In this episode of TABS (Talking About Business Strategy), I talk with Elise Chan from Infosec.
We discuss Product Marketing. What is it? How is it different from normal marketing? And how can you utilize it in your business?
What is product marketing?
Elise identifies three main areas of product marketing:
- Looking to understand the markets you operate in.
- Understanding the clients you serve.
- Identifying how you serve those clients in a unique way (with your product).
You can implement a product marketing strategy by understanding these three core areas. From there, you can begin building resources and execution plans for your marketing, sales, and operations teams.
How is it different from general marketing?
Elise noted that a distinct product marketing team/strategy is often the luxury of a larger marketing team. So depending on your organization’s structure, how many resources you have, etc., you may not separate these functions out. For small teams, handling some aspects of a lighter product marketing strategy is simply part of their existing plan.
For teams with a dedicated product marketing role, Elise says they are responsible for ultimately setting the parameters or foundations of the product marketing strategy for the product.
- Who are you actually targeting?
- What type of thought leadership or resources should we develop?
- What is a true MQL for this product?
It’s also unique from general marketing because it’s so cross-functional. While most marketing teams work with other departments, product marketing is even more integrated. For example, working to review product roadmaps, feature releases, and go-to-market strategy with sales and operations.
What are the components of a product marketing strategy?
Elise highlighted two things that are core components of a product marketing strategy.
- Buyer Personas – Creating a persona to truly understand your buyer. Where do they work? What are their roles? What is their involvement in the buying process? What problem are they looking to solve? What does success look like?
- Product Positioning Framework – Creating a product positioning framework to understand why your product is the best solution. She says this often involves breaking down specific challenges and use cases of your product/service, with your personas. What will that success look like to them? Understanding the alternatives against using your product.
You can then use these tools to leverage your strategy. For instance, working with your sales team to help them understand how to talk about your product or service to prospects.
Elise noted that these components should always be evolving. A good way to keep them fresh is to continually interview existing clients, review your Win/Loss of opportunities, and do competitive research.
How can an organization without a dedicated product marketer implement some of these ideas?
For the quickest win, Elise said to start by interviewing existing clients. If possible, talk to 6-10 clients. Ask them questions to understand:
- Who is involved in the buying decision?
- What were you looking for? Evaluation criteria?
- What resources were helpful for them in the buying process?
- What are the use cases for your product?
- How to measure success?
- What’s involved in the ROI calculation?
Another great interview question that Elise suggested was, “If what we are providing you disappeared tomorrow, what would you do?” She said it helps you identify your true competitors, who might not always be who you think. Sometimes your competition could even be an internal DIY solution. She recommended the book, Obviously Awesome by April Dunford, where she got the idea for that question.
With your interviews complete, Elise suggested you lump trends together. Separate groups of people who use your product one way from those who use it another. Then map out and make a table with the information, with columns for items like use case, problem, how we solve, and outcomes. She said this could drastically change how you view your product positioning and impact the strategy to sell and market your product.