red horizontal rule

Dreaming of the perfect partnership between product & marketing?

Published by 

Dreaming of the perfect partnership between product & marketing?


Product teams create digital platforms, such as web and mobile apps, to sell a brand’s products. Advertising and marketing teams create content and distribute it to different mediums to sell a brand’s products. An app and a piece of content really aren’t that different from each other. They are both mechanisms to get consumers to perform valuable actions for a business.

It makes more sense if product, advertising and marketing teams all work together to ensure the copy, art and code in the desktop and mobile mediums are working together to convert the highest number of consumers into customers.

Product, advertising and marketing teams are all rowing towards the same goal, but they are often rowing in three separate boats. These three teams can move faster and more efficiently if they were rowing the same boat together. In a race, would you rather be in a boat with just you? Or would you join forces with two of your teammates to help everyone win?


“You don’t stand a tinker’s chance of producing successful advertising unless you start by doing your homework.” – David Ogilvy, Ogilvy On Advertising

If you build a digital product without having the proper understanding of your users, it will be a tough journey to build something they actually want to use. Product teams can learn a thing or two from advertising and marketing teams on how to best understand customers and the proper techniques to influence consumer behavior. After all, these teams have been perfecting their craft since the creative revolution started back in the 1950s.

At the same time, advertising and marketing teams need to understand their medium is increasingly moving more and more into the digital channels that these “product” teams build and manage. Marketing and advertising teams would be wise to reach across the aisle and make friends with product teams. There will be a time when a campaign will require the product team to build and support these efforts. The speed at which you are able to move and the quality of the campaign will most certainly depend on how strong your relationship is with your product team.


For example, the title of this article was written through the frame of enticing readers to open the article. This idea is hopefully what initially got you to open it and read this far. There is a fallacy that product-minded professionals should only focus on creating web and mobile applications. In terms of this article, using a marketing and advertising mindset and language, it produces a much more effective and interesting experience for the consumer.

The two groups both position “product” to be at the core of what they do, but it means something completely different to each of them. To an advertising or marketing professional, the product is what the customer gets after a buying action. To a product minded professional, a product is a digital solution created to facilitate the buy action. These groups all want to get the customer to perform a buy action and are typically more effective when they work to combine their powers.


“My definition of positioning is ‘what the product does, and who it is for.’ I could have positioned Dove as a detergent bar for men with dirty hands but chose instead to position it as a toilet bar for women with dry skin. This is still working 25 years later.” – – David Ogilvy, Ogilvy On Advertising

This quote still rings true over 62 years later. The right perspective helps a person to separate the eternal virtues of advertising from its passing fads.

Positioning a digital product the correct way and to the right users has every bit to do with how high the growth rate is in your digital product. There’s a rule of thumb about online communities called the “1% rule” or the 1/9/90 rule. According to this rule, only 1% of users actively create content in any internet community or social network. 9% of users may engage with the content, such as commenting, sharing, upvoting, etc. And the remaining 90%? The vast majority of users are only passively consuming the content. If a platform like YouTube only positioned their product to the 1% of creators but neglected the viewing experience of everyone else, that could have a huge negative impact on their growth.


“Whenever you can, make the product itself the hero of your advertising and explain its virtues more persuasively than your competitors.” David Ogilvy, Ogilvy On Advertising

This should be a mission statement tattooed on every digital product manager in the industry. If you aren’t working to make your product the hero and stand out from your competitors, you should find another line of work.

Again, product teams should learn a thing or two from advertising and marketing teams on the best way to turn digital products into the hero every brand needs them to be to succeed, especially in an ever-increasing connected world. At the same time, marketing and advertising teams should learn a thing or two from product teams on the new mediums that are constantly developing within mobile and desktop channels.

I challenge you to try breaking down your silos and working together for a change. I’ll place a large bet that it will pay off and your brand will have a higher growth rate on the other side of that collaboration.


Unlock Growth
red horizontal rule

Experience experts weigh in on their top strategies for our most successful clients.