All you Need to Know About Product Marketing in 2022 – (ULTIMATE Guide)
February 11, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
If we ask you to define product marketing in simple words, what would you say? Will you be hesitant? Although Product marketing is an important function in both B2B and B2C companies, many people tend to mix it with sales because of its similarity.
So let us walk you through product marketing from a different perspective to understand its true meaning, core functions, and applicability in today’s ever changing world.
- What is Product Marketing?
- Product Marketing definition
- Product Marketing and Product Life Cycle
- Where does Product Marketing Start from?
- What is a Product Marketing Framework?
- What is the role of product marketing?
- What is the role of Product Marketing in tech startups?
- How is product marketing different from traditional marketing?
- How can you measure the Impact of Product Marketing?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Product Marketing Definition
If we have to define product marketing in its simplest form that would be “getting a product into the market and then sustaining it in the market”. This process is complemented by market research so you can understand the exact needs of your target audience. It is further integrated with the product’s positioning, developing its messaging, and making sure that the salespeople and customers completely understand it.
If you are unclear about how your product should be positioned in the ocean of products out there, you can always hire a product positioning agency or experts who can guide you on the right targeting.
We all agree that product marketing is crucial in every phase of a product’s life cycle. In the introduction stage, product marketers focus on creating awareness and motivating prospects to buy the product.
At this stage, the use of content marketing boosts brand awareness and helps in converting prospective audiences into customers. This can be done through content marketing which we will discuss in detail later. in product fit
Once the product has been launched in the market, the growth phase starts. In this stage, the product marketing team focuses on increasing market share and building brand preference over other competitors.
You know that you have entered the maturity stage when the sales level out and your focus shifts towards winning customers from competitors. In this stage of market saturation, companies such as Drift rise to the top through a strong brand identity and focus on conversational marketing. There is a likelihood that professional product marketing agencies can save you from going towards the decline stage.
Another example is HubSpot, which utilizes its inbound marketing to sustain its market leader status. The main goal of product Marketers is to maximize profit while defending their market share at the same time.
Entering the last stage i.e decline phase, a product’s sales and profits shrink. Still, product markets can make the decline more gradual. This can be done carefully through additional sales from laggards, introducing newer demographics, expanding in the existing one, and introducing newer marketing efforts through brand extensions.
Pro Tip: Tailoring your content marketing efforts to the different product lifecycle stages will enhance your Lifecycle marketing.
So now that you know what product marketing is, you should know where everything starts from. It obviously starts from the customer. Accessing customer needs through extensive market research and building a buyer persona is the core of product marketing.
But what is most important is that even if you have a great product, your efforts will be useless if you don’t get the attention of the right people. So you should define the correct target audience, how and where are you reaching them, and what’s the brand story that you are telling your audience about yourself.
All of this starts is executed in the launch phase where product marketers work with the rest of the marketing team in identifying their customers and developing the brand’s message.
But your job is not finished yet with just the launch and sale of the product. After introducing the product to its users, product marketers also help to create a feedback loop and help in the improvement of the product over its complete life cycle.
You must have heard of the product marketing framework but do you know its applicability? Let’s revisit some concepts about the framework and how it is used in 2022.
The product marketing framework consists of five fundamental phases of product marketing which are:
The first and most important stage is to discover. This stage starts with information and insight gathering which converts your assumptions into calculated hypotheses. Building a business case, Customer and market feedback, win/loss analysis, market research, competitor intelligence, market requirements, testing assumptions, review, and refinement are all part of this phase.
After you have gathered all the required insights and analyses, it is time to strategize. Market strategy is the most important phase of selecting a direction for your product marketing goals. Pricing, marketing objectives, your go-to-market, customer acquisition, customer onboarding, retention and expansion, internal communication, sales enablement, and entry barriers are all strategized in this phase.
After strategizing, you need to identify your customer personas and match that strategy from the discovery phase, for shaping a customer’s journey and marketing communications. Positioning, use cases, narrative designing, messaging, storytelling, segmentation, user and buyer personas are defined in this stage.
This is the phase where you harness all your hard work. Training, sales assets, marketing campaigns, and sales enablement sessions are executed so the team is well equipped to take on all challenges.
So now that you have launched your product, all the post-launch process comes in handy. Product analysis, optimization, customer feedback, prioritizing tickets, and case studies ensure that your product continues to flourish and evolve in its market.
Product marketing is not just launching the product into the market. It is just half of the story. The remaining half is to sustain the product in the market. This is where the struggle begins. The role of a product marketer is before, during, and after the launch of the product.
But unfortunately, according to research by the Product marketing intelligence alliance in 2020, the results say otherwise. Only 5% of Product marketers are completely sure of their roles and responsibilities as product marketers. So let’s understand the complete role of product marketers to leave out any ambiguity.
According to the State of Product Marketing report, the roles of product marketers have evolved over the years from 2019 to 2020.
|Product positioning and messaging||Product marketers tailor their positioning and messaging after understanding the market and need to address the following questions: Who is the product for? What unique problems does our product solve? How is our product different from competitors? How does our product benefit our audience?|
|Content Marketing||Content marketing is performed with the help of blogs, whitepapers, case studies, podcasts, product guides, sales one-pagers, social media content, ebooks, and webinars.|
|Manage Product Launches||The major responsibility of a product launch lies on the product marketer. They have to manage the intersection between other departments such as sales, engineering, customer success, and finance.|
|Creating Sales Collateral||Product marketers need to create sales collateral ranging from a product update feature to a completely new product launch. These sales collateral are used by salespeople to convince the customers of the value of the provided solution.|
|Customer and Market Research||This role includes Market research and insights Customer Persona research Win/loss interviews Case study interviews Competitor intelligence Positioning changes Price changes New product features|
|Reporting||Every company requirement is different but some overall reporting KPIs are: Number of daily, active, and monthly users Revenue goals Usage of product marketing assets Sales confidence level i.e. the confidence of your sales staff and sales team in pitching product Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) Sales-qualified leads (SQLs) Customer satisfaction using Net Promote Score (NPS) Win rates|
|Website Management||A product marketer makes sure that: New features and products are updated on the website content and elements related to messaging and positioning are up-to-date user experience (UX) and product usage are optimized Optimizing In-app messages|
|Product Road-map Planning||The product roadmap entails a complete guide for the vision, direction, and source of product progress over time.|
|Customer On-boarding||This role ensures that the customer onboarding process is done meticulously so that the customers start off with everything they need to see the value of your product. The process is different depending on the type of product that you are offering such as a B2B SaaS product will have a different onboarding process than a B2C consumer goods product.|
You must have seen that product Marketing is evolving over time and tech Companies, especially in the early-stage and growth-stage are utilizing product marketing at a much larger scale.
In tech startups, Product marketers are:
- Hired earlier on so they can own the responsibility of taking the product to market.
- Playing the role of strategic marketing lead and working alongside internal or external teams on SEO & PPC, content creation, and email marketing.
- Given more functional, managerial, and strategic responsibilities.
- Becoming marketing heads sooner as they are marketing generalists who know about the product inside out.
- Having comprehensive knowledge about the competitive landscape online and offline.
Many times product marketing is confused with its resemblance to traditional marketing. So here are some distinctive features of product marketing that draw the line between the two concepts:
|Product Marketing||Traditional Marketing|
|Product marketing is more strategic and analytical.||Traditional marketing deals with marketing communications, operations, execution, project management, and the artistic side of marketing|
|Product marketers specialize and spend time in analyzing and solving problems||Traditional marketing managers specialize in coordinating the delivery of marketing assets|
|Product marketers work in cross-functional teams and empower other functions to do their jobs better through sales enablement and market sizing||Traditional marketers have a lesser cross-functional role.|
|Product marketing creates the product and formulates its message.||Marketing gets spreads the message out to the world.|
|Product marketing focuses on the bottom of the funnel that keeps leads engaged throughout the sales cycle and in the onboarding process||Traditional marketing focuses on the top of the funnel to bring the leads inside the company|
Experts say that there are many ways to measure product marketing KPIs, but not all of them are useful. Here is a list of top KPIs mutually agreed by top tech companies around the world:
“There are certain actions in every product that is of high value to the user. Rather than just measuring MAUs (monthly active users) or DAUs (daily active users), companies should be looking deeper at the actions that actually maximize value,” said Brett Li of Tonkean.
Vikash Koushik at Zepel said “The one KPI every product marketer must keep track of is the product activity and the reason behind the activity, i.e. the “why”. Without the knowledge of how people are using the product and why they’re using it, improving on any metrics becomes nearly impossible.
“The most important KPI every product marketing team should track is revenue because ultimately, product marketing is responsible for the commercial success of the product,” said Shauna Ward at Matcha.
“Tracking lead generation against marketing investments will help identify the high yield marketing investments that will drive revenues,” said Laurie Harvey head of product growth at Above Voice Inc.
“The cost per user acquisition (CPA) signals the efficiency of the marketing campaigns,” said Karen Rae at Transformify.
The team at Venntive suggested a sales close rate as “How many leads actually closed compared to all leads? How many came from Trials versus Demos versus In-person Presentations? When you know where your customers are coming from, then you know how to fine-tune your sales effectiveness strategy to attract more of the same”
Andrew Ruditser at Maxburst said: “This is the estimated value a customer has contributed to your company during their lifetime and measures the amount of revenue that one customer has given you and will continue to give you. It is an important metric to track as it is much easier to increase the expected revenue a valued customer will contribute to your company over their lifetime rather than acquiring new customers”.
Finally, we discuss the net promoter score which has gained popularity over the years. Jacob Landis-Eigsti said that “Ask people, on a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or a family member.
People who choose 6 or below are detractors. They’re unlikely to buy again. Those who rate a 7 or 8 are passives and are satisfied but not loyal to your brand.
Those who answer with a 9-10 are “promoters” and are likely to buy your product and stay loyal to your brand while promoting your brand and helping you sell more. When you track this KPI, improving your score will increase customer satisfaction, referrals, and repeat buyers.”
What is considered product marketing?
Product marketing is the process of getting the product into the market. This process includes product positioning and messaging, launching the product, and ensuring that the sales team and customers understand it.
What are some examples of product marketing?
Some examples of product marketing are Asana’s onboarding walkthrough where the company use guided tooltips and instructions in a fun and interactive way to onboard new customers to the software.
Another example is Coda – a Saas Software that brings words, data, and teams together, uses simple and direct language aimed at their target audience to enhance better positioning.
And Hubspot uses content marketing to help users and their product is optimized for its target audience’s needs.
Why product marketing is important?
Product marketing helps you to understand customers’ expectations regarding your products and business and help you to target your buyer personas more effectively.
How does product marketing help sales?
Product marketing enables sales by creating content that helps them to sell more products. It also ensures that the sales team understands how and when to effectively use that content.
What is the most important aspect of product marketing?
The most important aspect is a product’s positioning in the market through storytelling which enables product marketers to create and tell the story of your product.
What does a product marketing manager do?
Product marketing managers communicate the “why,” “what,” and “when” of the product to potential buyers and the internal teams. They have a comprehensive knowledge of the product and market, customers, and competitors.