So, what is product marketing?
Hands up (or just tap on your keyboard) if you know the definition of product marketing? Not really… well, no. Don’t worry because there are many in the same boat as you. Back in the day, it usually meant having someone in the company conducting a survey, asking people at random what they thought of a particular product and then deciding on the best way to market it.
We’ve come a long way since then, because product marketing is no longer a company’s poor relative but an important family member that works hand-in-hand with the sales, marketing, product and new business teams. You could say it’s the glue that helps hold the rest of the company’s revenue-impacting functions together.
Now that we’ve put it up in lights, what exactly does product marketing do? In essence, product marketing is the driving force behind getting products to market – and keeping them there. Product marketing is the overarching voice of the customer, mastermind of messaging and enabler of sales. Its role is to decide the product’s positioning and messaging, in launching or re-establishing a product and ensuring that salespeople and customers understand the messaging. Its aim is to drive the demand and usage of the product, and subsequently increase company revenue.
On target with the target audience
This means accurately defining your target audience by getting below the demographic radar and finding out what makes them tick – analysing and deciphering their needs, their fears and the reasons they buy. So that the right messaging hits the bull’s eye every time, backed with effective copywriting and impactful visual design. In this way, product marketing not only helps in increasing brand visibility but also guides in reaching the correct audience. Just as important, product marketing keeps you ahead of the pack by accessing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors – and providing the ammunition to anticipate future moves so you can head them off at the pass.
Two sides of product marketing
Covertly, product marketing’s role is developing positioning, messaging, and competitive differentiation, enabling the sales team to close and up-sell opportunities, and driving marketing teams on go-to-market strategies. Overtly, on the battlefront, product marketing is the great influencer in changing consumer hearts and minds – because it’s seen as an unbiased third party, unconnected to the hard sell of marketing or the aggressive approach of sales. As such, it elicits greater trust and willingness to take on board a company’s products or services.
Tailored for B2B Tech
SaaS companies facing crowded markets, bare-knuckle competition and savvy customers have realised that top-notch product marketers are a key competitive advantage. That’s why many B2B companies have well-established product marketing teams as SaaS is technically complex and needs product marketers to help customers discover its value. Some examples of companies in this space include Salesforce, Tableau, and Adobe Workfront.
Establishing a product marketing team
But what if your company doesn’t have a bona fide product marketing team? Then you’ll have to create a virtual team with marketing, sales and product input. As a group, you need to thoroughly understand the market, the buyers (their needs, pain points, alternative product options, buying behavior, etc.) and the buyers’ connection to your company’s services and products. Once you’ve got a good sense of the market and the competitive environment, you can shape a clear and compelling narrative around your own proposition.
As you develop out your value proposition and go-to-market strategy, the team needs to collectively establish:
- what you are selling
- who you are selling it to
- why your customer needs it
- what your product delivers
- why they should buy from you
- what the best route and tactics are for driving demand
Getting started with a virtual team requires energy and commitment – and the initial process may feel intimidating. But once you get this formula right, you’ll start to see significant results across revenue, adoption, retention and customer acquisition cost.
“Product Marketing is the voice of the sales organization and the voice of the client in the product development and release process. If you’re a product marketer and not spending lots of time talking to your field and lots of time talking to your clients, get out there! We can’t create product messaging, sales enablement or campaigns in a vacuum. Everything we turn out as a product marketing group needs to be created with our customer at the centre and serve to inspire them about the possibilities of using our technology to better serve their customers.”
Meghann York, Vice President of Product Marketing at Ticketmaster
If you’re struggling to know where to started with product marketing or need help creating compelling value propositions, get in touch with Sea Level today.