Marketing and Software Engineers — 5 Rules for Successful Collaboration

I would now like to address one of probably the most ubiquitous issues encountered in all companies. Big or small, running large or small scale operations, the misunderstandings and grievances that these two departments seem to generate for one another are everywhere. So much so that conferences and Google events everywhere are warmly encouraging the marketers to be-friend their coder buddies…more than before!

But what seems to be the problem?

Well for one thing, there seems to be a general lack of understanding goals, priorities and urgency. Oftentimes the people that work on implementing different technical aspects say there is no visibility and transparency into what that actually translates to — ie. If whatever they’re doing requires tons of work they want to know what the expected outcome might be. Secondly, when marketing comes in with a request it’s not very clearly formulated and documented so they don’t know exactly what’s being asked of them.

Marketing then usually retaliates by saying that if they had the expertise and know-how they would do it themselves and there is only so much you can do in terms of understanding the technical specifications. And here there should be a general recognition of how much digital marketers have evolved in terms of technical understanding and skills. It’s much more than looking and clicks and the money piling up — to processing large batches of data, countless KPI’s, mastering database programming and basics of JavaScript.

And so, back end becomes the evil department that hindrances all major marketing projects and the fight for who is right goes on.

Coming out of Engineering College, I’ve never had a big issue with formulating and translating request to my colleagues but not everybody is a converted engineer!

So here come 5 very reasonable tips for a great collaboration.

  1. Use plain English (or language of choice). Cut out the buzzwords and explain the plan as clearly as possible
  2. Respect each other’s expertise. Do not pretend to know more about marketing than the marketing professional or vice versa.
  3. Assume every request is difficult. Things don’t “just” get implemented.
  4. Be transparent and honest. Trust is crucial for any successful collaboration.
  5. Be humble. If smart people sit together to work towards a greater goal, great things happen. Remember — the end result is more than the sum of all parts, and it reflects well on everybody.

As marketing, technology and the general way we do business evolves so do the people that operate these different branches so be understanding, patient and supportive — there is no I in team ;)

Growth Hacker and Essentialist, #Performance and all around Digital Enthusiast, user behaviour analyzer. Love reading, travelling, arts & all things Japanese.

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