How uniting marketing and IT can help your company progress
I have a confession: I'm a marketer, but I haven’t always been a fan of marketing. I’d go so far as to say I once liked marketers slightly more than used-car salesmen. Slightly.
Marketers, like many a used car salesman, have the perception of being tone-deaf and “always on.” My perception was no different, and it seems the same was true for Jay Acunzo, a marketer who went so far as to name his blog Sorry for Marketing.
It wasn’t until digital marketing got its legs under it and content began to play a larger role in the practice that my point of view shifted. “Help, not sell” became the new mantra, which was something I could get behind.
Breaking down barriers
My background as a front-end developer was an asset and a liability as I entered the marketing arena. After plenty of trial and error, I eventually managed to blend the two mindsets. This fusion of professions helped me realize the importance of cross-pollination between the disparate departments, especially with regards to marketing technology.
These past experiences pushed me to involve our development team to help get marketing initiatives to the finish line. Whether it was creating an interactive infographic, working to deepen our understanding of site engagement, or tracking asynchronous events, it felt like I was constantly asking our faithful developers to lend a hand.
We often talk about sales and marketing alignment, but there’s another alignment that needs to happen: marketing and IT. It would behoove us all to get these disparate departments on the same page. Here are a few tips to help bridge the gap:
Understand communication limitations
Marketers need developers to support their goals and efforts, but they often come to the table with relatively little tech knowledge. They don’t understand the requirements or timelines necessary to bring an initiative to fruition. They often speak in marketing jargon that frustrates and alienates their IT brethren.
Don’t assume these teams will naturally dovetail. Educate marketers on developer tools, processes, and resources. Establish best practices for requests and deadlines. Simultaneously encourage developers to pose “what if” scenarios to ensure projects are technically feasible.
Teach marketers some code
Or, at least introduce them to some of the concepts and processes involved. Putting together a nurture stream or content personalization strategy requires a similar mindset, and marketers will be much more effective with technology if they have a base understanding of the way developers think.
When the time comes that you need to enlist developers to help you launch an important initiative, empathy for their constraints and processes will go a long way. If marketers don’t understand how an application might affect existing business systems or how its data will influence customer insights, insist that they consult your developers and IT department.
Involve developers from the start
When marketing does decide it wants to implement something cool and clever that needs help from a developer, reach out to the dev team to assess feasibility. It’s far more efficient to bring your entire team together to plan the initiative and spot potential issues before you get too deep into things.
You always want more than one person involved in the process’s early stages to set clear expectations and ready all resources. It can also serve as a safety net; we’re hardwired not to be our own best editors. The path to launch is rarely straightforward, and it only becomes a bigger challenge with each additional layer of complexity. An all-hands-on-deck approach can help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
While my path to marketing was more happenstance than a careful plan, life has a way of throwing twists and turns at you. My background in development was an asset as I made the transition, but it shouldn’t take someone leaping across departments to bridge existing divides. Collaboration, empathy, and inclusive planning can get your marketing and IT crews working towards a common cause.
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