Marketing and product design are the same thing.

Product marketing guru Seth Godin says that product design and marketing are the same thing, and I agree with him.

Or so said Seth Godin recently when he visited a Boston startup called Intelligently and gave a great hour long chat on startups, products, and marketing. I have been a fan of Seth’s for a decade or so, and this statement really resonated with me for several reasons.

First, it makes my work make sense. I do product design all day (interfaces, screens, flows, etc) but I also obsess over things like product positioning, communicating the value of your product, and how to sell your product online. These are sometimes called “marketing”, but to me all of those things are just part of the overall user experience…if the experience is the product then all of those interactions are crucial as well. I call this progression the Usage Lifecycle.

Second, it buckets similar problems together. The problem of knowing what product to build is something that both product designers and marketers need to understand intimately in order to do their jobs…the designers in order to design the product and the marketer in order to share the story. Both designers and marketers then need to continue to focus on that problem so they know how to proceed…is the product and its story resonating with people or not?

So watch the video to see the master in action. The section about marketing and product design being the same thing comes in at 60:56 and is a response to a question (asked by Tara Dimaggio of Wordstream) about aligning marketing and product design. Here is full transcript of that section.

“See-monkey marketing (ads in the comics that take a product that isn’t anything and try to get us to think it’s something) is over. I would have the people in the marketing department work physically in proximity with the other people and one day a week actually work on product design. And I would have the product design people spend one day a week making sales calls. The product and the marketing are the same thing. And any organization that is splitting them apart is making a huge mistake. Selling is selling…I’ll buy that. But marketing and product design are the same thing.”

Published: March 16th, 2013