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The State Of Cross-Departmental Collaboration

Increased demand for content and personalized experiences have changed the game for businesses. To meet these evolving demands, teams need to reach a whole new level of agility and efficiency. They need to work together like they never have before.

Adobe recently surveyed 1,000 marketing, advertising, creative, agency, and IT professionals to learn how they’re joining forces and what areas call for even more collaboration. The main takeaway? The majority of all constituents agreed that content creation and delivery processes have become more complex over the past few years, as more people and tools have become involved. (CMO.com is owned by Adobe.)

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And just 38% of IT professionals surveyed believe their organizations’ content systems are well-connected to their experience delivery systems.

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The survey results continually highlight just how important cross-team collaboration has become as content demands continue to rise and the delivery process intensifies. Here we take a look at two main challenges and provide tips on how organizations can foster collaboration in every project phase to drive success.

Challenge 1: Keeping Up With Content Demand
On average, organizations now create 21 to 30 pieces of content per week, according to the study. But teams may not always agree on how long it takes to create that content. Overall, those surveyed estimated that a single piece of short-form content takes about 17 hours to create, with creatives estimating just 14 hours and marketers estimating 18 hours or more.

Teams need more focused, deliberate conversations about how to work together to create and deliver content. Those surveyed reported they’re communicating across teams at least once a week, but talking doesn’t always lead to collaboration. Surveyed creatives said they’re more likely to touch base each week with marketing and ad teams than marketers believe they’ll touch base with creatives. To work efficiently, teams need a shared understanding of how and why they’re communicating on every project.

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On average, only 35% of those surveyed believe their current content creation and delivery processes are “very well-coordinated.”

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True collaboration isn’t about routine check-ins—it’s about what is communicated during those meetings. To coordinate a more collaborative—and digitally mature—process, consider how automation can help. More robust automation and better analytics tools help speed up content velocity, leaving every team more time to focus on the big picture, together.

Challenge 2: Personalizing Content At Scale
Most of the professionals surveyed said it’s difficult to personalize experiences for every customer, across every channel, for every campaign, and at scale. And versioning across segments and channels is particularly tough because every shift in audience requires shifts in content. But, despite their challenges, most teams are embracing personalization. In fact, 59% of respondents across all segments said they currently vary content to target different segments of the market. Forty-nine percent said they create variations for different digital channels, and 42% update content across different campaigns.

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Just 10% of surveyed organizations said they are not creating any personalized content variations for customers. Yet most teams still rated their efforts somewhat low—on average, 27% of surveyed professionals said their companies are completing “very extensive” personalization.

Why is it so difficult to create and scale experience effectively? As teams revealed the challenges they face in personalization, three consistent issues rose to the top:

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Digital maturity makes the biggest difference in how professionals perceive the efficacy of their personalization efforts. Seventy-three percent of digitally mature organizations said their personalization is extensive compared with 49% of non-digitally mature companies. More than half of digitally mature organizations—56%—also said their personalization efforts are a key differentiator from the competition, compared with 34% of non-digitally mature organizations.

Time is often cited as the top barrier to personalization. The good news is there is technology out there today that can assist teams in generating personalized dynamic creative and help them increase their content velocity without putting pressure on individual creators to churn and burn.

The Way Forward
Increased demand and scale are the new reality, and collaboration is a big part of that. Below we look at the three phases of content creation—planning, execution, and reporting—to show how every team can succeed.

Phase 1: Planning And Strategy
Digital maturity impacts how readily teams collaborate. More than half of digitally mature organizations reported that their creative teams are involved during planning, compared with just one-third of non-digitally mature organizations.

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Three-fourths of the marketers and advertisers surveyed said the creative process supports strategic objectives “very” or “fairly well.”

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Fifty-two percent of creatives said they’re currently involved in planning and strategy, but 71% said they’d like to be more involved. Other teams welcome creative involvement. While marketers said they believe creatives are involved 45% of the time, 57% of them would welcome more creative involvement. Advertisers want even more creative involvement, at 69%.

Digital leaders should talk to their teams about the strategic role of design. Start treating your creative team as a strategic function and not as an execution machine. Companies that prioritize design early on are more competitive, find loyal customers, and increase their market share. In short, they’re more digitally mature.

Use this design maturity assessment to find out how digitally mature your company is. Take the assessment now.

Phase 2: Execution And Delivery
High-quality content matters to customers, and it also scored as the top priority for every team in the study—outweighing both personalization and cost.

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Here’s how each team scores the importance of content quality (out of 100 possible points):

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It’s easier to create higher-quality content when creatives get—and stay—involved. Sixty percent of creatives, marketers, and advertisers surveyed said they want their creative teams involved during production phases. Coupling team collaboration with automated solutions can boost productivity even more. Thirty-two percent of digitally mature organizations currently use dynamic creative optimization, the survey found, which means they apply some level of automated, dynamic content creation during production. Only 15% of non-digitally mature organizations do the same.

Digital leaders must talk to their teams about quality-driven collaboration. It's important to find a process that meets everyone’s expectations—and implement effective content management solutions.

Phase 3: Measurement And Reporting
Right now, a mere 24% of creatives said they are involved in reporting stages, while 40% said they want to be involved. In general, surveyed teams said they believe they simply don’t have access to the information they need in order to learn how their hard work resonates with customers. In fact, one in five creatives said they receive no feedback about content—not even a notification it was published.

By comparison, marketers said they receive more feedback, but it’s not always the insights they need or want. The most common metrics they receive are ad performance feedback and seeing the ad in context. While this information does help, they reported needing direct customer feedback (63%), conversion metrics (49%), and revenue impact (44%) so they can drive improved performance.

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Data and results only make a difference when all teams have access to them—and the ability to learn from them. So start sharing performance metrics with everyone, not just select teams or individuals.

These days, developing superb customer experience requires organization wide efforts. Click here to take a closer look at the survey results to discover how cross-team collaboration can lead to higher performance.

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