Programmers are the gatekeepers of a digital product’s success. Although they are not responsible for the product’s live application, they are responsible for its blueprint. And for the project to be a success, they need to be able to communicate effectively with the marketing team in order to create a product that users love.
Marketers and programmers are the two main players in most organizations. They are also experts in their own individual field who share little knowledge of the processes, capabilities, or constraints faced by their counterparts.
And that’s where problems arise.
The majority of internet experts are from the tech world, which is why there’s often a disconnect between them and marketers who work with many different channels. For the most part, programmers don’t understand marketing strategies.
On the other hand, marketers view things from specific lenses, and they don’t speak programming languages.
According to web design agencies, with such huge communication barriers between the two teams, the results are impractical designs, decreased velocity, and inaccurate implementation—all of which translate to project failure.
Luckily, there’s a lot that programmers can do to enhance the flow of communication with marketers so both parties can benefit.
Read on to discover the five tips programmers can use to effectively communicate with marketing. But first, let’s take a look at why communication between programmers and marketers is so vital.
Why Is Effective Communication Important?
It’s important for marketers and programmers to communicate effectively because there is an ever-growing range of software for achieving marketing objectives, staying competitive, and keeping up with expectations of an increasingly tech-savvy customer base.
However, to nonprogrammers this can seem like a daunting task. That’s why it’s important for programmers to find effective ways to communicate: so marketers can gain the confidence of making well-informed decisions where software is concerned.
Effective communication reduces the risk of crucial details getting lost in translation and gives marketers better insight into the ideas and concerns that drive new technical collaborations.
These days, much of marketing software’s power lies in its ability to systematize different aspects of the customer experience (as well as internal marketing operations), allowing marketers to deliver more tailored user experiences at scale.
But, all this requires mapping out and implementing advanced processes that are coded and configured into such software. In other words, marketing and programming come together in different types of software, including software for:
- Marketing automation
- Managing content marketing pipelines
- Running conversion optimization experiments
- Handling social media engagements
… and so on.
This is how the two processes, marketing and programming, coexist in such software:
Marketing: The software creates the layout of marketing processes developed by the marketer from a flow of decisions and steps for delivering the ideal experience to prospects and guiding them to appropriate stages in the marketing/sales funnel.
Programming: The software—though presenting the details mentioned above in a visual way—structures the process as a computer program: If X, do Y, else do Z, etc. This is the type of thinking software programmers apply in their craft.
These process configurations can be contained in one software platform or across multiple software products that define different critical human touchpoints. Either way, marketers have to find ways to translate abstract concepts into concrete processes to further their marketing mission, and programmers can help enhance this through effective communication.
With that in mind, here are a few tips programmers can use to effectively communicate with marketing.
Create Clear, Common Objectives
Having clear, common objectives is crucial to the success of any project. For the most part, programmers and marketers have a common goal, which is to improve customer experience.
Both sides agree that the different customer touchpoints and interactions are essential to the achievement of successful business results. They also agree that it’s vital to work together seamlessly in order to succeed in each party’s respective role.
For them to collaborate successfully, they need clear shared objectives to work toward that will allow them to implement a customer experience framework that promotes business goals.
Once everyone is on the same page, it makes it easier to move forward together, even though processes might differ.
Here are a few tips to help you set clear project objectives:
- Focus on Transparency: If two different teams are going to be working together, everyone must know what they’re getting into. Have clear methods of communication set up, and make it easy for anyone to make suggestions, ask questions, and provide feedback.
- Set SMART Goals: SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound. When you set concrete targets that adhere to these criteria, it creates a clear path and makes it easier for the different teams to achieve them.
- Hold Regular Meetings: This will allow you to plan together and set your key performance indicators and deadlines together so you can take into account the different work processes for both programmers and marketers.
- Create Resources for All Members of the Team: Employee handbooks and other resources can be invaluable for employees. They can define goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, guidelines, and everything else members of your team need to work together effectively. You can also use online course platforms to create audio-visual material that is more engaging than globs of text.
Bridge the Communication Gap
Sometimes, marketers think they are asking for simple additions when in actual fact they’ve probably added dozens of hours to a programmer’s workload. Other times, they might think something is impossible when in actual reality it’ll just take a few minutes for the programmer to implement.
That’s why clear communication between marketers and programmers is crucial so that both parties understand what needs to be done for the project to be completed within scope and on time.
For programmers, communication is one of the most crucial variables that contribute to any project’s success. It’s essential to build a site or app that is aligned with the requirements of the owners while at the same time ensuring a great user experience (for those programmers who have influence over the UI).
However, if there’s ambiguous communication between programmers and marketers, things can fall through the cracks, which can result in the creation of a product that fails to achieve its main goals.
Since marketers and programmers interpret ideas, terms, and the complexities of implementation differently, you must find ways for communicating effectively.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when bridging the communication gap:
- Mutual Respect Is Key: Communication is two-way, and the first step toward bridging the communication gap is to show respect where both parties show that they value each other’s work.
- Tell the “What” and the “Why”: When discussing new features, it’s important for both parties to understand what is required as well as why it’s necessary. Programmers are more likely to drive real impact when marketers communicate the “why” behind their requests.
- Use the Right Tools: Effective and efficient communication requires the use of proper communication and collaboration tools. This is crucial for all joint projects, and setting up the tech tools will facilitate better communication between programmers and marketers.
There are many tools that programmers can use to communicate with marketers and vice versa. One thing to remember is that facial language, vocal tone, and related elements of communications do matter. Finding ways to communicate face-to-face can do wonders in overcoming the obstacles of written communication.
One of these is by using webinar software to create messages that can be shared with marketers or to meet directly. However, there are times when other tools are better suited for the job.
For example, you can use chat platforms for instant communication, data/reporting platforms to store valuable data, file-sharing platforms to give both teams easy access to information, video conferencing software for conducting tutorials and meetings, even internal SMS messages to quickly sort out any questions, and so on.
Establish a Shared Language
Yet another effective way to foster collaboration between marketers and programmers is to establish a shared language. This will improve cross-department communication, which, in turn, will increase your project success rates.
In order for the teams to collaborate effectively and produce a great digital experience for users, they both need to understand the efforts required to produce required solutions.
Establishing a shared language makes it a lot easier for them to communicate. Programmers’ language is code, but the majority of marketers don’t have a foundational understanding of the front-end programming language.
Luckily, there are tools online like Basecamp or Slack that marketers and developers can use to get on the same page so they can work together to create functional applications that satisfy the user’s needs.
Granted, these tools won’t help marketers or programmers understand all of the terms and lingo of the other party, but it will help facilitate an environment where multiple teammates can collaborate and help each other clarify requirements for the project.
These tools will allow the teams to create and apply a shared vision, which in turn will provide programmers with a reliable blueprint to build the application. However, there will always be communication obstacles, and it’s important to remember that perfect is the enemy of good.
As long as real attempts are made between marketers and programmers to understand each other, most communication issues will be resolved without too much difficulty.
Share All Information
Another way to help programmers communicate effectively with marketers is to share all information, including the marketing plan, as well as tracking the project development. This will ensure a seamless collaboration, which makes it an invaluable investment in the project’s success.
Use Cloud-Based Collaboration Software
Members from the respective teams can collaborate in real time, share information, ask questions, and give feedback on an accessible platform.
With reliable cloud-based collaboration tools, there will be less back and forth messaging between programmers and marketers trying to access new information, which ultimately makes it a lot simpler to meet deadlines and goals.
Use Email Platforms
Another way for programmers and marketers to effectively communicate is through the use of shared ownership of email communications.
Both teams are directly involved in multiple vital customer communication channels, including marketing emails, transactional emails, display advertising, SMS, etc. You can use a tool like Twilio with APIs and solutions designed for each channel.
The right email tool is the single solution needed to make it easier for both parties to collaborate across all emails.
Use Data-Driven Insights To Inform Collaboration
We live in a digital world where success is measured in terms of data. Programmers might create the technology for harnessing big data for businesses, but it’s also fed back to them in order to generate business results and enhance collaboration.
Marketers make use of data-driven insights to better inform their day-to-day marketing strategies. There are advanced automated technologies, such as call recording solutions, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc., that have broadened the data collection scope.
The big data pertaining to why, when, and how customers interact with a company is stored and analyzed so marketers can better understand their behavior and enhance their experience, which ultimately results in better business outcomes.
With regard to the collaboration between programmers and marketers, data can be leveraged to provide valuable insights to inform product development, both now and in the future.
This way, marketers have easy access to unlimited customer data and feedback. They can then pass it on to the programmers and development teams who will work to improve user experience and product functionality.
The implications are mind-blowing, and it’s amazing what these two teams can achieve when working together and communicating effectively.
No Need for Communication Barriers
There you have it—five tips programmers can use to effectively communicate with marketers. As you can see, there is no longer a need to put up with the communication barrier that often exists between marketers and programmers.
By putting in a bit of extra effort to implement these few strategies, you’ll be able to enhance your working relationships; enjoy a comfortable, collaborative professional environment; and reap the rewards from your successful projects
Do you think these tips will help you communicate more effectively with the other departments in your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below!