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How Aligned Product and Marketing Teams Can Impact Growth & User Experience

Alignment
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Cross-Functional Collaboration

5 November, 2021

Prasad Gupte
Prasad Gupte

Director of Product at Babbel

Prasad Gupte, Director of Product at Babbel, explains why product and marketing teams should invest in alignment, collaboration & trust to co-own outcomes.

Problem

Historically, product and marketing operated separately with one focussing on technology & engagement, and the other on driving sales - both with their own individual strategies. This meant the funnel wasn’t viewed as a core product experience and left several growth opportunities unattended.

Actions taken

For 2020, together with the CPO & CMO, we agreed on a joint strategy and to work towards it using OKRs. We deliberately paired a Product & Engineering (P&E) leader with a Marketing leader to co-own a company-level key result that directly impacted the bottom line. This meant that the execution strategy, priorities, and solutions were all developed in tandem. Part of this meant understanding each others’ challenges, dealing together with complexity, and jointly finding the best solutions to stay on track.

2020 was also when COVID happened, which meant we had to react very quickly to the challenges and opportunities ahead of the business. Working together allowed us to quickly steer the teams. We continued working together ahead of every planning cycle to give the teams quarterly guidance. This directional clarity allowed the teams to effectively prioritize problems, and yet feel empowered to find the best solutions. This improved trust with teams.

The trust gained also helped us work together on creative ideation, and exploring new solutions which allowed us to unlock commercial innovation and monetize our products. This in turn made Product leaders like myself confident about owning commercial outcomes and taking on bigger goals.

The overall outcome was effective communication, shared accountability, and a great sense of trust and purpose at all levels in the Marketing and Product & Engineering organization.

Lessons learned

  • Accountability & alignment are key to being autonomous and empowered. Aligned leadership meant that teams felt ownership of our marketing challenges, giving a strong purpose to their work.
  • Good communication is the thread that binds it all. Driving outcomes through alignment is 100x better than driving them through escalation. While the end result might appear similar, escalation only increases the trust deficit. Building trust, on the other hand, allowed us to openly talk about our failures as much as successes.
  • Shared accountability not only drives impact but unlocks learning opportunities and T-shaping like it personally did for me.

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