In today’s market, companies are working hard to deliver better and more personalized digital experiences to their customers. Nearly every industry has been significantly disrupted this year as consumer consumption and buying patterns have shifted. As such, the bar for delivering a compelling and engaging experience has never been higher. To thrive in this environment, organizations need to focus in on digital transformation efforts.
For a digital transformation to succeed, internal silos need to be broken down and cross-departmental teams need to be established — starting with Marketing and IT. Marketing needs new digital solutions to better reach potential and existing customers with personalized content. While Marketing is creating and owning that content, the method in which it is digitally delivered can significantly impact its success. For successful delivery, Marketing needs to work with IT to get a solution up and running. Marketing wants to move fast and get to market quickly, but IT might need to be more deliberate to ensure compatibility with other systems and future proofing, while supporting a remote workforce.
By aligning goals with an eye on common objectives, these two departments can ensure your customers are getting what they need and deliver superior value to the business.
Breaking Down Silos Starts at the Top
It’s common knowledge that silos prevent organizations from delivering on their organizational goals. Leaders know they must work to connect teams, and often workflows, across the organization. But knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. This is especially true because breaking down cross-functional silos can be exceptionally challenging.
But the benefits of cross-functional collaboration cannot be overstated. When teams work together they achieve higher margins and greater levels of customer loyalty than organizations that don’t work together as well. (1) Other research has confirmed that Marketing and IT integrate into a more nimble team, their businesses get to market 2–4x faster and grow revenue at 2x the average of S&P 500. (2)
Successful cross-functional collaboration starts at the executive level; CIOs, CTOs and IT Directors must work with CMOs and Marketing Directors to articulate and align on shared goals, methods for achieving them, and measuring success. Many organizations choose a project or activities approach — choosing specific projects with clear goals that require cross-departmental collaboration.
Gaining Alignment Between Marketing and IT
There are different ways to facilitate cross-departmental collaboration between Marketing and IT. One way is identifying and championing individual translators. A translator could be, for example, someone who has worked in both Marketing and IT, but this isn’t necessary. The critical factor is they’re able to not only understand but also speak the language of both teams — and translate between them.
Another way to drive successful collaboration is by nurturing curiosity and generosity. Curiosity drives questions; generosity encourages answers. (3) By making knowledge accessible instead of hoarding it, teams can better understand not only what the other is doing but what they hope to accomplish. This builds empathy and shared commitment, while also offering each team a valuable outside perspective.
As mentioned above, a project approach can be a great way to achieve cross-departmental collaboration. The digital customer experience is only increasing in importance, and even just improving one aspect of it is a great place to start.
Memorable customer experiences require understanding your customers and how they engage with your brand. This requires collecting the right data, connecting the right systems, and bringing it all together in ways that enlighten rather than mystify. It’s a possibility for even the most complex business models — if IT and Marketing are aligned.
Marketing understands customer segments and journeys. But segments change constantly, journeys along with them, and today often the only way to track any of this is via digital engagement.
For actionable customer insight, Marketing depends on IT to help them identify the right approach, the appropriate systems (from individual solution’s data-capture capabilities to multi-system integrations), and even the right workflows (marketers continue to reap benefits from agile approaches to project management).
Platforms Should Deliver Value to Both Teams
Whether you choose a content management system (CMS) with numerous integrations or a natively integrated digital experience platform (DXP), your content solution should offer value to both IT and Marketing and encourage collaboration between them.
IT and development departments appreciate having the option to work in the way they prefer and makes sense for the business. Many organizations are looking to take a headless approach, some are not. Some organizations prefer to host on prem, others prefer using a managed cloud provider. Either way, ensuring your platform has options and flexibility to accommodate your organization is critical to both immediate and long-term success.
While data is essential, it doesn't act on its own. Marketers need simple ways to grasp what data is telling them and be able to quickly act on it. For example, having data insight available in an editing experience can help marketers quickly see what’s working and driving engagement or where there might need to be modifications to a page.
Marketing and IT need leadership, strategies and tools to facilitate collaboration. The right solution can foster collaboration by offering each team the tools they need — and together they can provide customers with the experience they’ve come to expect.
Learn how Sitecore can bring together your IT and Marketing teams at sitecore.com.
- Gardner, H. (2015). “When Senior Managers Won’t Collaborate.” Harvard Business Review
- Gregg, B., Heller, J., Perrey, J. and Tsai J. (2018), “The most perfect union: Unlocking the next wave of growth by unifying creativity and analytics.” McKinsey & Company
- Casciaro, T., Edmondson, A. and Jang, S. (2019). “Cross-Silo Leadership.” Harvard Business Review