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The What, Why and How of Product Marketing

August 24, 2023

A robust product marketing strategy is crucial to the success of a product. Yet, less than half of product marketers fully understand their audience, turning their organization’s product marketing into a guessing game. 

Effective product marketing helps build relationships, deliver value, and ultimately, drive business growth.  

In this post, we’re discussing the world of product marketing, and exploring its pivotal role in the B2B landscape, the responsibilities of a product marketer, and the process that ensures effective product marketing and a product’s success. 

Quick Takeaways

  • 95% of the 30,000 new products introduced to the market every year fail
  • The process of product marketing is a cycle that begins with understanding the market and ends with analyzing the results of the marketing efforts
  • Less than 50% of product marketers fully understand their target audience 
  • Understanding the customers’ needs allows product marketers to highlight product features most relevant to the target audience, increasing the likelihood of adoption 

Explore the elements of successful product marketing, and discover how a robust strategy can help your business stand out in a crowded market.

What is Product Marketing?

Almost 30,000 new products are released every year. According to Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, 95% of them fail. Most of those failures could have been predicted early in the product development cycle with better and fully understanding of customer needs.  Clearly, effective product marketing processes and strategy play a significant role in the success of your products. 

In the B2B landscape, product marketing is a specialized branch that focuses on understanding and communicating the unique value a product can offer to other businesses. It’s about aligning the product’s features with a target market’s: 

  • Specific needs
  • Challenges
  • Industry trends

Unlike B2C marketing, B2B product marketing emphasizes tangible business outcomes such as cost savings, increased productivity, or revenue growth. The messaging must highlight these outcomes and the product’s unique value proposition.

The Role of a Product Marketer

A product marketer spends most of their time bridging the gap between:

  1. Product development
  2. Marketing
  3. Sales
  4. Customers
graph shows that product marketers spend most of their time with product and marketing teams

They are responsible for understanding the market and customer needs, positioning the product accordingly, and communicating its value to both internal teams and external audiences.

Product Marketers as the Voice of the Customer

One of the most important roles of a product marketer is to serve as the voice of the customer within the organization. Despite this, less than 50% of product marketers fully understand their target audience.

Great product marketers spend a significant amount of time:

This customer insight is invaluable in shaping the product’s development and marketing strategy.

By effectively communicating these insights to internal teams, product marketers ensure that the product and its messaging remain aligned with customer needs and expectations.

The Process of Product Marketing

The process of product marketing involves several key steps. It’s a cycle that begins with understanding the market and ends with analyzing the results of the marketing efforts, only to start again with new insights.

Steps Involved in Bringing a Product to Market​

  1. Market Research. The first step in the product marketing process is conducting thorough market research. This involves understanding the target audience, their needs and pain points, as well as the competitive landscape and industry trends.
graphic shows important components of market research when developing products
  1. Product Positioning. Based on the insights gained from market research, product marketers define the product’s positioning. This involves identifying a product’s unique value proposition and how it stands out in the market.
  2. Messaging Development. Once the product’s positioning is defined, product marketers craft compelling messaging that communicates the product’s value to the target audience. This messaging is used across all marketing and sales materials.
  3. Go-to-Market Strategy. Product marketers develop a go-to-market strategy that outlines how the product will be launched and promoted. This includes planning the marketing channels to be used, the timing of the launch, and the sales strategy.
  4. Product Launch. The product is then launched according to the go-to-market strategy. This involves coordinating with various teams, including product development, sales, and customer support, to ensure a successful launch.
  5. Post-Launch Activities. After the product is launched, product marketers continue to promote the product, drive demand, and gather customer feedback. They also analyze the results of the launch and the ongoing marketing efforts to inform future strategies.

Aligning Product Positioning with Customer Needs​

Aligning product positioning with customer needs is a critical aspect of product marketing. It ensures that the product is not only addressing a real problem that customers have, but also that it’s communicated in a way that resonates with them.

The Impact of Product Marketing on Other Business Areas

B2B product marketing plays a pivotal role in the success of a product and the overall business. Its importance can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Competitive Advantage. A well-executed product marketing strategy can help a business stand out in a crowded market. By effectively communicating the unique value proposition of the product, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and gain a competitive edge.
  • Understanding the market. B2B product marketers conduct extensive market research to understand the needs, challenges, and trends of the target market. This insight is invaluable in shaping the product’s features, positioning, and messaging to align with market demands.
  • Driving demand and adoption. Through strategic messaging and promotional activities, B2B product marketers generate awareness and interest in the product, driving demand and encouraging adoption among businesses. They play a crucial role in generating leads and contributing to the sales pipeline.
  • Sales Enablement. B2B product marketers provide the sales team with the tools and resources they need to effectively sell the product. This includes creating sales collateral, conducting product training, and developing case studies that demonstrate the product’s value.
  • Customer Retention. By continuously gathering and acting on customer feedback, product marketers help improve the product and ensure it continues to meet the needs of customers. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and retention rates.

In a B2B context, where purchasing decisions can have significant implications and involve multiple stakeholders, the role of product marketing becomes even more important. It’s not just about selling a product; it’s about building relationships, delivering value, and driving business growth.

Perfect Your Product Marketing Today!

Product marketing is not just about selling a product. It’s about building relationships, delivering value, and driving business growth. A well-executed product marketing strategy can be a game-changer for businesses, helping them stand out in a crowded market and achieve success.

Looking for more expert advice on how to perfect your organization’s product marketing? Ask about how an ISBM Membership can help your company grow now, join us at our next Member’s Only Meeting or visit ISBM today to learn more!

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