The Relationship Between Marketing and Product Development

Product. It’s one of the 4 P’s taught in every intro to marketing course in every college and university around the country. And yet, too often product development and marketing exists in independent silos within a company.

Why?

Now more than ever, companies need to structure themselves intelligently, putting product development and marketing together in order to better serve the customer.

It’s marketing’s job to know what the customer wants. And it’s product development’s job to create it. Without effective communication between the two, we might end up with great products that nobody wants.

How to do it?

  1. Put them in one department. When product development is part of marketing, the head of product reports into the CMO, and is responsible for creating the products that the marketplace is clamoring for.
     
  2. Create a facilitator role. This person works as a go-between for the two departments, making sure that communication stays open, shuffling through projects, and relaying messages back and forth.
     
  3. Create a feedback loop. Regular meetings between the two teams can help, especially when there is something physical to look at. Marketing can bring customer survey data and market research to the table, product can demo new ideas and new features, and together they can determine the right actions to move forward with.

More and more companies are building feedback directly into the product, taking advantage of the data they receive from customers and end users to determine what works and what needs to be improved. But marketers are still responsible for growth, and the best way to grow is to create products that best serve the market. So the relationship between these two roles is critical.