Lining up and joining up: product and marketing partnerships in practice

It’s often the digital experience that determines whether customers become loyal to a product, so why are product and marketing teams not collaborating more on joined-up goals to support the life cycle of the customer journey?

Adam Greco, Product Evangelist at Amplitude, looks at some of the reasons for the historic silo between two pivotal teams in the customer journey, and how collaboration between product and marketing professionals is possible in real life.

According to Ernst & Young, companies are making record-breaking investments in digital transformation this year, up 65% from 2020. Despite this growth, many companies today are left wondering how to maximise the return on their investments. 

To do this, organisations may need to realign internally, as digital offerings are blurring the lines between two business units: product and marketing. 

These teams have historically worked separately. In fact, in my experience these teams often live in completely different worlds. But as more businesses transform, it is often the digital experience that determines whether customers will become loyal to your product. They don’t care that product and marketing are on different teams; they simply want a good experience from beginning to end. In today’s market, retention is king.

Here’s why — and how — product and marketing teams should collaborate to support the end-to-end customer journey. 

The evolution of digital analytics 

Today, there is much confusion over the difference between digital marketing analytics and digital product analytics which is valid as the principles of both are quite similar. Users of both types of product are looking to leverage data to improve digital experiences, increase conversion rates, and drive growth.  

Most product teams don’t create digital marketing campaigns. Most marketers don’t code new digital product features. But where tension exists is when it comes to improving digital customer experience and loyalty.  

For example, let’s assume an organisation wants to optimise their product listing page to increase engagement and product conversions. Digital marketers would typically be interested in answering questions like ‘what banner content should we rotate across the top to maximise revenue?’ On the other hand, the product team may ask ‘are visitors using the search box and do the rotating popular items help or hurt conversion?’ 

Here many digital marketers have used marketing analytics products to answer the product question, and vice versa. But the end goal of customer acquisition and retention remains the same, and continued siloed work does not get teams any closer to improving the end-to-end experience. 

The customer at the centre of execution

Breaking down silos and creating a collaborative culture involves people, processes, and technology but both teams need to see the value in collaborating.  

This can be achieved by placing the customer at the centre of everything your company does. In your processes, create more cross-functional teams with joint initiatives and goals to drive collaboration. And of course, use the same analytics solution. 

Analytics solutions can serve as a common language that both teams can rally around. Aligning on technology solutions can be a game changer for collaboration. Using separate analytics products — for example, one for your website and another for your mobile app — creates artificial barriers and opens the door for each group having its own set of data. More time is spent arguing over whose data is correct instead of having one agreed upon data set. 

Too often, marketing teams focus on acquisition and product teams concentrate on engagement and retention. But this fails to consider that the delivery of the most seamless customer experience, needs organisations to understand the customer experience from acquisition to retention to monetisation. 

Product/marketing collaboration in practice

So what does this collaboration look like in practice? And what can it yield? Take the example of a company’s free trial. 

If certain prospects involved with the free trial stopped engaging, the product team could send the list of non-responsive users to their marketing counterparts so they could attempt to re-engage them via various marketing channels. This information-sharing practice between the product and marketing teams could lead to a lift in trial engagement and even free-to-paid conversions.

Another example is  customer renewals. When time comes for the renewal process to begin, product and marketing teams should collaborate to see which channels are producing higher customer lifetime value. As free trial customers convert and either expand usage or churn, the combined data set becomes more valuable over time because the organisation can see which marketing campaigns lead to long term value. 

Today’s market presents many challenges for growing businesses. Customers are demanding more personalised experiences, yet an economic downturn is forcing budget and resource cuts. There is no room to be lazy about maximising digital performance. 

Now, organisations need to focus on the metrics that matter most to their business, and this means product and marketing teams need to be more aligned on joint goals than ever. By determining what data is most critical to the organisation, and mapping out a collaborative strategy to meet these goals, product and marketing teams can work together to improve customer experience, support retention and drive growth. 

By Adam Greco

Product Evangelist