While not the most obvious, many businesses succeed or fail depending on whether or not they have a collaborative IT/marketing relationship. When you think about it, the fact that the department that controls a business’ technology should be linked with the most technology-driven (and user acquiring) department makes the idea seem obvious, but clearly we (myself included) didn’t heed the call, and IT still lives in a veritable dungeon of isolation.
But that is a mistake.
The truth is that, given the fact that marketing departments subsist on a diet of tech tools, IT should be a strategic partner, helping marketing departments evaluate the tools for integration into the existent arsenal. It just makes sense.
But how do you do it? How do you break down barriers rooted in a century of corporate hierarchical separation? With a sledgehammer (of words).
How to Build Collaboration Between IT & Marketing
- Explore shared goals on a high level: For this to even begin to work, the CMO and CIO need to get together for a chat. In this conversation, the CMO needs to outline the digital tools used, the areas where new gains are needed (and new tools can be applied), and really include the CIO in the strategies used for acquisition. Because marketing can get a little… romantic with their goals, IT can help balance them, suggest alternate technical solutions, and explain technological limits.
- Hold weekly meetings: Whether you want to bring together the entirety of relevant IT and Marketing personnel or simply elect point people from each team—marketers with real stake in IT and vice versa—holding weekly check-ins is important. At these meetings, team members can share thoughts on useful tools, possible tool-integrations, and can discuss the performances of those already working. These don’t need to be long meetings; really, they’re more like check-ins, and they serve as much to share information as they do to create stake in the project and promote relationships between the teams.
- Develop a workflow: Because tool-testing/adoption takes time and prioritization within each team’s schedule, establishing a workflow from the get-go is crucial. Whether you use tools like Jira or Asana, or simply prefer to use a Google form/calendar to sort it out is up to you, but getting regularized timelines for testing, adoptions, etc. can help both teams adapt to (and schedule around) changes that could otherwise potentially derail the productivity of either team.
- Share feedback: A tool integrating nicely with the CRM doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the most effective for marketing, and a tool that promises huge acquisition potential may not play nicely with other, costly systems your business already has in place. Creating a feedback system—whether it occurs in the weekly meetings, via a form or “suggestion box”, or something else—allows each team to understand the needs and workings of the other.
What This All Means
While creating this collaboration shouldn’t be that difficult—all collaboration really is is communication, after all—it’s of dire importance that it’s maintained.
The purpose of this, really, isn’t to create quick fixes in tools used by marketing. It’s to get these two departments aligned, understanding the needs of the other and how each can contribute to the others’ success. Once, for example, IT gets a better understanding of the kinds of things marketing asks for, what they need, what their goals are, etc., IT can begin anticipating their needs, scoping the landscape for the next big tools that could help with things they’d never considered before.
In that way, what you get are multiple teams working for the same goal. With your sales and marketing aligned and your marketing and IT aligned, you create a collaborative culture that enables everyone to have more understanding and more of a buy-in to your company’s growth.
Another way to build alignment is by facilitating relationships across your departments. The CircleBack app keeps everyone’s contact information clean, complete, and updated, and even notifies you about big professional changes to help facilitate goodwill among your teams.