Today’s modern marketing department encompasses a variety of roles that blend expertise in both traditional and digital mediums. Hiring for SEO related roles, in particular, has increased by over 40% in the last year.
Companies are injecting more dollars than ever into organic search and content marketing. This strategic shift calls on SEO and marketing teams to move in concert in order to achieve mutual campaign KPIs. Crossing the collaborative divide requires an equally mindful transition towards consistent communication, project management processes, and teambuilding.
Issues with integration
Making two cross-discipline teams work cohesively can be a challenge. About 75% of cross-functional teams fail. In order to mitigate the risk of a poorly-executed campaign, it’s vital to integrate the day-to-day functions of both marketing and SEO teams. To do that, it helps to take a look at some of the common barriers to success.
- Lack of communication, specifically pertaining to goals
- No clear method for measuring ROI
- Siloed mentality or lack of flexibility
- Gaps in technology adoption
It’s incredibly difficult to strive towards a goal that isn’t clearly defined. Expecting teams with different skill sets to work within ill-defined project parameters is even harder. Scope creep becomes a real issue, alongside a general lack of confidence in project deliverables and team cooperation.
Measuring the impact of a product can also be adversely affected by a lack of clarity. If a project doesn’t have a clear, standardized system for measuring ROI, it becomes difficult for each team to understand the impact of their work and fairly attribute responsibility. This is difficult in any cross-functional scenario, but in the marketing world, where ROI has been historically difficult to measure, it can prove disastrous.
Too often, separate teams become siloed, isolated from the larger department by their specialized skill set. Breaking down creative silos means that valuable information is shared more freely across teams, and the resulting output is more dynamic, which is an extraordinarily valuable thing in the world of marketing. Adapting to current trends in SEO and marketing, as well as being able to execute on them within a joint strategy means being receptive to change.
One barrier to entry for cross-discipline collaboration is a technology adoption gap. Although MarTech software applications accounted for nearly 30% of a CMO’s budget in 2018, certain aspects of technical SEO might be harder to conceptualize and fit under a unified marketing umbrella. Implementing standardized technology tools aimed at promoting collaboration and data analysis is a cornerstone of modern marketing strategy.
Impact on revenue
Successful inter-departmental collaboration can be tied to revenue and positive brand impact. Over 90% of Google traffic is observed on the first page, meaning if you are ranking on the second, third, or tenth page, your marketing efforts are unlikely to be seen.
Social media marketing and content strategy have long been the territory of traditional marketers. Hybridized digital marketers and SEO strategists can help drive marketing objectives centered around the most compelling and technical aspects, bringing to the table a unique understanding of how organic search helps drive brand visibility.
Cross-functional communication provides more visibility into emerging trends, ROI modeling, and organizational needs that can inform marketing spends and strategic focus. Nurturing a basic understanding of the relationship between a brand and its customers also helps marketers and SEO experts alike create smarter strategies and drive more profitable results.
Best practices for fostering collaboration
Fortunately, creating a culture of collaboration doesn’t have to be such a heavy lift. SEO strategists and marketers have similar core competencies. Given the right tools and processes, SEO efforts can help drive marketing objectives and vice versa:
- Collaboration tools
- Workflow processes
- Education and employee engagement
Collaborative tools and software platforms are hitting the market with increasing regularity. Implementing these tools can positively impact the way SEO and marketing teams work together as well as conduct day-to-day job functions. From project management platforms like Asana or Basecamp, to collaborative meeting tools like Slack and Google Hangouts, using a standardized set of tools helps empower organizations with distinct departments and enables remote workers to create compelling campaigns in real-time. This also helps teams establish workflow processes that break large-scale projects down into smaller tasks, allowing them to keep a close eye on potential bottlenecks at all stages of the project management life cycle.
Breaking down organizational silos can do a lot towards creating a shared sense of expertise and a shared vocabulary. Defining project objectives and metrics to track against helps improve the collaboration between SEO and marketing teams since all stakeholders will understand how their efforts and area of expertise play into a shared outcome. Not every marketing objective will be SEO focused, but it’s still important to get stakeholders in the room to talk about keyword targets and opportunities, as well as conduct training sessions.
Keeping employees engaged is one of the best ways to keep collaboration productive and consistent. Scheduling regular standing meetings to go over progress towards objectives, and providing avenues for professional development, certification, and mentoring help cement team building efforts that drive success.
SEO strategy for results
Marketing teams need to be thinking about SEO, and SEO teams need to be thinking about marketing. With more companies throwing their weight behind organic search and adjacent forms of marketing, both teams will be working towards common KPIs. The marketing strategies of the future incorporate a more holistic approach to brand strategy, and companies that are able to foster cross-functional collaboration are setting themselves up to be more able to respond to the changing market.