Products don’t sell themselves. For most companies, product marketing is a major part of what their marketing teams do, and is a basic necessity for meeting, and exceeding, the bottom line quarter after quarter.
More than half of all shoppers research products online before making a purchase, which is as true for in-store purchases as it is for digital ones. So, in addition to using product marketing to generate buzz and intrigue over what you offer, you also have to optimize your marketing for on-the-spot conversions. What this makes clear is that, like all other marketing forms, product marketing needs to be targeted to buyers in all stages of the consumer journey if it’s going to work.
What is Product Marketing?
Product marketing refers to marketing efforts specifically geared toward promoting and selling a product to consumers. Unlike general content marketing, focused on building awareness around your brand and strengthening the brand-consumer relationship, product marketing is narrowed in on one specific goal and one specific item. When done effectively, product marketing drives demand for a product — both before and after its launch.
Why Product Marketing Matters
There are a lot of channels that buyers use when researching a product, and you need to make sure that you have a strong voice in the conversation. Product marketing helps you do that, and it also helps you achieve a few other important advantages:
- Understand how to best present your product to an interested audience
- Get the maximum potential out of your product
- Boost sales and revenue
- Make your product stand out against its competitors
- Gain insight on similar products and companies in your industry
- Fully understand your audience, their needs, and how to target them
As you can tell, product marketing is a multi-dimensional effort with a lot of intended goals. Many of these benefits will fall into place naturally, and many of them will apply to other facets of your broader marketing strategy. Everything that you learn about your audience and your industry when marketing a product can — and should — be applied to how you market your brand as well.
How to Build an Effective Product Marketing Strategy
Strategy is everything when it comes to product marketing. Here are the hallmarks of how to design a strategy that works for your organization.
1. Establishing and Understanding Your Audience
Create buyer personas that are specific to the product. Consider key demographics of the audience you’re aiming for, as well as what their major needs and desires are. Knowing all about this audience will help inform the way you want to market your product so that it gets seen by the people who are most inclined and interested in using it.
Your product and your brand are closely intertwined. But, you have to make sure you brand your product in a way that gives it its own identity and makes it appealing to your audience. Just don’t get so carried away that it shows no consistency with the rest of your company branding. If you’re not sure where to start, you may want to consult with an outside agency to ensure your message and image stay on point.
This is, of course, the crux of what your strategy will be about. Answer big questions like how you want your audience to find your product, how you intend to use both paid and organic outreach, how you’re going to position your product, and what kinds of content you’re going to use to promote it. Blog posts, gated materials, guest-contributed content, and infographics explaining how the product works are all beneficial content materials to have in addition to digital ads.
Again, you may want to outsource these efforts. If it’s not in the budget, make sure that you have an in-house team dedicated to defining this part of the strategy, as it’s extremely important for your product’s success.
4. Figuring out Pricing
Even the most well-marketed product isn’t going to benefit your business if it’s not priced right. Figure out pricing and/or pricing packages that make sense, and that will drive both demand and sales, and work closely with your sales team to define their approach and to determine what sorts of materials they’ll need to close the deal.
5. Establishing Benchmarks of Success
How are you going to track the success of your product? Revenue is obviously a major metric here, but come up with additional KPIs that can help you keep track of performance, such as sign-ups and purchases, sales conversions, and upgrades.
6. Tracking Data
Pay close attention to all data, but especially things that can help improve your product — such as reported setbacks and any user feedback. Showing that you’re listening and that you’re on the side of your buyers is excellent marketing, and the information on how to do that is out there if you look for it.
It’s only natural that your product marketing strategy will evolve. Refine your strategy pre-launch, and also be ready to rework it again whenever it’s needed. This ability to adapt will serve you well and should increase the longevity of the product lifecycle.
These tips will help you get your first product off the ground and on the radars of your consumers. Make sure to track what goes well and what doesn’t, so when you launch your next product, you’ll be even more prepared.
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