The Convergence Of Marketing And Product, And The Recipe For Success

While most of us are familiar with Sales and Marketing alignment, Product and Marketing alignment is emerging as a new area of focus, especially for digital-first companies.

The Convergence Of Marketing And Product, And The Recipe For Success
People vector created by pch.vector - www.freepik.com

Understand why this is so, and how you can build alignment between product and marketing teams in your organisation.

As digitisation continues to grow by leaps and bounds, Product and Marketing alignment has emerged as a critical area of focus, similar to how Sales and Marketing alignment is considered key for success. Customers might interact with a company purely via your digital properties (products) from acquisition to conversion and then retention. Product and Marketing are probably the teams that are most directly involved in these digital interactions. A lack of alignment and collaboration would only lead to disconnects in execution and a poor customer experience. 

This is even more critical for businesses adopting the increasingly popular product-led growth approach. With this approach, the app or website (or “the product”) is seen as the driver of user acquisition, conversion, and retention.  These metrics are all key for business growth, and they may be owned by product, marketing, or sometimes even co-owned by both teams. This has brought the worlds of product and marketing closer than ever.

 How, then, can you drive product and marketing alignment successfully to reap the best results?

Be on the same page on goals and metrics

Goals and metrics are core for alignment. If Product and Marketing are striving towards different or disconnected outcomes, both teams might end up competing instead of collaborating.

For example, if Product was focused on executing a product-led growth strategy, they would put their energies into removing barriers to accessing the product. They want users to try the product and experience value from it, ultimately driving a conversion to a sale. For this to be a success, Marketing needs to be aligned and actively driving free trials and signups with priority.

Most Product and Marketing teams would already be aligned on high-level goals like driving user growth and increasing customer retention, but more effort is typically needed to ensure the success metrics of each team supports the other team as well.

One way to achieve this is to define goals and metrics together using a suitable framework like Mixpanel’s metrics framework. A framework like this helps to outline a focus metric that’s shared by all teams, and allows each team to then set detailed metrics they each own but still roll up into the bigger goal. This visual representation of metrics is a powerful way for all teams to understand how their specific metrics affect and support each other.

Sample metrics framework for a subscription media streaming company using Mixpanel’s metrics framework.
Sample metrics framework for a subscription media streaming company using Mixpanel’s metrics framework.

Support Product-Marketing alignment with an integrated tech stack

Both Product and Marketing teams use specialised tools in their work. Product teams are constantly analysing user engagement, feature adoption, retention, and more with product analytics tools. On the other hand, Marketing teams are sending messages to users via messaging tools and understanding mobile user acquisition with mobile attribution tools. With multiple tools in the mix, it can be easy to create data silos even though both Product and Marketing are trying to get insights about the same user.

This can be addressed by selecting tools that integrate with each other so that data can be shared across tools to drive deeper insights for both teams. For example, Indonesian fintech company LinkAja sends data from their messaging tool into Mixpanel, where their Product team can log in and view consolidated data, reports, and insights. User segments are also created based on the user behaviours being tracked and sent to their messaging tool where targeted marketing messages can be sent. 

Don’t forget good old communication

A third and very important aspect is good old communication. Even with shared and aligned metrics and an integrated tech stack, Product and Marketing teams need to actively communicate with each other to maintain alignment.

The shared metrics and data create a great foundation for conversation. Frequent communication helps both teams to stay lock-and-step with new developments or challenges they each face. While traditional meetings are one way to communicate, other less formal options like joint Slack channels can help facilitate more frequent exchanges.

Companies with strong Product and Marketing alignment will have a critical competitive advantage as digital channels continue to grow as the main mode of customer interactions. Alignment does not happen overnight so it is important to start this process sooner rather than later.