Today’s Business Marketing Trends Bring IT and Creative Closer Together
There aren’t two more different groups of people in the business world than marketing creatives and IT staff. They have different perspectives, use different jargon and generally view each other as belonging to different species. Yet, the realities of modern business demand that these groups work more closely together than ever.
The biggest driver of this integration is the fast paced growth of modern marketing technologies. Of these, social media and mobile marketing are the fastest-growing ways for businesses to connect with their customers.
It isn’t hard to see why today’s marketing mix brings IT and creative together in new ways. In order to get the most out of these fast-evolving marketing methods, companies have to stay on top of the latest technologies, and they have to keep everything working 24/7.
But all of that is useless without sound strategy – coupled with outstanding creative direction and execution. Technology provides a means to get things done, but not much will happen without campaigns and content.
So, IT and creative must play together nicely.
Recently, the staffing specialists at The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology came up with some tips and guidelines for helping businesses to better integrate IT and creative marketing teams:
- Form cross-functional teams around a central goal. While resources may come from different departments, creating one work group to tackle a particular project, like a website redesign, can help improve collaboration and eliminate an “us versus them” mentality. Once established, make sure objectives are clearly defined and communicated at the onset.
- Make time to meet — and use that time effectively. Creative and IT leaders reported that scheduling in-person meetings is difficult given heavy workloads. However, carving out an hour or two to discuss projects can save valuable time and prevent miscommunication down the road.
- Check jargon at the door. Workplace and departmental lingo can help colleagues communicate ideas more quickly, but excessive use can cause people to lose interest and tune out if it’s unfamiliar to them. Throw in technical terminology and buzzwords like “IoT” and “growth hacking” and the dialogue will only go downhill. Explain concepts in terms the audience will understand and use concrete examples when doing so.
- Encourage constructive criticism. Creative and IT executives said providing feedback to their counterparts is challenging because it’s often not well-received. Empathy can help pave the path toward more productive conversations throughout the duration of a project and at post-mortem meetings. Teams must also clarify the time and resources that go into an initiative: A seemingly simple task may include behind-the-scenes complexity.
- Resolve conflicts quickly. When miscommunication leads to frustration, tempers can flare, especially when creative and IT personnel are under pressure. Addressing cross-team discord swiftly can go a long way toward maintaining momentum and building morale.
All of this is sound advice, but there’s a piece that needs a bit more emphasis. It has to do with getting creative and IT teams to better understand what each other do, and how each discipline (broadly speaking) fits into the greater success of the effort.
In modern companies, these groups have a greater familiarity with each other’s work than was ever the case in the past. Younger creatives grew up with the Internet, apps, games and social media, while IT professionals usually have some experience with content creation.
This can lead to a classic case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing – wherein each side thinks they know all about what the other one does. So, for these teams to work together effectively they first have to respect what the other brings to the table, in very specific terms.
Mangers therefore have to do more than fix issues of manners, and build a deep and abiding level of respect between people who come from very different camps. This is easier said than done, but the outcome will justify the effort.
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