Transform Your Marketing With Product Design

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Integrating Product Marketing and Design

How to Integrate Marketing & Product Design

November 25, 2021
8 minutes


In product development, design and functionality decisions might not sync perfectly with your marketing strategy. Here’s why both the marketing and design team members should collaborate in the production cycle of a digital product.

When working on a website, mobile app, landing page or digital platform of any kind, product development is a long-running, complex process that needs to go effortlessly and produce a final result that will be easy to use and sell.

Startups and SaaS businesses don’t have a windowfront and physical products to offer, so a website or app that is difficult to market will be one of the biggest pain points. How do you sell a product or service that is fully virtual and provide a good user experience for a specific target audience?

The answer is: the marketing and product teams working together.

How do marketing and product design collide?

Whether you are building a product from scratch or updating an existing one for better customer experience and productivity, chances are you need to stick to a brand guideline, respect fixed goals and KPIs to measure the success and keep the final user’s experience as the main objective.

For this, you’ll need the marketing team to research the industry, customer base, trends and purchasing decision trends, and relay the findings to the product design and development team so they can combine their skills and the research findings to produce a great product.

Apart from that, they’ll collaborate on copywriting, automation, wireframing and other production steps. Here is a clear outline of them.


Market research

Without marketing and business intelligence, you cannot build a novel, useful and lovable product. The most important question to answer is: What do the end-users need?

You can design the best-looking product, but if its usage doesn’t offer anything new and doesn’t solve any problems for the users, it won’t take flight.

Take Slack for example: there were many different ways to communicate among your team, from email to social media, and tools like G-Talks and Skype. Yet, they created a product that defined the team communication tools market.

They offered a useful, cool and well-designed communication tool for (remote) teams in which you can open channels for different topics, edit messages, add reactions and ping people in threads, so that there are traces left of what was discussed and agreed upon. Much better than CC-ing your colleagues in every email!

The team that made Slack made it for themselves first, to be able to better communicate when working on a project. They realized its commercial potential later on, did extensive research to see what are the pain points of communication tools for teams, and became the fastest-growing startup until then.

This correlation of market research and good design made it possible for them to realize their business goals.

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Customer research

The answer to what your product needs to provide and prove itself a novel and better one than the rest on the market lies in customer research.

When you focus on what the customer needs and what they would like to see in a product to have a better experience, you might get ideas on how to iterate or repurpose an existing product, or how to create something new that will solve the pain points of what they used up until now.

But it goes way beyond that: detailed customer research will also help you ideate and implement the right marketing messages, design and use the right channels, as well as help you design the product in a style and functionality that the target audience will find attractive and intuitive to use.

Defining the concept

From the main value proposition and elevator pitch from the marketing team, all the way to the UX concept, prototyping and roadmap creation by the design team, a defined concept will enable the further building of the product and preparations for its entering the market.

Prototyping and testing, as well as interviewing potential customers (or current customers if you’re updating an existing product) and stakeholders, will help both the design and marketing teams define the concept that they need to be able to design a product that will be loved by the end-users.

After figuring out what should be changed and what is the main strength of the product, the final phases of UX, UI, iterations, copywriting and marketing strategy will follow.

Find solutions to pain points

We vaguely tapped into this with market and customer research, but once the pain points are identified, the design and marketing team can collaborate in finding solutions for the product.

For example, if the pain point is that you are getting a lot of visitors on the website, but they don’t have all the information to memorize and understand what your business is all about, you need different UX copy and catchier design on the home page and calls-to-action.

Or, if people bounce from your e-commerce website because they don’t have a clear overview of products, you can change the UI and provide features like comparison and cart.

Perhaps the negative isn’t even in the look or feel of the product. Perhaps you are marketing it to the wrong people, and that is where marketing research and optimization come to shine. The same solution presented to a different audience can produce better results.

Branding in design

Although the creative bunch, designers working on the product will meet with constraints that serve to preserve the branding design.

You can see it as a way to safeguard the visual identity, but the marketing team will need to review and give feedback on the designer’s process and check if it meets the branding requirements.

Designers are usually thinking about the product from a visual and functional point of view, and marketers always try to make it as marketable as possible. This might produce some collisions, as different points of view might have different goals, but it is one more reason why these teams should work together to create something that is useful, pretty and well-branded.

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Customer journey mapping

A journey map is a tool for analyzing how consumers make purchasing decisions and how marketers and designers might affect them. Each stage of the process represents a distinct opportunity to attract customers.

It starts with a customer’s first contact with the product (consideration) and progresses through multiple touchpoints, both online and off. The marketing team, through consistent review and research, will find important information that are required for developing brand message and images, and supply the production team with the findings so they can map the buyer’s journey.

Consumers rely their purchasing decisions extensively on their impressions of a brand and their interactions with it. Customers may now interact with brands in more ways and at more places than ever before. As a result, capturing their attention, building trust, and loyalty is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers. This is where detailed product mapping from a product design perspective can help them be prepared at each of these touchpoints.

UX design and copy

No matter how your website or app looks like, you can’t expect bad copy to sell it. Lorem ipsum text isn’t always useful.

In the offline world, there are numerous ways to elicit emotions in customers, for example through the use of sound, color, or fragrance in stores. Our options are restricted when creating a digital business, thus our job as a product team is to strive to “transfer” the customer’s experience and emotions from offline to online.

If we want to create delightful products and experiences, we must consider how they make people feel. Words are equally as important as visuals when it comes to digital products. The brand’s impression, trustworthiness, and desirability are all influenced by the voice and tone. It’s important to consider how your product connects with individuals in a meaningful way.

Automation and personalization

Automated emails and push notifications are crucial touchpoints in the buyer’s journey.

They are just as important as any other aspect of the brand’s presence or products in terms of contributing to the overall UX.

A typical reader skims through the email rather than actually reading it. That implies our emails should be simple to navigate and give value, or the information needed, in a matter of seconds. Personalized emails perform better than one generic layout, so marketers can deep-dive into their data and assign personalized looks for emails.

This can be done with a well-designed email structure, appropriate language, and relevant photos, which is the product of a well-oiled collaboration between teams.

How to keep improving the customer experience and digital marketing together?

The only way the product can keep evolving and adapting to the needs of the final users is by constant research and development.

Tweaking the website or app or rethinking the marketing strategy might seem to be specific design or marketing tasks, but in reality, the way to find out the solution to either is by working together within the teams.

Customer and market research, user screening and reviews and implementation of useful ways to solve pain points will help the product be discoverable, easy to use and in the long run, successful.

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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

November 25, 2021

Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.