marketer and developer working together

How Development and Marketing Teams Can Work Together Better

This post is by Evan LePage, Senior Content Manager at Unito. In this post, he highlights some of the best ways to increase and improve collaboration between your marketing and development teams. Learn how ClickUp users can build powerful cross-tool workflows with Unito.

Marketers and developers are like the steering wheel and engine of a car: very different, but you need them both to get to your destination.

Most marketers want nothing to do with codebases and pull requests, while your developers probably aren’t too concerned with promotional tactics and content distribution. That said, both teams would agree that the other is essential for the success of your products and your business.

But why should you spend time and effort to promote collaboration between two teams that are so different? And how can it be done?

Better Collaboration Means Better Results

Olsen twins high-fiving

When it comes to development and marketing, collaboration might not come naturally: 

  • Marketing teams are customer-facing while development often happens in the background
  • Developers often work in short, Agile sprints while marketing initiatives can last anywhere from a few days to several months
  • Marketing teams tend to live in accessible tools like ClickUp, while developers spend their days in technical tools like Jira or GitHub

But just because collaboration doesn’t happen naturally, it doesn’t mean it isn’t desired by both teams. Nearly 40% of employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their organization. 

Marketing and development don’t happen in isolation. Every launch depends on both teams to succeed, and how well they work together can make or break your business.

A remarkable 97% of employees and executives believe lack of team alignment negatively impacts the outcome of a task or project. Another 86% cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as a reason for workplace failures. 

On the flip side, good collaboration increases the success of innovation by 15% while reducing time to market by 20%. And people working collaboratively will stick with their tasks 64% longer than their peers.  

Clearly, the impact of collaboration, good or bad, will be felt in every project. Here’s how you can make sure you land on the positive side.

4 Ways to Kickstart Marketing + Development Collaboration

1. Simplify development requests

Simpson character saying to simplify, man

How does your marketing team currently make requests of your developers? Do they organize a meeting? Send an email? Ping someone on Slack? 

Maybe the request is made in whatever tool the marketers use, and a product manager or developers copies it over into Jira, GitHub, or GitLab? Or maybe it’s the marketers who are forced to jump into the developers’ tools to make that request?

If this is how you approach development requests, you’re creating a ton of busywork — signing in and out of tools, copying and pasting information between channels, jumping from tab to tab. Employees spend nearly eight hours each week just looking for the information they need. That’s not how you want them to spend their time.

This approach can also very quickly lead to miscommunication as projects don’t get updated and messages get lost in the fray. Nearly 30% of failed projects can be attributed to poor communication

Your development request workflow doesn’t have to be this hard. You don’t need to spend your valuable time copying and pasting requests. You don’t need a full calendar or a full inbox to get your project across the finish line. Instead, integrate your marketing and development tools and make your request flow a breeze. 

Here’s an example of how easy it is to work with dev teams using ClickUp:

  1. A marketer notices a bug on the website that requires a developer to fix.
  2. They create a task in ClickUp for that bug, and add a “Development” tag to it.
  3. That tag triggers a Unito workflow, which automatically creates a synced issue in Jira. 
  4. The developer can then request more information or ask for feedback right in the Jira issue, and the marketer can respond and track progress directly from the ClickUp tasks. 

With Unito, you can build out workflows that automatically sync ClickUp tasks to your development tool of choice. Everybody can work where they’re most comfortable and communication is both centralized and transparent. Plus, collaboration is happening in writing, which can increase creativity and innovation. It also means key information is accessible to everyone where and when they need it.

When managing your workflow is that simple, collaboration will come easy.

2. Build shared goals

dog sharing school work

When two teams that need to collaborate have different goals, it can be hard to align on priorities.

A powerful way to improve collaboration between marketing and development teams is by building shared goals. When people feel they have ownership over a goal, they become more committed to it. This commitment will be reflected in how readily and effectively these two teams support and work with one another.

At the start of your quarter (or your sprint), have your marketing leaders and product managers sit down and talk about the major initiatives you have planned. Highlight areas of mutual dependency, and build at least one shared goal for both teams. 

This goal might look something like the following:

  • Acquire new users with a fancy new feature. In order to achieve this goal the development team needs to build a sought-after feature, while the marketers need to get it in front of the right audience.
  • Interview and get product feedback from more customers. Product managers and developers can interview customers for product feedback, feature requests, or to have them beta test new functionality. Marketers can use this feedback in testimonials, source them for case studies, or ask their opinions on marketing campaigns. You can even run these sessions simultaneously so the customer only needs to do one call.
  • Increase the velocity of website improvements. This requires close alignment between the marketers making and reviewing requests, and the developers actually doing the coding.

Whatever the goal, by having both teams working towards it, you’re building common ground from the outset. Make one team’s success everybody’s success.

3. Make feature launches a team affair

team celebrating blast off

Everybody loves a good launch. You pour your heart and soul into a project, building it up until you finally push the big red button and send it out into the world. Then you have a beer. 

…of course, that’s the dream scenario. Most launches are actually a stressful race to the finish line full of bugs, blockers, and last-minute tasks. 

Why? Well, launches are often “owned” by a single team. If the development or marketing team is solely responsible for managing the launch, their focus will often be on their own team’s role in that process. As a result, tasks for other teams might get assigned late, or the scope might not reflect the actual time and resources required to execute. Plus, different teams might have different ideas on strategy and execution, which can lead to conflict. 

To smooth out your launches, build a launch team that includes members of both product and marketing from the start. This ensures that both teams are represented and consulted at all stages of the project. A RACI chart can help with this, by identifying who is actually responsible for the work, and who on both teams will be consulted and informed along the way. Collaboration improves when the roles of team members are clearly defined.

Then, build out your project plan together, so everybody is aware of important milestones well in advance. You can also sync your projects across both teams’ tools to ensure that stakeholders across the organization have visibility into progress and the ability to request or provide feedback to one another.

Increasing the involvement and collaboration of both marketing and development in launch planning and execution is sure to lead to better buy-in and better outcomes. Plus, once the launch is complete, you’ll have even more people to share that celebratory beer with.

4. Involve marketing in hackathons

cat typing fast

Hackathons are short events during which a team comes up with an idea, and builds it from the ground up. Considering CEOs rank creativity as the most crucial factor in future success, it should come as no surprise that the number of hackathons continues to grow year over year

Traditionally, these events have been defined by, and isolated to, development teams. But more and more businesses are starting to invite marketers to participate in hackathons. This is a great way to create fun, engaging opportunities for these two roles to collaborate. 

First of all, hackathons expose members of both teams to people they may not be used to working with. This can have a very positive impact on the day-to-day collaboration between your teams. Project teams where 20-40% of members already know each other are far more successful at collaborating.  

Also, hackathons that involve marketing are a chance to clearly showcase how mutually dependent each team’s work is toward the success of the product. While developers are in the weeds coding the tool, marketers can jumpstart their strategy, building out collateral or brand personas on the fly. Then as the product comes to life, marketers can provide support on product testing while developers feed screenshots and videos over to marketing. This kind of symbiotic relationship won’t just lead to a better hackathon, it’ll lead to better collaboration between these two teams in the long term. 


teamwork dancing line

There’s no denying the differences between marketing and development teams. They have different skills, different tendencies, and usually live in different tools. But, at the end of the day, it’s those differences that make both teams essential to the success of your company. And only when they’re working collaboratively can you hope to achieve that success.

If you think marketing and development are like apples and oranges, just remember: you need both to make a killer fruit salad. 

Now that you’ve improved teamwork with developers, learn how to improve marketing collaboration with customer support.

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