We’ve all heard the term product marketing, but do any of us know what it really means?
The obvious answer is that it’s how you market your products, but there’s a little bit more to it than that.
What Is Product Marketing?
Generally speaking, product marketing is the process of developing your product, launching it, and driving demand for that product.
However, it’s not just about promoting it and then stopping your marketing efforts once the product is launched. And it’s important to remember there are a few key differences that make product marketing different from marketing in general.
Product Marketing vs. Marketing
While marketing is a general umbrella term that includes product marketing, the two are not completely synonymous.
Product marketing is a specific area of marketing that is strategy-focused, and it includes elements like:
- Competitor research
- Demand generation
Ultimately, product marketing is the interface between product teams, sales, and marketing.
Where Product Marketing Fits In the Funnel
Product marketing plays a big role in the closing stage of your sales funnel.
Product marketing teams are responsible for many aspects, such as:
Positioning determines how the product is going to be presented to the market.
It involves strategic placement within the industry based upon information about who the product is for, what it does, and how it’s different from competitors’ products.
The product marketing team should make sure that everyone – salespeople, marketers, and service providers alike – are all thoroughly trained on the finite details of the products you offer.
They should be able to answer questions and troubleshoot problems without any major hiccups. It’s up to the product marketing team to communicate the necessary information, and even provide a guide for frame of reference.
Source: OpenView Partners
The basic responsibility for product marketing teams is to deeply understand their customers and the market their product is in. Product marketers are responsible for creating a plethora of different resources.
Some of the most valuable resources created by product marketers include:
A strong launch can make all the difference to the success of a product. How you introduce your new product to the market can either make big waves or completely flop.
In order to know how your product will stand out in your market, you have to know all about what your competitors are doing. Running a competitive audit to identify gaps in their products and marketing is how product marketers determine how to go above and beyond them.
Messaging is everything to a marketing strategy. It’s how you present your product to your audience and convince them that it can add value to their lives.
Buyer Persona Development
You can’t appropriately and successfully market your product unless you know who you’re marketing it to. Developing buyer personas is a huge part of product marketing, as they help you better understand your audience and how to entice them.
Product marketers should produce valuable content materials for salespeople to pass on to prospects and customers during the closing process.
These materials should ultimately be helpful enough to the customer to help persuade them toward a purchasing decision.
Product Marketing Plan Essentials
When you’re building a product marketing strategy, you first need to get the fundamentals down. This way, you know what you need to actually execute your strategy.
Here are the essentials for any successful product marketing plan:
In order to know how you stand out in your industry, you should run competitor audits to develop a thorough understanding of what your competitors are doing and how they’re doing it.
What products do they offer, and how are they marketing them? How are your products different?
In order to best your competition, you need to have thorough intel on them.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. It’s incredibly important to set SMART goals for your product marketing plan so you know what you’re working toward and can keep track of your progress.
Buyer Personas and Ideal Customer Profiles
Developing buyer personas and ideal customer profiles is an incredibly important step in understanding who you’re marketing your products to.
Consider core demographics, the goals and pain points of your audience, and more.
Messaging is one of the primary ways through which you’ll develop demand for your product – by expressing why your audience needs it.
Customer Loyalty Plan
Rewarding customers for their loyal business is a great way to improve your retention rate. Product marketers want people to come back again and again, and establishing a customer loyalty plan is one of the best ways to do this.
Diverse Marketing Channels
You should make sure that your messaging is reaching your audience on all possible platforms.
Make sure that you spread your marketing efforts across many channels – social channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as methods such as email marketing.
Developing Your Product Marketing Strategy
Now that you know what you need to include when developing your product marketing strategy, let’s run through how to go about doing it!
Here are the steps to follow for your strategy:
1. Define Your Target Market.
First and foremost, know who you’re marketing to. Your entire marketing strategy should be shaped around catering to your target audience, so that’s why this is the very first step in the plan.
This is where buyer persona development comes in – you should have a handful of different buyer personas, not just one. This will allow you to establish a fully fleshed out target market for which you can focus your efforts on.
2. List Out Key Messaging.
Once you’ve developed buyer personas and know who your target audience is, you’ll be able to write tailored product messaging to market specifically to that group.
Your messaging should address how your product resolves a problem or fills the unique need of your target audience.
Basically – why should they buy your product?
3. Educate Your Whole Company on Positioning.
In order for your products to be marketed effectively, they have to be marketed consistently.
Your entire company should be well trained on the positioning of how you’re presenting your product to the market, so they can follow suit.
4. Generate Demand in a Launch Plan.
Imagine a rocket ship that has a weak launch – it’s not going to get very far into space. It’s the same for your product – you need a lot of fire power to lift it off the ground and propel it toward success.
Develop a launch plan that is focused on generating demand for your product, whatever that may look like.
5. Create and Distribute Launch Content.
Creating content is a huge part of successful launch plans. This will include blog posts, product videos, landing pages, social posts, email campaigns, and more.
All of this is necessary to get the word out about your product and generate demand.
6. Launch and Monitor.
When the big day finally comes, make sure you keep a close eye on where your customers are coming from. This will help you determine which methods are the most effective campaigns.
Product Marketing Examples That Crush Expectations
Sometimes, it’s best to learn from those who have done it well. Here are a few product marketing examples from the best of the best.
Man Crates has identified a very specific target audience and a very specific problem.
They focus on selling their products to women who have trouble buying presents for their men. Honestly, have you ever tried buying a present for a man? It’s hard.
Simply put, Man Crates are “unique gifts guys love.” The company has not only tapped into a very niche market; they’ve also managed to resolve a seriously annoying pain point for their audience.
Like Man Crates, Bellroy has created a product that solves a very specific problem – when your wallet is over full, and you can’t fit it into your pocket (or you do, and it creates a heinous bulge.)
Bellroy makes wallets that stay slim even when they’re packed full, and they’ve created great content to display their products, including product videos and even a guide to help you choose the right wallet based on your needs.
You might’ve heard of this one because its humorous marketing campaigns are hard to miss. To put it bluntly, Poo Pourri is a spray that eliminates the odor of... well, your poo.
The marketing campaign is focused on how the product solves a problem in pretty much everyone’s lives, and thus touches upon the demand for it.
The market of productivity tools has been flooded with options. But Evernote has kept their messaging consistent and strong throughout the waves of competition, and it’s one of the reasons they stand so strong.
Their messaging continues to be “For everything you’ll do, Evernote is the workspace to get it done.” It’s clear and direct and reaches a very wide audience.
If it weren’t for their product marketing, you might not have even heard of Apple.
Apple puts the user at the core of everything they say and do, and they generated demand for their products by shaping them into an actual lifestyle.
Wealthfront is an investment service that automatically invests your money when you deposit it.
When it comes to dealing with other people’s money, there needs to be a certain degree of trust between the customer and the company. This is the position that Wealthfront focuses on, using messaging that promotes credibility and trust in their system.
Mailchimp is an email and marketing automation service. They use strong, consistent messaging that markets their products and services in a very specific way.
They focus on helping companies grow, and doing so in a way that is easy for the client.
ASOS is a clothing retailer that has mastered the art of selling apparel online. How? Product videos.
For many clothing items, ASOS includes a quick video of a model wearing the item on the product page.
This addresses a huge issue for many online shoppers – not knowing what the clothes look like on and in movement. This is the kind of closing sales funnel content that helps with nudging customers toward a purchasing decision.
Prepare for Launch
The success of your product heavily relies on the effectiveness of your product marketing strategy. Your plan should be thoroughly developed by the time you’re ready to launch a new product.
This will ensure that you’re completely prepared for the big day and the campaign efforts that follow after it.