Many people have been getting into product marketing recently especially in the SaaS industry.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But if you don’t have a clear idea of what product marketing is, you might be cannibalizing your marketing strategy.
That is why a lot of companies have been hiring product marketing managers (PMMs). However, it’s hard to gauge your PMM’s skill level when you don’t have a clear idea about what product marketing is.
As someone's who worked in product marketing and is a partner of Product Manager HQ (28,000+ product manager members) I've learned a lot about this role.
Today, almost every tech company has a marketing team, a product team, and a sales team. However, contrary to popular belief, your product marketing team is and should be a culmination of all three teams.
Read on to understand why.
What is Product Marketing? What Does a Product Marketer Do?
Product marketing is the process of implementing strategies to help customers connect with your products.
To an extent, it’s about building brand awareness for new customers and brand affinity for existing customers.
That is why it requires an extremely in-depth understanding of the target market. An all-rounded outlook on your new product or any existing one which includes knowing things like its pain points. Lastly, you need a go-to-market strategy (GTM) for product positioning and sales enablement in the saturated marketplace.
A product marketer has a specific set of responsibilities that can be summarized in the following deliverables.
- Product Packaging and Pricing – Create pricing strategies and product revenue goals and plans. Design packaging such that it shows what the product stands for while also driving sales.
- Market Positioning – Distinguish your product from competitor products through competitive analyses and market gap research. This is done by collecting, monitoring, and analyzing customer research like customer needs and purchasing data.
- Marketing and Promotion Plan – Improve sales channels through proper messaging and positioning efforts. Making sure all key marketing channels are used for promotion correctly. While also making sure sales staff have all the materials they need.
- Customer Response – Constant analysis of customer feedback through sales and revenue monitoring. Make sure customer support is staffed appropriately so that customer feedback can be addressed properly. Meanwhile, try to maximize the buying process.
However, after a product launch, the deliverables increase. Product marketers then work towards sales enablement, adoption of the product, and demand-driven success.
Does Product Marketing Come Under Product Management?
When we talk about product management, things like the user experience, product tech, and the overall business come out.
Alternatively, product marketing is a mix of sales, marketing, and product.
In my opinion, any product launch starts with product marketing, then comes the product management.
However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need product management for a product launch. Product managers play their own role in launching products which is usually logistics and process-based. While product marketing is more about brand awareness, customer awareness, and demand generation.
It can be hard to distinguish the two but the distinction is extremely important. When launching a new product, it’s imperative that you have a timeline, roadmap, buyer personas, and the lifecycle planned.
If you don’t follow the proper process, your product might fail the planned demand generation. You might not even reach your target customers or be able to fulfill customer needs.
The secret to launching a great product is having a deep understanding of your product and your product strategy. Thus, understand your product’s value, product features, and create a product roadmap. This will help you start off with a great product marketing campaign which will later help in product management. Eventually leading to better user experiences, better tech, and overall business success.
Product Marketing Managers and Product Managers: What’s The Difference?
While both entities sound similar, they have vastly different responsibilities and purposes. Technically, one would think that hiring a product marketing manager first would be better than going with a product manager.
However, it isn’t as simple. Here’s a summary of the responsibilities of both and how they’re unique.
Product marketing managers specialize in leveraging the product position, target market, and their product teams to deploy disruptive marketing efforts.
That’s another way of saying that PMMs’ entire focus is on using their product’s USPs to sell the product. The difference between a PMM and a marketing manager is that the latter is more focused on leads and prospects. While PMMs are more focused on relaying the product’s value to the consumer.
Here’s a summary of a PMMs job:
- They have to conduct thorough competitive analyses, market research and create buyer personas based on existing data.
- It’s their job to collaborate with content marketing, social media, and digital marketing departments. They also have to work on setting up webinars, seminars, and CSR activities.
- PMMs have to provide sales enablement materials, potential customers data, and launch plans.
- They have to coordinate with marketing teams and create responsive landing pages for optimal Google optimization.
- PMMs are responsible for making sure that new product launches are successful. They deploy their product and market knowledge to raise awareness and drive sales while helping customers get value.
Thus, a product marketing manager is responsible for creating a connection between customers and the product. That is why some people now hire growth marketers as PMMs too.
Product managers tend to focus on the tangible aspects of the product. They help translate the company’s and the customer’s vision on the product. Thus, helping design and develop the product according to customer needs.
Here is a summary of the product manager’s responsibilities.
- Product managers help design and develop products according to customer needs. It includes things like software development and/or packaging.
- They’re responsible for providing customer support services and helping shape marketing campaigns based on customer feedback.
- They develop complete product roadmaps. It includes the product launch, product development, product lifecycle, and go-to-market strategy.
- PMs also help develop new product features and help with the scopes, schedules, and costs associated with it.
Project managers are simply responsible for the well-being of the product.
Difference Between a Marketing Strategy and a Product Marketing Strategy
The difference between a marketing strategy and a product marketing strategy is the deliverables and target audience. For example, in a SaaS B2C marketing strategy, you would focus on everything including content, product, digital, etc. The product marketing strategy is more about figuring out how to align customer needs with product attributes.
Your marketing strategy is the culmination of your overall marketing efforts with your main and support teams.
Meanwhile, your product marketing strategy is your approach to making your product the best product there is for the customers.
Typical Product Marketing Strategy
Here is a summary of the average product marketing strategy.
- Customer Development – Analyze the different kinds of customers to define target markets. Understand what the average potential customer wants.
- Messaging and Positioning – Generate actionable goals based on customer data. Answer key messaging and positioning questions to deduce the product’s worth in the eyes of the customers. Once done, relay the positioning and messaging information to all relevant parties in the company using datasheets.
- Planning and Creating a Launch Plan – Work with traditional marketing, support, and sales teams to create an effective launch plan.
- Creating Content for Launch Plan – Work with content marketing teams to create and produce relevant launch content. It can include slide decks, blogs, landing pages, website design updates, sales materials, product screenshots, and infographics among other things.
- Prepping the Team – Communicate the launch plan with the entire team. Make sure everyone is on the same page and that the support teams are ready for field calls.
- Launch – Review, revise, and polish several times before deciding on a launch date. Then make sure you go all-in with your launch.
The product marketing strategy essentially helps lay the groundwork for the entire product lifecycle. Having a proper strategy will also help understand how to utilize existing resources for maximum utility. Thus, helping with things like understanding how to bootstrap a startup.
What’s in It for The Future
For any company with a product, bringing that product in the market effectively requires a well-planned product marketing strategy.
As a product marketer, you are the center that connects the company’s sales, marketing, and product teams.
Product marketers tend to take care of everything related to their products. While also serving as a liaison between all the concerned departments.
In the end, the goal of product marketing is to provide value to the end customer. While creating a lasting relationship between the two.
Curious what the day-to-day looks like for other product managers? See what other product managers are working on in our Product Manager HQ Community.