Marketing professionals and developers together are critical in advancing customer experience
More than a decade ago, in the early age of digital transformation, industry analysts and insiders began discussing the need for an increased focus on the collaboration between CTOs, CIOs and CMOs to achieve business goals. It was determined that CMOs would spend more on technology than their technical c-suite counterparts, thus creating an increased need for cross-functional alignment and cooperation.
Today, we find the same kind of alignment is still required, but on an even deeper technical level—between developers and marketers. They are charged with the day-to-day operations of highly scaled and complex marketing operations driven by increasingly complex martech stacks. Companies across industries and markets are becoming more digitally oriented, so the need for seamless collaboration between business functions is mission-critical.
There are many reasons for the perception that marketers and developers share completely different business priorities—from the trope of left brain versus right brain to completely different modes of operation, it has been assumed that marketers are practitioners of soft science and developers are entrenched in code. However, when you consider the nature of today’s modern marketing technology, you realize that both skill sets and sets of expertise are crucial to engaging, retaining and growing a company’s customer base.
To marketers, developers can come across as unapproachable or highly focused internally on technical tasks that distance them from customers. To developers, marketers may seem less technically savvy and unsympathetic to the time requirements in technical projects and the juggling act and trade-offs that ensue for competing priorities. The result is an environment and dynamic in which one party often can feel the other has more control and say over the other. However, what we’re learning is that most of these sentiments are exaggerated or are changing as the business landscape continues to evolve. The truth is, marketers and developers have a lot more in common than they think.
A recent survey of 500 marketers and developers at companies of all sizes uncovered the real truth behind this relationship and understand its inner workings. We looked at identifying their priorities, challenges and where they see success when it comes to their working relationship. Two things in particular stood out:
- Business alignment is overwhelmingly the key objective that both parties agree they need to effectively achieve to succeed.
- Customer experience is by far the highest priority where the two overlap.
Broken down, 79% of marketers and 83% of developers agree that being aligned on business goals and priorities is a huge factor in being able to succeed in their roles. Developers cultivate this partnership in large part by recognizing that the work of marketers is becoming more data-driven and technical—a fact that 73% of marketers report being true.
Meanwhile, customer success serves as the factor bringing marketing and DevOps closer together. Customer experience represents a critical driver to the success of any business, and on that, both marketers and developers passionately agree. Somewhat surprising, more developers (89%) than marketers (86%) agree with the notion that every touchpoint and interaction with a customer resolutely matters.
The area where marketers and developers face their greatest disconnect is time. Forty-three percent of marketers feel they cannot get requests done promptly, while an overwhelming majority of developers (86%) are confident in their ability to deliver work within a requested time frame. When it comes to the development of new products or software, this is the biggest pain point for both, leaving each side equally frustrated when trying to appease the demands of the other. But with strategic marketing efforts, better collaboration and a more innate understanding of each others’ roles, marketers and developers can drive powerful business results.
Here are just a few simple tips that can foster a more harmonious relationship between marketers and developers that results in real business value:
- Marketers should involve developers in software evaluations as early as possible.
- Developers should communicate the work required to accomplish a given request and any trade-offs that need to be made to curb marketers’ expectations.
- Both parties should reconnect outside of specific projects to frequently share context about their goals, challenges and opportunities.
That last tip is key, as the survey results show marketers and developers are more aligned on those factors than they realize. As the role of marketers continues to evolve in digital organizations and developers take note of this shifting tide, the two have the potential to wade each other through this massive wave of digital disruption. All it takes is walking a mile in each others’ shoes and realizing that both pairs fit.