How to Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Product Teams

30 Apr 2024

The Marketing team serves as the company's storyteller, shaping and sharing its narrative with the world. Meanwhile, the product team crafts solutions that address specific needs and desires in the market.

When Marketing and Product teams operate in silos, it can lead to disjointed campaigns, miscommunication, and missed opportunities. On the other hand, when these teams harmonize their efforts, the company delivers impactful solutions and weaves a consistent and compelling story, ensuring that offerings align with market expectations and that promotional endeavors strike a chord with the audience.

The Important Role of Product Marketing

Product Marketing is the link between the Marketing and Product teams. April Dunford, author of Obviously Awesome and Sales Pitch, underscores the holistic role of product marketing. For her, it's not just about highlighting a product's features but understanding and articulating its unique value within a broader market context. This demands a profound grasp of the market landscape, competitors, and a product's distinct value.

Dunford believes effective messaging emerges from a comprehensive understanding of the market, the product's uniqueness, and the target audience. Essentially, product marketers must master the broader narrative, weaving together market dynamics and customer needs to create a compelling story.

Based on the 2023 State of Product Marketing survey by the Product Marketing Alliance (PMA), several core responsibilities emerged as part of PMMs jobs:

2023 State of Product Marketing survey by the Product Marketing Alliance (PMA)

But while PMMs are pivotal in aligning Marketing and Product teams, not all organizations have dedicated professionals for this function. An aligned collaboration with the right routines and frameworks is vital to overcome this.

Strategies and Best Practices for Distributing PMM Functions

Organizations that recognize the value of bridging this gap often adopt a cross-functional approach, integrating members from Marketing, Product, Sales, and Customer Support to ensure a cohesive and customer-centric product journey from development to after-sale.

This approach facilitates sharing valuable insights gathered from teams involved in customer-facing activities as they get this data through marketing surveys, social media interactions, customer support tickets, and direct product evaluations.

The following practices could be used to bridge and distribute PMM functions across teams effectively:

Strategic Alignment through Collaboration Meetings

Establish regular meetings to discuss product roadmaps, establish feedback loops, and develop communications plans. These meetings ensure alignment on messaging and launches, inform product iterations and marketing strategies, and provide a platform for both teams to share insights and address concerns. Also, it's a must to align a "source of truth" to check on this data - such as a product analytics platform.

Unified Goal Setting with Shared KPIs

Establish shared Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to unify the objectives of both teams. We foster a collective sense of purpose by aligning acquisition targets with essential product metrics. This approach ensures that both teams are consistently aware of any performance discrepancies and collaboratively strive to enhance these shared indicators.

Shared Documentation and Early Marketing Engagement in Product

Involve the marketing team from the start in defining product requirements. This early collaboration and a shared documentation repository ensure product features and strategies align with market insights and communication goals. This approach leads to more effective and coherent product and marketing efforts.

Strategic Frameworks and Resources for Product and Marketing Synergy

Some frameworks can help bridge the gap between product and marketing teams. The first goal is to understand your customer.

1. Understand your audience with the "Jobs to be Done" (JTBD) framework

The "Jobs to be Done" (JTBD) framework is used to understand customer needs by identifying the 'job' a customer hires a product or service to do. This 'job' is the progress or solution a customer seeks in a specific situation.

JTBD aligns product development with customer needs, ensuring that features address real problems. For marketing teams, it clarifies messaging, focusing on how the product fulfills the customer's job, leading to more effective communication strategies.

How to Implement JTBD:

  • Conduct Research: Engage in customer interviews and research to understand their challenges and objectives.
  • Identify Jobs: Define the specific jobs customers are trying to accomplish, whether functional, emotional, or social.
  • Apply Insights: Develop or refine products to complete these jobs better and tailor marketing messages to highlight this effectiveness.

2. Create a compelling product messaging with this 6-step framework from Wynter

This framework is designed to create product messages that resonate deeply with your target audience. It involves understanding your audience's needs and clearly articulating the value of your product.

The key advantage of this framework is its ability to align your product's messaging with customer expectations and market needs, enhancing the effectiveness of your communication and marketing strategies.

How to Implement:

  • Identify Your Audience: Start by thoroughly understanding who your target audience is.

  • Define Value Proposition: Clearly state what makes your product unique and beneficial.

  • Emphasise Benefits: Highlight how your product addresses your audience's needs and solves problems.

  • Develop Clear Messaging: Craft concise and impactful messages based on your audience's understanding and your product's value proposition.

  • Iterate Based on Feedback: Test your messages with the audience, gather feedback, and refine them.

  • Ensure Consistency: Keep your messaging consistent across all marketing channels.

Source: Wynter Product Messaging Framework

3. Keep track of the Roadmap with the Simple Launch Tier Framework

This framework is a straightforward method for guiding decisions on the scale of product announcements and the corresponding level of resources and marketing efforts required. It helps determine the priority of each announcement.

The primary advantage of this framework is that it provides a consistent and fair method for prioritizing product announcements, ensuring that the level of effort and investment matches the importance of each launch.

How to Implement:

  • Assess Each Announcement: Evaluate the significance of each product launch or feature announcement.
    Determine Resource Allocation: Based on the assessment, decide the resources and marketing activity needed for each announcement.

  • Prioritise Consistently: Use this framework to maintain a consistent approach in prioritizing and investing in product announcements.

  • Review and Adjust: Regularly revisit your prioritizations in light of new information or changes in project status.

4. Launch your product with "Go-To-Market Strategist" by Maja Voje

Product launches require nuanced strategies and market insights. One resource I found helpful for anyone navigating the complexities of launching new products effectively is the book "Go-To-Market Strategist" by Maja Voje. It provides valuable guidance and expert advice on market research, pricing, and marketing.