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Great marketing can’t save a bad product, and a great product can’t save bad marketing. Which is why every startup should ensure their marketing team is always working with their product team.

However, effective collaboration between marketing and product teams (designers and engineers) is typically easier said than done. We all know that “communication is key”, but what should marketing and product teams be communicating about? In this blog post, we’ll be presenting our practical framework for marketing/product collaboration that you can incorporate in your own startup.


Our framework for marketing/product collaboration is structured around three key stages in the customer funnel:

  1. Acquisition – Generating more awareness for your product and converting prospects into customers/users.

  2. Activation – Driving high product engagement and ensuring customers/users realize the value of your product.

  3. Retention – Retaining customers/users, promoting brand loyalty, sustaining revenue growth.

As marketers, we may be a bit biased in designing our framework around marketing principles but there is a reason for it! The customer funnel is directly linked to high-level business goals and objectives that all teams (regardless of function) should be serving. Having common goals is imperative for effective cross-functional team collaboration. It not only ensures that everyone is on the same page, but also paves a path for every individual team member to make a positive impact. The last thing you want is for your talent to feel like they’re wasting their time.

Another reason why the customer funnel is a great starting point is because it typically reveals a divide between marketing and product teams. As Sean Ellis points out in his book Hacking Growth, the two teams usually occupy different sections of the funnel:

Typical Team Division Per The Customer Funnel

Our framework will help to remove these divides and get everyone working across the full funnel, so that it looks more like this:

New Team Collaboration Per The Customer Funnel

For each stage of the funnel, we’ll be breaking down fundamental questions and problems that marketing and product teams should discuss and collaborate on.

#1 Acquisition

Let’s start at the very top of the funnel. When marketing and product teams come together to collaborate on boosting customer acquisition, there are two key areas to focus on:


How can product team members contribute to existing marketing channels?

There is a treasure trove of knowledge and insight hidden inside your product team that could do wonders for your current marketing. What this looks like in practice will vary depending on the product, but one common way is content creation, such as:

  • Blog content – is there any technical expertise that your product team can contribute to your blog?

  • Social proof – are there any stats under the product hood that marketing can use as social proof?

  • Meta content – are there any insights or stories about how your team works that could appeal to external parties (investors, press, other designers/engineers/product managers)?


What can we add to the product or pull from the product that allows users to spread brand awareness for you?

Beyond all the usual marketing tactics (advertising, social media, content, SEO etc.), there’s a lot that startups can do with the product itself to drive more customers. Here are some ideas to get your teams brainstorming:

  • Embed features – can your product be embedded in external channels (e.g. email, websites)?

  • Embed links – if your product is already connected to external channels, can you include links back to your website to drive traffic?

  • Referral – can you enable and incentivize users to refer/recommend your product?

  • Integrations – can your product integrate with other popular products?

  • Import features – can you make it easier for users to switch from an external product to yours?

  • Shareable content – is there any content from the product that users can share externally, via social media etc.?

  • Free Tools – are there parts of the product that can be turned into free tools to encourage signups?

  • Reviews – can you make it easier for users to leave reviews?

#2 Activation

This stage is all about the customer. With activation, all your teams’ efforts will be concentrated on ensuring that the customer is on the same wavelength as your product, that their expectations are met and they’re instantly connecting with you the second they arrive. A lot of this hinges on communicating effectively, which is where marketing and product teams can support each other.

Customer Journey

Is the user journey resonating with customers and does it achieve overall business goals?

A key component of strong activation is getting the customer journey right from A to Z. Here, your teams should pay attention to each touchpoint, ensuring that both marketing and product is conveying the right information, with the right language, on the right channels:

  • Onboarding – does the onboarding process effectively communicate core values? Is it easy to follow? Are customers understanding the product features?

  • Engagement – are customers actively using the product features? Can you encourage more engagement through product or marketing?

  • Messaging – does the copy in marketing match the copy in product? Is it connecting with customers?

  • Payment – what’s preventing people from purchasing your product? Can you remove these roadblocks in product and/or marketing?

Customer Success

Are you continuously improving the product to better serve the customer?

Customer success is the more proactive version of customer support. This typically falls exclusively in the product domain, but there’s a lot that marketing can help with. Not only are more and more people are using marketing channels (such as social media) for product questions (and complaints), customer success can also lead to new growth opportunities for marketing to leverage:

  • Customer feedback – are you actively encouraging feedback from customers? Can you make it easier/simpler for customers to provide feedback?

  • Support workflow – is customer feedback properly managed to be analyzed and implemented? Is marketing in the loop so that they can effectively communicate on public channels?

  • Product updates – can your marketing highlight continuous product updates and fixes to show customers you’re listening?

  • Premium requests – can you turn popular requests into new revenue streams (premium/paid features)?

  • Community – can you create a dedicated space for your customers to share knowledge and insights related to your product?

Customer Profile

Are you communicating with the right people?

There are times when marketing customer personas don’t quite match up with the product team’s customer personas. As you receive more customer feedback, your teams will be able to better understand your customer base and get realigned. This in turn, will help you perfect your marketing message and ensure that your product is always speaking to people who will love it:

  • Power users – who are your die-hard fans/evangelists and why do they love your product? Does your marketing and product reflect this?

  • Product usage – what are the most popular features of your product and are they being highlighted in marketing and the product itself?

  • Segmentation – what are the common characteristics of your core customer base? How can you reach more of these types of people?

  • Pain points – what are common underlying problems in your customer base that your product is/could be solving for?

#3 Retention

Retaining customers is the vital component to startup success. With high churn rates, it will be extremely difficult to maintain momentum and avoid growth stagnation. The more successful you are at optimizing the previous stages, the easier this stage will be to confront. Here are areas your teams can work on if you want to further lower churn:

Offboarding process

Does your offboarding process provide insight into why customers are leaving?

To tackle churn, you need to first understand the causes of it. You don’t want to make it difficult for customers to leave your product (it will just annoy them further) but looking at the offboarding process (or creating one) will provide clarity for your teams or avoid churn altogether:

  • Offboarding survey – can you embed a survey when customers leave so that you can find underlying causes for churn?

  • Prevention – are there misconceptions about your product that you can clear up to stop customers from leaving?

Data Analysis

Are you using the right data to help prevent churn?

Sharing data is one of the major ways you can help different teams collaborate more seamlessly. Here are some data points your teams should prioritize:

  • Warning signs – what metrics can you use to help predict churn before it happens?

  • Cohort analysis – are there any similar behaviours among cohorts over time that are leading to churn?

  • CRM – is there any customer data you can sync between your product and CRM to better serve your customers and prevent churn?

Cultivate Loyalty

Can you improve customer relationships with marketing and product?

Customer loyalty is the antidote to churn. In order to cultivate loyalty, you need marketing and product to work together to improve customer relationships and overall user experience:

  • Reward loyalty – can you reward or show appreciation for customer loyalty via marketing channels and in-product?

  • Customer service – can you make conversations and interactions with customers more efficient and personable?

  • Personalization – can you inject more human touches to marketing communications and product features?

  • Trigger delight – are there small product features or interactions that can add something special to the user experience?


As we enter a new year, now is the perfect time to start thinking about new ways to take your startup to the next level. Have any questions about how to apply our marketing x product collaboration framework? Get in touch at