The digital age has intertwined Marketing and IT like never before – and the tension is palpable. It may be difficult for these two powerhouses to work in tandem, but it's vital that they learn to play nicely to take advantage of digital opportunities, improve customer experiences, and drive growth.
As we learned from our recent CMO-CIO roundtable, Marketing and IT professionals DO agree on one thing: their largest sources of friction are cultural differences, poor communication, and difficulty managing data and KPIs. Our moderator and CMO author, Lisa Nirell, discussed key ways the two functions can build a bridge for better working relationships and stronger business results.
Here are five ways the participants said they could get their Marketing and IT teams on the same page and drive towards a happier digital future.
1) Establish collaboration protocols
Create a plan for managing conflict in cross-functional teams, learn from failed initiatives, and make sure everyone participates. IT teams need to work hard to dispel the notion that they’re merely a support mechanism and build more strategic, communication-rich skillsets.
2) Focus on culture and building a bridge
Everyone wants to participate in creating an aligned cultured. Here’s how:
• Listen to those who drive change all the way up the chain. Use brainstorming and data to establish norms and a working plan with IT
• Engage the whole IT team more in business strategy so they can support it
• Find shared purpose
3) Define KPIs between Marketing and IT to get “one view of the customer”
Agree on how you will collect, analyze, and take action on customer data. Have conversations to make sure both sides of the house are looking at customers the same way.
4) Improve prioritization
You need strong project management discipline to define digital initiatives and avoid projects that bottleneck your company.
• Use ranked priority lists to focus less on medium priorities and more on big bets
• Simplify the requirements process so there is less emotion involved in project prioritization
• Ask “why?” when a new project is introduced
5) Make candor your rallying cry
Agree to bolster a few core areas, ie. integration and reporting standards, without caring who gets credit. Work to extract concern early and address silent contributors.
You can learn more about how your Marketing and IT teams can find common ground in our whitepaper, “Bridging the CMO-CIO Gap:.How Marketing & IT Leaders Can Find Common Ground."