Bridging the divide between marketing and development

Nov 24, 2017 | 11:25 AM
What's a digital manager to do? Artwork by Tue Volder
Artwork by Tue Volder

Digital project managers tasked with delivering engaging end-user experiences have the unenviable challenge of getting different teams to work together on advancing projects. Very often, it’s a case of marketing wanting this and development wanting that, and balancing those divergent goals.

Savvy digital managers are putting shared tools in front of different teams with different needs, notes seasoned CMS product manager Rasmus Skjoldan in his guest blog on J. Boye.

“Technology is never the silver bullet,” he writes. “But it does serve in a bridge-building function. Sometimes, it’s a shortcut to deliver better projects when the organization and cross-team processes are unruly and fluid.”

Why is it so hard to make both marketers and developers happy? For starters, most software products lean to either marketing or engineering: Marketing-driven products cater to marketing teams producing experiences. Technology-driven products cater to development teams producing systems.

In an ideal world, it should be simple for software to empower both marketers and developers at the same time. However, this is difficult for several reasons. The ways that marketers and developers work change rapidly, whereas software that supports their workflows takes time to produce. Their needs are different and fostering a collaborative culture between developer-focused tooling and marketer-enabling features takes time. It takes an equal and deep understanding of both sides to produce software that strikes a balance. And software that manages to strike that balance between marketing and development are just really rare.

Going from his daily work of leading product management and talking constantly to digital managers, Rasmus advocates focussing on innovation that balances the collaboration between marketing and development. This is where digital managers can get the most value from technology and it can help re-shape the way teams work together.

Digital leaders working on revving up their digital projects should “focus on the bridge rather than the two islands it connects,” says Rasmus in his blog post. “One way to do that is to look for technology solutions and also particular software products that are committed to traverse the cultural silos between marketing and development.”