Three ways to build alignment between product & marketing teams

Sales and marketing alignment is a concept that every marketing leader knows well. But what about product and marketing alignment? For many digital-first businesses, where almost all customer interactions take place in a self-service fashion online, this is becoming a critical focus, writes Serene Ho, APAC Marketing Lead, Mixpanel.

With product and marketing teams both playing key roles in online interactions, strong cross-functional alignment and collaboration are essential for creating a connected and satisfying customer experience.

Three ways to build alignment

  1. Using a shared metrics framework to build and document goals

The best way to get different teams on the same page is to share goals and metrics. While each team has its own area of responsibility and expertise, they need to execute in harmony to help achieve wider company goals.

For example, if the company is pursuing a product-led growth strategy, it is imperative to drive more people to sign up as users. The product team will focus on making the product as accessible as possible. Users need to be able to try the product freely, experience value from it and decide to make a purchase. A well-aligned marketing team would then support this by creating programs and campaigns that encourage new user sign-ups or free trials. Without alignment, product and marketing could end up competing for resources instead of collaborating on things like product roadmap prioritisation.

It’s helpful to have a visual representation of the broader company goal and how each team’s goals relate to that and to the goals of other teams. Here’s where frameworks like Mixpanel’s metrics framework come in handy. With this framework, the company-level goal is outlined and each team then creates goals and metrics for their area of responsibility that roll up to it. This ensures that no team sets goals in isolation, and everyone marches to the same beat.

  1. Remove data silos with an integrated tech stack

It’s common for each team to have different tools that they rely on to do their work. Product teams may analyse user engagement, feature adoption, and retention, while marketing teams need to send emails and push notifications or understand mobile user attribution. There are a host of different tools collecting data from different sources and in different formats.

Data silos can easily appear with different teams measuring the same metrics in different ways with different data. This is detrimental to product and marketing alignment since both teams would not be talking the same language or seeing the same things.

It is important to use tools that can integrate with each other or have tools that would work in a “hub-and-spoke” model, where different data sources are integrated into a single source of truth (often in a cloud data warehouse) that every team leverages.

Our Indonesian Fintech customer LinkAja was very deliberate in their approach. They knew that product-marketing alignment was key and both teams decided to evaluate their tools together. They made sure that their product analytics tool (used by both teams) and messaging tool (used by the marketing team) could integrate seamlessly.

This enables the product team to view consolidated data, reports, and insights in the product analytics tool, including how users respond to the marketing messages. Marketing is also able to group users based on user behaviour tracked in the product analytics tool and send targeted messages to each user segment. LinkAja credits this shared data for improving stakeholder communications and helping to create strong justification across functional teams for all their product decisions.

  1. Make efforts to communicate

The last way to build alignment is perhaps the most obvious. There’s no substitute for communication when it comes to building alignment. Regular meetings, reports, and updates are always good practices.

The use of the metrics framework, a list of shared and aligned goals and metrics, as well as shared data also create a strong foundation for productive communication. Shared reports and metrics are easy to discuss, create transparency, and clear roles and responsibilities.

Building alignment isn’t always easy, but it is always beneficial. Both product and marketing leaders will need to lead the way by first being aware of the need, then taking purposeful action using these three methods to make it a part of their team cultures.


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