Some things are just stronger together than they are alone: Ben and Jerry; Netflix and popcorn; rock and roll. And of course, the best duo: marketing and product design.
But, wait. Aren’t marketing and product usually off in their corners, toiling away at different goals?
After all, marketers have business goals in mind and product designers are focused on the user.
While it’s true these two teams historically work in silos under different goals, things are changing. And to keep your product competitive, the old way of doing things should change, too.
You’ll see the benefits of joining your teams together faster than you think. Your customer experience will raise the bar, your retention rates will soar, and your team culture will be given a much-needed boost.
There’s a new dynamic duo in town: Marketing & product. And your app is big enough for both.
Competing Goals of Marketing and Product Teams Can Sabotage Your Product’s Success
When you have two teams focused on the same goal, you have that much more brainpower funneled toward dismantling challenges and finding solutions.
But when it comes to the traditional model of marketing teams focusing on the business’ goals and product teams zeroing in on user needs, a shared goal idea seems out of reach.
Product designers care about the experience, purpose, emotions, and user journey. Marketers are most concerned about conversions, audience, sales funnels, ROI, and engagement.
These differing day-to-day targets don’t leave room for collaboration toward your product’s bigger, strategic-level goals.
And therein lies the danger.
Disconnected teams with disconnected goals aren’t good for anybody. Competing missions quickly lead to friction, animosity, and rivalries.
Not only that, but as long as both teams work in silos, budgets could be out of whack. For example, you could heavily fund a marketing initiative when the issues you’re relying on marketing to solve could be easily solved by iterating on the UX.
No one likes to be in more meetings than they have to be. Divided teams are more likely to sit in an unnecessary amount of review meetings.
Lastly, the most harmful result of isolated teams can be felt by customers who could ultimately be misled with false information and promises. No one wants to deliver a product that doesn’t do what it says it does. Yet, if marketing and product teams aren’t aligned, this miscommunication is bound to happen.
So, what can be done?
Simple: Come together under one goal.
Why You Need Your Digital Solution's Marketing and Product Design Teams Behind the Same Goal
There’s no better unifier than having one shared goal — one common purpose for everyone to buy into. This is exactly what you need to identify to bring your marketing and product teams together.
Not sure what common goal could get both teams excited to rally around?
How about creating a holistic and authentic experience for your customer. This includes everything from your marketing messaging to the details in your UI.
Seems doable, right?
It is! And it’s worth it for a few reasons:
A greater focus means a bigger impact. As teams are encouraged to work collectively behind a shared goal, the sheer amount of focus and effort behind that goal is bound to lead to bigger, better results.
Better understanding. It’s hard to appreciate someone’s motives if you don’t know where they’re coming from. Getting your marketing and product teams aligned allows them to better understand where the other is coming from when concerns or issues arise. You want to figure out a solution so you can solve it together. And, boom, a better team culture emerges because there’s more empathy.
Enhanced customer experience. From the moment a prospective customer sees your marketing message through a friend’s retweeted social post, to the time they become a brand advocate, they’ll have a cohesive experience. The product will deliver on its promises and meet (or exceed!) expectations from the get-go. Hello, customer retention and competitive advantage!
Your customer retention, team morale, and overall digital experience won’t improve until your marketing and product teams collaborate.
7 Steps to Fuse Your Marketing and Product Departments and Achieve a Common Goal
Joining two teams together and saying, “Have at it!” is one way to introduce the concept of working together. But if you want to take a more strategic and sustainable route to collaboration, here’s what we suggest.
Realize that one cannot exist without the other. You could design the ultimate, life-changing digital product the world’s been waiting for. But if you can’t sell it, it’s no good. Likewise, your marketing strategy could beat out anything Nike does, but if the product isn’t designed well, it’s going to flop. Marketing and product need each other. Appreciating this fact will only enhance cooperation. Empower both teams to get together and educate one another on the roles and responsibilities of the team. This allows teams to empathize with each other, and will even illuminate areas of overlap and operational efficiency.
Communicate. A lot. In a recent survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 44% of workers said communication breakdowns lead to a delay or failure to complete projects, and 25% reported missing performance goals due to not enough or miscommunication. There should be no such thing as overcommunication. To be more effective at communicating, follow these tips:
Have everyone meet together at project kick-off to set expectations and get on the same page about the story you’re telling.
Product designers should talk about the existing features and why the user will care about them. If there are any “premium” features, those should be highlighted, too. Marketers should be able to talk about the value of a new feature in a way that resonates with the user.
From there, both teams should be clear on their deadlines and expectations so everyone knows what to focus on. Setting checkpoints for progress reports will help keep any lingering issues at bay.
Just like your product changes, expectations change, too. When they do, make sure those changes are communicated clearly to everyone involved. Do designs need to be moved around? What content needs to be reexamined? It’s easier to resolve issues as you’re working on the project than going back through after the launch.
Finally, use the right tools. Slack, Zoom, ClickUp, and Asana are all helpful for collaborating, communicating, and staying up-to-date on project statuses. Use whatever systems you need so that product roadmaps, feedback, and updates are always transparent.
Align the brand and processes of teams. Consistency across your marketing and product teams ensures a strong brand output every time. To make sure this happens, everyone needs to understand your brand’s core elements: your brand’s mission, vision, promise, and values. Marketing and product teams also need to have a firm grasp of each other’s important terms, definitions, or jargon. And, educating one another on workflows and processes doesn’t hurt, either. Not only should everyone be on the same page about your brand’s tenets and various processes, but there should also be a source of truth for all your brand’s elements. We’re talking about establishing a design system and considering it everyone’s North Star. Create, disseminate and use this tool to keep everyone coordinated and engaged.
Conduct user research and client interviews together. Your teams need to bond. Why not combine forces and conduct user research and user interviews as one group? This knocks out three goals in one or two tasks: Your teams both learn, at the same time, the needs and concerns of your users, building empathy and understanding. It brings the teams closer together working toward one task. And finally, the insights that come out of the research inform everything from UX design to brand strategy, to marketing messaging. Boom! To take this exercise one step further, encourage your teams to create a customer journey map as well as user personas together. More alignment, more fun!
Focus on performance. On the path to achieving any goal, you’re likely to come up against some roadblocks. But these problems could be great opportunities for your teams to band together and solve them… together! Consider giving your marketers and product designers common objectives and KPIs to go after together. Either they work together and succeed, or they fail. Hopefully the former. Whether it’s decreasing churn, increasing your MRR, or retaining a certain percentage of users, hand that responsibility down to both teams. To further foster an all-for-one and one-for-all attitude, assign one budget to both teams to divvy up and use together. They’ll have to make sure it’s reasonable for hitting the objectives you set for them.
ABI: Always be iterating. It’d be ideal for your teams to band together, accomplish feat after feat, and eventually take your product to the product-led growth level. But that’s like winning the crypto lottery. For the challenges that arise and the solutions that don’t end up working, adopt a mindset of constant iteration. Have discussions about what went well (yes, celebrate the wins!) and what didn’t go well. How can you improve next time? What can you try differently? And as much as you pore over what to fix, highlight the wins. Build each other up and keep the encouragement flowing.
Have fun. The more fun everyone has, the better culture you’ll create, and the more productive everyone will be because they’ll feel a deeper connection to your product’s purpose. Celebrate the relationship between marketing and product with team-building outings, if you’re not all remote. Establish a culture of respect and empathy, or find ways to nourish it if it’s always been there. Your teams will notice. And they’ll show appreciation through the amazing work they do.
Real-World Examples of Marketing and Product Teams Working Together
At webuild, we’ve successfully shepherded the collaboration between many marketing and product teams — and helped them produce brand-defining work in the process.
From setting up a small business-focused digital product with a robust design system to getting a Fintech product’s teams aligned on brand, here are a few real-world examples of marketing and product teams coming together.
Originally, this SaaS startup had a stronger marketing site than an actual product, which was a problem if they expected to grow. We worked with them to design a product that delivered on the marketing promises.
This meant creating a unifying design system, upgrading the UX and workflows, and creating marketing materials to match up with the true value of the product. The results speak for themselves.
This Fintech product is all about helping its customers save — and win. But in the beginning, their marketing and their product offering were all but losing. We came in and helped the two teams focus on the brand to create a more cohesive overall experience.
We emphasized a fun, engaging brand, in turn highlighting the breezy, gamified focus of the product itself. Now, the product’s design and its marketing match up to the tune of over 9k five-star reviews. (And we’re not done yet!)
Formerly known as Quadpay, Zip is also a Fintech company whose product strategy and marketing needed some TLC. We swooped in and took charge of everything from creating product marketing videos and product education to brand voice and animation elements.
This meant both the product and marketing teams had to be on the same page to create a holistic experience. And were they? Most definitely. It’s hard to get acquired if not everyone is contributing to the same goal of creating a holistic and authentic experience for your customer.
Not every company is equipped to bring design and marketing teams together for productive collaboration. It takes time, dedication, and leadership to start steering everyone in the same direction.
Let us help get your marketing and product teams to be the dynamic duo they were always meant to be.