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Bridging the Communication Gap between Marketing and Software Development Teams

Updated: Apr 19, 2020


In many enterprises selling techy products and services, marketers and technical staff rarely communicate in an effective manner. This creates a burden on resources, time and budget.

It is usually not because of personal or psychological issues, but rather due to factors that project managers, product managers and senior management usually neglect. This is more noticed in high-tech industries such as software development, internet products and services, e-commerce and information technology.

The problems are due to bad communication. The two groups simply speak different languages, and most importantly, have different objectives and evaluation criteria. There are four aspects below that can contribute to resolving such communication issues.

1- Communication Timing

Marketing, product, and technology teams should start communicating early in the product inception phase, and not shortly before the product launch. Sharing ideas and visualizing product should be a team work where all business aspects and teams are involved from the beginning.

2- Communication Content

Marketers should brief technical teams on product users, their behavior, expectations and motivations. Marketers should also communicate what other competing products in the market that users perceive as high quality and why. On the other hand, marketing team should be familiar with recent software development technologies and standards. This helps to guide their ideas towards what the team can achieve in a reasonable time frame and cost.

3- Unified Goals

Usually, technical teams’ performance evaluation criteria and compensations are separate from the same corresponding aspects of marketing teams. In parallel to the functional organization structure, lean and temporary project teams should be created with unified management, goals, targets and evaluation criteria.

4- Translation

Marketing teams should learn to use clear and specific terms when communicating with technical colleagues. For example, Marketers should not say: “Let’s integrate customer social experience on our website.” Marketers should rather say: “How much development time is needed to allow users to register, login, and share their Facebook feeds through our website?

Technical teams may tend to challenge business requirements with high development time estimation. They should rather learn to ask marketers to offer alternative strategies or product ideas that could deliver the same value to customers while spending fewer development efforts.

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