3 Ways to Promote Better Cross-Team Collaboration Between Marketing and Tech
Marketing has evolved. Today, the day-to-day roles of marketers require the use of data and technology on a large scale. With that evolution comes the need for greater collaboration between marketing and tech teams.
Although both teams are using technology to get their jobs done, their focuses are different and company cultures that once relied on team members owning their own skill sets now have to adapt to be more collaborative. As marketing teams start to use more technology, collaboration between marketing and tech teams becomes critical to success.
Why is There Friction Between Marketing and Tech Teams Working Together?
Tech and marketing teams naturally tend to have some friction between them.
For starters, they have different goals in their work. Tech teams are often more interested in building new products and working on in-house projects. Marketers, on the other hand, generally focus on creating experiences for consumers and don't always have the capacity or understanding to fully grasp the technical elements of what they're trying to build.
Moreover, marketing and tech teams haven’t had many opportunities to interact with each other historically; their spheres of knowledge don’t overlap very much or very often, and as a result they've developed very different approaches to tasks and problems.
So, why does all of this matter for personalization? If marketing and tech teams fail to collaborate, you might struggle to provide the personalization that consumers have come to expect when interacting with brands. Consumers might end up feeling spammed and frustrated, receiving messages (e.g., pop-ups and offers) that don’t correspond to their values or tastes. That can make them feel like the brand they’re interacting with just doesn't understand them.
Of course, marketing teams are interested in personalization. The use of technology in marketing to automate and personalize at the same time has made digital consumer experiences both more efficient and more relevant. However, marketers need tech teams to be able to execute on these ideas. Without proper collaboration, communication and shared understanding, their vision for truly relevant, personalized experiences can fall flat.
Clear communication between marketing and tech is vital for realizing marketing personalization strategies. The more transparent the communication, the more seamless the user experience will become for the consumer. With 63 percent of consumers willing to stop buying from brands with shoddy personalization tactics, it’s a hurdle very much worth overcoming.
How to Improve Cross-Team Collaboration
The importance of personalization in marketing is undeniable, and there are plenty of benefits to personalizing your user experience for consumers. If you can find ways to reduce the friction between marketing and tech teams, you have the power to take your brand to the next level. Here are three ways to go about boosting your cross-team collaboration:
1. Be clear about business objectives.
Countless problems can occur when marketing and tech teams aren’t aware of each other’s goals. That’s why these teams need to regularly assess the overarching goals and vision for the project at hand. Be clear about the questions you’re trying to answer, the timeline and scale of your project, and how you’ll collect information.
For example, when tagging data for later use, a marketer might be focused on the question, “How many people find this recipe interesting?” This is their concrete measurement, and from this key performance indicator they’ll be able to pull some actionable insights. A developer will need more detail, however; they’ll need a more nuanced, data-oriented picture of which users have registered for an account, which have saved the recipe on their profile, and which have found the recipe while browsing and need to be prompted to set up an account. Each of these things is markedly different, but combining these goals will allow marketing and tech to send a clearer, more seamless picture to the end user.
2. Communicate with a consumer-centric approach.
When marketing and tech teams work together, it can help to focus on the consumer rather than obsessing over their respective to-do lists. Make the consumer the focus, and the consumer experience can become the common ground — a place where marketers and tech experts can collaborate without getting in each other’s way.
With this, be sure to communicate with the end experience in mind. Instead of using purely technical terms or marketing jargon, explain your concepts clearly, as if to a layperson. This will help marketers understand the big-picture goal of what tech is working on, which will, in turn, help the tech team condense marketing’s vision to achievable actions.
3. Foster a culture around asking questions.
Ego and confusion can get in the way of even the best communicators when they’re trying to explain and describe their methods. Asking questions, rather than telling people what you’re trying to do, can be a better way of finding a common approach.
Although you might be a marketing or technical expert, it's important to be curious about what others are doing. When you nurture that curiosity from the very beginning of the process, it can reduce friction between teams in the long run. This can begin with setting up your business objectives. Allow both teams to ask questions that dig into the other’s goals, and you might find that those goals become more specific and achievable.
Personalization in digital marketing is an essential part of a strong strategy. Without it, consumers lose interest, or worse, become frustrated and disappointed with the experience your brand offers. To make personalization work well in the age of digital transformation, marketing and tech teams need to work together by purposefully turning moments of friction into opportunities for collaboration and enlightenment. When done correctly, you'll see benefits across the entire brand — including higher team morale and a sharper degree of personalization.
Diane Keng is the CEO at Breinify, an AI-driven platform that helps enterprise brands collect data and create personalized digital experiences for consumers.
Diane Keng is the CEO and co-founder of Breinify, an AI and predictive personalization engine that helps brands curate dynamic, meaningful experiences for their consumers at scale. Diane is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for enterprise technology and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, TechCrunch, OZY, and Inc. Magazine. Diane ran three successful businesses before she was 18 and is a noted software innovator who frequently speaks on the intersection of AI, personal data, privacy, and the future of smarter products. Breinify works with retailers and consumer packaged goods brands to enable data science in marketing campaigns that secure 51% year-over-year online sales, 20 times the click rate, and six times the reaction rate.