Product Marketing: what it is and why your company should invest in this strategic area

Product Marketing

Understand what Product Marketing is and see 10 actions for you to put into practice in your company

Product Marketing – or Product Marketing, in English – is the area of ​​the company that works to take and sustain the development of its product in the market. The Product Marketing professional takes care of positioning, message, launches, demand generation, competitive intelligence and support to the sales process.

To leverage the results, Brazilian companies have increasingly invested in an area that has been around for 30 years in the international market, but which has become a trend here in recent years: Product Marketing. Product Marketing, in Portuguese, is an area that aims to take (and sustain) the development of a product in the market.

In essence, the person who is a Product Marketing Manager in Skymarketing (or Product Marketing Manager) acts with a strategic eye throughout the entire lifecycle of a product. Among his various responsibilities are managing and conducting projects such as positioning, messaging, launches, demand generation, competitive intelligence and support for the sales process.

These people are professionals capable of thinking strategically about the product, price, place and promotion. A diverse Product Marketing team has professionals with analytical as well as creative and strategic skills, who work together to create strategies based on competitive differentials, define market positioning and what is its value proposition.

And if Product Marketing Managers have a mission within a company, certainly the main one is to be the voice of the product to the market and from the market to the product, oriented towards the company’s strategic priorities.

To fulfill this goal, the person who is a Product Marketing professional works mainly at the intersection between the areas of Development/Product, Marketing, Customer Success but his role also touches several other areas of a company such as Support and Finance.

How important is Product Marketing?

As we mentioned earlier, the Product Marketing discipline is strongly based on principles, and the two areas operate together. Logan Hendrickson, Product Marketing Manager at Chilli Piper, even points out that Product Marketing is a function of traditional marketing, as is demand or generation.

It turns out that, normally, companies that do not have an area like this have a look more focused on generating demand and acquiring new customers, or even exclusively for carrying out institutional campaigns.

When Product Marketing does not exist, it is common to have difficulties in translating what the product does and demonstrating why it is different from competitors in a clear and objective way, with a correct price and positioning for the market. The result? A poorly suited message for the market and less sales.

As April Dunford, author of the book Obviously Awesome, a reference in positioning, would say, “Consumers need to easily understand what your product is, why it’s special and why they should care about it”. It is in the middle of this process that the Product Marketing area enters.

What is the difference between Product Marketing Manager (PMM) and Product Manager (PM)?

As much as professional people from both areas constantly work together, there are differences in performance and responsibilities.

What does a Product Manager (PM) do?

The Product Management area is closer to product development and, therefore, the Product Manager (PM) person works in a kind of triad with a UX Designer, a tech leader and one or more developers.

He is the person responsible for the product or functionality roadmap, which is often done based on inputs from several other areas, but especially from Product Marketing, which brings a view of what is happening with the market and competitors.

The PM person assesses and weighs market and customer needs, guiding product development and then delivering it together with other areas.

What does a Product Marketing Manager (PMM) do?

The Product Marketing area, as we usually say here at RD, “is the voice of the market for the product and the voice of the product for the market”. In the first part, she collects and analyzes market trends, who is buying and not buying her product and what competitive moves are taking place.

The second part, being the voice of the product to the market, concerns positioning, messaging and strategic definitions of how to bring a product to market or the customer base.

Product Marketing people also work very closely in the areas of:

  • Marketing, to align product positioning across all communication;
  • Sales, to collect feedback and create materials that facilitate the purchasing process;
  • Service (CS) and Support, ensuring that those who deal with the customer are also aligned with what is happening in relation to the product.

In this way, Product Marketing distributes messages inside and outside the company. And even with different areas, the work is always interconnected, as they have a common interest: the product being a success in the market.

With that in mind, both create the best strategies within their abilities to deliver a better experience, whether for existing customers or new ones.

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Main challenges in the Product Marketing area

As Product Marketing professionals work together with different areas of a company, daily life is full of challenges that require a variety of different skills. Below we list some:

  • Project management and task prioritization: to be able to cadence the routine of activities between the Marketing, Product, Sales, Customer Success, etc. teams.
  • Manage stakeholders: ensuring that people involved in the approval and execution of projects that are your responsibility are aligned and engaged with the process (mainly C-Level executives).
  • Copywriting: Part of the job is making sure the right message is targeted to the right person/market.
  • Definition and monitoring of metrics: projects must always be aiming for business goals, especially customer retention and attraction of new ones. But not only do that, as the projects that the PMM person supports or drives not always have clear and/or recurring performance indicators. In this case, it is also important to direct and support other areas to achieve goals that are always connected with business objectives.
  • Working together with the Product team: in many companies, it is still common for development to move at a speed and the Product Marketing area is involved very close to the launch date – which is not ideal. One of the most common mistakes is to think the strategy only when the product is ready to be marketed.

10 Product Marketing Initiatives to Get You Started Today

Now that you have a broad view of what Product Marketing is, you may be asking yourself: where do you start? Or still, how to improve this area or even fear of being too complex to handle.

Therefore, we have listed 10 projects that are very relevant and that at some point will be part of the PMM scope of your business.

1. Positioning

Positioning is the intentional definition of what your product is, who it is for, what the main benefit is and how it differentiates itself from competitors. This is one of, if not the biggest, responsibilities of a PMM person. If your company does not have a well-made and diffused positioning, it opens up room for the market or even your competitors to mold a wrong perception about what your product is.

2. Persona

Persona is the fictional representation of the person who is the ideal customer of a business. It is based on real data about customer behavior and demographics, as well as their personal stories, motivations, goals, challenges and concerns. The persona permeates strategic and tactical Product Marketing plans.

3. Shopping journey

Not everyone gets to the point of the purchase right away. There is a path that can be taken in a longer or shorter period of time, which is the Shopping Journey. A clear understanding of what happens during the journey helps Product Marketing to create more effective actions.

4. Go to Market (GTM)

It is the strategy of how to bring an offer of a product or service to the market. A Go to Marketing plan defines how to reach customers, maintaining the company’s goal of results, but in alignment with the healthy financial management of the business.

5. Release

A launch can be either a part of a Go to Market strategy or a stand-alone initiative to bring a new product to market or incremental improvements to an existing product. It is usually associated with communication campaigns in which creative concepts are built to support the message and drive the achievement of established goals.

6. Sales Enablement

This is a very broad initiative, but in the context of Product Marketing, Sales Enablement is about how the PMM person supports the Sales team in communicating correctly about the product. Whether through commercial presentations, demonstration videos, training, among other formats that can deliver the right positioning and message.

7. Pricing

Pricing is nothing but the strategic definition of the price of the product or service. It can be done taking into account a series of surveys and analyzes that position the offer in the most competitive way and with the potential to generate the results expected by the company.

8. Packaging

In a way, the packaging is a complement to the pricing strategy, as it is the way an offer will be “packaged”. In the case of digital products, it is usually associated with offering different plans, billing ranges and features that can be contracted together or separately.

9. Competitive analysis

It monitors on a recurring or on-demand basis, depending on a particular aspect that wants to be evaluated, what competitors are doing. The objective is to generate insights for the company to make better decisions through this information. Whether to better position the product, create comparative materials, or to help the Sales team to overcome the most frequent objections involving other competitors or even to direct the product roadmap.

10. Win/Loss Analysis

It is the process of consolidating information related to the reasons for losing and gaining customers during the purchase process. The Win/Loss analysis can be done in several ways, either with quantitative surveys based on Sales data or qualitative analysis, with interviews, for example. The goal is to see patterns that can drive improvement in various aspects such as the product itself, Marketing strategies, the sales process and even after-sales.