How to Make Working With Marketing Suck Less

How to Make Working With Marketing Suck Less

Do you cringe every time you get a request in your Jira inbox? When someone from marketing sends you a Slack or Teams message that just says “hi,” do you really think they want to chat? Do you stare out the window, wistfully imagining the projects you actually want to work on?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may need some help fixing your relationship with your marketing team.

It isn’t exactly news that data and marketing teams have had a traditionally fraught relationship — but the game has changed with new expectations, moving roles and responsibilities, shifting budget (with technical teams getting more and more control), and a whole lot of stress.

Data teams are trying to keep up with increasing demands (and tickets) while maintaining and scaling their carefully constructed and secure data architecture.

Besides the obvious solution — win the Powerball to do something more interesting than list pulls and pipeline maintenance — we want to talk through some handy strategies, solutions and communication tips for how to respond when your marketing team makes these comments and requests.

We’ll run you through some of your most stressful requests and offer some tips that will help you get back to high-value projects you actually want to do and more interesting problems you actually want to solve.

7 Common Requests From Your Marketing Team and What to Do Next

While marketers were preparing their next ad hoc request, you’ve probably been designing your data warehouse. A lot of your problem can actually be boiled down by optimizing your existing data infrastructure through your Databricks Lakehouse, Snowflake Data Cloud, Teradata VantageCloud, Google BigQuery or Amazon Redshift and pulling your applications to your data, rather than pulling your data to your applications.

Below, we’ll take a look at some common requests that you are likely to receive in yours or your team’s inboxes every day, with a few key tips, solutions and strategies to help you deal.

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The “Audience Segment”

Another day, another audience pull, another data copy. Rather than spending painstaking time pulling another audience request into your queue, and then getting data from your data warehouse and your local data stores and copying it out to another platform, you can actually rethink that flow and bring your applications to your data (rather than the other way around). Instead of pulling data from multiple places, tap customer data directly across multiple sources without moving it. By pushing the query down to the underlying data sources, marketers can obtain and activate segmented data immediately. With federated query pushdown, you can easily combine your warehouse data with local data stores to get those audience requests out. Better yet, give your marketers a controlled, self-serve interface to create those audiences on top of the data warehouse.

The “Campaign Orchestration”

Your marketers want to live up to the omnichannel dream and design orchestrated campaigns — but for you, this is probably a nightmare. Basic ETL tools lack the complete functionality that your marketers need to create customer journeys across email, social, paid media and more, while other solutions have you creating a schema, creating a dataset, configuring your connectors and more to get it ready to go. Instead, get a solution with orchestration capabilities that bring it all back where you need it — to the data. By moving these applications closer to the data, your marketers can achieve their omnichannel dreams and you can avoid the stress of cutting, slicing, and dicing.

The “New Tool Integration”

Integration projects — every data engineer’s raison d’etre. With all the new applications marketers are eager to add to the stack comes a stack of new integration requests to make sure that the data is getting where it needs to go and so they can actually continue to optimize their campaigns and live up to the evolving “data-driven” campaign standard. By bringing applications to your data warehouse, you can skip the pipeline maintenance and go straight to the activation channel through seamless integrations. Tools like customer data platforms (CDPs) have quickly become integration environments — with integration patterns for customer data activation.

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The “Our Data Seems Off”

So your marketing team is asking you about data quality — after you’ve spent tons of time making sure your data is beautifully organized within your data warehouse — and after they keep pulling in new tools and applications. This generally sucks. Rather than have your marketing team on your back about data quality being used in your campaigns, you should give them “democratized” and controlled access to your data warehouse so they can create the audiences themselves, with the complete dataset from the data warehouse. This way, you aren’t pulling all of this data together and having to cut and recut based on any little update they need or question they have. And with federated query pushdown, you can pull together data from one data warehouse, from two data warehouses, and from local data stores so you’re giving the total picture to your marketing team.

Extensive report

The “Extensive Report”

Actually helping your marketing team get their audiences and campaigns out the door is one thing. Helping them get all of those details on campaign performance is another. Rather than manually compiling data from different marketing platforms and web analytics, creating custom reports or trying to get everything neatly into your business intelligence tools and then actually generating the reports for the marketing, you should be using your existing data warehouse to manage those analytics. To discover, plan, measure and optimize your marketing campaigns, you should have reporting available at different levels of the experience: channel, campaign and journey. With a Universal Contact History (UCH), you can track all the activations from the platform. With tools like CDPs, you can take advantage of analytics that combine each destination and gather an aggregated, complete view for marketers.

The “Real Time Campaign”

Real-time means real stress in setting up pipelines and using stream processing tools. Instead, you can use your data warehouse and automatically combine streaming and historical data for those personalized real-time experiences so your marketing team improves performance and increases revenue growth, while you save time. With a subset of attributes and audiences cached temporarily in low latency storage, your real time data store is ready to go in subseconds. Your marketing team can orchestrate and monitor real-time customer experiences across every inbound and outbound channel.

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The “New Model”

Rather than analyzing customer data to identify patterns and preferences, then developing custom scripts to generate personalized recommendations, you can get smarter about optimizing your data warehouse. With a solution that reaches across data sources, you can query customer data across your data warehouse and local data stores to identify preferences, then use personalization tools to generate recommendations based on federated data, providing personalized insights in real-time, leveraging data from all sources. This means propensity and churn models, web data or offline data, campaign data and more.

5 Tips for Bridging the Marketing and Data Divide

On a personality level, data teams and marketers have very different approaches to work, communication and life — and it’s not just a matter of whether you spend your time listening to Taylor Swift or playing Skyrim. You think marketers talk in CTR and LTV, they think data engineers only talk in SQL and ETL. Marketers need things yesterday, you need a vacation. Marketers think they’re data experts now, you know they aren’t. Skip the polite nodding and get your marketing team to be an actually decent collaborator, and maybe friend, in the process.

1. Teach your marketing team to fish

You’ve heard the saying. “Give a person a fish and they’ll eat for a day. Teach them to fish, and they’ll eat for a lifetime.” Rather than your marketing team relying on you to pull data lists from the data warehouse (and wherever else your data is), give them a controlled, self-serve interface to access audience segments. That way they can explore audiences on their own time — giving you time to pick back up that GenAI work.

2. Automate the boring stuff

Work with your marketing team to understand where you can automate requests and create an easier flow. What will they consistently need? How can they access insights easily, without the ad hoc requests? Rather than constant one-off requests, make the time to look for the solutions even though it seems you’re bogged down now, focus priority on reducing the requests through self service, not responding to the endless tickets.

3. Come up with a few shared goals to work toward together ♥️

Marketing has pretty intense growth, revenue and customer experience goals. And while your marketing team is taught to “move fast and break things,” you are taught to actually prevent anything from breaking in your data stack. By creating a shared set of goals, like increasing operational efficiency, or reducing the time it takes for your marketing team to get the data they need, you can make sure that you and your team are oriented towards goals like self-serve access together.

4. Align on a shared set of expectations

While your marketing team may have great expectations for your turnaround times as well as your stack priorities, you need to share those realities with your team. Communicate your own dreams for how the more time you have to spend on data projects that bring real value to your business will benefit them in the end like evaluating Generative AI solutions and LLMs for marketing customer data stacks. That could include setting up an SLA on turnaround times for requests, with plans to set up self-service functions.

5. Celebrate your shared success

When you have a big win, it’s always important to celebrate together. Acknowledging the good stuff is a great way to help build better relationships, and more mutual respect. Whether it’s a quick Slack message or another awkward office slice of cake, highlight the good stuff — your marketing team will love you for it and they may just stop requesting things now.

Go From Frenemy to Just Friends With Your Marketing Team

No one is saying you have to be best friends with your marketing team. But with the right strategies, goals and tactics, you can ease up some of that tension and get a little closer — maybe even become friends?

You may not be setting up a board game night, but you can collaborate more closely and achieve shared success and more sanity by making steps in the right direction. To read about how a composable architecture may save your marketing relationships, catch our piece.

Julia Michaelis
Julia Michaelis
Sr. Content Marketing Manager
Julia is a product and brand storyteller, focusing on all of the different strategies that enable amazing customer outcomes. She lives in Brooklyn with her terrier Lee.
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