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Those of us in marketing communications hate to see a perfectly good organization hand over their website to IT. It’s clearly a recipie for disaster.

But, what if they hand it over to marketing? Who owns it – marketing proper or PR specifically? Should IT still have a voice in this conversation?

Fundamentally, as far as we’ve moved in terms of corporate branding online, we have not reconciled the fundamentally different disciplines which are needed to really make “new media” work. It takes marketing, PR, IT and others (not to mention buy-in from management) to collectively work together to really make a project successful. But we haven’t merged those people effectively. More on that soon…

A lot of these thoughts are the result of something said this weekend at BarCamp Nashville by Chris Houchens, who writes a blog called Shotgun Marketing. While talking about social media (Facebook, MySpace, etc etc) in the context of corporate marketing he said, “It’s about reaching the audience that has already identified itself as your audience; it’s not about sales.”

His premise raises a much deeper question than how corporations should approach corporate marketing. It’s often a given that internally, marketing should own managing the online experience. But is that so? If the online experience is not about sales, then fundamentally it’s not a marketing function. Marketing is all about sales! So social media seems to fit in a different category, such as PR. Or are we back to IT?

Should it be that way? Who owns online?