What is product marketing?
Product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market, promoting it, and selling it to a customer. Product marketing involves understanding the product’s target audience and using strategic positioning and messaging to boost revenue and demand for the product.
What makes product marketing unique? How is it different from conventional marketing? Let’s unpack the differences.
Product Marketing vs. Conventional Marketing
Product marketing is strategic whereas conventional marketing is all-encompassing.
Product marketing is considered a component of conventional marketing. In fact, if you look at the seven Ps of marketing, you’ll see product marketing is one of the most important aspects of a business’s marketing efforts.
Product marketing is focused on driving demand for and adoption of a product among existing customers. It’s focused on the steps people take to purchase your product so product marketers can build campaigns to support this work.
Product marketing is about understanding a specific product’s audience on a deep level and developing that product’s positioning and messaging to appeal to that audience. It covers the launch and execution side of a product in addition to the marketing strategy for the product — which is why the work of a product marketer lies at the center of a business’s marketing, sales, and product teams.
Conventional marketing is focused on broader topics under the umbrella of marketing such as lead generation, SEO, and anything related to acquiring and converting new leads and customers. It’s about promoting the company and brand as a whole, including the products that are sold. These marketers make sure there’s a consistent, on-brand message behind all of the company’s content.
Why is product marketing important?
Product marketing is a critical part of any business’s marketing strategy. Without it, your product won’t achieve its maximum potential among your target audience. Let’s look at what product marketing does:
- Understand your customers better.
- Target your buyer personas effectively.
- Learn about your competitors (products and marketing tactics).
- Ensure the marketing, product, and sales teams are all on the same page.
- Position the product appropriately in the market.
- Boost revenue and improve sales.
Asking yourself these questions will help you ensure your product is a success among customers.
- Is this product suitable for today’s market?
- Is this product appropriate for our customers today?
- How is this product unique from similar products of our competitor’s?
- Is there a way to further differentiate this product from those of our competitor’s?
- Are there any products we’ve sold in the past that we wouldn’t market or sell ever again now that we look back? Is so, why not?
As you can see, product marketing requires you to look at your products from a strategic perspective to ensure they’re successful among customers in your current market.
Product Marketing Responsibilities
- Identify the buyer personas and target audience for your product.
- Successfully create and carry out your product marketing strategy.
- Work with and enable sales to attract the right customers for your new product.
- Determine your product’s positioning in the market.
- Ensure the product meets the needs of your target audience.
- Keep your product relevant over time.
1. Identify the buyer personas and target audience for your product.
You must identify the buyer personas and audience for your product so you can target customers in a way that’s convincing and makes them want to make a purchase. This will allow you to tailor your product and its features to solve for the challenges your audience is facing.
2. Successfully create, manage and carry out your product marketing strategy.
A product marketing strategy allows you to create, build, and execute content and campaigns — this supports the steps that will lead your buyer personas and customers to make a purchase.
3. Work with and enable sales to attract the right customers for your new product.
You have to maintain a direct relationship with sales. You’ll work with sales to identify and attract the right customers for the product at hand and provide sales enablement materials to reps to ensure they understand the product inside and out, along with all of its features.
This way, you and your teams are on the same page in terms of what’s being shared with customers, allowing you to provide a consistent, on-brand experience for anyone who comes in contact with the product.
4. Determine your product’s positioning in the market.
One of the most important parts is determining the product’s positioning in the market. Think about this process in terms of storytelling — your positioning requires you to create and tell the story of your product.
- Why was this product made?
- Who is this product made for?
- What challenges does this product resolve?
- What makes this product unique?
5. Ensure your product meets the needs of your target audience.
You must also make sure your product meets the needs of your customers and target audience. Through the research conducted to determine your buyer persona’s and target audience, you should have uncovered the pain points and challenges you’re working to solve with your product.
If your product doesn’t meet the needs of your customers, they’ll have no reason to make the purchase or choose your product over your competitor’s.
6. Keep your product relevant over time.
Your product needs to stay relevant over time. As needs, expectations, and challenges change and evolve, it’s your job to make sure your product marketing strategy, and the products themselves, remain relevant among customers.
Product Marketing Strategy
Your product marketing strategy serves to guide the positioning, pricing, and promotion of your new product. It helps you take your product from development to launch and informs what new audience(s) and markets to which to launch and market your product.
Now, let’s take a look at five steps that can help you optimize your product marketing strategy.
1. Define your product’s target audience and buyer personas.
Define a specific target audience and create buyer personas for the specific product being sold (different products will likely have different target audiences). This the first step to marketing your product.
By understanding your customers and their needs, challenges, and pain points, you’ll be able to ensure all aspects of your product marketing strategy (as in, the rest of the steps we’ll define below) are tailored to that target customer and persona. This way, the product and the marketing content that’s created for the product will resonate with your audience.
2. Determine the positioning and messaging to set your product apart.
After performing your customer research and learning about your audience, you’ll have identified their needs, challenges, and pain points. From here, you can think about how to highlight the ways your product resolves those challenges for your customers.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve differentiated yourself from your competitors. After all, they are your competitors because they solve the needs of your customers in a similar way to your company.
The key to setting your product apart is positioning and messaging. Positioning and messaging answers key questions your customers might have about your product and what makes it unique and then turns those answers into the main points behind your product’s marketing strategy.
It’s your job as the product marketer to ensure your customers and audience know the answers to these questions and don’t have to dig around for (or make assumptions about) them.
Examples of questions you’ll need to answer to develop your product’s positioning and messaging include:
- What specifically makes our product unique?
- Why is our product better than our competitors’?
- Why are our product’s features ideal for our target audience?
- What will our customers get out of our product that they cannot get from our competitors’ products?
- Why should our customers trust and invest in us and our product?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can compile these responses into one, impactful, and shareable statement that captures your positioning and messaging as a whole. To do this, follow these steps:
- Turn the answers to the positioning and messaging questions into an elevator pitch.
- Use action words to excite your customers.
- Ensure the tone of your statement captures the tone of your brand.
- Focus on the benefit of your product as a whole (not just one specific feature).
3. Set goals for your product.
Next, you’ll want to set goals for your product. These will vary based on your specific product, the type of company you work for, your overall marketing goals, and more — your goals will be specific to your business and situation. However, let’s review some common goals product marketers aim to achieve:
- Increase revenue
- Engage with customers
- Improve market share
- Gain customers from competitors
- Boost brand recognition
4. Price your product.
As a product marketer, you’ll also have to contribute to the discussion of the price of your product. Depending on the company you work for, you might work with other teams on this part of the strategy, or it might be a job just for you and your fellow product marketers. Either way, you can consider competitive vs. value-based pricing.
Competitive vs. Value-Based Product Pricing
Competitive pricing means you’re basing your product’s price off of the similar products your competitors sell. It’s ideal for companies who have created a product similar to one that several other companies sell.
If you believe your unique features warrant a significantly higher price than those of your competitors’, you might choose to price your product above the other similar products on the market. A good way to evaluate the fairness of the pricing of all of your competitors is by studying financial reports and industry trends.
Value-based pricing allows you to maximize your profit, although it’s a bit more time-consuming to establish in comparison to competitive pricing. It’s ideal for companies selling a product with very few competitors on the market or one with exceptionally new and unique features.
Value-based pricing quantifies your item’s value in a way your customer can relate to their profitability. It allows you to base your product’s price on its value for your customer rather than whatever the market, industry trends, and your competitors say.
5. Launch your product.
There are two main parts to the launch to focus on: the internal launch (what goes on within your company upon product launch) and external launch (what goes on outside of your company, with customers and audience members, upon product launch).
Internal Aspects of a Product Launch
As previously stated, your job as a product marketer entails making sure the entire organization is on the same page about your product. This way, your customers only receive consistent and accurate details about the product.
The marketing, product, and sales teams at your company should be aware of the following information:
- The product’s benefits
- Any available product demo information
- Sales training opportunities on your product and details about how it’s used
- What the positioning and messaging looks like
- Who your buyer personas and ideal customers are
- What the goals for your product include
- What your product’s features are
- The pricing of your product
- How your product is being launched to customers
External Aspects of a Product Launch
Externally, there are many ways to market your product launch so your current base of customers, prospects, and target audience learn about whatever it is you’re selling.
First, determine where you’re going to focus your product marketing efforts. Here are some examples of channels and places to do this (you might choose several of these or just one to focus on depending on your needs, goals, and resources).
- Social media
- Product launch event
- Website landing page
- Exclusive product preview (prior to the official launch)
- Promotional event/ campaign (in-person and/ or online)
On whatever channel you choose to focus your product launch marketing efforts, you should include relevant product information (focused on your positioning and messaging) so prospects and customers can learn all about your product and why they need it. This includes your product’s features, what makes it unique, pricing, demos for customers, training for customers, and any other materials you’ve created and want to share.