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Product marketer
Product marketer
Product marketer

Explore product marketing: roles, strategies, and its impact on sales, brand, and customer focus.

What is Product Marketing?

Product marketing is focused on understanding customer needs, positioning products competitively, generating demand, and driving growth. Unlike other marketing functions like brand marketing, product marketing zeroes in on one specific product or product line, rather than the company or brand as a whole.

The key goals of product marketing include:

  • Defining the product and its target audience

  • Developing positioning and messaging

  • Launching new products successfully

  • Driving adoption, usage and growth

  • Collaborating with other teams like sales, engineering, and customer success

While brand marketers promote the brand story and identity, product marketers promote specific products. Brand marketing creates awareness and an emotional connection at a high level. Product marketing turns that awareness into understanding of the products through content, sales enablement, and product-led growth strategies.

Product marketing works cross-functionally to make sure products are defined, positioned, priced and promoted in a way that resonates with target customers. It focuses on the market viability, demand generation, and ongoing refinement of specific products. This involves deep customer and competitor research, pricing analysis, roadmap input, and metrics reporting.

In summary, product marketing is responsible for each product's success and driving growth opportunities. It brings a strategic, customer-focused approach to understanding target audiences and their needs in order to effectively develop, launch and promote products.


Responsibilities of a Product Marketer

A product marketer is responsible for the marketing strategy and activities related to a product. Their main goal is driving demand, adoption, usage and loyalty for the product. Key responsibilities include:

Market Research and Analysis

  • Conducting market research to understand customer needs, pain points and product requirements

  • Analyzing the competitive landscape and identifying gaps or opportunities in the market

  • Defining and understanding target buyer personas and customer segments

Product Positioning and Messaging

  • Determining how to best position the product in the market to differentiate it from competitors

  • Developing messaging and content to convey the product's key benefits, value proposition and use cases

Pricing and Packaging

  • Setting or influencing pricing strategy based on customer willingness to pay, competitive pricing, profit margins and corporate objectives

  • Defining packaging options and configurations for different customer segments

Product Launches and Promotions

  • Planning and executing new product launches including developing launch materials, sales collateral, website pages, announcements and campaigns

  • Developing promotions, discounts, bundles, and marketing campaigns to create buzz and accelerate adoption for the product

Sales Enablement and Support

  • Producing sales enablement tools and materials like one-pagers, presentations, demos, and battle cards to support the sales team

  • Training the sales team on the product, competitive positioning, ideal customers, common objections and more

  • Providing ongoing sales support with relevant content and materials to drive revenue

The product marketer plays a strategic role in bringing a product to market and driving its continued growth and business impact. Their marketing initiatives across the customer journey help attract, convert, engage and retain ideal buyers.


Developing a Product Marketing Strategy

A strong product marketing strategy is key to launching and promoting a product successfully. This is especially true in product-led growth companies where marketing is a primary driver of product signups. Here are some steps to develop an effective strategy:

Understand Your Target Audience and Buyer Personas

The first step is gaining deep insight into who will be using your product. Create detailed buyer personas that outline:

  • Demographic information like age, location, job title

  • Goals and challenges they face

  • How they make purchasing decisions

  • Where they go for information

This will allow you to create tailored messaging and content specifically for your target customers. Use market research, customer data, and user testing to continually refine your personas.

Set Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Once you know your target audience, establish clear goals and metrics to track performance. Example goals include:

  • Increase product adoption by 20% among target buyer personas

  • Achieve 30% month-over-month growth in paid conversions

  • Generate 50 new leads per month for the sales team

Some KPIs to measure include lead generation and conversion rates, sales qualified leads, customer acquisition costs, retention and churn rates.

Craft Your Positioning and Messaging

With your audience and goals defined, build positioning that speaks directly to the personas you want to reach. Your messaging should convey:

  • The problem you solve or need you address

  • Your unique value proposition and how you differ from competitors

  • Benefits and outcomes your product provides

Test messaging with current customers to refine. All marketing content and campaigns should align back to your positioning.

Select Marketing Channels and Tactics

Finally, choose marketing tactics and channels tailored to your audience's preferences. Options include:

  • Content marketing through blogs and social media

  • Paid search, display and social media advertising

  • Email marketing and lead nurturing campaigns

  • Webinars, ebooks and tools to attract and engage prospects

  • PR outreach and tradeshow presence

Focus spending on the high-performing channels with the greatest ROI. Have a system to continually test and optimize your marketing mix.


Launching a New Product

Launching a new product requires careful planning and execution to maximize its chances of success. Having a product launch strategy is crucial to effectively introduce a new offering to the target market and drive adoption.

The Importance of a Product Launch Strategy

A product launch strategy provides a roadmap for the activities and timeline required to successfully bring a new product to market. It aligns cross-functional teams and helps minimize risks during launch. Key elements of an effective strategy include:

  • Defining your target audience and buyer personas

  • Crafting positioning and messaging

  • Setting pricing and sales strategies

  • Planning marketing campaigns and assets

  • Establishing a detailed launch timeline

  • Assigning team member responsibilities

Without a strategy, product launches tend to be disorganized and lack focus. Missed opportunities to connect with customers can greatly hinder adoption of the new product.

Pre-Launch Activities

In the months leading up to launch, product marketers need to lay the groundwork for a stellar debut. Important pre-launch tasks include:

  • Conducting market research to validate product-market fit

  • Creating a product marketing plan and collateral like one-pagers, presentations, emails, etc.

  • Briefing and training the sales team on the new product

  • Setting up tracking and analytics to monitor performance

  • Building a registration or sign-up page to collect leads

  • Developing launches for affiliated products or upgrades

Handling these critical items beforehand allows the launch to go smoothly.

Launch Timeline

While timelines vary, a typical product launch may span across the following phases:

6 months out: Assemble cross-functional launch team, conduct market research, define positioning.

4 months out: Develop messaging and collateral, plan campaigns and events, build buzz.

2 months out: Train sales teams, brief affiliates/partners, finalize assets and packaging, start teaser campaigns.

Launch: Send announcements, activate campaigns, share on social media, monitor traction.

Post-launch: Continue momentum with ongoing campaigns, optimize based on feedback.

Well in advance, set target launch dates and work backwards to assign tasks and deadlines across the organization.

Executing a Successful Launch

The launch period itself is an exciting time to actively promote the product and track engagement. To execute a successful debut:

  • Host a launch event or webinar to introduce the product

  • Make a big splash on social media with teasers leading up to launch

  • Equip sales team with collateral and demo accounts

  • Send personalized emails to warm prospects

  • Run paid ads and promotions to build awareness

  • Closely monitor traffic, leads, conversions, reviews, social mentions and other KPIs

  • Optimize campaigns based on initial performance

With thorough planning and coordination, your product launch will get off to a great start on the path to adoption and revenue growth.


Driving Adoption and Growth

Once a product has launched, the focus shifts to driving adoption and growing the customer base. Product marketers play a critical role in getting the product into customers' hands and converting them into long-term, loyal users. Here are some key strategies for driving adoption and growth:

Getting the Product in Customers' Hands

  • Free trials and freemium models - Offering free trials or limited access through a freemium model is an effective way to get potential customers to try out your product risk-free. Product marketers should determine the ideal trial length and capabilities to balance conversions with value.

  • Partnerships and bundling - Pursuing partnerships with complementary products or services can expose your product to new audiences open to trying it. Bundling your product for free with another purchase is also a creative distribution strategy.

  • Paid and organic distribution - Investing in paid distribution channels like paid search and social ads can rapidly increase product trials. Organic distribution through word-of-mouth, referrals and community sharing is also important.

  • Content marketing and SEO - Developing useful content and assets around your product helps attract and educate potential new users. Optimizing for target keywords drives organic traffic.

  • Beta programs and early access - Offering exclusive early access through beta programs or sneak peeks builds buzz and gets your product in the hands of engaged users who can help spread the word.

Driving Conversions

  • Product demos - Demos, whether live, recorded or interactive walkthroughs, are essential for showing off your product's value and convincing users to convert from trials to paid accounts.

  • Real user stories/case studies - Leverage real customer stories that highlight how your product solved a problem or added value. Case studies are particularly effective.

  • Free educational content - Offer free content like ebooks, templates, courses or workshops that provide value while educating users on adopting your product.

  • Promotional offers - Special deals and discounts are a classic way to incentivize conversions during the product launch or for seasonal promotions.

  • Retargeting campaigns - Remarketing to trial users through ads and emails reminds them to convert before their trial ends.

Retention and Upsell Marketing

  • Customer success and onboarding - Ensure users are fully onboarded and find success with your product as soon as possible. Check in frequently during ramp up.

  • Product usage tracking - Analyze product usage data to identify upsell opportunities or customers at risk of churning for early intervention.

  • Loyalty programs - Offering perks and promotions for loyal customers incentivizes them to stick around and spend more.

  • Cross-sells and upsells - Provide upgrade options or bundle additional offerings to increase revenue from your existing customer base.

  • Surveys and feedback - Solicit customer feedback to improve your product and marketing. Users who feel heard are less likely to switch to a competitor.

  • Community engagement - Foster an engaged user community for sharing content and experiences around your product. Community builds loyalty.

Does this section effectively cover strategies for driving adoption and growth after product launch? Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand on any part of it.


Metrics and Analytics

Metrics and analytics are critical for product marketers to measure the success and ROI of campaigns and initiatives. Key metrics to track include:

  • Website traffic and engagement - Pay attention to overall site traffic, landing page views, time on page and bounce rates to see how interested potential customers are in your product content. Recording conversions from your product pages can show the direct impact of marketing efforts.

  • Leads and sales - Probably the most important goal of any campaign is driving new leads and conversions. Track form fills, inquiries, demos requested, trials started, and new customers acquired. Route your campaigns to specific landing pages so you can easily see which efforts directly impact your sales pipeline.

  • Social media and engagement - Monitor the reach, engagement, clicks, and conversions from all social promotions. See which social platforms and types of content resonate most with your audience. You can also track brand sentiment and mentions.

  • Paid advertising and campaigns - Any paid marketing campaigns should be thoroughly tracked. Monitor costs, clicks, conversions, CTR, impressions, reach, frequency, and overall ROI. Make adjustments to optimize performance.

  • SEO and organic traffic - Viewing organic traffic and rankings offers insight into how your broader SEO and content marketing efforts are performing. Growth in organic indicates authority building.

  • Product usage data - Within your app or website, track how users interact with your product. This shows what features they use, adoption rates, churn risk and customer health. Funnel analysis from signup to repeat usage is very telling.

Product marketers should tap into analytics platforms to monitor all these metrics and more. Look for trends and insights you can take action on. Use the data to calculate your return on investment. Continuously optimize efforts based on performance. With the right analytics in place, you can accurately determine the impact of marketing and fine tune strategy over time.


Content and Asset Creation

To promote and sell your product effectively, product marketers need to create tailored assets and content for each stage of the buyer's journey. The goal is to attract potential buyers, engage and nurture leads, and ultimately convert interested prospects into delighted customers.

When making content and assets, always start by identifying your target buyer personas. Create customized content that speaks directly to their pain points, objectives, and preferences.

Some of the most common content formats product marketers use include:

  • Blogs: In-depth articles, guides, and how-tos focused on providing value and education rather than a hard product pitch. Useful for attracting new visitors and establishing thought leadership.

  • eBooks and whitepapers: Long-form content ideal for educating prospects and generating leads. Should tackle topics and questions your target personas care about.

  • Videos: From explainer videos to webinars and product demos, video is engaging and helps buyers evaluate products.

  • Infographics: Visual content that makes complex data easy to digest. Infographics tend to get shared widely on social media.

  • Case studies: Showcase success stories of real customers using your product. Builds trust and credibility.

  • Product sheets/datasheets: Highlight product features, technical specifications, and benefits. Helps prospects evaluate if you meet their needs.

  • Presentations: Enable sales teams to effectively pitch your product to prospects. Should be customized for different stages of the sales funnel.

For sales enablement, product marketers create collateral like battlecards that help sales teams position against competitors. Other sales tools include ROI calculators, proposal templates, PowerPoint presentations, objection handlers, and more. Equipping the sales team with tailored assets increases their chances of converting leads.

The formats and tools you choose depend on your personas, products, and business objectives. But the focus should always be on creating valuable assets optimized for each stage of your customer's buyer journey. This establishes your product expertise and enables sales success.


Trends in Product Marketing

Product marketing is evolving as new technologies emerge and buyer behavior changes. Here are some of the key trends product marketers should be aware of:

Growth of Digital Marketing

Digital channels like social media, email marketing, and paid search are dominating marketing budgets. Product marketers need to utilize digital tactics like optimizing websites for SEO, creating compelling content, running targeted ads, and leveraging analytics. Mastering digital marketing is critical.

Improving the Customer Experience

Customers expect seamless omni-channel experiences. Product marketers must map the entire customer journey and identify opportunities to reduce friction. Feedback loops should be implemented to continuously improve CX.

Video and Interactive Content

Consumers favor video and interactive content over static assets. Product marketers should incorporate engaging video demos, interactive product tours, quizzes, and calculators into their content strategy.

Expanded Use of Influencers

Influencer marketing is on the rise. Identifying relevant influencers with engaged audiences and partnering creatively can expand product reach.

Personalization at Scale

Marketing personalization powered by data and AI allows more relevant, tailored messaging. Product marketers can tap into these capabilities to improve conversion rates.

Agile Marketing

Waterfall marketing plans are too rigid. Agile frameworks like scrum enable product marketers to adapt quickly. Iteration speed and flexibility is key.

By staying on top of these product marketing trends, marketers can connect with modern buyers and promote their products more effectively. An awareness of the changing landscape is essential.


Challenges for Product Marketers

Product marketers face several key challenges that can make their jobs difficult. Here are some of the most common ones:

Limited Resources and Budgets

Product marketing teams often have relatively small budgets, especially compared to other departments like sales. This limits what tactics they can implement to promote products and awareness. Having fewer team members also constrains bandwidth. Product marketers have to balance strategy with hands-on execution which spreads resources thin.

This budget and staffing challenge means product marketers need to be smart and targeted in where they allocate resources. They can't always afford wide sweeping and expensive tactics.

Long Sales Cycles

For many B2B products, the sales cycle to convert leads can take months or longer. Product marketers need to account for these long cycles when mapping out strategies and setting expectations. Results do not happen overnight.

Momentum can be harder to maintain when sales cycles drag on. Product marketers may need to continually re-engage prospects and leads to keep them warm. The long game must be played.

Message Consistency Across Regions

Large companies with distributed teams face an added challenge of consistency. Product positioning and messaging may get diluted or misinterpreted as it spreads globally.

Keeping regional product marketing teams aligned is crucial but difficult with distance and cultural/language barriers. Poor communication can lead to fractured understanding of the product value proposition. This makes scaling efficiently very hard.

Product marketing leaders must make extra effort to keep remote teams in sync. This requires taking a "one company" approach rather than siloed regional teams. Consensus on core messaging can ensure consistency.


Career Paths in Product Marketing

The job outlook for product marketing roles is strong, with demand growing as companies focus more on product-led revenue strategies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for marketing managers as a whole are projected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031.

Many product marketers start in an entry level role such as Marketing/Product Marketing Coordinator or Associate Product Marketing Manager. In these roles, they support product launches, create sales enablement materials, conduct market research, analyze data, and more while learning the ropes of product marketing. Entry level salaries typically range from $50,000 to $70,000.

With 2-5 years of experience, product marketers may be promoted to a Product Marketing Manager role, with an average salary around $90,000. At this mid-level, they take on more responsibility leading initiatives, managing campaigns and budget, and collaborating cross-functionally.

After 5+ years in product marketing, experienced professionals may become a Senior Product Marketing Manager, Director of Product Marketing, or Head of Product Marketing. Salaries at this point can reach $130,000 or more. These advanced roles involve developing product strategy, leading teams, and driving major product launches.

Ongoing education and skill development is key for career advancement in product marketing. Helpful training and certifications include:

  • Product Marketing Certification from Product Marketing Alliance

  • Content Marketing Certification from HubSpot Academy

  • Google Analytics and Google Ads certifications

  • Product Marketing courses on Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning

Published on

Jan 5, 2024

in

Marketing

Chase Wilson

Chase Wilson

CEO of Flywheel

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Flywheel brings clarity to product-led growth. Experience the frameworks used by cutting-edge PLG marketing teams, all in one tool.