What is product marketing?
Product marketing ensures that customers and internal teams understand the unique value of a product and what sets it apart in the market. Product marketers focus on knowing the customer’s pain points and how the product or service can help them — translating technical functionality into compelling benefits. The function of product marketing sits at the intersection of product management, marketing, and sales.
Product management and product marketing work together closely to evangelize the product and bring new customer experiences to market. While product management focuses on planning the product roadmap and delivering new functionality, product marketing communicates the benefits of using the product and implements the go-to-market strategy. Both roles collaborate with internal teams at various stages of the product lifecycle.
Why is product marketing important?
At its core, product marketing ensures the product is presented to customers and internal teams in a clear way that highlights its benefit — so you can increase demand and usage. No matter what type of product or service your company provides, a strong product marketing team plays an essential part in driving the growth of the business, especially when it comes to the overall go-to-market strategy. However, this is just one small portion of what the average product marketing manager does each day.
Responsibilities of a product marketing manager include:
Research the competitive landscape and define buyer personas so you can determine the best way to market your product.
Create launch plans and coordinate cross-functional activities required to bring new customer experiences to market.
Craft positioning and messaging to make sure that products and features (new and existing) are presented in a consistent way that resonates with target buyers.
Make sure customer-facing teams — such as sales and support — know how to talk about the product externally and have the training and sales collateral they need.
Collaborate with the broader marketing team on a variety of programs that drive customer adoption, such as webinars, success stories, and website updates.
Product marketing deliverables
Product marketers deeply understand the product, market, and customers. This expert knowledge is applied in a number of ways. Listed below are some of the key deliverables product marketing teams produce — often in collaboration with product management.
Buyer personas describe your ideal customer and include key characteristics, such as their goals, challenges, likes, and dislikes. This helps other cross-functional teams (including the broader marketing team) craft tailored messaging that resonates with target buyers.
Case studies (or “success stories”) describe how customers are realizing their goals by using your product and show how your product is delivering real benefits. These content pieces can provide social proof for potential buyers.
Channel partner support
Channel partners can play an important role in the business success of a product. There are different types of partnerships — such as reseller and VAR partners, technology partners, service partners, and OEM partners. Product marketers work closely with partners to ensure they have the support and materials they need to be successful.
Demos and presentations
Product marketing delivers demonstrations to illustrate a product’s functionality and benefits. Product marketing may present this information to an individual customer, in virtual webinar events, or as part of a conference.
Launch plans include all of the cross-functional activities required to support a new product or release — including marketing, sales, and support. A launch checklist can help team members communicate regularly and hold them accountable.
Messaging is how you describe your product externally. It distills the fundamental value your product provides into concise statements and is used to guide the development of marketing activities, such as website copy, advertising campaigns, social media posts, and press releases. The goal is to have a consistent product message across all channels.
Positioning is an internally focused document that describes the unique benefits of your product or service and why your solution is better than what your competitors have to offer. This is a strategic exercise and can be developed for new products or to frame up enhancements to an existing product, such as new functionality.
Press and analyst briefings
Press and analyst briefings provide an opportunity to share relevant strategic developments. Vendors present their business strategy and share important product releases. Product marketing often creates the briefing presentation, translating technical concepts into a compelling story about how the product is addressing market and customer needs.
Pricing is a core component of the marketing mix. Pricing models should be a simple equation optimized for your target market that indicates how your product will be sold. Common strategies for software products include per-seat, concurrent usage, or usage-based pricing.
Sales enablement materials
Sales enablement materials — such as competitor analysis, presentation decks, data sheets, evaluation guides, or an ROI calculator — support the sales team as they guide the buyer through different stages in the customer journey.
Product marketers understand which channels their customers use to inform purchase decisions. They provide channel-specific messaging to reach and engage their target audience. Product marketers often participate directly in industry forums, at conferences, and other places where customers interact.
Getting started with product marketing
Product marketing is needed to effectively communicate a product’s value and to drive business growth. The best product marketing managers convey passion and energy to both internal and external audiences. They work cross-functionally to deliver a Complete Product Experience that customers love.