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.


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.

Marketing as a Sales Supporter

Does your company have a sales team?

As a marketer, it is your job to arm the sales team with everything that they need to get their job done. They are the ones on the front lines. They are the ones that ultimately bring in the revenue. Often, they are compensated based on how many sales they bring in.

But they can’t do their jobs without you.

The relationship between marketing and sales is unique. They serve two different functions. But they share the same goal. They are both responsible for the success and growth of the business.

Sales relies on marketing to do a good job. If they do, sales will close more new clients or customers. It makes the act of selling easier.


  • Good marketing arms prospective customers with the information they need to make the decision.
  • Good marketing drives more high-quality leads through the sales funnel.
  • Good marketing sets pricing policies and offers that help sales convert more prospects into paying customers.
  • Good marketing educates customers so that sales people have to spend less time doing that and more time closing.
  • Good marketing responds to the needs of sale teams by providing them with collateral; promotional materials they can use to close more sales.

In many organizations, sales is part of the marketing department. That helps create a balance between the two teams, and opens the doors of communication. But regardless of how your company is structured, it is important for sales and marketing to get on the same page. Realize the goals for each team are the same. You both want the same things.

The Absolute Worst Thing Your Marketing Team Can Do

Marketing teams have a lot of responsibility these days. They get a lot of the credit when things are going well, and a lot of the blame when things are not. And I think that is very fair, given the job we have to do.

But there is one thing your marketing team might be doing that is destroying any chance that your company has for continued success. What is it?

Keeping to Themselves.

The marketing team has a responsibility not only to plan and execute the marketing strategy for the company, but to communicate that strategy to other departments within the company and ensure those other departments execute as well.

The worst thing for any marketing team is when they do a killer job crafting a brilliant campaign to drive more customers and more sales, but the sales team or the customer service team drops the ball. But even then, the blame should start with the marketing team. Because if they don’t do a good job communicating the marketing strategy to those other teams, how can they expect them to execute?

When taken from the customer’s point of view, marketing is more than just the advertising. It’s the entire experience from first touch, to sale, to use of the product or service. And that experience must be consistent in order to be effective.

A sales team that undercuts the marketing message, or a service team that fails to make people happy after the purchase can damn a great marketing plan.