It’s no secret that product design matters.
Great product design differentiates your brand from the competition and better solves your customer’s problems. Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, says it perfectly:
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”
If you’re anything like the start-ups I work with, you know this. You already have a “product first” mentality. You might even be saying:
“We’ve created a product so great it’s sure to sell itself.”
Well, not exactly...
Marketing matters, too — maybe more than you think.
It’s not uncommon to read articles on how to align your sales and marketing teams.
However, I would argue it’s equally important to integrate product and marketing — and the most successful start-ups do so from day one.
Let’s look at why product and marketing synergy is a crucial component of business growth. Then, I’ll walk you through my process for aligning marketers and designers, from ideation to product launch.
Why you need to align your product and marketing teams
“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” - Chris Brogan.
You are not the hero of this story — your customer is. And your product is their guide; the Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker.
So, how do you show your buyer you’re the right guide to lead them on their hero’s journey?
First, you intimately understand your customers’ needs and desires. Then, you communicate this insight with a compelling brand story. You demonstrate why your prospect should care.
Remember, people don’t buy things — they buy feelings.
This is why it’s crucial to integrate product and marketing long before you go to launch.
Product managers can no longer work in a silo. Synchronise your design and marketing, and you’ll tell an irresistible brand story at each and every product touchpoint.
Now, aligning product and marketing requires a mindset shift.
Marketers and designers must realise that by working together, they’ll better understand, meet and communicate their customer’s needs — and spur business growth as a result.
Let’s look at two specific ways you can integrate product and marketing for accelerated results today.
1. Use customer research to better inform design and marketing
Customers today have more options and information than ever. They need to know why your product is the obvious choice for them.
Do you have a deep understanding of your customer’s pain points, wants, and needs? We’re not talking surface-level assumptions but actual data to inform product messaging.
Both design and marketing should be a part of the “discovery” process.
Product design, because you must know what the buyer actually wants in your product.
Otherwise, you risk wasting money on bells and whistles no one needs or sacrificing key features that differentiate your product from what’s already available on the marketplace.
But marketing should be part of this process, too.
When you align marketing and product during customer research, you create a seamless brand message across every marketing channel.
You clearly communicate what you’re building, and you do so in a way that matters to your target customer.
2. Align product and marketing on your brand vision and values
Many start-ups are quick to overlook the connection between brand strategy and product design.
Here’s the thing:
The most successful businesses are consistent. They have a clear brand identity and value proposition that extends from product design to cross-channel marketing.
Let’s take a classic example and look at Apple.
What brand value comes to mind when you think of Apple products?
For me, the first word is simplicity. This isn’t by chance.
Imagine Apple’s product designs for a sec. They’re sleek and modern with neutral colour schemes. The packaging is simple yet sophisticated.
Apple doesn’t stop at the product. Walk into a brick-and-mortar Apple store, and you’ll see the same conscious representation of minimalism. Even the current copy on the Apple website is concise: “Blast past fast.”
Apple’s brand consistency feels effortless, though it results from meticulous research — and aligning product and marketing from ideation to launch.
Align your marketing and design teams with these questions:
What is your brand promise?
What experience do you want to provide to your users along every stage of the customer’s journey — including when they use your product?
What are your brand values?
What words describe your business and what you stand for?
We used the example of simplicity above; here are a few more ideas to spur your team’s creative process:
Whatever your brand values, they should seamlessly integrate into product design and marketing in a way that deeply resonates with your target customer. Don’t forget — clarity and consistency are two keys to success.
What is your value proposition?
If you’ve done the proper customer research, you should know precisely how your brand helps your customers move further from pain and closer to pleasure. This is what informs your brand story. Ensure both product and marketing agree on the messaging.
To sum it up
Don’t wait until you’re ready to launch your product to call in your marketing team. Instead, align product and marketing from day one. Do the research, get clear on your brand vision, and then use that data to tell a scintillating story.
I know product and marketing alignment is easier said than done. Sometimes, you need to call in the experts.
That’s what we’re here for. With a long history of building digital businesses, let our team of marketing specialists do the heavy lifting for you. We’ll work closely with your product managers to elevate your brand story — and you’ll get the out-of-this-world results you deserve.