Product marketing is the process of bringing the product to the market. We’ve seen others define Product Marketing; HubSpot says “it's the process of bringing a product to market”, while Drift breaks it into two separate roles: “before” and “after” a product launch.
Product marketing is the process of bringing the product to the market. We’ve seen others define Product Marketing; HubSpot says “it’s the process of bringing a product to market”, while Drift breaks it into two separate roles: “before” and “after” a product launch.
Product marketers also come from diverse backgrounds, as the role typically requires a healthy mix of both creativity, problem-solving and analytical skills. In any B2B or B2C company, you might find product marketers coming from sales, demand gen marketing, project management, or customer support.
PMMs have to routinely carry out the following functions on a day-to-day basis:
The Product Marketing process doesn’t end at the pre-launch and launch stages and is a continuous effort to promote and shape the product to meet the customers’ needs across all stages of its lifecycle.
Product marketing leaders are responsible for communication, product positioning, and growth. Once a product is built, this individual communicates its value to the market at large, coming up with new ways to reach and engage target audiences. The product manager ensures that the product going to markets gets built on schedule and responds to market demand. Product managers and marketers also operate in extreme ambiguity and need to be self-directed in defining their roles and alleviating uncertainty. For product marketers, success depends on growth and retention. Product managers and marketers will have similar personalities—but it’s important to focus on each role’s unique strengths and value adds. Both perspectives count and are critical to the success of any B2B company.
Your primary goal in a Product Marketing Manager role is to create demand for products through effective messaging and marketing programs. If you do your job well, the product has a shorter sales cycle and higher revenue.
Product Marketing Managers call on a wide range of skills and have a broad set of business and product experiences to call on. Here is a list of skills managers look for when filling a Product Marketing Manager role.
With the ability to communicate with your staff, you’ll need to actively collaborate with your team members.
Great products can’t stand on their own; they need product marketers with writing chops to be able to synthesize the benefits they offer and communicate those benefits effectively to the customer. Product sales rely heavily on effective messaging.
Customers have pain points. Pain points are a key part of these documents, but you shouldn’t make them up off the top of your head. You’ll need to talk to your customers one-on-one to dig deep into the things they’re struggling with.
As a product marketing manager, you’ll spend a lot of time explaining your marketing strategies to other people in the organization, including your marketing colleagues and the C-suite. The ability to be persuasive will prove beneficial in organizing a coalition to support your position and ideas.
Without empathy, you might struggle to see why your target customer needs your product. But when you consider their frustration for pens that run out of ink mid-meeting, you can convey that empathy in your product marketing campaigns to close the sale.
Benefits are the outcomes or results that users will (hopefully) experience by using your product or service – the very reason why a prospective customer becomes an actual customer. The promotional phase of marketing includes the use of paid advertising, public relations, and selling to communicate product benefits and value to targeted customers. This is a critical benefit of marketing because you can explain to customers through promotional messages why your brand’s product is distinct, different, and better than competitor offerings. Without promotion, you may have the best product available, but customers won’t know. Thus, developing a product concept, or understanding of your most unique product benefits, helps you sell your brand to customers. The uniqueness of a product or service can set it apart from the competition. Features can communicate the capability of a product or service. But features are only valuable if customers see those particular features as valuable. You want products or services with features that customers perceive as valuable benefits. By highlighting benefits in marketing and sales efforts, you’ll increase your sales and profits. It’s important to remember that customers buy products and services because they want to solve a problem or meet a need. Consciously or unconsciously, your customers will always be asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” Your product and service offerings have to deliver solutions and satisfy needs, or they won’t be successful.
Marketing is a broader function responsible for communicating value to prospects. This includes content marketing, performance marketing, brand marketing, etc.
Product Marketing specializes in helping your product get adopted by the market, and of course, helping shape the product. Product marketers should be a core component of the production process and should work closely with product and product-growth teams.
A product manager is responsible for performing the following duties:
A product marketing manager is responsible for performing the following duties:
Product marketers often have degrees in marketing or business administration. For leadership roles in product marketing, some companies also prefer MBAs. However, higher education is just one aspect. Many product marketers start as general marketers. This gives exposure to a specific industry and the opportunity to learn functional skills on the job.
“It’s often said that PMMs should act as the quarterbacks to a launch. A big part of this is ensuring there’s a process in place within the marketing team and with a partner, teams to make sure that everyone has the information they need and clarity on what’s expected of them to make the launch a success. If there isn’t a process in place, it’s up to the PMM to create and drive new processes to fix problems. It’s also up to PMMs to point out when a process is no longer working for your team.”
“As you get more senior, you’ll spend more and more time presenting plans, public speaking, and communicating with executives in the company. Executive presence also means knowing how best to leverage an executive’s skills to get feedback that will help your project, manage their expectations, and ensure they feel like they’re in the loop about work that matters to them.”
“There are two parts: First, knowing your personas. Specifically, you should be an expert in who buys your software, what their titles are, where they sit in an organization, what matters most to them, and how to market to them; and second, connecting that customer persona with actual customers who use your product. If you’re not talking to customers throughout your day-to-day, how can you represent the voice of the customer to the product team? I have OKRs (objectives and key results) for my team to have a certain number of interactions with customers each quarter to make sure that customer empathy doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. The key is getting these customer insights and then doing something with them to make sure that those insights are driving your roadmap and activities.”