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Introduction to product marketing

Defining and leveraging product marketing
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(gentle music) Contrary to popular belief, marketing is more than just advertising and promotions. Whilst it may be described as semantics by some, understanding the fuller definition of marketing is important as it lays the foundations for consideration of the full set of activities that matter. According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” By considering this broader definition, the relationship between marketing and product management becomes clear. There is a clear need to understand customers and their needs and wants before then creating and delivering compelling value in the form of products.
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Thus, to be a great product marketer, you will benefit from understanding the wider knowledge base within the domain of product management, and vice versa. Whilst the creating element of marketing is addressed through the design and development of products, the communicating of the value comes through marketing campaigns. Within the promotional landscape of marketing,
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there are two common campaign types: brand and product. Brand marketing campaigns are focused on the organisation and all of the benefits that may come from being associated with the organisation. Picture a luxury watch brand that doesn’t show any footage of a watch, but instead shows happy couples lounging on a beautiful beach. Product marketing campaigns, on the other hand, are acutely focused on highlighting and showcasing the product itself, its features, and all that make it great. Picture an ad that’s promoting a new television with all of the bright colours and blacker blacks.
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As a product manager, whilst you may not have a need to design and lead the creation of these campaigns, understanding the role they play will contribute to more effectively managing the overall success of the product.
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Now that you have watched the video Product Marketing, which has introduced you to this concept and its elements to understand its role in product management, we will unpack product marketing to understand what it does for a product launch.

How do we define product marketing?

Trying to define product marketing is like searching for a needle in a haystack – very tricky! Product marketing is often misunderstood or poorly defined because it’s one of the few job functions that touch and intersect product strategy, marketing, customer success, and sales.

Graphic shows a diagram on Product Marketing. This involves product strategy; sales; marketing; customer success.

Product marketing (2021)

According to Kolowich Cox: ‘Product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market. This includes deciding the product’s positioning and messaging, launching the product, and ensuring salespeople and customers understand it. Product marketing aims to drive the demand and use of a product.’ [1] Simply put, product marketing ensures that the consumers of the intended product understand the value and what differentiates it in the market.

The underlying philosophy of product marketing is that by communicating how great a product is and focussing on the inherent quality and excellence that exists in a product, customers will invest in it. You can use product marketing to tell a story through your product, which can solve your consumer’s needs. If a competitor has a similar product offering, it is the case of storytelling that can provide your competitive edge. People buy and use products as a way to also tell a story about themselves. [2]

How can you leverage product marketing?

As a product manager, you initially create, design, and develop new products, which you will then need product marketing for to bring into the market and into the hands of your consumers. Effectively using product marketing enables a product launch that will foster new customer experiences in the marketplace.

Product marketing is typically involved in the following stages: [3]

  • Before a product launch: Product marketing is involved in the positioning, messaging, consumer base development, and the overall market strategy for launching a product.
  • After a product launch: Product marketing focusses on sales through pushing demand, adoption and overall success of the launched product. The process of product marketing remains long after a product launch to ensure that: the right people are aware of the product they know how to use it their needs and feedback are integrated into the product life cycle.

Next, we will take a look at how product managers use a marketing funnel to understand and capitalise on their consumer decision-making behaviours.

References

  1. Kolowich Cox L. The simple answer to “what is product marketing?” [Blog]. Hubspot; 2019. Available from: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-product-marketing
  2. Merryweather E. What is product marketing management? [Blog]. Product school; 2020 Apr 18. Available from: https://productschool.com/blog/product-management-2/product-marketing-management/
  3. Bernard C. Product marketing: The complete guide for 2021 [Blog]. Drift; 2020 Jul 21. Available from: https://www.drift.com/blog/what-is-product-marketing/
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Product Management Essentials

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