Some types of marketing may seem self-explanatory. For instance, social media marketing builds connections with leads through social media networks, and email marketing is a stream of communication between you and your prospective customers via email. But what lies behind some marketing strategies may be less obvious from their title, for example, what the heck is product marketing?
Simply put, product marketing is a process of promoting and selling a product to a customer. Product marketers link the product, sales and marketing teams by creating strategies to drive demand and retain customers across the entire product lifecycle.
What is Product Marketing?
Traditional marketing focuses on high-level tactics to reach prospects and leads, whereas product marketing takes an in-depth look at who your customers are and how they’re using your product.
There are three main phases: market research, validation and market adoption.
1. Market Research
Once you have an idea for a product, the next step is to determine how that product would fare on the market. This is a heavily analytical phase where questions about user perspectives, product utility and the differentiation proposition are considered. You can form a robust product marketing strategy using the data collected in the market research phase.
The purpose of the validation phase is to prepare for the product launch. Product marketing in the validation phase focuses on validating the product to customers by positioning the product in the appropriate market, differentiating the product and translating customer pain points into product features. The validation phase includes responsibilities like beta testing, creating KPIs, planning the GTM strategy and producing marketing materials.
3. Market Adoption
The final stage ensures the product’s success in the market by reexamining the existing value proposition and establishing omnichannel marketing campaigns. The market adoption phase is for products that have the data-backed potential to succeed in the market.
Product Marketing Best Practices
A product marketing strategy works best when you have a thorough understanding of who your customers are and where their pain points lie. The following five best practices ensure that your product is positioned to succeed.
1. Solidify Your Market Positioning and Buyer Personas
Be realistic about your product’s positioning in the market and your buyer personas. If your positioning or your buyer personas are not reflective of your actual customers, your marketing and sales efforts could go to waste. It is better to reshape your positioning and buyer personas than to pursue the wrong customer base.
2. Know How Your Product Differs From Competitors
A competitive analysis familiarizes you with your competitors and how their products solve customers’ problems. Beyond having an in-depth understanding of your competitors, know what makes your product different and better than the products of your competitors. Communicate your competitive analysis and points of differentiation to sales teams, marketing teams and potential customers.
3. Inform Your Product Release and Roadmap
Every interaction you have with customers is an opportunity to collect information about their pain points. Get to know what your customers need from your product, incorporate solutions in your product roadmap and implement those solutions in your new product releases.
4. Measure Your Success with KPIs
Setting goals helps you track your marketing success, as well as align the product, sales and marketing teams on how you define success. Establish key performance indicators and track your progress towards meeting them.
5. Share Updated Information with Key Partners
Along with tracking your product’s success, share your findings with key partners like the sales and field marketing teams. An open line of communication between the product marketing team and customer-facing teams helps deliver new information to prospects and leads sooner in their buyer journeys and can have a positive impact on sales.
Automating Your Product Marketing
A good marketing strategy starts with market research, and successful market research requires extensive data collection. That’s where marketing automation tools come in.
Many marketing automation tools collect leads and integrate seamlessly with CRM platforms to store information about those leads. You can also identify leads that fit into your buyer personas and send them relevant marketing messages based on their engagements with your brand or product. This automated, behavior-based tracking can help you gain a better understanding of your customers and their pain points.
Breaking It Down
Product marketing follows the entire product lifecycle with a detailed focus on the customer. From initial market research and the product launch to adoption in the market, product marketing is the vital connector between product, sales and marketing teams. Solidify your company’s understanding of their customers by implementing the best practices found here across your teams.