The Strategy-Driven Guide to Product Marketing in 2022
Think about the products your company sells. It’s more than likely that not every product is equally valuable to every customer segment you serve. Even if your company only sells one product, your value proposition is likely unique for each customer segment.
So how do you bridge the gap between marketing your overall brand and marketing the right products to the right customers? The answer is product marketing.
A product marketing strategy enables your company to maintain a consistent brand message while optimizing the marketing and sales potential of each specific product you sell. In the sections that follow, we’ll cover more about why product marketing is so important and 7 areas of focus for launching a product marketing strategy that delivers.
- Product marketing optimizes the marketing of specific products to the right target audiences.
- Buyer personas help product marketers align marketing messaging with buyer needs.
- Product marketing strategies should always be based on value, not features.
- Ongoing collaboration with marketing, sales, and product teams is critical to product marketing success.
What is product marketing?
Product marketing is a critical part of your overall marketing strategy. It focuses on marketing specific products to the right audiences with a customer-focused approach. Organizationally, product marketing lives at the center of marketing, sales, and product development.
Product marketing requires a deep understanding of:
- Product features and benefits
- Target audiences and customer needs
- Value-driven marketing messages
- Sales execution tactics
Product marketers then use this knowledge to align your teams and create a consistent buyer experience from the first touchpoint to final purchase.
Whether your company sells just one product or many, you need a product marketing strategy to differentiate product-focused efforts from your overall brand promotion. With a strong product marketing strategy in place, you can be confident in your ability to accurately target the right customers, maintain better competitive positioning, remain more agile, and convert sales at a higher rate.
Components of a product marketing strategy that works
The key to product marketing success is to create a true strategy — not to rely on a set of tactics that may or may not work together. While your product marketing strategy is different from your overall marketing strategy, it should still be rooted in the same goals. Product marketing is most successful when it’s aligned with your company’s overall business objectives.
In short: the success of your product marketing strategy should be a driver of larger business success for your brand.
So how do you do it? Let’s dive into 7 important areas of focus to make your product marketing efforts truly strategy-driven.
Buyer personas define the purchase decision makers within B2B buyer organizations. They fall under your company’s ideal customer profiles, which identify which types of organizations would benefit most from your products and make the best potential customers for your brand.
Product marketers understand both ideal customer profiles and buyer personas — both are important to targeted marketing. That said, their focus is mainly on buyer personas. They want to create messaging that truly resonates with the needs and pain points your individual buyers experience, demonstrating how your products can deliver the right solutions.
In addition to leveraging existing buyer personas, product marketers work with your marketing and product teams to develop new personas for new products and to adjust personas based on feedback and product performance.
Defined goals and objectives
Product marketers set goals and objectives for specific products that drive success at a higher level for your brand. This is important because not every product has the same purpose. Goals for a new product can include:
- Engage with customers
- Increase revenue
- Fill a competitive gap
- Enter a new market
- Boost brand awareness
- Increase market share
These are some of the most common product goals, but the list is not exhaustive. Product marketers determine the unique goals of every product and create a product marketing strategy that sets the right path for accomplishing them.
What do the best product marketing brands — Apple, Nike, and Red Bull, for example — do that make them so successful?
They ignore product features and instead focus on the value their product brings to customers.
Think different. Just do it. Red Bull gives you wings.
These slogans don’t tell you anything about the products themselves. They tell you what you can do when you use them.
Ultimately, this is all customers care about. Content that demonstrates value engages new customers better than features-focused content every time. Product marketers expand this principle to every product marketing campaign.
Apple’s “Shot and Edited on iPhone” commercials are a great example. They don’t mention the actual iPhone camera once, let alone its features. Instead, they let real customer photos speak for the product themselves.
Product marketers have the responsibility of expanding their brand’s competitive positioning to each specific product it sells. They must know not only which other brands are competitors, but which product offerings present the most competition to their own.
This requires determining differences in features and benefits, then highlighting the ones that make theirs stand out. Apple is again a standout in this category. The Mac vs. PC commercials from the early 2010s are a great example of clever competitive product marketing:
Buyer personas, goals and objectives, value-driven content, and competitive positioning all come together to contribute to a larger strategic responsibility of product marketers: the go-to-market strategy. Product marketers use these tools to execute the right strategy for engaging customers on the market and convincing them to buy their brand’s products.
Once the components of a brand’s product marketing strategy are in place, product marketers provide sales enablement materials that help the sales team succeed. This comes mostly in the form of content to help sales teams understand critical items like product value propositions, target customer segments, marketing messaging, pricing and more.
Examples of sales enablement materials include:
- Content marketing pieces like blogs or ebooks
- Detailed pricing models
- Product-focused content like how-to guides and demo videos
- Branded sales presentations
- Case studies and customer testimonials
- Email templates
Customer feedback and product development
Last but not least, product marketers know that their strategy does not end with initial product launch. They work to collect feedback from customers in the form of reviews, testimonials, surveys and more. Then, they use this information to collaborate with the product development team to continually refine and improve products to meet customer needs and optimize the customer experience.
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