Engagement

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How Product and Marketing Collaborate at Tokopedia to Drive Hockey Stick Growth

Introduction

In an ever-changing market, with products being launched every other hour, it becomes important for startups to innovate and collaborate on a regular basis. And with product management becoming an increasingly important part of the innovation and development lifecycle at companies, it becomes necessary for them to brainstorm with marketing teams to accelerate growth in a set direction.

Product and marketing are the two most important pillars for any product-based company. And any collaboration or knowledge sharing between these two entities is much needed.

Experts from the Tokopedia team – Jun Setiadi (Internet Marketing Lead, Tokopedia) and Prashant Mahajan (Senior Lead Product Management, Tokopedia) – shed some light on how product and marketing collaborate to drive growth in the long run.

Pillars Driving Collaboration

  • Happy Customer – Engaging with customers on a periodic basis to recalibrate your product often leads to a happy and satisfied customer base. Not only does this keep the product customer-centric, but it also increases your brand adoption and penetration. “At Tokopedia, we use MoEngage to target the right user with the right product at the right time on the right channel”, says Prashant.
  • Innovation – The technological landscape is fast-paced and ever-changing. And in order to keep up with the dynamic nature of the tech industry, pioneers need to always come up with innovative products and keep testing.
  • Higher Retention – To have a customer continue to use a product or service for an extended period of time is one of the biggest challenges. Tokopedia ensures retention by using MoEngage smart triggers to send coupons when user inactivity is detected and through MoEngage flows to ensure a smooth, decent first-purchase experience.
  • Discovery – Due to the massive amount of in-app features in the market, products can get saturated pretty easily. This is where Marketing steps in to amplify the product and make it more discoverable among the sea of other similar products.
  • Reduced Cost – Attaining high conversion rates and saving money is the end goal of almost every product or service in the market. According to Prashant, Tokopedia leverages organic channels like push notifications, emails and top chats before using targeted ads, thereby reducing costs in the long run.
  • Feedback – Marketing and Product teams function on a bidirectional relationship of feedback so as to ensure consistent improvement of their initiatives. Weekly or monthly discussions between both these teams result in a shared perspective, which in turn breeds fresh ideas for the future.
  • Better Process – Bridging the divide between Product, Marketing and Tech has always been a major driving force for companies looking to make it big. Incorporating checklists and fail-safes to cover all use cases across different domains is one such example of a professionally sound workflow.
  • Growth – Collaboration can lead to growth at reduced costs. Eventually, collaborative processes mean integrating products such as referral which could drastically decrease customer acquisition costs, increase app installs and onboard new users.

Roadblocks to Successful Collaboration

Since the marketing and product teams have clear demarcations when it comes to metrics, objectives and perspectives, challenges are a part of the game. Therefore, it becomes even more important for both the teams to cross-reference goals and work in tandems to achieve them.

Not only does the lack of compatibility appear in terms of end goals, but it also becomes apparent in the shared knowledge. While marketing techniques, tools and workarounds would seem like a cakewalk to a marketer, product management and design workflows would be a PM’s forte. However, the real challenge lies in the collaborative nature of knowledge sharing. It is imperative to be superficially aware (if not in-depth) of the information being put to use in the different departments on a consistent basis.

Moreover, scaling of the company might eventually result in diversification of work roles, which will, in turn, breed more alien jargon and vocabulary. Therefore, simplifying communication is key to effective collaboration.

Ways to Improve Collaboration Between Product and Marketing

Just by acquainting oneself to the day-to-day technical frameworks of the other team, collaboration between product and marketing can be set in motion. With online resources available at a click, it was never easier for a marketer to learn about APIs or for a product guy to learn about engagement and click-through rates.

Sharing actionable insights across teams also leads to more transparency.  Prashant talks about how Tokopedia has installed common dashboards which are consistent across the company and can be openly accessed by all teams. Moreover, getting marketing teams involved in product launches is another way to accelerate and enable healthy collaboration. This gives them enough insight and time to plan a roadmap on how to market the product in the near future.

Offering periodic workshops for knowledge sharing keeps all the departments at par with what’s happening in the firm. At Tokopedia, marketing holds weekly workshops to enlighten the product teams about engagement, SEO, Internet marketing and so on. As Jun so rightly puts it, “Other teams need to know what we are doing, so that they can utilise our channels and technologies to help Tokopedia grow”.

Meticulous reviewing is the natural next step after execution. Weekly/Monthly townhalls keep the product growth and recalibration at optimum levels and help teams give their two cents about the status quo.

Lastly, as simple as it may sound, just reaching out and spending time with the other team could go a long way. If a marketer regularly hangs out with the product team or vice versa, it leads to a shared culture of brainstorming, which is the foundation for collaboration.

Successful End Products of Collaboration at Tokopedia

  • Branch – was implemented at Tokopedia to drive traffic from the web to the app, which is a clear example of integration that accelerates organic growth and high retention.
  • Referral – Tokopedia redefined referrals by collaborating efficiently between the product and the marketing teams. While Prashant designed the tech stack, Jun implemented the push notifications after each transaction.
  • Persistent Push Notifications – are notifications that stay even after the user has cleared the tray. These were another testament to effective collaboration and provided impressive returns.
  • Recommendation – Tokopedia’s product team created an amazing recommendation engine using data and Machine learning algorithms to suggest customer-centric products to each user. Marketing incorporated this technology into their communications and was able to leverage really high engagement rates on email marketing channels.
  • Video Push – Using push notifications to allow users to watch videos on the Tokopedia app was a great way of leveraging video marketing. Tokopedia identified the rising inclination towards video content and created Video Push to ride that wave.

Conclusion

It is important that teams derive, delegate and understand shared metrics that they need to collaborate for and work towards. This will avoid confusion and streamline long-term product development and marketing. “Determine a North Star metric so that you can quantify the business impact afterwards”, advises Jun.

For successful collaboration, it is imperative that teams consolidate the perspective of customers by carefully demarcating target audience/personas. This will lead to a customer-centric approach rather than a business-centric one. Moreover, it always pays dividends to leverage consolidated data to analyse user behavioural patterns and act upon them. The key lies in combining the data from both marketing and product teams to arrive at a common ground moving forward.

Make sure to factor in the product pipeline while devising marketing strategies. This essentially unifies the product roadmaps and marketing plans and leads to an effective workflow. Maintain accountability across the board and always host enough margin for consistent improvement through iterations and feedback reviews.