An effective product marketing strategy can be the key to growing your brand, boosting revenue, and unlocking new opportunities.
Focused on demonstrating the specific values and benefits of a product to your customer, a product marketing campaign can be extremely valuable in both B2B and B2C environments, particularly as customer-centric advertising grows more popular.
Unfortunately, there are still countless people who don’t understand what product marketing actually means. Only around 5% of product marketers are convinced their role is fully understood, even among business leaders.
Today, we’re going to be defining product marketing, exploring what it can do for your business, and providing top tips on how to use product marketing more effectively.
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What is Product Marketing Strategy?
Product marketing is the art and science of bringing a product to market. It involves various marketing and sales tactics, as well as long-term lead nurturing, up-selling, and cross-selling techniques. A product marketing strategy is the exact plan a company uses to bring their product to their audience.
Your strategy will usually include things like figuring out the positioning and messaging you want to link to your product, launching the product, and ensuring customers and salespeople understand what it can do. Strategies can also cover insights into how various teams (production, marketing, sales, and customer support) will work together to drive demand and usage of a product.
While this might sound the same as conventional marketing, product marketing is slightly more focused.
Part of the “7 P’s of marketing”, product marketing focuses specifically on product, while your other marketing campaigns might focus on people, prices, promotion, place, packaging, and positioning.
Product Marketing Strategy Example
Product marketing is focused on the steps people take to purchase your products, and how you can support people in adopting and using that product. Let’s take a look at a classic example.
Apple is a household name in a highly competitive technology market. To stand out from the crowd, Apple ensures its products are beautifully well-designed, easy to use, and convenient. Apple’s product marketing strategy focuses specifically on the benefits it can deliver to users, rather than just listing the features you can get from each item.
Apple’s language in virtually every product page and marketing campaign concentrates on telling consumers what they can do, and what they’ll be able to accomplish. Apple tells a narrative with its marketing content which helps the customer imagine the challenges they can overcome.
For another example, look at Billie, a woman’s razor brand well known for the #ProjectBodyHair campaign. This started with a TV campaign that actually showed body hair in women’s razor ads – something which hadn’t been done before.
The idea for this campaign came from the product team, who researched the market to find out customers didn’t like seeing ads where customers didn’t have body hair.
Combine this with the rising demand from women to be portrayed realistically in the media, and Billie had an excellent product marketing campaign. In fact, it generated 3.3 billion earned media impressions across 23 countries.
Why You Need a Product Marketing Strategy
Product marketing strategies are all about understanding your audience’s needs, and positioning your product in a way that grabs attention. Developing the right product for your market and ensuring you present it in a way that captures audience attention is essential for growth.
With a product marketing strategy, you can:
Improve your understanding of your customer:
Implementing a product marketing strategy requires companies to conduct in-depth research into their target audience. You learn what your customers need to see in your product to determine whether it’s valuable to them, and their lives.
Understanding why customers gravitate toward your products will help you to create better buyer personas and more relevant campaigns. In other words, you’ll speak your customer’s language.
Understand your competitors
While you’re building your product marketing strategy, you’ll need to look at your wider market and determine how your product or service is different from other existing options. You can compare your strategy to those of your competitors, and get a better insight into what you’re going up against.
With in-depth competitor research, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself more clearly in your target market and ensure you’re positioned appropriately in your chosen industry. After you’ve assessed your competition, ask yourself:
- How is my product suitable for today’s market?
- How is this product different from competing products?
- Can we differentiate our product even further (with extra features, pricing changes, etc)?
Ensure your teams are on the same page
When you know exactly what makes your product stand out and why customers want it, it’s much easier to give your teams a consistent view of their purpose, and your brand’s mission. With a strong product marketing strategy, you can align your product, sales, marketing, and service teams around a shared understanding of your company’s purpose.
When everyone in your team has a better understanding of the purpose of the product you’re selling and why it’s so beneficial, they’ll be more likely to communicate this information correctly.
Boost revenue and sales
Ultimately, customers have endless options when it comes to where they can spend their money these days. The only way to ensure they come to you instead of the competition, is to position your product as the best possible option for their needs.
Building a product marketing strategy that gives you an in-depth understanding of your customers will help you to generate more sales, through more personalized marketing. Remember, around 72% of customers say they expect businesses they buy from to understand them as individuals.
How to Develop Your Own Product Marketing Strategy
A good product marketing strategy should guide the positioning, promotion, and pricing of your product. With this plan, you should be able to take your product from the “development” stage, all the way through to launch with a clear vision. Here’s how you can get started.
Step 1: Get to Know Your Product’s Target Audience
A strong product marketing strategy begins with a deep knowledge of your target audience. You’ll need to define a specific target audience and create a buyer persona to help you understand the pain points, expectations, and requirements of that client.
The more information you can include in your personas, the better. You’ll need to know where your target customer comes from, what kind of issues they’re facing, why they might want your product, and even how much they earn on a regular basis. The more data you have, the more you’ll be able to ensure all the aspects of your product marketing strategy are targeted to the right person.
Step 2: Conduct market research
After you’re done with your customer research, the next step is figuring out where your product is positioned in the context of the wider market. Look at the other products similar to yours that exist in the current market. What exactly can these products offer?
Perform a full analysis of each item, thinking about:
- What your product can do better
- What your competitor’s product does well
- Whether people are happy with the product, or what their overall response is
Answering these questions will help you to choose a position for yourself in your chosen market.
Step 3: Determine your positioning and messaging
With this knowledge of your target audience and your competition, you’ll be able to start investing in positioning and messaging strategies. Positioning involves thinking about where your product exists in the market in the context of other brands and solutions.
For instance, is your product one of the cheapest on the market, or one of the most expensive? Do you offer the widest selection of features, or a specific focus on customer service your customers love? The positioning you discover will help you to determine what you need to emphasize in your messaging (such as excellent service, or low prices).
Some of the questions you’ll need to answer when developing your positioning and messaging include:
- What makes this product unique?
- Why is this product better than our competitors?
- Why is our product ideal for our target audience?
- What will our audience get out of this product they can’t get elsewhere?
- Why should customers trust and invest in our product?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should be able to create an elevator pitch that describes everything someone would need to know about your product in an exciting, compact way.
Step 4: Create your go-to-market strategy
Now it’s time to think about how you’re going to bring your product to customers.
Identify which personas you’re going to be targeting with your product, and how you’re going to be capturing their attention with your messaging strategy. Think about how you’re going to price your product, and what kind of methods you’re going to be using for selling. For instance, do you want to sell through distributors or direct to customers?
You can also use this stage to consider the kind of marketing methods you’re going to use, like social media marketing, or content campaigns.
As you choose marketing and sales strategies, also select KPIs you’ll want to measure as you progress to see whether your product marketing strategy is successful.
Brief your sales and marketing leaders on your go-to-market strategy and ensure they have all the resources they need to do their job, such as advertising tools, product samples, and brand guidelines.
Step 5: Launch, monitor, and optimize
Finally, you’ll be ready to launch your product. There are two aspects to the “launch” for most companies. Internal launches involve introducing everyone in your team to your product’s main benefits and features, which you’ll need to do before anything else.
External launches mean bringing your content to market through the various advertising and sales channels you chose above. Remember to monitor the performance of your campaign by tracking the KPIs you’ve set. These KPIs might include:
- Number of trial or demo sign-ups
- Lead to customer rates
- Product usage levels
- Customer engagement score
- Net Promoter score
- Feature adoption and engagement
- Usage of assets
- Win rates
- Upsells and cross-sells
Setting Your Own Product Marketing Strategy
While product marketing can seem like a complicated process at first, it’s something that becomes easier the more you work at it.
A good product marketing strategy can be an essential part of ensuring your new product is a success with your target market. The more time you spend on your marketing strategy, making sure you understand your audience, their needs, and your position in the market, the more likely you are to see a significant return on investment from your products.