Understanding and resolving the clash between marketing and product teams

in Musings

This is the introduction to an article I first published on Medium.

I’ve recently been delivering a series of workshops to product teams for a big local company.

The brief for the workshops had come from the company’s marketing team. They had enlisted the help of the product teams to write blogs for the company’s content marketing strategy. But the blogs they were getting back couldn’t be used until they’d gone through a lengthy and painful editing process to make them appropriate for the company’s target audience. The process was taking up far too much of everyone’s time and causing a great deal of friction. The marketing team needed me to train their product teams to write blog copy so less intervention would be needed before each blog could be published.

If you’ve ever worked in a marketing role, the experiences of the marketing team in this case will probably be familiar to you. No matter how many times you tell your product teams what you need, they never seem to be able to give it to you. They don’t give a straight answer to a straight question when you ask them for information to help you write copy. And don’t even talk about what comes back if you trust them with writing blogs or thought leadership articles!

Getting sign off on content you have created is another problem. You write powerful, customer-centric pieces only to have them destroyed by product teams wanting to add more information or unnecessary levels of detail.

You want to draw on the expertise your product teams have to offer, but it’s very, very hard. It’s like you’re talking to them in a foreign language.

Equally, you know that just as you’re baffled by your product teams, your product teams are baffled by you.

But despite all this, if you want to do the best job you can, a harmonious, respectful relationship with your product teams is vital. No one knows more about the product you’re selling than they do. You need their knowledge. And as SaaS growth consultant and product manager Jason Amunwa says: “A great end-to-end customer experience is becoming an expectation of today’s customers, and the only way to provide this is through tight alignment between Marketing and Product teams.”

So how do you go about building a good relationship with your product teams? A relationship where you value their input and they value yours? A relationship where you both understand each other and getting sign off on work isn’t tortuous and frustrating?

Let’s take a look.

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