We all know that many of the major marketing initiatives at big companies are about deploying technology. Here are six concepts that guide how successful marketers and tech teams are at working together.
1. Focus Initial Discussion on What You Know Best
Tech teams are filled with people who love puzzles. We like to find ways to solve problems. Further, most of us are very eager to understand needs—especially market and customer needs. Where good marketers excel is in distilling those needs into business objectives. Successful tech/marketing partnerships often blossom when marketers define the what, and tech teams focus on the how. That doesn’t mean that the lines can’t blur a bit, but by focusing on what each team is good at, you can drive great outcomes.
2. Give (and Take) Time to Think Things Through
Both marketing and tech teams need to think through their goals, processes and needs before they start laying down deliverable items and timelines. Ask any architect or construction leader where costs and delays get out of control, and they’ll tell you it’s in change orders. It’s the same in technology projects.
3. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate
Especially when you’re making your first efforts at building cross-departmental relationships, take the initiative to build rapport with your counterparts. Where I have seen many cross-departmental relationships fail is when their interactions with respective teams occur solely via email and formal meetings. Get to know your counterparts, and keep them informed of changes and new developments. Honest and frequent sharing helps build trust.
4. Really Operate Like a Team
When people of any function feel invested in a project, they do better work and endeavor to achieve all objectives. Outstanding leaders create a galvanizing culture in which all people feel valued and invested. They recognize the extra efforts of everyone. They involve people in decision-making. They ensure that everyone realizes they are one team, not warring factions.
5. Ask Questions. And Answer Them.
Marketers generally don’t know technology as well as the tech folks do, but you do need to understand tech concepts in order to understand what is possible. To do that, you need to ask questions. Similarly, tech teams need to ask for the reasoning behind some objectives and decisions. A great example within our company has been in the launch of our AI capabilities. Our marketing team had extensive questions on AI because the concept is broad and new. Asking questions and answering them shaped what we built, and how we explain it.
6. Try to Plan Ahead
When marketing organizations focus on providing as much lead time as possible for martech projects, they are far more likely to get their needs met by those hard deadlines. Similarly, tech teams need to set reasonable timelines and communicate when emergencies change the timing. Sometimes projects get bumped—something that is often just as frustrating to tech teams as it is to marketers. The point is to be cognizant of the demands on different teams and try to plan ahead as far as is reasonable.
It’s important to recognize that great relationships are all about give and take and placing a premium on working together to meet goals. It’s a simple idea, but one that gets forgotten all too often. Ultimately, the key is to have an accountable business culture that celebrates the knowledge and expertise of every individual and rewards collaboration.