014 How To Work With Developers

There’s obviously a gap between developers and marketers and this can cost businesses time and money. And if you’re not technical, working with developers can be challenging and vice versa. In this episode, we’re going to discuss how you can bridge that gap so marketers and business owners can work with developers more effectively.

Episode Notes:

In today’s episode, we’ll discuss how you as a marketing person or a business owner can work with developers in a very effective way. Now, developers are not bad people. Marketing people are not bad people, but there’s obviously a gap.  We are going to talk about bridging that gap and making the workflow better when you’re working with technical people.

The Gap Between Developers and Marketers Cost Money

In marketing, you will rely on developers to get your marketing projects done. If you want to implement SEO changes or start an A/B test, but there is a roadblock in trying to get the developer or design team to make the changes, that’s going to be an issue. Here are some real examples of issues that could’ve been avoided with better communication.

  • E-commerce Sites Test Products Indexed in Search

If you know an e-commerce brand, just Google that brand plus test product. It is more likely than not to be indexed on Google. It is quite common to forget to no index this when building the website. The developer thinks it’s not an issue but this is simply not acceptable in Marketing.

  • Staging site getting indexed

When you’re building a website and you have a staging site that gets indexed. That is really terrible. So in most cases, you can just slap no index on your staging site, but quite often that doesn’t happen. For a developer, it’s just on some staging server. It doesn’t really matter that anyone can access it. They’re not going to steal some information. You should just tell your developer to password-protect that so no one can see it unless they log in.

  • Finding a noindex tag on a key conversion page

Maybe your developer added a noindex tag to a lot of pages and mistakenly included a key conversion page. That page will drop from  Google. Then you’re going to the developer and say, to get it fixed, but then there’s a queue. And finally, the developer gets time to fix it but then it will take time for Google to reprocess that page. And the revenue,  the traffic that you lost will take time to recover.

What Marketers Can Do to Improve Their Relationships with Developers

One way to get started is to start by preparing a plan.

Because you’re not technical, it doesn’t have to be like a full specs, technical plan, but make it very clear. Start with these questions:

  • What do you want to achieve with your project?
  • How will it help you make more money / attract more customers / improve your brand?
  • When is the final deadline by which you need to finish the project?
  • What is the right technology for your project?

Work with the developer to plan and develop a project roadmap together.  

You need to have a broad scope of what needs to be done, and you need to talk about the actual, how-tos and how each step will be implemented with the person who will be doing it. Some tips:

  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Involve them early on in the planning process
  • Listen to your developer and lean on their expertise

Explain the rationale behind the project

Provide context and how their work impacts the project:

  • What the problem is
  • Why fixing it is important
  • What is required
  • What is the end goal

Set realistic timelines 

Now is the time to really dig into details and scope out the project. Explain how features work together and then set expectations about the deadlines. Consider:

  • Prioritization of features or milestones
  • Utilize Project Management tools
    • Jira or ticketing tools
    • Implementation tracker
    • Work with a Project Manager if available

Keep the communication line open

During  the planning or the implementation, just keep that line of communication open. Do daily stand-ups if needed. Make sure that there are regular updates so that you can catch the problems early on.

Good developers can break down problems and present solutions in a coherent way for their non-technical teammate.

Consider Knowledge Sharing

Consider training or knowledge sharing sessions. Not all developers will be open to learning the latest in marketing, but if it’s something that’s technical and affects their work, I bet they’re interested to understand more about SEO or more about CRO.

Holding small training sessions internally just to help them understand where you’re coming from as a marketer. And just to keep that relationship better.

Final Thoughts and Recap

There’s definitely a gap, but there’s also a very easy way to bridge that gap and to make communication and working together much easier. No assumptions, make the planning a crucial part of your process and you will do really well working with developers.

  • Involve your developers early
  • Communicate clearly and provide updates
  • Consider training/knowledge sharing

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