July 21, 2016
I’ve been in many conference rooms throughout the years watching digital projects come to life and have noticed one ongoing hangup in team communication. When marketing and technology teams meet, their working styles, goals, and drivers are very different, and these differences can slow or even halt a project. With good reason, this can cause extreme frustration on both sides and a need for more time and money in order to move projects forward. If there ever was a moment to break out in stereotypical song about needing to get along, it’s in these situations.
Marketing and technology teams simply have to come together for a digital project to be successful. Internet Retailer wrote this statement as one of their top ecommerce trends for 2016:
E-commerce and marketing teams will learn that they have to succeed together or risk failing alone.
A bit ominous, right? Here are five tips for increasing productivity by fostering successful collaboration between marketing and technology.
1. Collaboration Before Iteration
Often, an initiative starts with one team and moves toward completion with a budget and timeline before other groups are even notified, much less involved. From a strategic perspective, this shuts off the opportunity for technology and marketing to work well together. We can all attest that being handed an initiative and told to hop alongside the moving train is frustrating, especially if you uncover gaps in the destination ahead. More importantly, it’s preventable. All voices should be at the table in the ideation and planning stages. Work on collaborating as a collective unit and an initiative will become the success it was intended to be.
2. Write a Co-Authored Strategic Statement
Technology and marketing are not mutually exclusive. Historically, the marketing team would come up with a big idea and then utilize technology as a piece of the execution puzzle. However, the converse of this is also now true in that technology may create an initiative marketing is tasked to promote. Writing a co-authored strategic statement and using it as the cornerstone to the project is an important part of keeping the whole team on track with a common goal in mind. What are you trying to accomplish? Everyone needs to weigh in, write it down, and take ownership so that agendas, timelines, and constraints don’t cause strategic problems later.
3. Daily Communication
Raise your hand if you’d like another meeting. I didn’t think so. But it’s important to make sure you’re communicating every single day. Marketing and technology should attempt to have at least short conversations daily. It’s essential that, as thought leaders in your respective categories, you bring your knowledge to the table immediately and continually. Keep the conversations brief, but have them.
4. Employ Scalable Technical Solutions
When one of the mainstays of ecommerce is to adapt quickly, marketing and technology can find themselves in heated discussions when technical constraints stop forward motion. As an industry, this is one we’ve yet to see solved. But with open communication and true cross-team conversations begun sooner in planning, roadblocks can be identified and solved far more quickly.
5. “Innovate to Elevate”
I have an industry colleague who says this often and, although I always liked the energy behind it, I just recently thought about its poignancy. When two sides of the house come together for the collective good, you will elevate the business through both marketing and technology innovations. Both teams desire it, so why not trailblaze together?
I’ve had the great pleasure to serve as both client and consultant and on both sides of the house. One thing remains abundantly clear: Marketing and technology teams need to come together in order to define success for the project and the company.