have a flat tire on your car? So sell the car and buy a new one? FIX THE IT DEPARTMENT, IDIOTS! Giving running a website to marketing IS exactly like asking a pipe fitter to paint the sistine chapel, but you wouldn’t ask a housepainter to paint it either. Hire the right business focused people in your IT department and stop hiring Geeks. This thread is so wrong on every count!

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