The digital space has now become an inseparable part of marketing across industries. To thrive in today’s competitive market, building a strong online presence for your business is necessary.
For your strategy to be effective, it needs to include both — product marketing and brand marketing.
While many will find these two elements often overlapping, the concepts are fairly different.
Product marketing focuses on enhancing visibility around specific products and increasing sales. Contrary to that, brand marketing creates awareness around the entire business and builds a positive reputation.
Branding strategically develops relationships between a brand’s identity and its customers. However, product marketing ensures the strategic positioning of a specific product or product range by highlighting its features.
But to make your marketing efforts work, you need seamless harmony between the two.
In today’s article, we will discuss the difference between product marketing and brand marketing and how you can use them for the best possible outcome.
What is product marketing?
Product marketing is a strategic approach that uses product adoption and positioning to help generate demand for a specific product or service. The goal here is to convert the demand into increased and sustainable revenue.
Product marketing mainly partners with sales and co-owns demand-generation activities with marketing teams. It involves researching and understanding target segments of the market and developing and executing GTM (go-to-market) strategies.
The target of product marketers primarily revolves around increasing revenue. They maintain a loop in the strategy and bridge the gaps between the four core teams — product design, sales, marketing, and customer success.
Other tasks that fall under product marketing include:
- Developing product value propositions
- Making the sales and customer services teams understand product features
- Creating suitable messaging strategies
- Converting research data into case studies, and using them in data analysis, etc., to improve future loops
- Planning product launch, adoption, and execution
Product marketing strategy shows a company how to place a particular product or a service in the best possible light. It pursues customers to buy the product by marketing its features and highlighting how it solves their problems.
For example, the online wallet store Bellroy markets videos showing their product from different angles. This tactic illustrates the simplicity and elegance of the wallet to the audience.
The brand also demonstrates an excellent understanding of its audience. Their target market is predominantly male. They understand how bulky regular wallets can be and how men want something that fits into their back pockets seamlessly.
And how did they demonstrate why their wallets are better?
By including a comparison tool on their website. The visitor can adjust the scale slider to match the number of cards and cash they generally carry in their wallet and evaluate the difference in size.
They also offer unique filters based on storage and material to help potential customers find just the right wallet.
Here, Bellroy markets the quality and efficiency of its products through methodical product marketing.
What is brand marketing?
Unlike product marketing, brand marketing doesn’t focus on the features of a specific product. Instead, it promotes the business as a unified personality that the target market can resonate with.
Companies use brand marketing as their primary tool to build lasting relationships with their customers. It aims to create a recognizable identity for your brand and builds a reputation that encourages people to opt for your services.
The common objectives of brand marketing include:
- Understanding and influencing consumer perceptions about the brand
- Creating a brand identity and recognition
- Enhancing brand awareness
- Building brand equity
Customers use their personal feelings and experiences when choosing a new brand. In the current marketing landscape, every product has several alternatives. So the driving force behind your target audience’s purchasing decisions is how they feel about your brand.
Through brand marketing, companies leverage the preferences of their target segments to create an image that reflects a relatable personality.
It uses consistent messaging to improve brand awareness. With effective brand marketing, people buy products because the branding and reputation of a business appeal to them.
Example - Sephora
Sephora created a brand identity that’s unmatched in the beauty industry. The highlight of its branding is how it offers high-quality skincare and beauty products and a personalized shopping experience.
Sephora based its brand marketing on each customer's specific needs and preferences. The brand created a unique blend of digital experience with offline retail that highlights the beauty and individuality of different skin types, colors, and textures.
Sephora’s target audience mostly consists of millennial and GenZ women who look for medium to high-end products. Through market research, they found the difficulty women face in finding products that deliver the promised results. Many women can’t find beauty products that respect and complement their skin tones.
Sephora differentiated its brand by marketing inclusivity, which was quite rare in the beauty industry. The brand runs holistic campaigns and partners with YouTube and Instagram influencers to showcase its products and reach new and qualified target customers.
Through its social media posts, Sephora educates its audience on different skin care products. The brand also features people of different skin tones and reflects an inclusive image.
Such brand marketing enabled Sephora to appeal to a wider audience of make-up lovers and skin care enthusiasts and establish itself as the go-to retail brand in the beauty space.
Differences between product marketing and brand marketing
When to use product marketing and brand marketing?
Here is how you can use product marketing and brand marketing to achieve different but aligned objectives:
To plan product launch and execution
To run successful product marketing, you need to thoroughly understand your target audience. Through market research and competitor analysis, brands get to know what their different customer segments desire and what new additions can solve their problems.
This approach helps companies design products that fit the ever-changing needs of the customers. The collected data helps the marketing departments to curate campaigns that highlight the targeted upgrades or new features of specific products.
You can identify the right time to launch particular product ranges and ensure it reaches the targeted audience.
Product marketing also helps brands educate the audience on the qualities of their services. You can answer the usual questions your customers may have, like:
- What is it?
- How does it work?
- What is the price point?
- What pain points does it address?
- How is it better than your competitors?
- What additional advantages does it offer to your customers?
To generate sales
Through product marketing, brands can position specific products and services under the spotlight.
Blend your product marketing with your sales strategies. This way, your sales reps can highlight the features of a specific product or service range, nurture leads, and increase conversion rate. Effective product marketing can help you sustain a steady sales rate by featuring the USPs of new products.
The data you collect while conducting product marketing also helps your customer service department in delivering personalized experiences to your consumers.
By focusing on product features and customer service, you show your customers that you value their time. This will incentivize them to give you repeat sales and also bring you new potential leads.
To build brand awareness
A cohesive and distinguishable brand identity will help you grow brand recognition. Effective branding will create awareness and help you stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market.
Through memorable visual representations like logos, colour schemes, and taglines, brand marketing makes you instantly recognizable. To have a competitive edge, brands need to tell a relatable story. Brand marketing gives you a chance to reach your target segment and control the narrative around your business’s identity.
Effective brand marketing presents you as a unified idea — a concept that offers individuality and value to the consumers.
To enhance brand messaging
Your brand message communicates who you are and what your purpose is — that’s where brand marketing can help you. Through strategic branding, you bring consistency and alignment to your brand messaging. It helps you communicate with your new and existing customers and gives them a reason to relate to your image.
Brand marketing shows your target market how engaging with your business can benefit them. You can develop an emotional connection with your audience, nurture long-term loyalty, and separate yourself from your competitors.
No matter what type of marketing you choose to focus on, every business has two primary goals: boost sales and create sustainable customer loyalty. For that, all the elements in your marketing strategy need to work in synergy.
Every business is different. So you need to experiment with different marketing approaches and create a blend that works best for you.
Understand your market, plan a strategy, measure the results, and bring improvements accordingly. This way, you can maintain consistent growth, enhanced ROI, and, ultimately, a successful business.