Technology has entirely overrun the world. Whatever it is we hope to achieve as humans, there is always one technological tool or the other looking to make things easy for us and help us fast-track our progress.
Just as well, companies that have capitalized on this need have managed to become increasingly popular and valuable. And every year, more companies introduce new products into the market as they hope to dominate.
For these companies, that “thing” they offer is the product. And for a product to fit well with the market, it needs an effective marketing strategy to push it. In this article, we’ll examine the fundamentals of product marketing as well as what it means to a company.
A study conducted by Havard Business School revealed that a well-optimized product manager could grow a company’s profits by an average of 34.2%. This shows how essential product marketing could be to the success of any establishment.
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Product marketing is the driving force behind the effort to get a product to the market – as well as ensuring that the product stays in the market long enough. As a product marketer, you’re responsible for understanding the wants of consumers, directing your company’s development team in building the product, and selling the same product to the customers whose needs your company is hoping to meet.
While there are many, some of the deliverables that product marketing managers oversee will undoubtedly form important parts of the product life cycle. A product marketing manager is a mastermind behind making products more appealing to the customers who the product was designed for.
In a nutshell, product marketing focuses on building demand and desire for a product – whether among existing customers or new ones. It focuses on understanding the steps that a customer will need to take before they adopt a product, as well as how best to ensure that the process gets fast-tracked – or, at the very least, a person can follow the process and use a product.
By understanding a product’s specific audience, product marketing managers can develop the product’s messaging and positioning to appeal to the audience. Product marketing lies at the center of a company’s engineering, development, and marketing because it covers everything related to the life cycle of the product – from launching and executing the product to marketing it and making it appealing to its target audience.
Product marketing has become an integral part of any company’s overall product strategy. Without a product marketer, it doesn’t quite matter what your engineering and development team does – the chances of your product achieving maximum market penetration are slim at best.
To fully understand how product marketing fits into a company’s overall objective, consider the following benefits:
When you implement a proper product marketing strategy, one of the benefits is that you will be able to communicate the value of your product to your target audience. Knowing how customers naturally desire a product helps you understand their needs, and it allows you to fashion your marketing strategy based on those needs to ensure optimal outreach.
Besides understanding the target audience, it is also important to know the type of persons to target. With a market persona, you understand the ideal market and its needs. You know how to position your product to be the perfect solution to this burning need, and you can fashion your marketing and outreach efforts in that manner.
Regardless of what you’re trying to do today, there is a significant chance that several other companies are looking to do the same thing. And with more fields getting populated, it has become important to know your competitor – not just yourself.
A quality product marketing strategy understands your competitors’ products just as much as yours. You know where your competitors shine, as well as where they could do more work. And, the opportunistic instinct immediately works to take advantage of your competitor’s weaknesses
What are those ideas and opportunities that your competitors haven’t explored? What does your product do that theirs doesn’t? Understanding all of this helps you to craft your advantage and sell it to your target audience.
The product marketer works at the intersection of several teams – including marketing, engineering and product, and sales – among others. This way, they can ensure that your product’s offerings are beyond clear to your target market. By working together every team can develop a proper understanding of what a product is supposed to be. This way, they can communicate better – internally and externally.
The product marketing manager is to be the line of sync between all of these teams, fostering seamless communication and correspondence, and ensuring that everyone is generally on the same page.
One of the objectives of product marketing is to ensure that the product is consistent with the brand tone and image. You want to evoke a similar feeling between different members of your target audience, and this can only be achieved when everything about your product is in line with each other.
When working out the brand positioning, you need to answer some important questions:
- What does this product bring to the market – especially today?
- How does this product stand out from the many similar ones available in the market?
- Are there other ways we can differentiate this product and make it stand out even more?
- What are any possible products that might not necessarily be viable in the market? And why are they no longer viable?
- Will any changes in the market affect our current product? If they will, how will these changes affect us and what can we do to adapt?
As expected, the company’s bottom line comes above everything else. And having a product marketing department ensures that you can take one more step towards getting this done.
In regards to the product, a product marketer worth their name will need to ask several questions that will help ensure success among the customers:
- Does this product work with the market climate of today?
- Will customers appreciate this product and truly use it?
- What makes this product unique from the many available options in the market?
- What are ways through which we can take the product and position it as the ideal solution for our target audience and their issues?
With all of these and more, it’s easy to see that product marketing is incredibly important. It is a strategic part of every company’s overall growth strategy, and it shouldn’t be trifled with.
It is worth noting that product managers do different things. These responsibilities tend to vary based on the product and the industry – for instance, product managers who work at startups might not necessarily do the same things when they work at multinational conglomerates.
However, when it comes to the overall responsibilities of a product marketing manager, here are a few important functions:
The first step towards selling a product is understanding who the product is for. And this is one of the most important functions of a product marketing manager.
It is important to identify the audience and buyer persona, so you can target your audience in a more effective way that convinces them to get what you have to sell. Essentially, this helps you to tailor your product to the audience and ensure that it solves their challenges.
The next step for most product marketing managers is to create and flesh out a marketing strategy for the product. The strategy encompasses all the actions that the company will take to ensure that the product gets the right levels of adoption.
Once the strategy has been created, the next step will be to execute it. And for this to happen, the product marketing manager will need to create the right sync between the sales, marketing, and product teams at the very least.
Product marketing managers maintain proper relationships with different teams. However, among the most important is the sales team.
Working hand-in-hand with the sales team, the product marketing manager can attract the right customer for the product at hand. They also offer help to the sales team, providing them with materials that help them understand the product inside and out. This way, sales reps can meet with members of the target audience and sell the product directly.
Besides ensuring overall efficiency, this sync sees to it that all teams are on the same page concerning the materials and selling points being communicated with customers. The company can achieve a uniform, consistent message throughout all of its channels, and you can better target your audience members this way.
Another important part of a product marketing manager’s job is to determine the product’s stance in the market. This process involves several steps, including storytelling and communication. You want to be able to tell the story of how the product came to be, as well as how it was built to meet the current need of its target audience.
Product marketing managers work with the overall marketing teams in this regard. Some of the questions to be answered in this step include:
- What was the product’s goal?
- What challenges was the product built to solve?
- What makes the product stand out in the market?
And much more.
Finally, it is also important to ensure that the product can actually meet the needs of its target audience. Thanks to the research conducted at the start, product marketing managers can understand the audience persona. So, they should be able to uncover some of the challenges they face and incorporate solutions into the product.
Now, it’s all about ensuring that the product is truly able to solve these challenges once and for all. Once you can find that fit, the product is ready for the market.
Now that the product has been launched, the job still isn’t done. Customers’ wants change rapidly, and you need to ensure that your product changes just as fast so it meets the evolving needs of the market.
One of the worst things a company could do is launch a product and believe that they’ve finally done the job. Sooner or later, your target market will change and want something else. It is your job to ensure that you can continue to meet these needs, or the target market will find someone else who can.
Product marketing is one of the bedrocks of any company’s successful growth. It ensures that anything you’re building can meet the needs of the market – now and in the future.
Whether you’re launching a startup or you run one of the biggest companies in the world, what you offer to your customers is a product. And with a quality product marketing manager, you can ensure that your product can constantly meet the needs of its target audience.