IT is as essential to your marketing department as a nervous system is to a cuttlefish.

The cuttlefish is a neurological wonder. It has the highest brain-to-body size ratio of any invertebrate, and its nervous system is capable of conveying subtle and sophisticated messages. I’m not saying that cuttlefish are so smart they’re likely to be heading off to college any time soon, of course, but they do need to be savvy if they want to eat. As hunters, they use advanced cognitive skills (including the ability to count) to make constant judgments about which prey is worth targeting. Their rapid response to their environments relies on neurons that pick up messages from their surroundings, instantly carry those messages to the brain, and then transmit impulses and information back to the rest of the body. If we compare cuttlefish neurology to the information technology necessary to run today’s marketing departments-well, let’s just say if you had an IT system that functioned even half as effectively as a cuttlefish’s nervous system, you’d be in good shape.

Unfortunately, IT and marketing departments have traditionally had a rather rocky relationship. IT and marketing professionals speak a different language. They don’t always understand each other’s priorities. They sometimes find it difficult to work together.

Well, too bad. As marketing executives we really don’t have the option of not getting along with IT. Refusing to do so would make as much sense as a cuttlefish that refused to engage with its nervous system. (That cuttlefish would be dead, of course-but that’s not far off from what the marketer is who resists IT.) As marketing executives we really don’t have the option of not getting along with IT.

To execute in today’s marketing environment, we need to have technology at our disposal. As chief marketing officers, we’re expected to intimately understand our customers and their behaviors in order to improve the relationship between our brand and consumer. And how do we do that? With the help of technology.

Technology is the nervous system that makes all that possible. It’s what allows us to be Cuttlefish Marketers who are fast, innovative, and agile.