Even the most exceptional product may experience market setbacks if it cannot connect with the right customers. For a product to be successful, you need to be able to narrate its story and promote its value among a larger audience. This is where product marking comes in.
Product marketing combines elements of product development, marketing, sales, and customer success to better understand your target audience and teach you how to communicate with them.
In this article, you will learn what product marketing is and how you can use it to stimulate interest and increase the utilization of your product.
Product marketing helps you determine the goals and go-to-market strategy of your product. Beyond this, product marketing also ensures that your product will continue to satisfy the market even if needs shift.
Product marketing focuses on sustained sales and market share over time. As a result, product marketing strategies extend beyond your product launch and accumulate in a strategic plan that outlines how you will attract and engage with target customers.
For this to be successful, you need to know your product well enough to create a story that highlights your product features and explains to customers how it will solve their problems.
Product-market fit occurs when your product identifies a need in the market and solves that problem for a group of target customers. As a PM, it’s your job to discover these pain points that exist and then start a new product lifecycle around it.
To help you get started you can implement the following steps within your product team:
Before starting on something new, you should ask yourself relevant questions to help you fill in the gaps around your product lifecycle. Some of these might include:
After you finish with these, you’ll want to set up quantitative and qualitative metrics to gauge the progress your product has made towards achieving product-market fit. Metrics might include:
A product marketing manager is responsible for voicing customer concerns and crafting the go-to-market and long term marketing plan. The complete responsibilities of a product marketing manager are:
To achieve these goals, a product marketing manager works closely with product managers. While product managers own the problem, product marketing managers focus on how to sell it. Although the focus of these two roles differs, the customer remains central to both.
If your company doesn’t have a dedicated product marketing team, as the PM you’ll need to assume those responsibilities yourself. In my early days as a PM, we launched a new product without a marketing team. Because of this, I found myself having to understand what product marketing was while still learning product management methodologies.
When my responsibilities as a PM finished, product marketing manager responsibilities started. In time, I learned how to attract and engage customers. Marketing management helped me to arrive at the customer feedback phase quicker and I adapted my management strategies accordingly.
My first goal was developing the best methods to capture the attention of customers. Because I found myself working within a narrow time frame, I leaned on what I felt most comfortable creating. That’s why I selected writing blogs, sharing social media posts, creating webinar sessions, and recording videos.
The harder part was finding the topic our customers would be interested in. I knew who my product was targeted for, but I didn’t know how I could attract them. I started to list off customer pain points and recorded short how-to videos to solve specific problems.
Customers responded well and asked for more details in the comments. Then I decided to collect questions and create a webinar series to answer them.
My first webinar session was really stressful; I memorized nearly every question to avoid making a mistake. In the end, I reached less customers than I expected, but I learned an important lesson — attracting customers wasn’t enough, I needed to engage them.
The first customer count made us realize the power of social media again. We set up another webinar session for a month later and started to share posts about it. To increase interaction we learned strategies such as email marketing. With help of designers we created email templates and shared automatized marketing emails.
Automations helped us share regular contents to our customers. I also collected the metrics from the links inside the emails so that I could analyze which customer persona clicked the leads we shared.
After the engagement strategies, we experienced a huge amount of increase in the webinar session attendees. We recorded the sessions and shared with others who couldn’t manage to attend. A couple of sessions later, we had a perfect customer feedback loop.
The feedback we collected in the webinar sessions helped us to plan our roadmap and previous phases. We saw customers were using our product differently than we had expected. This helped us understand their actual problems and shift the product to better accommodate their needs.
I learned first hand that product marketing isn’t a one time thing. Product marketing is an essential component of a long-term plan and should sit at the center of your product lifecycle.
As a PM, you can heavily benefit from a basic understanding of product marketing strategies. By getting involved in the product marketing process, you’ll better understand customer pain points and unlock new ways to sell your product.
Featured image source: IconScout
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