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Strategies to Better Align Your Marketing and Development Teams

Samantha Hunter
Published:  03/08/2021
neon sign of two hands shaking
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

It’s no secret that in many organizations, the relationship between the marketing and development team can be a challenging one to navigate. The nature of the relationship between the two teams is unique in all industries and is especially unique in a hospital or healthcare setting. But aligning the two to work together, is critical to the success of the organization and both teams. 

Below are a few recommendations to create a more collaborative and effective working relationship: 

  1. Understand the tension. To address and solve any tension that might exist, it’s critical to understand why the tension is there in the first place. Working dynamics can be hard to navigate but you can’t make a change if you don’t understand the different reasons and histories behind tension that exists. For example, you might notice a tendency to finger point when working on a shared project. By taking the time to step back and really dig into the issue, you might notice that the conflict stems from a lack of well-defined roles and responsibilities between the teams. Then you can create an actionable plan to address the problem and work with leadership to define job responsibilities between the teams.     

  2. Value each other's involvement. Development and marketing teams work hand in hand, but they have different skill sets and expertise that they each bring to the table. In many cases both sides don’t just want the other side to be involved in the work they do, but they want the other team to want to be involved. While this might seem subtle, it’s an important distinction. Everyone has worked hard to hone the skills and expertise that they bring to the table, and they want to feel valued for that work. It’s important to really understand the reason for the input from the other department and to authentically value their involvement. 

  3. Create a shared culture and outcomes. A lot of times, organizations think of organizational culture and organizational outcomes as two separate things. But it can be beneficial to reframe this thinking and to not put them on opposing sides. Take the time to understand how they are interrelated and how they impact each other. Try to create a shared culture and shared outcomes that aren’t just top line of a spreadsheet. Instead make sure they align with your organizational mission and are authentically part of the way people show up to work every day. 

  4. Share both ideas and resources. Depending how an organization is set up, one team might have more resources than the other. For example, the marketing team might have more budget to dedicate to research than the development team. A great way to collaborate is to invite the other team to have input in the development of the research study. A fresh perspective on a project can go a long way. You can also share the research results when they come in. Each team will undoubtedly interpret and use the same information in a unique way getting your organization twice the return on its investment. Also, the good faith that this will establish between the two teams will have positive impacts in the long term and create a more collaborative environment.

Stepping back from the ‘business as usual’ mentality can be hard to do but it’s important to take the time to imagine what it would take to achieve a better outcome. It’s critical to remember we don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) keep things the way they are and we should always strive to do better. There are small changes that we can make in ourselves, our thinking, our meetings, and our conversations that can have a positive impact across the organization. 



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Meet The Author

Sam Hunter headshot
Samantha Hunter
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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