What is Product Marketing?
Product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market and driving its growth.
To get products to market as efficiently as possible, Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) focus on things like customer development, competitive analysis, pricing, positioning and messaging, and effective launch plans. .
Product marketing does not end once the product has been brought to market. After launch, PMMs focus on ensuring that the right audience knows about the product, that customers understand how it works, and have enough reason to buy it again over time.
They must also analyze customer feedback and behavior and act on it throughout the product development lifecycle. Lots of things, right?
What does a Product Marketing Manager do?
The ultimate goal of any company is to create the product that many customers want, which means finding, maintaining, and scaling the right product to market.
Product Marketing Managers (PMM) are responsible for all stages of the company’s journey from the idea to the launched product and its subsequent success.
The responsibilities of a Product Marketing Manager are:
- Understand the customers and define the market
- Develop the messages and positioning of the product
- Develop the marketing plan and launch the product
- Measure the impact, iterate and improve the strategy
1. Understand the customers and define the market
Product marketing begins with an understanding of the target market and customers. Product marketers typically collaborate with multiple cross-functional teams or outside vendors to conduct market and user research.
It is the responsibility of the PMM to gather all the research results and turn them into prioritized actionable information to:
- Define the target market
- Understand potential customers and their needs
- Define the problem the product will solve for the target customer and how the product will solve it
- Decide whether there is a big enough opportunity to pursue it:
- measure the market and validate if it is big enough
- check if the problem is painful enough
- Identify how the product should be differentiated from the competition
- Make sure that the product does not lose its relevance as the Market Evolves
2. Craft Messaging and Product Positioning
Once there is a sufficient understanding of the target market and customers, PMMs craft the positioning statement by building on what they learned from previous research.
It may seem that the positioning statement is constructed in a formulaic way and all a PMM has to do is simply include the results of the research in the positioning template. For example, Product X does Y for Audience Z, with benefits A, B, and C.
It’s really about being able to discover, validate, and refine the right variables for this formula to define and explain why customers choose and use the product.
Having developed the positioning statement, PMMs use it internally to communicate the unique value the product offers to target customers and to explain how the product stands out from the competition. In this way, with a company aligned around a positioning statement, product development can move forward in a more consistent and logical manner.
As a product is developed, positioning statements should be used as the framework that guides external across multiple channels. And it is PMM’s responsibility to ensure that the right customers always receive the message that most resonates with their needs.
Messages must also come from data-driven trust. PMMs typically need to experiment with different messages, positioning, and channels to identify the most effective ones to focus on.
3. Design and execute the GTM
One of the main responsibilities of the PMM is to design a go-to-market plan (GTM), a plan for how, when and where to tell the product story.
GTM starts long before the product launch and goes much further, throughout the product life cycle.
The GTM is a comprehensive action plan that details how a company brings a product to market and drives product growth.
Steps to create the GTM:
- Define who the product is for, what problem the product solves and how it is different
- Design the product launch plan along with the launch stages and a reasonable and realistic schedule
- Orchestrate the channels of acquisition and participation
- Strategy Choose
- the sales model and visualize the customer journey
- Develop the growth plan
- Know how success will be measured
- Put it all together in a clear and shareable marketing plan
The PMM’s main responsibility with the GTM is not simply to launch a product. It is communicating the value of the product before, during and after the launch of the product.
4. Measure impact
Once the product has hit the market, PMMs need to make a reliable assessment of the product’s marketing impact.
Measuring product marketing impact means getting the answers to these questions about the product:
- Is the audience we are targeting/attracting the right audience?
- Is the market we are going after the right market to go after?
- Does the product differ from the competition?
- Is the product well positioned?
- Does the message resonate with users and their needs?
- Does the value proposition get traction?
- Are the channels we choose the right channels for the segments we are targeting?
When PMM has a sure Yes answer to all of these questions, it means the product is likely to fit in the market and the time is right for PMM to increase product growth.
While measuring impact is highlighted as the last step on the PMM journey, this is not crossing the finish line after a long journey. A better analogy is that this is a checkpoint that a PMM regularly reaches to measure progress against goals.
Depending on what the data shows determines what strategy changes need to be made and how quickly or not a PMM needs to adjust direction, or even ensure product changes are made.
We have seen that PMMs have a large number of responsibilities.
They have to walk the path from knowledge to decisions and actions. This path can be explained as follows:
Discover → Strategize → Launch → Measure → Iterate
No matter if PMMs have to rewrite the entire product story or scale the product to new horizons, the journey starts over and over again.
And neither competitors nor changes in the market (both of which can cause trip adjustments) should stop PMMs from improving every next trip.
PMMs need to act quickly on insights, find the next opportunity faster than competitors and quickly redesign the next path to always fit the product with the market and scale their growth.