Content marketing involves boosting brand awareness and nurture prospects into customers through content like blogs, e-books or webinars. Conversational marketing does the same thing through one-to-one conversations with your prospects. Lifecycle marketing involves tailoring your content marketing efforts to the different lifecycle stages.
Although “product marketing” follows the same naming convention, it doesn’t actually refer to marketing through your product or with your product as a channel.
What Is Product Marketing?
Product marketing is the process of bringing a specific product to market. The end goal for product marketers is ensuring the product is successful.
Product marketing starts with the go-to-market strategy. The marketer understands the need that exists within the market, has a product that satisfies that need and is now developing the positioning and value proposition that will resonate within the target market.
A product marketer might not necessarily be performing outward-facing marketing — they might not be creating promotional content or even speaking to consumers. Instead, their efforts are focused on guiding the strategy internally.
They’re responsible for developing the messaging for the product and passing it along to everyone else within the company. Similar to the way marketing enables sales, product marketing enables all the other marketing activities.
How Does Product Marketing Help You Improve the Product Over Time?
Product marketing doesn’t stop with the sale of the product. In addition to helping deliver the product to users initially, product marketing also helps create a feedback loop to help improve the product over time.
Overall, marketing won’t necessarily be concerned with the onboarding process, but the experience established during the first 30 days of use is a critical component of a product’s success.
When a consumer buys your product, they understand the problem they have and why your product can help, but they might not know how to actually use your product to solve that problem.
Therefore, product marketers want to ensure a smooth transition from sales to service. They help develop and execute an onboarding process that provides value to the user and enables adoption of the product.
With complex SaaS products like HubSpot, managed services channel partners like New Breed can do majority of the product marketing. We help users gain value from HubSpot and ensure their product actually helps users grow their business.
Understanding the way that users actually engage with your product is a key component of improving it. Align your marketing messaging with the actual user experience to ensure consistency throughout the buyer's lifecycle.
There are a number of ways you can collect feedback about your product, including:
- Analyzing usage: You can observe product usage by measuring the frequency of logins and which features are being utilized. Tracking and understanding those patterns will provide insight into user behaviors and help product marketers and product developers decide where to focus their efforts.
- NPS and customer satisfaction surveys: Soliciting feedback through net promoter score (NPS) surveys and customer feedback surveys can provide insight into how customers feel about your product. The results of these surveys can reveal strengths and weaknesses in your positioning, onboarding and product.
During the initial product development and launch, the product marketing and product development teams should work closely together to ensure that the product has everything it needs to satisfy the target market. They also need to be on the same page about what is and isn’t included, as well as the plan for future development.
When you’re first developing a product, you’re going to come up with your MVP, the minimum viable product, that will satisfy the market. In addition to that, you’ll probably have a list of features to consider adding over time.
Once the product is launched, the teams should work together to choose which additions and improvements to focus on based on the feedback coming in.
Marketing focuses on your business as a whole, while product marketing focuses on a specific product — but there is some overlap between the responsibilities of product marketing and general marketing functions.
Marketing is responsible for creating general sales enablement materials, and product marketing is responsible for developing sales enablement materials for specific products.
Both teams work with a company’s buyer personas and need to understand the challenges they have. But creating those personas is the responsibility of general marketing teams, whereas product marketers focus more on understanding which persona pain points their product addresses and how to create a message that speaks to those.
However, if a product is created to expand your company’s reach into a new market, then product marketers may be involved in developing that new persona.
On top of the shared general marketing tasks, product marketers have specific responsibilities related to the individual product. The go-to-market strategy (GTM) entirely falls within the product marketers purview. When developing and enacting the GTM, product marketers need to:
- Define the target market
- Identify which buyer persona pain points the product addresses
- Develop the product’s value proposition
- Conduct competitor analysis
- Pick a pricing strategy
- Determine purchasing methods
- Ensure internal alignment around the product’s purpose, functionality and messaging
- Provide useful onboarding resources that enable successful product adoption
Assuming that all the steps of product marketing have gone well, then your product might be well-positioned for product-led growth, where your product will sell itself through the value it provides.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.