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The value of product marketing

The value of product marketing has become increasingly recognised with the advent and rapid development of SaaS. Let's take a closer look.

The market experienced a flood of technology players, which made it difficult for consumers to differentiate between SaaS providers and their offerings.

For this reason, product positioning and branding become critical to set the market players apart and to get noticed.

To remain competitive, product marketers took on the role of creating the communicated context or narrative in which products could be positioned and branded. Essentially, product marketing writes the stories that marketing campaigns and branding messages are based on. [1] It enables a connection between your product solution and your consumer market.

How can product marketing create effective product stories?

The following is required for product marketing to create effective product stories, to provide value for a product launch:

Clarity on the:

    • intended customers
    • product purpose
    • product features and benefits (i.e. the elements you have learned about so far in determining the product’s value proposition and development plan, and so on).

A deep understanding of the:

      • intended value of the product
      • intended customers, to determine the best way to communicate product value to specific customers, especially in solving their pain points.
      • Tools and techniques to persuade customers to invest easily in a product.
      • Up-to-date market knowledge to ensure products remain relevant.

Like many things in product management, particularly in the modern economy, product marketing is not a ‘set-and-forget’ function. Instead, it requires continuous improvement. As we learn more about product marketing, we’ll see how this is done.

Building a product marketing strategy

It might be surprising to find out that Listerine, a mouthwash, was originally sold as a surgical antiseptic. There wasn’t any change in the actual make-up of the product – Listerine simply changed its product marketing strategy. This is a great example of how an effective product marketing strategy can be.

Now, let’s take a look at what steps you should follow to formulate a good product marketing strategy:

  1. Study the market to understand what customers want. In this first step of developing a product marketing strategy, product marketers will perform these actions to ensure a rigorous strategy is developed:
    • Conducting (or reviewing the data from) user-centred research.
    • Considering pricing strategies.
    • Accounting for and assessing the competition.
    • Developing a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the proposed product’s launch to market.
  2. Create the product narrative. Using personas already developed, product marketers now focus on writing a positioning document that outlines the key messages of the product. These messages should answer basic questions such as:
    • Who is the product for?
    • What does the product do?
    • Why would customers want to use it? (I.e. What problem does it solve for users?)
    • How is the product different to similar products already in the market?
  3. Share and refine the product positioning and messaging. In this step, product marketers share the decided upon product positioning and messaging with internal business stakeholders and use their feedback to refine and adapt these elements. In this stage, actual product marketing content starts being drafted (e.g. marketing copy, blog content, and website landing pages).
  4. Create a product launch plan and launch content. Teams across a business, including the traditional marketing and sales teams, are involved in creating the product-to-market launch plan and the product manager’s role is to ensure that the teams’ goals are aligned and that the plan includes concrete tasks to be completed. Since the success of most product marketing campaigns is measured by the demand from customers (e.g. the number of new subscriptions, sales) the launch of a new product is very important to a product marketing strategy.
  5. Prepare stakeholders for the product launch. Product marketers need to brief stakeholders on the final arrangements for a product launch. It’s particularly important to check that the developing sales strategy is in line with the product positioning and messaging so that the product messaging remains consistent right through to the point of sale.
  6. Launch the product. The product-to-market launch is the climax of the product marketing strategy. This is when customers are first formally introduced to the new product.
  7. Engage with the product performance. As a product starts to become known and attracts the attention of potential customers in the marketplace, it’s important for product marketers to stay in touch with stakeholder activities and conversations in order to capitalise on them.
  8. Evaluate the product marketing strategy.
    While evaluation is iterative rather than a final step in the product marketing strategy, it’s essential to measure the success of the strategy using agreed performance metrics (e.g. product adoption and up-sells). Continuing to monitor customer/other stakeholder feedback (e.g. media commentary, supplier experience) and fine-tuning the strategy are ways of ensuring evaluation becomes an active and continuous step.

References

  1. 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/
  2. Sloan M. The 3 Secrets Behind Zoom’s Triple-Digit Growth [Blog]. Drift; 2020. Available from: https://www.drift.com/blog/how-zoom-grew/
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Product Management Essentials

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