Product marketing is the sum of all the efforts necessary to research, message, position, promote, and support a product.
- Survey several companies, or even marketers for that matter, on the definition of product marketing and you'll receive a wide array of differing answers. There is tremendous variance in how different functions of marketing are perceived from one company to the next. A lot of this has to do with the size and scope of a marketing team. Take Google for example, they have deep pockets, hundreds of products, and the ability to deploy people into very specific responsibilities. A small start-up, on the other hand, is likely tasking one or two marketers with everything from running social media to maintaining the website, to handling product launches.
Some marketers wear many hats. Some wear a very specific hat. Some teams deploy marketers by the channel they'll manage, such as email, social, or SEO, and some teams deploy marketers by the vertical they sell into. So, how do we tackle defining product marketing if we're led to believe there's no one universal answer? Well, here's how. Think of product marketing as a whole pie. Some companies will task a marketer to manage that entire pie, whereas other companies will task a marketer to manage just a small piece of the pie.
This is how the definitions get muddled. But there are, in fact, universal truths to product marketing, we just need to zoom out. So let's define this pie. Product marketing is ultimately the sum of all the efforts necessary to research, message, position, promote, and support a new product so that it successfully resonates with the target audience. Product marketing requires participating in discovery, delivery, and ultimately, a go-to-market strategy.
Now that's all fairly broad. So let me give you some examples of these specific efforts. So specific tasks that you might encounter. Coordinating with the product teams to understand roadmaps and deliverables. Conducting market research to understand customer needs and wants. Forecasting results. Competitive intelligence to understand the market. And go-to-market campaign strategies. Furthermore, being successful at product marketing means you're constantly hedging against risk.
Ideally, your work starts well before the product is developed. You have to understand the market, what the customer really wants, and how your product will deliver. All too often, companies make the fatal mistake of handing a marketer a finished product and saying, here, go "market this". To be successful, you need to be armed with not only the knowledge of how product marketing works, but also the confidence to put on the brakes and push the company to shift directions if you sense disaster ahead.
As we continue together, we'll break down each piece of the pie and learn what is required of each and how it fits into the grand scheme of things.
- Identify the phase when it would be best to spend the most money on marketing.
- Recall the question you must continually consider in the development phase.
- Recognize why it might be a good strategy for a company to do a refresh on a product.
- Recognize when tertiary competitors can pose a risk to your market share.
- Explain where to place a product’s value proposition in a team aligning document.