“Build it and they will come” said the digital product manager back in the early days of mobile experiences when competition was low and user growth was easy to come by. In 2022, this same digital product manager would be operating with a very different strategy and mantra in mind. Many experiences these days seem to pass like ships in the night amongst a backdrop of millions of highly-engaging mobile experiences that have created stiff competition for users’ attention and purchasing power.
The virality that fueled the hockey stick growth of experience giants like Uber and Facebook that led to early acquisition of users through word of mouth and friend referrals is too rare and fleeting for most brands to bank on as their core growth strategy today. Today brands must accept the hyper-competitive nature of our current environment and leverage word of mouth as one piece of a much larger and more complex digital strategy.
What Can You Do?
The good news is that it’s up to each individual product owner to decide if their experience will too pass like a ship in the night. Turns out, there is a core support function for product owners that has spent the last who knows how many years perfecting a very specific craft. Enter advertising and marketing teams. These teams work day-in-and-day-out to solve this very issue for brands. The complexity of generating demand through content should not be underestimated and a DIY mentality from a product manager who has no experience in this space is akin to a homeowner taking on fixing an electric panel in place of an electrician. One can try but why not call in the experts? Don’t pizza when you are supposed to French-fry if you know what I mean.
One of the best things a product manager can do to grow the experience they manage is to involve marketing and advertising early and often regardless of where you are in the development lifecycle of your brand’s customer experience. There are numerous ways these teams can help throughout the process and the collective brainpower that will be created will certainly help drive growth during launch as well.
The Power of PAM: Product, Advertising & Marketing Teams Working in Harmony
Think about simple tasks like the creation of personas and content development in experience creation process. Value can be quickly realized in even the simplest of tasks. Do you know how much customer data and audience research these groups have at their disposal inside of your organization? I would venture to bet that they have a wealth of knowledge at the ready that can help any product owner accelerate development and iteration.
These three groups are almost always pushing toward a common goal of growing company revenue, but they tend to pull different, yet inter-connected levers to enable this growth. Here’s another simple idea: Sit next to each other so there is visibility and coordination amongst the teams. And if that doesn’t work in today’s work from home environment, create standard touch base sessions just to chat about what each group is working on. The connections you will create and the knowledge you will gain will forever make your life as a product manager easier and will most likely deliver higher growth for the business that you all support.
Further, as experiences become more advanced and customer expectations continue to rise, how brands drive growth will need to inevitably become more advanced. This will require the orchestration of data like what customers do before they engage for the first time and the messaging across a complex set of digital channels that must be personalized using first-party data. Product teams will need to work upstream from the app with their advertising team to dial in the types of customers being driven to the experience to improve conversion rates. No number of new features in the experience will matter if the right audiences aren’t being driven to the experience in the first place. Working together makes this process much easier.
In summary, product teams that lead with the growth strategy of “build it and they will come” in 2022 will most likely not achieve the goals they set out for themselves. These teams should seek the expertise of their neighbors in marketing and advertising who specialize in generating demand and sales through the content they create. Product teams that reach across the aisle early and often can drive more growth with less effort and be confident in achieving their growth goals for years to come.