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Have you ever wondered what factors decide upon the successfulness or failure of marketing campaigns? Why do we, consumers, happen to be enticed to buy certain products, but we are not equally inclined to choose other labels? Even if products offered by two or more different brands do not vary significantly. Many questions, but all of them can be narrowed down to just one observation: the responsibility for devising and executing smart maneuvers that affect our choices falls on product marketers (or product marketing managers). What is product marketing exactly, and why is it important for your company? Let’s find out, shall we?
Product marketing can be defined as the act of bringing a given product to market and taking all the steps needed to sell it. In order to do it, product marketers need to determine the product’s specific target audience, understand the expectations of consumers and develop strategies that are likely to be particularly effective in terms of creating demand and increasing revenues. Product positioning and messaging need to be well though-out and carefully tailored to the needs of that audience. This increases the chance that people are going to find the product appealing, or even indispensable, and that, ultimately, they will decide to purchase it. In light of the above, carrying out thorough market research prior to designing a relevant strategy seems more than reasonable, as it can help you explore your target market and identify tendencies prevailing among your existing customers.
While traditional marketing focuses on strengthening and promoting the company and solidifying a positive image of the brand, the work of product marketers borders on various business aspects, such as sales, marketing, product strategy and customer success.
Product marketing stands out as a crucial component of a successful marketing strategy of a business. In order to realize the importance of the process, one needs to look closely at an impressive range of a product marketer’s responsibilities and goals. Let’s delineate the key ones.
First, as a product marketer, you need to understand your customers so that the strategy you decide to adopt can help them see why your product may be a valuable addition to the quality of their lives. Also, when you succeed in identifying the type of your buyer personas — along with their needs and expectations — you are more likely to spot opportunities for product innovation that may help you attract the attention of both existing and new customers.
Monitoring the endeavors of your competitors is vital if you want to be sure you are on the right track with your product marketing decisions. So, don’t forget to conduct some research: observe and try to analyze what makes your competitors’ campaigns successful or what factors may in turn reduce the effectiveness of their actions. Drawing adequate conclusions may help you explore new ideas, improve your own tactics and fully exploit your potential.
A product marketer (or a product marketing manager) needs to ensure that a close relationship between the marketing, product, sales, and customer success teams is maintained, so that all the people involved in the product lifecycle are on the same page. This means they all have the same aims and are equally aware of the product’s purpose and features. This is likely to substantially benefit the results of your product marketing campaign because you can expect it to attract the target customers and positively affect the perception of your brand.
It is a product marketer’s role to make sure that the actions taken are consistent with the expectations of the target audience and generate the right feelings about the brand. For instance, you can think in what way your product is different from those offered by your competitors’ and how to make it even more distinct and suitable for the contemporary market. Also, you and your product marketing team have to determine the current position of your product in the marketplace. Consider telling people the story of your product by answering several crucial questions, such as why and for whom the product is designed, and what makes it unique and worth having.
A product marketer’s job includes a great deal of reflection on a wide range of aspects. With the aim of developing a truly effective, revenue boosting product marketing strategy, you have to consider various issues. For example, ask yourself to what degree your product is appropriate and suitable for customers that constitute today’s market, what are the ways of making this product more unique than your competitors’ offerings, and whether you can think of any products sold in the past that you wouldn’t decide to market again (and why). Collecting answers to such valid questions may help you look at your product from a strategic perspective and increase the chance of its success on the market.
Since people’s expectations change over time, product marketers need to be alert to any indication that certain products no longer suit the newly emerged needs or fail to catch the eye of consumers. In order not to let your product go out of fashion, you may need to implement certain modifications to your marketing strategy or the product itself (in which case you are likely to cooperate with the product manager and the product team). And this leads us directly to the next crucial point of our consideration, namely to a product marketing strategy.
A good strategy is usually the key to success. Or, at least, an auspicious starting point. Developing a helpful product marketing framework is likely to guide you through the meanders of the product lifecycle. Simply put, having an optimal strategy is essential if you want to successfully proceed from the product’s developmental stage to its launch, while being well-informed about where and to whom the product should be marketed. So, here are the steps you need to take to build a good product marketing strategy.
Conduct market research to get customer feedback, thanks to which you will be able to estimate the demand for your product and discover consumers’ needs. All the conclusions drawn from customer insights may turn out to be of enormous help in terms of facilitating the work of marketing teams, and, consequently, informing the product roadmap and improving the product positioning and messaging.
As we have already mentioned, recognizing your target audience along with developing a deep understanding of all the pain points, challenges, needs, and expectations is necessary if you want your product to be relevant and desired.
Long story short, you know who you need to appeal to, you know your target audience’s needs. Now you have to do your best to convince people that it is your product that is most likely to fulfill those needs. A product marketer’s main responsibility is to provide the customers with all the answers concerning the product, ones that can dispel any doubts and confusion and, consequently, help people make an informed choice.
The specific goals you need to set depend on various factors relating to your business situation, your product, general marketing guidelines, etc. However, there are some common objectives formulated by the majority of product marketers. These include boosting revenue, engaging with and winning customers, improving brand recognition, and more. Whatever your objectives and targets are, make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound, which means they fall within the S.M.A.R.T. framework.
Contributing to the discussion about the product’s price is yet another product marketing’s role. And a really vital one. You need to carefully consider the amount of money you think the product should cost: take into account not only the actual value of the product, but also how people perceive this price (e.g., isn’t the product too cheap to be good?).
Launching your product is the most impatiently anticipated part of your role as a product marketer. No wonder, the time has finally come to introduce your product to the world. Actually, there are two aspects of this phase that you need to concentrate on.
In case of internal launch, you are responsible for things that happen within your company that accompany the launch, which means you need to make sure that every team is well-informed about the details of your product marketing solutions regarding the product. For the sake of flawless information sharing, you need to choose marketing channels that are going to guarantee smooth communication (e.g., sales enablement kit, presentation).
External launch means you deal with things that take place outside of your company upon the launch. You have to select channels through which you get to your current customers and target audience and let them know about what you are selling. For example, you can use social media, website, blog, promotional event, product preview or product launch event — whichever option (options) you decide to go for, ensure that all the product-oriented information that you are sharing is relevant.
Product marketing has changed and, in all likelihood, will continue to change. What remains the same though is that the key thing for brands and companies is to make their products stand out. In order to achieve this, you need to put the customer in the center — on the whole, it’s their needs you should respond to, it’t their expectations you are supposed to live up to, and it’s their struggles and challenges that you need to offer solutions for. How? By explaining to them in detail why your product is absolutely unparalleled and how it’s going to help them. Bear in mind that the more creative and out-of-the-box ideas you come up with, the greater the chance that consumers will give your offering a go. Stay alert, listen to your customers and take a proactive approach and, last but definitely not least, develop an effective product marketing strategy. The one that will lead you directly to success.
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