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How product and marketing teams can work together
Today we are talking about the interdependence of product and marketing and how marketing trends have changed. To help us, Ali Plonchak is with us. Ali is the COO of Crossmedia. Since 2006 at Crossmedia, she has helped clients navigate the changing marketing landscape. As the company’s first female partner, she proudly leads the agency to deliver on its mission of trust, reason, and happiness every day. Her responsibilities include building and evolving Crossmedia’s services in ways that reflect their commitment to do the right things for their people and their clients.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[5:53] What is the definition or purpose of marketing?
Marketing, when done well, delivers on a need a consumer didn’t realize they had. It’s about using data to uncover insights and the best place, time, and way to speak to a consumer on behalf of a brand. Then deliver that in an effective way and measure the success of that against brand goals.
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[7:14] What trends or big shifts have you seen in marketing?
Access to data and how we use it has changed. Data, digital media, and advanced analytics to measure effectiveness have skyrocketed. Everything from smartphones to social media has allowed there to be more data out there. It created a lot more complexity in the supply and demand of digital advertising inventory and pricing mechanisms. Now, you can track advertising exposure all the way through to the brand’s ultimate success measure. Now, success in marketing is not only about the brand, values, and whom you want to reach, but also about having technical acumen.
Another trend is data enrichment. You can pay a data service to get data on your customers. A few years ago, there was suddenly all this data on people, but there started to be questions about how the data is being sourced, how recent it is, and what its quality is. There’s been a big shift in the past couple of years for organizations to maintain a centralized source of data and know with more clarity how that data was procured and how it applies to audiences. This year, there’s a ton of new legislation that will continually impact the type of data that consumers willingly give to a website. That’s sparking a lot of interesting innovation in the way we target advertising and measure effectiveness.
Another shift is around using media responsibly. Consumers are starting to recognize the societal impact media can have on consumers—positive or negative. How can we think about using media for good? That’s a conversation we’re frequently having with our clients. How can we use media to deliver positive actions? How can we stay away from some of the places and spaces that might be impacting people in a more negative context?
[13:42] Have you seen any shifts from outbound (getting information to people, e.g., billboard, advertisement) to inbound (people coming to you, e.g., on social media) marketing?
Absolutely, and that’s related to having so much more data out there. Most consumers expect if they engage with your brand, you will provide them something of value. It could be functional—if they sign up for your email list, you provide 20% off their first purchase. Or it could be something cool—you provide a branded filter they can apply on a social media platform.
Most of these interactions allow marketers to find consumers who are “hand raisers” for their brands. They can then look for more people who raise their hands like that, finding the attributes that are common to hand raisers and using those to fuel everything from advertising to product development.
[15:14] How is changing legislation impacting marketing?
This legislation impacts the way we target advertising and the way we measure effectiveness. Marketers now can’t use some of the data they’ve gotten accustomed to using. This is creating a renaissance of tactics that were widely used before the rise of so much data. For example, one strategy is to target consumers in the right context. If they’re in a grocery store, it makes sense to be advertising food content.
[17:02] Can you give an example of newer measurements?
Early digital advertising was all about click-through rate and cost per click. Then everybody realized there can be a lot of fraud in the advertising landscape, and it was hard to define the meaning of some measurements. The industry has become more sophisticated around measuring the ultimate business success, answering, “Did an advertisement drive an ultimate business transaction for a brand?” A good portion of those technologies relied on cookies, which are going away. Now we’re seeing the rise of first-party data. Collecting phone numbers or having loyalty cards allows marketing to be tracked back to the purchases.
[21:53] How are marketing and product innovation interrelated?
Advertising, social media, and communications can provide insights for new products. For example, Stranger Things is doing an integration with the clothing company Gap and pulling those products into advertising. IKEA realized people love their meatballs, so they marketed IKEA with the creation of a meatball-scented candle. The line between product and advertising is blurring, and what used to be a linear flow from product to advertising is becoming a two-way connection.
[24:19] What problems have you seen with siloed organizations and a lack of communication between product and marketing?
One thing that keeps me up at night is figuring out how to continue to deliver scale but also really maintain the integration between product and marketing. Countless times we’ve been ready to launch a campaign and ask the client, “When somebody clicks on this ad, where do you want them to go?” and somebody on the other end says, “I’m not really sure. We’ll have to get back to you on that.” The end goal is to make the experience seamless for the consumer. When they see something really great in advertising and don’t actually land somewhere to take the next action, that experience falls completely flat.
We’ve also had retail clients whose advertising is great and drives traffic into the stores, but when the customers get there the store doesn’t have the product they are looking for. This has especially been a challenge as retailers have encountered supply chain issues, but these problems have driven some integration between marketing and retail.
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“And it’s much bigger issues in the world I know, but I first had to take care of the world I know.” – Jay-Z
“If nothing changes, nothing changes.” – Ali’s spin instructor
Thank you for taking the journey to product mastery and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.