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What is Product Marketing?

Product marketing is the discipline of driving a product to its fullest potential in support of business objectives. Potential means the sum of the customers you Win, the customers you Keep, and the customers you Grow.

The role of product marketing is often shaped by what people think based on their experience at other companies, assuming it is the right way to do things.

Job titles sometimes reveal the true story of what you actually do on a day-to-day basis, but not always.

Product marketing is a role with many job titles performing some aspects of product marketing.

What is product marketing?

Sometimes people find themselves in a product marketing leader role without prior experience and at the whims of others with wildly varying opinions.

The Product Marketing Fundamentals of Win, Keep, and Grow

Product marketing is the discipline of driving a product to its fullest potential in support of business objectives. Potential means the sum of the customers you Win, the customers you Keep, and the customers you Grow.

Potential = Win + Keep + Grow

Win, Keep, and Grow variables change over time as a product matures. So, it's common for the emphasis on Win, Keep, and Grow to change over time.

Winning customers is the name of the game for a new product. Keep is also called retention and is an ongoing part of achieving the fullest potential. After all, if you're losing more customers than you're winning, you have a problem. Grow expands revenue from existing customers.

What are the Primary Responsibilities of Product Marketing?

The role of product marketing has evolved to take on a more strategic relevance than in the past. The software world experienced the rapid introduction of Agile into the development process. The result of Agile is that it pulls product managers into a product owner role, which creates a void that is often filled by product marketing.

It's now common for product marketing managers to be accountable for things like pricing and packaging of products and to identify new revenue opportunities for existing products. All of which were more common in the domain of product managers. Product marketing is also playing a more strategic role in product definition.

Let's look at some of the big-ticket items product marketing managers and their leaders are responsible for.

The experts on buyers and how they buy

Buyer expertise isn't a function that should be outsourced to a Sales team. Knowing your buyers and how they buy is a fundamental building block of successful product marketing.

Getting this right really matters because it informs everything you do as a product marketing professional. Otherwise, you are guessing.

Develop the go-to-market strategy for products

Leverage available resources to maximize Win, Keep, and Grow. A go-to-market strategy considers the promotional, content, and sales approach to maximize potential.

Develop and refine product positioning

Positioning is the process of developing a positive perception in the minds of buyers relative to other options. It starts with the business plan for a product but can evolve as a product category evolves.

Develop and refine product messaging

Messaging is the process of developing and communicating a message to buyers that engages them. Positioning is the perception we want to build. Messaging contains the words and delivery mechanisms used to shape the perception.

Develop and refine content for buyers and influencers

The preferences of buyers drive content decisions. Influencers refer to industry analysts and others that your buyers listen and respond to.

Develop and refine Sales Plays

A Sales Play is a plan to gain revenue by targeting a specific audience with a particular offer. Sales tools and marketing campaigns support Sales Plays.

Develop and train salespeople on markets, buyers, and sales tools

Salespeople need your buyer expertise, especially the problem your product solves and for which audience. It helps them to be more efficient at selling. This activity is known as sales readiness or sales enablement.

If you have a sales enablement team, you work with them to facilitate your desired selling outcome.

Introduce new products and significant improvements to new products (product launch)

The product marketing team drives the product launch bus. A product launch can be for a new product, reintroducing a product, or introducing an important update to an existing product.

Propose product packaging

Product packaging changes often differ across market segments. These packaging decisions are determined by the knowledge of buyers, their problems, and how they make buying decisions.

Propose product pricing

Product pricing was once the sole domain of the product management team, supported by the finance team. Today, pricing is often found within the product marketing team. Why? Because as experts on buyers and how they buy, the product marketing team is closer to what the market is willing to pay.

Identify new revenue opportunities for existing products

There are always new ways to get revenue for existing products. Look for new use cases, new market segments, new partners, and new add-on services. Think outside the box.

It's Your Turn

Job descriptions rarely match the actual duties performed by an individual. Business needs will change, and so will duties. It's to be expected.

Effective product marketing is a strategic element of any successful business. The duties and responsibilities you have today can vary from those presented in this article when you view product marketing as a job title. Reorient yourself to product marketing as a role, just as selling is a role, and product management is a role. Product marketing is much more than PowerPoint slides, white papers, and webinars.

BrainKraft Product Launch System

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