Product marketing is a modern concept and a popular trend in sales and marketing. It’s a powerful part of a robust digital marketing strategy, and if you’re reading this, you likely want in on it too!
Whether you have a new business or want to change your marketing tactics, this is your guide to all things product marketing so that you can navigate today’s market and effectively reach your target audience.
The pivotal role of product marketing in driving business success
Hiring a product marketing manager seems to be all the rage, but what do they do?
While our glossary is very informative, the definition of product marketing isn’t there because it needs space!
If I had to define product marketing, I’d say it’s a kind of marketing that bridges the product (or service) and the market.
Unlike traditional marketing, product marketing is a two-way conversation. It’s not just about bringing what your business offers to your audience.
Product marketing managers are responsible for understanding the market, i.e., the demands and needs that shape a product, and communicating a solution, i.e., the product/service to the market.
They’re also responsible for listening to what consumers think of a product and making necessary changes.
In some companies, product marketers act as engineers or salespeople. It shouldn’t be this way because product marketing is a discipline in its own right.
All about a product marketer’s job
A product marketing manager’s role is very different from a traditional marketing manager’s. Product marketers focus on many aspects of a company.
Here they are, along with some examples of what that might look like in practice:
Marketing: informing and updating product strategy, evaluating the product market fit, keeping an eye on industry trends and competitor product usage
Sales: sales enablement and supporting the sales team
Product: taking something from research to product launch, assisting the product team, taking note of new features that customers desire
Customer success: proactively taking measures to anticipate and successfully address customer questions, issues, and requests.
A few other examples of a product marketer’s responsibilities include focusing on product positioning, launch navigation, increasing post-launch demand, and creating a great product marketing strategy.
Understanding the critical components of an effective product marketing strategy
Product marketing focuses specifically on a product and driving demand rather than the company and brand behind it.
Traditional marketing tries to get people interested in a company. Think of Demand Generation teams that use email marketing campaigns to build brand awareness and trust.
A product marketing team would focus on specific audiences for which products and solutions would suit and then work on increasing their product adoption.
A product marketing strategy guides your product from development to launch, but it doesn’t stop there. It also covers how you position and promote your product after it’s launched.
An effective product marketing strategy would likely include:
Customer development: developing a deep understanding of your and potential customers by creating buyer personas.
Creating a product roadmap: this is a sort of guide that will outline the vision, priorities, direction, and progress of your product. Your organization can use a plan of action to align itself around and create goals.
Positioning and messaging: create a narrative to position your product as the ideal solution to the problems of your target audience.
Distribution of positioning and messaging: ensuring that everyone in your company is on the same page so that your messaging is consistent, coherent, and accurate.
A launch plan: developing a thorough launch plan involving teams throughout your organization (sales, marketing, customer support).
Content for your launch: utilizing your team’s copywriting skills in your product launches and create demos, blog posts, landing pages, pitch decks, product screenshots, and more.
Keep your team in the loop: staying on the same wavelength. Internal communication is just as important as external communication.
Launch!: being ready to adjust as the product is received and reactions are coming in.
Post-launch: reflecting on what went well and what could be worked on, measuring success, using metrics to step back and evaluate.
As your company grows, you’ll understand why the value of all these plans, documents, and strategies can’t be understated. It’s great to have a map of where you’d like to go and where you’ve been to see how far you’ve come.
Now that you’ve got an idea of everything you need to do to create a product marketing strategy, we can move on to learning how to do it successfully.
Preparing for a Successful Product Launch
Conducting market research to identify customer needs and market gaps
The first step in any marketing strategy is conducting market research to determine what the market needs, what problem(s) your product will solve, and whether your product solves it/them.
Identifying customer needs and market gaps will help you tweak your product to serve your customers best and discover your core audience – the people your product is perfect for and will appreciate it best.
Developing a compelling value proposition for your product
A unique value proposition (UVP) is significant for both sales and marketing teams. A UVP isn’t specific to product marketing, but a product marketer relies on it for everything they do.
You can create a UVP statement that will inform all your sales and marketing efforts and keep everyone on the same page.
Explain the benefits of your product, how it solves customers’ problems or improves their situation in some quantifiable way
Differentiate you from your competition, both direct and indirect
Establishing clear marketing objectives and KPIs
Product marketers can establish obvious marketing objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) from there. Some examples include:
overall revenue goals
number of new customers every set amount of time (week, month, quarter)
number of daily, monthly, and active users
The right key metrics for a product marketer to use will depend on what you’re selling and your unique businesses and goals. They’re a great way to track your progress and neatly communicate progress to stakeholders.
Crafting an Irresistible Product Story
Creating a captivating product narrative that resonates with your target audience
Any product marketing manager knows that great product marketing sits on the shoulders of a good story.
A product story communicates the vision and mission of a product, why and how it was created, who it’s for, and why the audience should care.
Product managers know the most about the product and are usually responsible for creating its story.
A product narrative will help the product find its way to and resonate with the right customers organically and authentically.
Creating a good product story involves a lot of things, like:
creating well-researched and faithful buyer personas
differentiating from competing companies
researching the market carefully to ensure the right positioning and messaging
focusing on the reason for doing this – the customer
supporting customer success
Identifying and showcasing the unique features and benefits of your product
The most important part of a product story is showcasing your product’s unique features and benefits.
Using tools like buyer personas, product marketers can craft a way to show prospective customers why they should consider what your company provides over others.
Marketing product in this way utilizes storytelling to build emotional connections with customers.
They feel invested in the product and its success and identify with it somehow. All of which makes them more eager to support it.
Segmenting Your Target Market
Identifying distinct customer segments for personalized marketing
Another thing that a product marketer needs to do well is segmentation. The first part of segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP) marketing, segmentation is all about understanding who your customers are.
This approach helps sales teams, as well as marketing teams, better connect with their customers.
Instead of considering them a monolithic mass, you turn them into segments based on specific aspects they share.
Defining and understanding these segments allows you to personalize your marketing for each of them, making things like email marketing campaigns all the more powerful.
Tailoring your messaging and positioning for each segment
Every segment of customers needs its market strategy.
Although strategies may be similar overall, they should be slightly different in tone, language, imaging, colors, and more to best cater to their target audience.
The positioning and messaging must suit each segment to effectively reach and connect with them.
Understanding the pain points and motivations of your target customers
It’s a product marketer’s job to empathize with their target audience. Understanding pain points and motivations allow you to tweak your strategies, products, and services until they address the customers’ problems.
Customer success teams also benefit from this knowledge because they can use it to cater to customer success, anticipating needs and problems that target and existing customers may run into along their journey.
Go-to-Market Strategy and Execution
Developing a comprehensive go-to-market plan for a successful launch
Product marketers would also be in charge of your company’s go-to-market strategy, the plan to bring a new product or service to market.
A great go-to-market strategy is designed to reduce the risks that naturally crop up during a product launch, and it involves working with the product team, product manager, marketing team, and more to ensure that the strategy is as sound as possible.
Selecting the right marketing channels and distribution strategies
When marketing a product, you need to ensure that your target audience will be able to see you. Product marketers work tirelessly to understand where a product should be advertised and which segments are where.
Factors such as age, gender, and location affect how people interact with media and marketing, meaning that the segments you identified earlier will inform which marketing channels and distribution strategies you should focus your efforts on.
Collaborating with cross-functional teams to execute the plan
Product marketers must work with cross-functional teams to execute a company’s go-to-market plan best. Examples could be product management, the product marketing team, and the sales team.
Everyone must be on the same page. This is where it helps to have excellent documentation and solid strategies.
Creating Compelling Marketing Collateral
Designing eye-catching product packaging and branding
You can have the best product in the world, but it won’t sell without the right packaging and branding!
A huge part of product marketing is communication. Product marketers are constantly looking to hit sales enablement targets and business objectives by creating packaging and branding that does a few different things, such as:
show prospective buyers what their brand and positioning is
effectively communicate what the product does/what pain points it solves
catch the eye of an appeal to the target audience
differentiate the product from other competitor companies, both direct and indirect
Product marketers do this by carefully selecting colors, fonts, ambassadors, images, iconography, and more based on market research.
Developing persuasive sales materials, such as brochures and presentations
Persuasive sales materials are another way that product marketing managers can show and tell prospective buyers why they should purchase from your company over all the others.
The key here is to be persuasive without being pushy. You can explain why your product is so great without showing off, and you can directly compare your competitors without putting them down.
Be authentic about what makes your product great, and use the right keywords.
Crafting engaging online content, including product videos and demos
Product marketing is all about putting the product front and center, so when crafting online content, make sure you do so by making your product the star.
You can make fun and informative product videos, demos, and maybe even FAQs and their answers. A product marketing manager should be in charge of this kind of content’s specific style and tone because they are most informed on how the public needs to view it.
Leveraging Digital Marketing for Product Success
Implementing effective online advertising and paid media campaigns
Choosing where to advertise online is a huge step in sales enablement, but it isn’t the only one.
Online advertising and paid media campaigns will are only successful if you:
pick the right platforms and media
are delivering an appropriate message
capture the attention of the right eyes
Successful companies enable sales by finding and capturing the right people’s attention and convincing them that whatever they’re selling is what the customer has been looking for.
Utilizing social media and content marketing to build brand awareness
Modern companies must use social media and content marketing – it’s a given.
Everyone uses some form of social media, but as with all platforms, the people who use each will differ.
For example, older people prefer Facebook, while younger folk tend to be on TikTok and Instagram.
When marketing on social media, ensure that your marketing team and product marketing manager form a kind of product marketing alliance on the same page about how the brand should position itself.
That’s because it’s straightforward to get marketing on social media wrong – the marketing team will know which trends to follow and how to interact with different users. Still, they might give audiences the wrong idea about the brand’s identity.
Conversely, content marketing is an excellent way to use keywords in longer-form content to show prospective buyers that you are an authority on what you’re selling and the problems it solves.
Think blog posts, articles, landing pages, anything that allows you to give your customers valuable information and build a connection with them.
Leveraging SEO and SEM to drive organic traffic to your product
We talked about keywords earlier when touching on persuasive sales materials. They’re also indispensable when creating content for content marketing purposes.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is about finding which words are the right ones to use to organically rank better in a search engine’s search results (keywords).
When you’ve found out which keywords to use to help your target audience find you online, ensure you use them in various content forms and digital channels.
You’ll know which ones to use based on your segments.
Building Product Awareness and Demand
Creating buzz and anticipation through teasers and pre-launch campaigns
Product marketers can create product buzz with clever teaser and pre-launch campaigns.
These can be as simple as posting photos that show parts of your product on Instagram, dropping the benefits of your product, or even sharing glowing reviews from product testers or people who’ve gotten their hands on it pre-launch.
Organizing product demonstrations, webinars, and events
You can leverage product marketing even further by making it interactive. Product demonstrations, webinars, and events make people feel like this is an experience. They get to try out your product, see it first-hand, and handle it so that they are better informed and more involved in their customer journey.
Leveraging influencer marketing to reach a wider audience
Influencer marketing is an excellent way to reach a wider audience if your company has the budget. You can reach out to influencers whose social media presence is built on a topic related to your product and ask them if they’d like to work with you.
You benefit from their audience and the rapport they’ve built with them, which goes a long way toward getting more credibility and eyes on your product.
Collecting and Utilizing Customer Feedback
Gathering customer feedback during and after the launch
Remember, a product marketing role concerns that two-way street between consumers and your company. Ensure that you put in place practices and resources that allow your company and support team to gather feedback on your product during and after you launch it.
Feedback can be collected through reviews, surveys, and interviews.
Product managers and product marketers need this feedback to understand what they did well and what they need to change for future iterations of the same product and launches of different products.
Turning satisfied customers into brand advocates and promoters
Working with and incorporating feedback shows three majorly positive things:
Your company and its product marketing manager listen to and care about what your consumers have to say.
Your product management is up to a very high standard because you can collect, use, and implement feedback efficiently.
You’re humble and willing enough to make the changes that need to be made.
Satisfied customers naturally want to advocate for and promote your brand because it’s that good, and they believe in you. Word-of-mouth is one of the best boosts to product marketing strategies!
Analyzing Product Performance and Iterating
Monitoring key product metrics and performance indicators
Product marketers must learn to watch for the right indicators of success throughout all aspects of their product marketing strategy.
Because product marketing relies on feedback, you need to constantly monitor key product metrics and KPIs so that you can regularly make changes according to your performance. This helps keep any iterations you develop better than the last, making your buyers happier.
Iterating and refining the product marketing strategy based on data
You can refine your product marketing strategy using data (KPIs, reviews, customer feedback, etc.).
Whether that’s realizing that you need to do more customer research, create different buyer personas, or change up your content marketing, it’s all about knowing how to respond to feedback rather than react rashly.
Own your mistakes gracefully and document past iterations to learn and grow exponentially.
The art and science of effective product marketing
The best product marketing managers know that effective product marketing is both an art and a science.
It’s data-powered and relies on tried-and-tested principles, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s customer-centric and requires empathy, agility, and heart.
To succeed with product marketing, you must know all the theories and hone the art of adapting, learning, and responding to whatever comes your way.
Encouraging businesses to embrace customer-centric strategies for product success
Product marketing strategies are so powerful because they are all about the customer. If you’re interested in changing your tactics or learning new strategies, consider implementing a customer-centric one like product marketing.
You may find the shift in angle and mindset refreshing and very effective for your business and product success.