Business People Technology

IT and Marketing: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Business People Technology

Think back to your previous jobs and it’s likely that you can remember departments that were siloed, each focused on its own wants, needs, and goals. The mail room, for example, might have wanted to end its workday at 4 p.m., even though the packaging department frequently had last-minute shipments.

No matter what industries you’ve worked in, you likely have experienced this silo approach. In today’s digital world, this is perhaps most often seen with the IT department and the marketing department, each of which often holds on to their information tightly, sharing it with the other department on a need-to-know basis (often believing there aren’t very good need-to-know reasons).

Let’s face it. The things that keep your IT team up at night are clearly not the same concerns that cause your marketing department to lose sleep. IT managers are focused on keeping their systems secure, stable, and reliable; marketing managers want to change things up with the latest tech for acquiring customers. IT often moves at a deliberate pace while digital marketing must move quickly to be effective. In between these groups can be a minefield of opposing priorities, perspectives, and even cultures.

So how can your company foster better collaboration between the marketing and IT departments? Here are tips.

Culture of collaboration

At the start of your facilitation, make sure that your company has (or is committed to developing) a culture of collaboration. Otherwise, any changes in policy, technology, or office space, to name just three possibilities, will be like swimming upstream. wrote an excellent article on how to create such a culture, and one of the most important tips is to not fear differences in culture from department to department; instead, focus on understanding these differences. It’s easy to assume that others in your company should operate the same way you do, especially if your coworkers live in the same geographical area as you. But, when you acknowledge that isn’t the case, then you can start to observe differences, rather than judge them.

This observation opens the door to understanding the viewpoints of people in another department, which is a key step to working more effectively with them.

If you’re working remotely and/or in an international company, additional challenges will likely arise in this process. For example, one woman shared how her colleagues in Japan didn’t say no to her requests, but then didn’t follow through with them, either. She later learned that in Japanese culture turning down a request causes people to lose face, so they don’t say no. The woman who was in this situation learned that if she makes a request of her Japanese colleagues, she will likely need to follow through with “appropriate decision-makers” afterwards, something that might not have been her approach with American coworkers.

RELATED: Here’s How to Make a Great First Impression With Your International Clients

Common goal of customer focus

When focusing specifically on the cultural differences of the IT and marketing departments, suggests that the best way to unite these two departments is through the common goal of customer focus. When Silvercar entered the car rental space, the company created a “customer experience, customer journey-designed team” with people from the product development team, the IT team, the marketing team, and more. This helped to eliminate the “isolated in an ivory tower” mindset as the newly created team focused on common ground.

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