Product Marketing, The Heart & Soul of Everything Marketing
It is the process of promoting and selling a product to a customer. Also, often defined as being the intermediary function between product development and increasing brand awareness.
In fact, Product Marketing is considered the most important Marketing function since it deals with pretty much ALL departments in an organization! So, a product marketing manager or specialist is a largely busy person! This person might not carry out all product marketing activities by him or herself, but they need to work with and through all departments to “go-to-market” with the product.
In most organizations, a product roadmap is identified as a general guideline for what products will be introduced to the market and when. The roadmap also usually includes promotions, product enhancements, and other activities. The Product Marketing manager deals with all departments in an organization, and sometimes with other product managers within a specific region to develop that roadmap. Any iterations or enhancements to a product or service will usually be part of this roadmap. The product marketing manager is also aware of any market changes, competitor moves, economical fluctuations that may affect the product.
Some research is required to identify the target market and to define the “persona”, the projected price point, the market segment that the product caters for, and many more marketing aspects. This could involve qualitative and/or quantitative research, to gather what is often referred to as “Customer Insights”.
Who should work with the marketing research team to ensure the right questions are asked? It’s the product marketing person.
How does a price point get identified? It certainly should not be a guess! Will the product need a launch promotion or activity of some sort? What type of marketing communications will the company use? How is it going to be communicated? Simple brochure, or advertising required? TV? Radio? PR and media? Was a budget planned for these activities?
Who needs to have the answers to all these communication questions?
Exactly, it is our product marketing specialist!
Some products are too special that a company would be willing to splash the cash to ensure it gets the right publicity. Maybe it’s a breakthrough and the company wants to make it significant, especially against competitors who don’t have a similar offering.
The product marketer also works closely with the technical departments-where applicable-to determine and make sure the product offers the right features for its target customers. Last thing a company would want is a product that is not sold “because it doesn’t solve its customers’ problems” or “because this is not what the market wanted”!
OK, so you’ve got a product with the right features, you know which market segment you’re going to offer it to, you know how much you’re going to sell it for, and you know what your target sales are of this product from launch through maturity till end-of life.
How are you going to sell it? What are the key selling points that your sales team should stress on? How does it compete against other products in the market? Do they know that you have a launch promo? Who is going to train them on the different features of the product?
Right again: it is your product marketing guru!
It does not end there by the way, this person also monitors the product’s performance, monitors collected feedback, and continuously works on enhancements and improvements to the quality and value of the product to ensure the best customer experience! Isn’t this our main objective?! I mean, we all work hard for customer satisfaction, right?!
So, in brief, product marketing sits at the intersection of marketing, sales, customer service, finance, product development and any other function in the organization dealing with the product! That’s why Product Marketing is the “heart and soul of everything marketing!
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