Product Marketing

What is Product Marketing?

Product marketing is a marketing discipline that focuses on the process of bringing a specific product to the marketplace. While your company’s marketing department might engage in many activities that promote and market your brand as a whole, product marketing is more narrowly focused on ensuring the success of individual product launches with effective marketing strategy, sales strategy, and customer engagement.

Product marketers engage in a wide range of activities whose ultimate goal is to help a product succeed in the marketplace. These tasks can be grouped into three general categories that span the product life cycle:

Research

Research tasks help your organization understand more about your industry, competitors and the ideal customer profile for your product. Product marketers develop expertise in the markets where they operate while learning as much as possible about the customer and their characteristics, including needs and preferences. Effective research informs long-term marketing strategy.

Positioning

Product marketers play a role in determining how a product should be positioned in the marketplace. Product position incorporates a number of factors, including product branding, ensuring that the product garners a positive image or perception, developing unique value propositions and a well-crafted positioning statement and communicating product features and brand values effectively through marketing media.

Life Cycle Management

Once a product marketer has done the appropriate market research and determined how the product should be positioned, they may bear responsibility for ensuring an effective product launch and ensuring the profitability of the product throughout its entire life cycle (until the business stops selling or supporting it).

Product Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Some organizations have product marketing managers that function independently and collaborate with marketing and sales teams. Some organizations roll the responsibilities of product marketing into a traditional marketing department. Ultimately, the work that product marketers do is critical to the success of individual products and the business as a whole – but how exactly are product marketing and traditional marketing different?

Traditional marketing focuses on creating opportunities for sales by bringing more customers into the sales funnel – their role is to acquire and convert customers. While product marketers focus solely on product success, a traditional marketing department also needs to promote the company and its brands while ensuring consistent messaging across marketing media.

Product marketing places a stronger emphasis on the strategic elements of marketing success as they apply to a specific product. They do research to determine how a product should be positioned in the market, then apply tools such as customer insights, data analysis, and product validation to assess product-market fit and develop marketing collateral that can be used to drive customer engagement.

Product marketers exist at the intersection between the product team, sales team, and marketing team. Their functions occupy the space between product development (the work of product managers) and raising brand awareness (the work of traditional marketing departments).

Four Strategic Questions of Product Marketing

Product marketing can look quite different depending on the nature of the product, business and industry. Some product marketers are primarily responsible for product positioning, while others have end-to-end control of the marketing process from industry research to post-launch activities and others primarily support sales staff by creating and delivering product-specific marketing collateral.

Product marketing is a versatile role, but there are four elements of marketing strategy that typically fall inside the scope of responsibilities for a product marketing manager:

Defining the Product Line – Product marketers play a role in determining what products should be offered. They may collaborate closely with product managers to conduct market research and help identify consumer and market needs that could represent a profitable product opportunity for the business. Product marketers may assist with product validation testing to ensure that demand for a product exists before the business commits research & development resources to design the product.

Defining the Target Customer – Product marketers need to learn everything they can about the target customer. Defining market segments and demographics that will be targeted helps to coordinate marketing activities and ensure that marketing budgets are allocated efficiently. A product marketer may write a product story or user stories to describe the value of a product and how customers in different customer segments will interact with it.

Defining Marketing Channels – Once target market segments have been defined for a given product, the next step for product marketing is to determine the ideal marketing and distribution channels that will bring the product to the target customer.

Product Pricing for Profitability – Product managers frequently play a role in establishing pricing and determining an overall pricing strategy for a product. This is especially true for software products where customers can subscribe at different service levels, each with their own unique feature combinations and pricing. A product marketer works to determine optimal pricing and establish a pricing model that drives revenue for the business and flexibility for its customers.

How Does Product Marketing Support Business Success?

Product marketing plays an important role in driving product success and outcomes by supporting other key business functions.

Product marketing helps sales teams develop their understanding of the target customer. This is achieved through extensive customer research and market segment development, providing documentation and training to sales teams that describe the customer profile, constructing buyer personals, developing message and sale collateral and researching competitors.

Product marketing helps to establish a product-market fit, ensuring that customers are satisfied with the value they receive from their purchase. Product marketers perform validation testing to measure market fit, collect and analyze customer feedback and use the company’s platform to effectively position the product relative to its competitors. They may also communicate directly with customers about product updates and new features.

Finally, product marketing helps to ensure that sales teams are extraordinarily well-equipped to sell the product. This means providing effective marketing and sales collateral, training sales professionals on the messaging and branding for the product and effectively communicating with sales about product changes and updates.

Directive Consulting: Product Marketing Experts

Product marketing comes down to understanding your customer segments and serving them better than your competitors. At Directive Consulting, we’ve narrowed our focus to the enterprise market segment and developed expertise in helping our clients position their products, services, and organizations for success in the marketplace.

Our product marketing expertise drives genuine marketing results for our clients, resulting in increased lead volumes, high conversions, and more revenue. Our PPC and SEO consulting teams will do everything they can to grow your business.

Want to learn how we can help you? Let us create a custom proposal for you.

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