Is there a language barrier between your tech people and your creative people?
Technology is the nervous system for today’s marketing. It’s what allows us to intimately understand our customers and their behaviors in order to connect our consumers to our brand. Tech is essential to Cuttlefish Marketers who are fast, innovative, and agile. So we have a big problem if the people on our team who develop creative content can’t speak the same language as the team members who create the technology so necessary for that content. Both sides need to be able to understand each other, so that together they can build an effective end product.
Here’s how you can make sure that happens
- As the marketing executive, learn enough about IT that you can facilitate communications between both sides of the tech-creative equation. You don’t need to go fifty feet deep with your understanding of IT processes—but at least go down a foot, far enough that you have some understanding of what’s going on down there beneath the surface.
- Create an environment where people can ask questions.The answers will help your team span their language barriers. What’s more, those answers will help you clarify how the IT pieces complement each other, whether any are redundant, and what’s missing. Questions also point the tech team to the places where their input will be most effective.
- Create a common language by defining key performance indicators. Understanding exactly what equals success means your team can talk about how to achieve it. It also means that everyone can be invested in the process. Setting clear goals means that both creative people and IT people know where to direct their efforts to get the most bang for their buck.
- Nurture team spirit. A sense of conflicting objectives—a me-against-them outlook—contributes to team tension and communication breakdown. On the other hand, people who understand they’re working toward the same goals are more motivated to communicate clearly.
- Measure performance regularly. This goes hand-in-hand with #3, but it’s not enough to DEFINE success; you also have to know when you’ve actually achieved it. IT can give you the tools to measure results more precisely. Then tech and creative team members can determine what’s working and what isn’t. They can work to together to improve—and they can celebrate successes with a sense of shared achievement.
I’m not telling you that your marketing people will have to start going to technology conferences instead of marketing ones—or vice versa. As Cuttlefish Marketers, we don’t need to comprehend every technical detail of what makes the “nervous system” function to use it as effectively as possible (any more than an actual cuttlefish needs to draw a diagram of its neuron network before it can do all the amazing adaptive things it’s capable of doing). Clear communication between all the parts of the organism is all we need—and then each part can do what it does best, in harmony with all the rest.