The Gist

  • User-centric focus. Prioritize user experiences through shared insights for next-gen customer experience.
  • Strategic planning. Define collective goals and KPIs for digital projects.
  • Cultural collaboration. Embrace conflict for innovative solutions.

Historically speaking, the relationship between developers and marketers has rarely been close. Both roles have very specific needs when it comes to technology solutions or processes required to do their jobs, and they don’t always align.

Simply put, developers focus more on back-end technology to run things smoothly, while marketers are concerned with front-facing content and experiences.

It’s easy to see where these vital parts of the organization can operate in their own distinct worlds. But in this increasingly modern age of digital experiences, developers and marketers need to come together. On websites, mobile experiences and IoT platforms, brands need both groups to work in harmony if they’re going to effectively provide consumers with immersive, interactive and dynamic experiences.

Innovations like VR, AR and AI — all the letters — are enabling brands to deliver the next generation of content. This is why it is imperative for marketers and developers to collaborate better. A new level of communication is required, and this begins with sharing information at the outset, a critical need for long-term success.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help marketers and developers improve communication and align around next-generation digital experiences.

How to Prioritize Next-Gen Customer Experience: Put the User First

One immediate way marketers and developers can meet in the middle is by focusing on the user. How are these modern, next-level technologies going to impact the user from their varying perspectives?

Marketers gather broad market trends and targeted customer insights that provide a look at who the consumer is and how they use a brand’s assets. What messaging and tactics might work best? Developers rely on their technical expertise to help evaluate and identify the best tools and ways to meet the users.

These analyses and evaluations largely happen in parallel, but it’s imperative that each group discuss its learnings and proposed solutions with each other. The goal is to identify overlap — or figure out why their preferred paths forward diverge. Working through what will ultimately deliver the best experience for the consumer needs to remain the primary goal, and driven by this North Star, developers and marketers can start to work together more effectively.

Related Article: To Deploy or Not Deploy, That Is the Software Development Question

Collaborate for Next-Gen Customer Experience

After deciding what the optimal user experience looks like, developers and marketers then build out a plan for how to deliver it. Both parties should define and prioritize goals together, then settle on measurement details to gauge success. This is challenging enough when navigating standard processes and “business as usual” but becomes crucial once they start to deploy entirely new and experimental concepts.

For example, if a brand hasn’t leveraged 3D video before, marketers and developers may not quite know the best way to measure the success or performance of that deployment just yet. This is why it is important to identify an agreed upon set of goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) upfront, define tactical steps forward and commit to regularly scheduled evaluations to see how the goals can be optimized.

Building out a plan sets up the team for success when going into a bit of the unknown.

Related Article: Cross-Departmental Collaboration Is Key to Customer Experience

Learning Opportunities

Developers & Marketers: Look at How Users Actually Respond

To support a better way of communicating on speculative projects, developers and marketers should start small. Begin rolling out projects that are most likely to immediately meet the needs of the user. Think of them as quick wins, defining intuitive flows that meet the user’s journey.

Seeing smaller changes in action first, and then communicating lessons learned from both sides will help foster better collaboration as the projects increase in size. In this process, marketers and developers need to know they’re designing around the user experience. With that in mind, both groups can understand and discuss their departmental tradeoffs, and what they’re losing in order to provide a better experience designed for the user.

Most of the time, this exercise leads to prioritizing simplicity and repeatability as opposed to adding complexity to achieve an overly ambitious result. Next-gen experiences offer a lot of promise, but only if they’re integrated into an already seamless user journey.

Create Agile Methodologies for Rapid Iteration

In line with the idea of focusing on quick wins, developers and marketers should leverage early results to design a process that enables immediate feedback and rapid iteration.

For example, marketers need tech tools that give them some control to update content as opposed to piling up “tickets” for developers to complete the work. Developers and marketers need to settle on technology solutions that support quick results.

They also need to incorporate the necessary analytics to understand where they’re successfully reaching consumers, whether they are from tools that are traditionally designed for marketers or developers.

Break Down Cultural Walls for Next-Generation Experience

As developers and marketers meet in the middle to iron out a plan that best meets the user’s experience, remember that a little conflict doesn’t hurt. Throughout the journey to get a brand to a next-generation experience, it can be beneficial to have some food fights along the way.

Of course, each department may traditionally handle their own internal differences distinctly. Marketers may conduct more group sessions, whereas developers may perform more one-on-one sessions. Both sides should communicate how they handle differences culturally and incorporate them into the process, knowing that some conflict is inevitable.

Come Together to Take CX to the Next Level

For decades, brands relied on a fairly simple digital experience with their customers and users. However, the status quo is no longer acceptable. The user experience is transforming quickly, and consumers expect more, faster.

It’s an exciting time for both marketers and developers, who have a tremendous opportunity to take web, mobile and IoT experiences to new levels. Consumers are ready and are growing more comfortable with technology by the day.

Marketers and developers need to come together on behalf of consumers and users, communicate clearly, collaborate better, put differences aside and find common ground. With the user in mind, marketers and developers can align their different interests, fill gaps and begin unveiling remarkable and innovative digital experiences.

fa-solid fa-hand-paper Learn how you can join our contributor community.