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Aligning Cross-Functional Marketing Teams

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Do you work on the account management or the creative side? It’s a common question I’m asked when I go to networking events, expos, or conferences, and my answer is always the same: both.

While my role is different from most search engine marketers working in an agency setting, it makes it easier to bring alignment to cross-functional digital teams due to exposure to both worlds. In order to ensure everyone is in the loop and the client or stakeholder’s success is the number one priority, bringing alignment between each and every group from sales to social is a critical component of success. When clients are happy, everybody wins.

Why Find Alignment?

Bringing alignment to cross-functional teams will ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of business objectives, goals, and overall strategy. It will also help to:

  • Eliminate duplicate efforts
  • Build efficiencies
  • Uncover hidden gems of useful information (Discrepancies between estimated search volume and impressions, anyone?)
  • Coordinate strategies across multiple channels
  • Measure results in a coordinated fashion

Who Should You Align With?

Start branching out and get more in tune with groups of people who perform supporting functions like Web developers, designers, copy writers, social media strategists, and Web analysts instead of only focusing your efforts on groups of similar functions like the SEO team or PPC team. Web developers and designers are responsible for implementing recommendations, be it in the form of code fixes or user experience improvements, and cross-vertical “brain dumps” can educate them on building from the ground up with SEM in mind. Copy writers are good friends to have when you need some new headlines for a landing page, and social media strategists are there to promote and amplify social signals to your fresh, new content. Web analysts put it all together to make you look good and, to be frank, take a lot of the pain out of the first seven days of the month.

Four Ways to Foster Organizational Alignment

Stand-Up Meetings

Daily stand-up meetings are something we employ in the search engine marketing practice here at Zeon Solutions, and, so far, it has proven to be an invaluable tactic to ensure internal alignment between SEO, PPC, social, and content strategy. In a way, it works to cross-pollinate junior and senior level team members. Heck, I’m even starting to use phrases like “quality score” and “impression share.”

The Application: At the beginning of the day, gather around a whiteboard, bulletin board, or even the water cooler to talk about what each team (or team member) is doing. Each participant will gain visibility into what others are doing, and it could easily result in a transfer of knowledge, an elimination of duplicate efforts, or even insight into things you wouldn’t have been expecting.

The daily stand-up board at Zeon Solutions.

Conference Calls

If you aren’t as lucky as we are here at Zeon to have the majority of your co-workers in the same office, conference calls with screen-sharing capabilities can bridge the gap between your group and remote teams. A quick group chat, one-on-one, or weekly meetings will enable you to touch base and coordinate efforts.

The Application: Set up a weekly status call that includes every channel touching the campaign by using a screen-sharing utility like GoToMeeting or Go through five slides each on what your role is, what your goal is, and the tactics you’ll be employing to achieve success. Encourage feedback after the call, and post the slides online on your organization’s project or task management discussion board for comments.

Note: As one of my colleagues told me early last week, some people absolutely despise conference calls. The key to success is to make it interesting, engaging, and efficient. Respect everyone’s time, and make the calls short, sweet, and to the point.

Lunch & Learns

Looking to take your ideas and strategies to the entire organization? Lunch & Learns are an excellent way to share your vision and align with groups beyond the digital team. Holding a Lunch & Learn session brings in other groups like sales, traditional marketing, and even project management so they can learn what each group is doing. There’s nothing worse than a client asking the PM how the latest paid search campaign is performing, and the only sound coming from the other end of the line is crickets… I didn’t know they were running paid search?!

The Application: Set up a brief, one-hour Lunch & Learn entitled “Selling Search” with the sales and accounts teams. Go over the basics of why search is important and why each and every prospective client for a Web design, development, or mobile app should consider search.

Happy Hour!

They say business is best done over a glass of fine Scotch, so why not apply that to team meetings? Aside from the typical HR concerns, it’s an excellent way to connect with team members on a personal level. Think about it this way. The next time you ask your ever-so-friendly developer to load content for a new campaign, he’ll be less likely to flag your message as SPAM if you bought him an ice cold Guinness the week before.

The Application: No practical examples needed here. Instead, I’ll end with a picture!

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Looking for More?

If organizational alignment gets you as pumped up about search as it does me, then you’ll want to be sure to check out the FREE webinar that Zeon Solutions is putting on this Thursday, July 26th entitled “Breaking Down the Silos: How to Align Cross-Functional Teams for Maximum Search Engine Visibility.” Feel free to share your tips for organizational alignment in the comments. I’d love to hear what’s worked for everyone else!

Category SEO
Anthony Piwarun

Anthony Piwarun is a Milwaukee SEO/a> who manages a Search Engine Marketing team at Zeon Solutions, an Inc. 5000 award ...

Aligning Cross-Functional Marketing Teams

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