Some of the best and most transformative projects in loyalty have come from a partnership between Marketing and IT. Verizon UP is an example of this – they utilize a sourcing network for everything from tickets to certificates that allows them to show their appreciation to customers and provide useful and aspirational rewards. But in some cases, there can be tension between the two departments within a brand. They often have very different working philosophies and as a result, they tend to encounter conflicts while working together. But, as these two teams can be some of the most prominent groups in an organization, it is inevitable that they will have to collaborate in order to be successful. With this, both departments need to recalibrate and improve their collaborative efforts to transform their marketing and achieve high-quality business outcomes.
Get in the right mindset
To understand the best way to collaborate, you should first acknowledge the working habits of each department. Seeing the work from the other team’s perspective can help you strategize the best ways to have positive and effective collaboration. Then, you can fit these perspectives into the framework for running successful business initiatives: business changes rapidly and it is up to Marketing to adapt to that pace, while IT needs to be a slower changing, stable foundation that they can optimize over time, but is prepared for upcoming changes. Like Marketing, IT is at the forefront of change, but with all of the interconnected aspects of technology, they must be mindful of foundational elements.
After laying the foundation for your thought processes, you need to investigate any working problems that have hindered interdepartmental communication in the past. If you discover a problem between IT and Marketing, work internally to assess the issue and discuss a solution. Getting to the bottom of existing problems by working together will not only clear the way for effective communication later; it will also serve as a practice run for upcoming shared tasks.
Communicate your goals
Marketing and IT should each figure out their sets of goals and work on roadmapping upcoming objectives. Then, the two teams should get together to discuss business outcomes and figure out the best way to collaborate on each goal, even if they are not common goals, to have a better understanding of priorities and bandwidth to deliver each objective on time. Then, the departments can declutter each other’s plans and ask about how each item works to help their goals, interchangeably. This is the perfect time to ask questions and clarify goals to get everyone on the same page – what may make sense to you is a completely different acronym in another department (for example, MQL). If you hear IT say, “we’re implementing a completely new architecture,” ask how it helps with your shared tangible goals.
Get to work
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and help where needed in order to have proper collaboration. Teams should also familiarize themselves with each other’s day-to-day work; IT does not often look at marketing content and campaign timelines, and marketers do not have focus groups on IT projects as they’re developed. Early in the collaboration, get a quick win and celebrate together. This can be anything you develop together, no matter how small – a new email template would do the trick. Any win will do for starters – just achieve something that can boost morale and recognize the collaboration efforts of Marketing and IT.
Subway is one of many brands that have put in the effort to foster collaboration between IT and Marketing that have seen great results. In 2018, Subway launched the MyWay Rewards program to encourage brand love with their consumers. The loyalty program also came with a mobile app refresh, new posters and advertisements in-store, and upgrades to their digital presence. This also came shortly after they debuted their new logo in 2016. These updates are a result of the two teams working hand-in-hand, and without the collaboration between Marketing and IT, it is likely that their major strategy changes would not have gone as smoothly.
Remember that this transformation is not an overnight process – there will still be stumbles and occasional issues that you will have to solve. But starting to implement these improvements will be essential to building smart working habits and efficient communication between teams. In turn, you should start to see increased throughput, as Marketing utilizes IT’s optimization of existing technology and IT understands how Marketing will promote those products. Once each team has a thorough understanding of the inner workings of the other, they will be able to help one another and work on shared goals. In turn, this transformation of the way your groups work together will open doors to transformative marketing projects that become far easier to complete with a seamless IT and Marketing partnership.
Ready to collaborate on loyalty efforts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how we can help implement a transformative project for your brand.