What is Product Marketing?
Product marketing is the driving force behind getting a product to market (and keeping it there). Product marketers use customer, market and competitive research to develop Positioning, messaging and audience segmentation strategies that take into account the broader context of a product offering.
A product marketer’s job is to clearly articulate the product’s value in a way that resonates with the target market to drive adoption and advocacy.“[Product marketers are] the people responsible for being able to understand – and therefore articulate – what is different and better and remarkable about your for offering, for your target people.” – April Dunford in Product Marketing Alliance. Internally, product marketing should represent the voice of customer before, during and after launch.
The scope of the Product Marketing function will typically include four areas:
Conducting both quantitative and qualitative research with of a view of understanding customers at every stage of the user journey (potential, existing, churn risk and customers who’ve dropped it for an alternative).
Contribute to the ongoing competitive analysis effort by tracking overarching market trends and patterns.
The Product Marketing function leads on Positioning strategy, which includes two distinct areas.
Using insights from research, market trends and their knowledge of the category’s competition, Product Marketing drives the definition of Product Positioning using factors including the ideal customer, use-cases, features, capabilities, benefits, and competitors. Typically, product positioning remains stable for periods of 12-18 months.
Product Marketing works in collaboration with other marketing initiatives to evolve the Product Positioning in the market and category, as well as be an advocate for users in Go-to-Market and launch planning.
Brand Positioning is perhaps the more “foundational” element of positioning in the business strategy (remaining stable for 5-10 years). It refers to the mission, vision, personality of the company.
Go-to-Market encompasses the sum total of activities (i.e. “the engine”) that gets your product to your ideal customers. 🚀
Messaging work in relation to Product Marketing could also fall under the umbrella of “Lifecycle Marketing”, if there’s a distinct function for that within the organisation.“As a Product Marketing organization grows, this attribute may be one of the first to split off into its own specialty role: Lifecycle Marketing. Either way, it’s important for the product marketer to have awareness about lifecycle messaging and to think strategically about how to implement smart messaging strategies — messaging is one of the top ways to achieve PMM goals.” – Kevan Lee, in Product Marketing Playbook
Messaging is the envelope that carries product positioning. The goal is to craft the story and narrative you want to tell and deliver this in effective ways at the appropriate time throughout the user journey.
This means, in the case of a SaaS product for example, creating messaging that is used in-app, but also to drive product preference and adoption (e.g. websites, external communications, case studies and white papers.)
Other areas of responsibility typical to Product Marketing teams:
Materials and “fuel” for Sales activities including battle cards, decks, and key narratives on how to best position the product to customers in relation to competition.
🚧 This Note is a work in progress. More work to do here
What is Product Marketing?A thorough explainer article from leading Product Marketing community and educational resource, the Product Marketing Alliance. This article includes a number of quotes from industry veterans, including April Dunford (author of Obviously Awesome, 2019).
Discover Your Products’ Hidden PotentialIan MacMillan and Rita Gunther McGrath for Harvard Busniess Review
Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes: A framework for measuring the impact of product marketingMichael Eckstein argues that the key to measuring the impacts of product marketing work is to understand its contribution to outcomes which impact key business goals rather than trying to measure inputs to, for example, product development.
Product Marketing Lessons Learned Inside Wistia, Hubspot, Localytics & FoursquareIn this webinar, Naike Romain (Senior Product Marketing Manager at Foursquare) chats with Forget the Funnel on a range of topics including: the range of job specs for PMMs across different companies, customer and market research tactics to inform product launches as well as development roadmaps, and how her process for developing positioning and messaging has evolved throughout her career.
Product Marketing PlaybookKevan Lee’s newsletter has been a nice source of inspiration. Here, he gives a nice brief overview of: what is a product marketer’s job, why is it gaining traction as a field, ways to think about organising a product marketing team, and other useful resources.