two labradors playing tug of war
PHOTO: m01229

Web teams and digital marketers both have the same overarching goal: providing great customer experiences. Despite this alignment, many of today’s digital businesses can find these teams at odds with one another.

The root of the problem is that each team measures success in different ways. While marketing teams tend to think in terms of conversion rates and sales, web teams tend to think in terms of improving page load times and avoiding site slowdowns. The truth is a successful online business needs both.

Increasingly, a third team is involved in driving the customer experience that helps bridge the gap between these two parties: the digital team. Commonly led by a chief digital officer (CDO), this team helps determine all of the important factors that go into providing great online customer experiences, and finds ways to achieve them. The digital team is in a unique position to help online businesses stay focused on the joint customer-first mission — and one key to such success is establishing a performance culture.

Proper alignment between teams is key, but how can that symmetry be achieved? What steps need to be taken to reach that place where both teams are being supported equally? One major key to success is data. Data is a super power for these digital change agents.

Here are some tips for how CDOs can establish a performance culture rooted in data that helps ensure that both business and IT objectives are met.

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Tear Down Silos and Foster Real-Time Collaboration

The relationship between the CDO, the CIO and the CMO is crucial to any organization. Trust and communication are key for all three parties, and their respective teams must embody that attitude. A critical first step in establishing a culture rooted in performance is to understand the goals of all stakeholders and define a shared vision of what success looks like as an organization. 

When people are working as a unit, they begin to intimately understand each other’s capabilities and what it takes to function in tandem. This can save a lot of time and effort that would potentially be wasted from starting, stalling and restarting, or even redoing, siloed projects that failed because of a lack of shared vision and effective collaboration. 

Related Article: Bridging the CMO-CIO Disconnect

Keep Expectations in Check With Real User Data

If the goal is a quality end-user experience, it’s critical to have an accurate picture of the current state of that experience. Consider this example: the marketing team demands a hero image of a specific size but the web team counters that it’s too big and will drastically slow the page down. Marketing argues that the presence of this new imagery will help improve engagement and sales on the site. Without data, this conversation results in a tug-of-war.

The CDO is typically customer-centric and in a unique position to figure out the best way forward in such a scenario. By leveraging both business metrics and real-user performance data, one can inform and manage a performance budget. This best practice can help show how either decision will impact the user experience and, ultimately, engagement and conversions.

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Relentlessly Evaluate Performance of Web and Marketing Initiatives

A fast and engaging experience doesn’t stay that way without care and attention. Performance optimization is not a one-and-done proposition. One role a CDO can play is to champion continuous performance evaluations and make sure initiatives from both sides are working effectively. When you have the ability to prioritize and validate enhancements to the user experience based on an impact to the business, you can silence the debate and make decisions backed by data.

Finding this balance boils down to a three-step process of monitoring, optimizing and validating the user experience. CDOs must arm themselves with the right data to be successful. This methodology starts with monitoring the quality of the experience on the site and identifying where to focus enhancements to make the biggest impact on revenue. They must then optimize that experience through automated and adaptive performance techniques. A failure to optimize can lead to slowdowns and, ultimately, failed conversions. Finally, they must validate the impact of those investments while ensuring that all parties are prepared to meet expectations to grow the business.

Web and marketing teams can collaborate more effectively without compromising the customer experience enabled by the chief digital officer and the “digital” organization. By tearing down silos and fostering use of real-time data, user experience enhancements and process improvements, CDOs can help their organizations establish a performance culture and put the company in a strong position to drive conversion and bolster the bottom line.