Right from building to adoption, a software product is passed around multiple teams like product development, sales, and marketing. So what binds these three areas and ensures a smooth transition? It’s product marketing.
Determining the product-market fit to build the right product is the most critical phase for every software company, especially start-ups. And product marketers help bring this vision to reality.
In this article, let’s understand the basics of product marketing and what makes it different from traditional marketing.
Quick Note : - This is the first article in the Product Marketing series.
What is product marketing?
Product marketing is a core function at a technology company that helps generate product demand and converts it to drive and sustain revenue through product adoption. This makes product marketing the strength behind getting products released to the market and retaining their demand by understanding the ever-so-evolving market needs.
Here’s one of the simplest yet accurate representations of product marketing:
So what do product marketers actually do?
Product marketers operate in a loop and connect the dots between the four teams - product, sales, marketing, and customer success, and help the company achieve its revenue goals.
The product marketing loop ideally consists of the following:
- Product building: Defining the target market, ICP, positioning the product, working with product managers, etc.
- Demand generation: Messaging, adoption, product launch planning, and execution.
- Revenue realization: Sales enablement, revenue analysis, and pricing.
- Feedback: Converting research into case studies, data analysis, etc., to improve future loops.
Why is product marketing important?
A successful product launch means having all the teams on the same page while collaborating seamlessly. But with the growing number of teams, consistent communication and management have been quite challenging for many. That’s where product marketing comes to the rescue.
Product marketing helps sustain consistent communication throughout the funnel and touchpoints by curating high-level narratives from product building to sales.
In addition, with product marketing, you can:
- Conduct in-depth customer and market research.
- Understand and analyze customer feedback and communicate the same across all teams to plan improvements.
- Develop key marketing insights that let sales and marketing teams position and sell the product better.
- Identify areas of improvement and highly scalable areas to focus on.
- Help achieve organizational goals by keeping teams in sync.
- Play a crucial role in generating demand to meet the company’s revenue goal.
Now that you have clarity on product marketing’s massive role in ensuring the company releases a competitive product, do you know if it widely or subtly varies from traditional marketing?
How is product marketing different from regular marketing?
With regular marketing, like brand and digital marketing, marketers create and implement strategies to build brand awareness and generate leads through website conversions, paid advertising, and more. So traditional marketing is more leaned towards lead generation and product promotion.
Product marketing, on the other hand, assists in product adoption and revenue through consistent product usage. Product marketers help bring the product to the market and analyze trends to increase the product value over time.
Regular marketing teams work closely with the marketing heads, while product marketing teams could either report to product, marketing, or sales, depending on the organizational alignment.
Now that this confusion is out of the way, it’s time to understand the primary building blocks of product marketing.
The 6 main elements of successful product marketing
Product marketing revolves around products, and aligning customer needs with them should be the most essential component.
Determining user needs and answering their problems helps product marketers identify the right product messaging and positioning. In short, the product must address user problems and provide a high-value benefit.
Answering questions such as who the product benefits, what the product helps solve, why customers need it, how is the product different from its competitors, etc., ensures an innovative product that makes adoption easier.
2. Target audience
As we mentioned, research is one of the most important aspects of product marketing. And there is no proper research without the mention of the target audience.
Understanding the target audience and their needs let product marketers set up a winning narrative and communicate the same across all teams. Narratives lay out the map for product messaging and make it easier for the audience to resonate with the product.
According to research, about 54.6% of product marketers reported content marketing as one of their most common everyday tasks.
In product marketing, content helps communicate the product to end users and builds trust. Therefore, product marketers oversee content creation activities that help sales enablement and foster growth within teams.
Product marketing is a team effort. Product marketers bridge the gap between the sales, marketing, and development teams and make sure they’re all on the same page.
Also, by creating a product road map, product marketing managers make it easy to communicate product plans and guide each teammate ensuring smooth launches.
Product marketing ensures the product is positioned in front of the target users at the right time and place. This is when research comes in handy. Researching buyer personas, audiences, and the overall market gives marketers a solid product-market fit and a promising launch.
It’s also vital to promote through the proper channels and touchpoints. Product marketers ensure consistent communication and reach multiple user segments through emails, social media, websites, and more.
Since product marketing operates in a loop, tracking and learning from past results is critical to improving future loops.
Imagine this. Your product has gone to market, and you wish to find out how successful you were. Here’s when tracking and analyzing KPIs, such as product reach, adoption metrics, clicks, open rates, etc., can put a number to your success. And more importantly, analyzing lets product marketers and teams improve future cycles and rectify loopholes, if any.
Owing to the rising competition, products must stand out from the crowd and make customers’ lives easier. Only then is the company termed ‘successful’ with its solution. Product marketing rides on the goal of deriving product success and business growth right from the initiation to launch.
And such all-round capabilities of product marketers have made more and more companies up their hiring game.