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A Guide for Product Managers

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How to Guide and Influence Your Marketing and Advertising Team

Growing and evolving digital experiences can often feel like a bit like trying to catch lighting in a bottle. It’s a tricky recipe to get right and it requires a certain set of ingredients with the right proportions to get the output a business is seeking. Even though it seems like it is common knowledge that siloed thinking is something that should be avoided, it’s still alive and well in 2022 resulting in recipes for growth that are out of proportion. As a Product Manager, working with marketing and advertising teams can be unfamiliar, and may cause some initial hesitation. I would encourage you to overcome this hesitancy as it is a key component to most, if not all, growth strategies. Those looking to reach across the aisle, but are fearful of the unknown, hopefully this guide will help you gain a little more clarity before making your first move.

Building Two Different Sides of the Same Coin

The easiest, but often ignored, way to remove this uncertainty is to have a clear understanding of each groups “swim lanes,” or roles for the business, and what metrics they care about at a high-level that ladder up to revenue. It’s easier to think of these three groups building two different sides of the same coin, one simply being an extension of the other.

If product managers really want to build high growth experiences, these campaigns need to be built into the foundation of the digital products (or customer touchpoints) they manage, not as a bolt-on down the road after the experience has been fully built. It’s much easier and cheaper to do it up-front rather than trying to retrofit it mid-flight.

The core of what marketing and advertising professionals do is creating content that drives a specific customer behavior. They will want and need to have real estate in the experience they can easily control without having to go through any coding changes. Things like in-app content cards, popups, web banners and push notifications are a few examples of this.

In this situation, the marketing professional might want to run a special or promo and needs to distribute that to the right customers easily and quickly. The advertiser might want to run a Facebook campaign and needs to seamlessly send customers to the right part of the experience with deep links they can manage. Further, both groups run on customer data, and the richer it is the better. This data can be used for audience research that informs campaign strategy and to create segments to bucket customers into groups. It is also useful to design campaign flows that audience segments will be driven to perform a specific action. If they have to wait months for every request to get implemented, you won’t get the growth you are hoping for.

It is recommended these groups get together during the design of a new customer touchpoint to clearly map out where these groups will have real estate, what tools will be integrated to support this, and what data they will have access to design campaigns around. Design with these teams in mind up-front so it doesn’t disrupt the experience down the road.

Understanding Metrics That Tell Different Parts of the Same Story 

The metrics that marketers, advertisers and product manaagers keep in their immediate focus reflect which part of the customer journey they influence and/or manage. A true understanding of what drives experience growth comes from the insight generated from interactions from both content and digital experience touchpoints.

If you requested a recording of a typical customer journey to figure out why they had a subpar experience, would you want to only receive sporadic portions of information? Or would you rather understand the entire journey so you have the full context to make decisions from?

Working with marketing and advertising teams gives product managers access to more data and metrics which make it easier to prioritize the product roadmap for growth. It is recommended that product managers sit down with these teams and map out metrics along the customer journey that matter to each team. Further, make this data easily accessible going forward so all teams get a full-funnel picture of what is going on. A teams growth potential is limited by the breadth of insights they have access to.

“Does This Mean I Need to Invite Them to All My Meetings?” 

Simply put, no. Working with your marketing and advertising teams doesn’t mean they need to be invited to your backlog refinement meetings, or a sync with the engineering team to discuss an API, for example. Although, there is value in having representation from both marketing and advertising teams in a product management daily standup to discuss what they are working on in relation to the

customer touchpoints and key strategy meetings that determine experience flows or design changes that influence their real estate for example.

It’s also important to ensure that there is a point of contact that facilitates communications between marketing, advertising and product and there are clear and achievable ways for marketing and advertising teams to get something prioritized on the product roadmap and into an upcoming sprint (not six months down the road). The truth of the matter is that product managers need marketing and advertising teams to generate demand and engagement around the products they manage, to justify the high cost to support a brand’s digital touchpoints.

Investments into digital products are made with an expected return, not to launch features and generate awesome app store ratings. Don’t make the group an easy target by leadership for simply failing to leverage the demand generation specialists to convert your hard work into tangible revenue. Remember, growth is the byproduct of getting someone to become aware of the digital touchpoint you manage, performing a transaction, and then come back to do it repeatedly into the future. Product managers only manage one part of this equation, clearly showing the need to work together with these other groups who do.

In summary, more so now than ever before, it’s imperative that product, marketing, and advertising teams work in coordination to support the overall goals of the organization AND to drive the growth most companies are seeking. Work together, partner up, share insights and learnings and you just might be surprised at how much this newfound relationship can matter to the business.


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