Your tech department is working hard to create the next big thing, but their efforts can go unnoticed without the help of a marketing team that tells everyone how great it is. That’s why collaboration between marketing and tech teams is essential.
At Guaranteed Rate, these teams worked together to launch new mortgage technology, and we learned a lot about collaborating in the process. Agile is at the core of how technology and stakeholders interact at Guaranteed Rate, often employing frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban. In doing so, we found that the left brain (tech team) and the right brain (marketing team) work differently, but once their ideas are combined there can be great results.
Instead of scheduling endless meetings to get things done, take a look at the four takeaways we learned during the process. Our Director of Marketing, Beth Keckley, and VP of Software Development, Stephen Prosser, share four tips on improving collaboration between your teams.
Create a transparent workplace
In order to effectively promote the latest and greatest technology, marketers need to thoroughly understand it and stay informed as the technology develops so they can prepare for a successful public launch. To achieve this, it is important your work environment facilitates transparency between engineers, product developers and marketing professionals.
For example, our tech and marketing teams meet bi-weekly to work together and plan the engineering teams’ “sprint”. During the meeting, the tech team discusses their upcoming “sprint”, which is a collection of projects and features the team agrees to try and complete within a timeframe. Our sprints currently run in 2 week cycles. In this meeting, tech and marketing provide direct feedback with each other, describing the business benefits of each project and how each one should be prioritized with the outcome being a unified vision for the sprint. These types of meetings establish trust between the two teams, because everyone works at the same pace, and this drastically reduces mistakes due to misunderstandings.
Be realistic when setting goals
It would be game-changing if your company’s new product had everything you could imagine. However, the tech team might need two years to build it. At that point, the market could have shifted entirely, leaving the new product out to dry. Be reasonable when setting goals and allow the tech team to piece projects apart. Then create a minimum viable product that gets both teams’ ideas in front of customers quickly. Of utmost importance is the balance of communicating the value of specific features while also being willing to compromise for the greater good of releasing shippable products quickly. It also allows the tech team to build more features as the product evolves.
Put together a roadmap for your projects
If you want to make a splash when your technology goes live, don’t wait until the last minute to loop in marketers. Get them involved early and create a project roadmap. Both teams need to prioritize each task to put everyone on the same page. When Guaranteed Rate’s tech team involved marketing in the project roadmap, planning and prioritization, the team was better suited to launch a strategic communication plan related to the benefits of new products, both internally and externally. This communication plan also more accurately describes the product due to a greater understanding by all involved departments.
Leverage customer feedback together
When tech teams release new products, we always work closely with the marketing department to gather customer feedback. This provides more customer insight on newly released technology and what improvements might be needed, or what’s resonating with the customer. Often times, customers might not care about features you think will be helpful, and other times the customer has a great idea that you’ve never considered. Not just stopping at the MVP phase, but also implementing qualified feedback into the product over time, builds significant trust between tech and marketing. With Guaranteed Rate’s new webpages, the customers in this case were our loan officers. The tech and marketing team worked together to gather their insight, prioritize the layout of its features based on customer feedback and ultimately produce a more successful minimum viable product right away.
When both teams work together, they can completely transform their industry with new technology! Being transparent, straightforward and realistic ensures that marketing and tech will release products and features that provide real value, quickly.