What’s one thing that separates successful companies from those struggling to succeed?
Two things in fact:
- And product.
With a poor product, even if it’s marketed brilliantly, the business won’t make any profit at all.
On the other hand, if you have the best product in the world, but poor marketing, no one will ever know about your product.
So obviously you need both, right?
But today, we won’t talk about how to create a winning product; today, we’ll talk about how to market your winning product, and the best strategy for a product marketing strategy.
With this guide, I’ll help you create a winning product marketing strategy that will make you stand out from all the other companies in your industry.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Why you need less “marketing” and more “product marketing”
- 5 most important product marketing metrics and KPI’s
- How to establish a product marketing strategy from scratch in 8 steps
- 9 best practices for Product Marketing
- 5 Best examples that managed to rock their Product Marketing
First, let’s look at what a product marketing strategy actually is.
What is a Product Marketing Strategy?
Like a business marketing strategy, Product Marketing Strategy aims to develop and manage your products’ branding, image, differentiators, pricing, and other promotional campaigns. In most cases, this approach is aligned with the company’s vision and is developed by top management.
Product Marketing Strategy focuses on how you deliver your product or service in the market, and how you differentiate yourself from competing products and brands.
In the simplest of terms, Product Marketing Strategy refers to the best ways to market your product.
- For example:
Let’s assume I’m a Product Manager at Microsoft. My product is the Microsoft Office Suite, and my job as a product manager is to make sure that businesses purchase this suite more than any other business application.
How do I accomplish this?
Simple answer: through marketing.
But what kind of marketing?
Do I need advertisements in magazines?
Billboards in the subway?
No, I need my marketing department to create a product marketing strategy that best explains why everyone should buy Microsoft Office.
That’s what a Product Marketing Strategy means for your organization. It refers to the best ways to present and promote your products so that you can sell more of them.
Great! Let’s jump into the details then.
Why Do Businesses Need to Create a Product Marketing Strategy?
Poor product market strategy can be just as damaging to a business, if not more so, as a poorly engineered product.
Well, there are many reasons why you need to create an effective product marketing strategy.
- First and foremost, a good marketing strategy will show you how to profit your product.
A winning product market strategy will tell you which features of your product are more important or less important for your target audience. This is vital since it will help you make your product a winning one that solves actual pain points for customers and drives sales.
- Second, a good marketing strategy will help you expand into new markets.
You may have the best product in your market space today, but what about tomorrow? Can your company develop a product that expands into new markets?
This is where your marketing department comes in: they will create a solid product marketing strategy for the upcoming expansion, allowing you to make new sales and grow your business.
- Then, it allows your marketing department to communicate with other departments of the company.
With a strong product marketing strategy in place, your company can avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings between departments. For example, some companies mistakenly treat marketing as a standalone department when it should be treated as an integrated part of every division within the company.
- Next, it allows you to create a consistent message for your target audience.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it ensures consistency. The more consistent you are with your marketing messages, the better.
Companies that are all over the place with their messaging usually don’t attract much attention from customers- they sometimes even create confusion in their target audience.
5 Product Marketing Metrics & KPIs to understand and track
Before you jump into product marketing strategy, it’s important to learn more about the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your company’s success.
You can only improve the things you track, so it’s essential to pay attention to the following metrics and KPIs:
Product Marketing Metric #1: Revenue
The most important metric you should follow is revenue.
Revenue is a straightforward metric: if it goes up, then your product-market strategy is good; if it goes down, then you need to make some changes.
That’s why it’s vital to track your revenue numbers carefully.
Product Marketing Metric #2: Product Usage
A closely related metric to revenue is product usage.
The more people use your product, the better because your product solves target pain points for customers. If you have a great product marketing strategy in place, then the usage number will go up dramatically over time.
Product Marketing Metric #3: Frequency of High-Value Actions
A metric directly related to product usage is the frequency of high-value actions.
There are certain actions in every product that are of high value to the user; therefore, define those important actions and focus on tracking to make sure users are performing those actions in their product.
The ultimate goal is to create a high-value action that becomes an essential part of your product; think of Zendesk’s help desk software for example. The users couldn’t live without the search functionality, which means it’s an indispensable part of their product and makes things easy for customers.
Product Marketing Metric #4: Retention Rate
Another important metric to track is the retention rate: how many people continue using your product over a certain period? This is important to track because it gives you data on how likely the customers will return to your products and use them again.
Product Marketing Metric #5: Net Promoter Score
One of the best metrics to track is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which gives you data on how likely the customers are to recommend your product.
It’s important to keep track of this metric because a high NPS could mean that you have an excellent product-market strategy in place or it could indicate that your product is either a poorly-made or overpriced product that customers will not recommend to others.
How to create a product marketing strategy from scratch – step-by-step
You’ve probably found yourself in this situation before: You’ve been asked to write a product marketing strategy for your company’s new launch, but you don’t know where to start.
Or, you’re working for a startup, and you have to develop your product marketing strategy on the fly, without an extensive background in how these strategies are created.
Either way, it’s better to start with a strong foundation than build something weak that will fall apart quickly, so here is how to establish a product-market strategy from scratch:
Step 1: Analyze the market landscape
The first part of creating a product marketing strategy from scratch is to understand the current market landscape.
You certainly don’t want to keep pointing out how great your company’s new product is if it doesn’t solve your customers’ problems or if there’re already multiple products doing the same thing.
Instead, it’s essential to understand the problem you are solving for customers and then find a way to position your product as unique and better than other solutions.
There are 2 types of research you need to do:
- Market research
- And competitive research.
Market research should focus on understanding the problems and challenges your target customers are facing. You want to learn as much as possible about these people so you can discover how your product fits into this picture (we’ll talk more about this later).
It’s also a good idea to find out why other products either failed or succeeded in the market, which will give you a better idea of where your company stands.
- The last thing you want to do is to repeat the mistakes of other companies that failed in the market.
For competitive research, it’s advisable to take a look at some of the currently available products out there and see how they compare to your solution.
Suppose there are several products already in the market doing the same thing. In that case, you’ll need to understand why some products are better than others and determine if there’s an opportunity for your company’s product to win over the existing solutions.
Make a list of all your competitors and segment them into 3 different categories:
- Direct competitors. These companies offer the same product or a very similar product to yours and will be your main competitors in the marketplace.
- Indirect competitors. They provide a similar product or service but are not your main competition.
- Complementary competitors. These competitors provide a product or service that complements yours. This can be either in a competitive way, where these complementary products/services make it easier for customers to switch from your product, or in an additive way, where there is a synergy between the two products/services.
In Step #1, you also need to understand what your company can do to innovate and differentiate the products t from its competitors. This will give you both a clear guide on how to position your product against existing solutions and a big advantage over your competitors.
Step 2: Define your target customer
The next step in your product marketing strategy is defining the target customer to whom you want to sell your product.
You have to identify the ideal customer for your company’s product, and then drill down to learn as much about that person as possible.
Do a deep dive on this target customer, answering these questions :
- Who is your target customer?
- What does this person look like?
- What are their behaviors and characteristics?
- What’s the profile of a typical target customer?
- How much opportunity is there for your product within that market segment?
Once you’ve identified the key attributes of that person, try to anticipate how a typical day in their life looks like and what other products that person uses daily.
It’s also important to note that you don’t have to target the customer who is currently facing a problem or challenge.
Instead, you should direct your attention to people who’d like to use a product like yours and be willing to pay for it.
If you’re developing a product that helps people organize and manage their LinkedIn accounts, you might find that most platform users have very little interest in something like this because it’s just not their thing. They don’t think strategically about the platform.
But, if you look at the influencers and content creators who use LinkedIn to promote their work, you may find a large market segment that has an incentive to use a product like the one you’re developing.
Step 3: Identify your product positioning strategy
What’s the purpose of your company’s product?
How will it be used?
You have to build up a story around positioning your product and relating it to the target customer identified in the previous step.
The most crucial aspect of your product positioning is to clearly define a USP (unique selling proposition) for your product that will make it stand out against the competition and fit into your target customer’s lifestyle.
Think about what value you’re delivering to this person, not how or why your product makes sense.
Your USP has to be relevant and interesting to your target customer. So it’s important that you’re not trying to say too much about your product or explain it in great detail.
The best way to get started with this is by asking yourself questions like:
- What problem does my product solve?
- How does my product relate to the target customer’s lifestyle?
- What value am I delivering through this product?
- Why is this product different?
Contrary to what many product marketers think, your USP doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or disruptive. You just need to communicate that there is a problem you’re solving for your target customer and then deliver on the promise of helping them solve it.
People buy something when they need it.
It’s essential to understand your customers’ problem and how your product can help them with this challenge. But more than that, you need to solve this problem in a way that leaves the customer feeling better off after experiencing the solution.
Step 4: Create a product message
Once you’ve decided what your product positioning will be, imagine yourself standing before a large audience and explaining the product.
This will help you get a feel for how to communicate your USP to your audience.
For example, what needs does your product satisfy?
How much pain are they experiencing with their current situation?
People want to solve problems and improve things but they don’t always know how to start to get there. This is why clearly communicating your USP and delivering on your promise is such an important aspect of your product marketing strategy.
It’s important to keep in mind that people won’t care about what your company does or how good you are at doing your job.
You need to create an elevator pitch explaining the problem and offering solutions to help your target customer solve this problem for each of your products.
Keep in mind that this pitch should only take a couple of minutes to explain and should be very specific about what problem your product solves. This is more about explaining the problem and why this product solves it far better than any of your competitors’ solutions do.
Step 5: Define your Marketing Strategy Objectives
What are the goals that you want your marketing strategy to achieve?
Do you need more sales or better margins?
Are you aiming to increase brand awareness or customer loyalty?
Before actually building out a marketing plan for reaching these objectives, it’s important to define what they are in as much detail as possible.
- For instance, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, what does it precisely mean and how will it be measured?
The more specific you are, the better, because it will better evaluate whether your marketing strategy is working as planned.
All kinds of ideas will run through every business owner’s mind when defining marketing strategy objectives. That’s why it’s vital to take the time to go through all these points and come up with clear objectives that you want your marketing strategy to achieve.
Step 6: Create Product Marketing Mix
Now that you have a good understanding of what your product is, who it’s for and why people should buy it, it’s time to go through the 4 Ps of marketing:
Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.
These four P’s are a great place to start when building out your product marketing mix.
- Product – This is about the features or benefits your product has that will help achieve the goals you set in step 5. This would include things like packaging (if it’s a physical product), design and customer service support. These are all important factors that play into how a consumer will feel and react when experiencing your product for the first time.
- Price – This is critical for your success. Setting a price for your product is never an easy task and many times consumers are willing to pay more if they believe in the quality of what you’re offering. But price is also what you need to think about as a business owner. Is the market willing to pay more for your product, or are they only looking at the bare minimum? The way you set the price can make or break your introduction to a new market.
- Promotion – There’re many different ways of promoting your product ranging from paid to unpaid options. These could include things like social media, press releases or ads on a particular website. This step is about deciding how you plan to get the word out and what you need to do to make sure that your potential customers know about your product. (We’ll talk about this in more detail in Step 7)
- Place – The last P stands for Place, namely distribution channels for your products. It’s about deciding how you’re going to get your product into the hands of your potential customers. For some, this might involve working with a distributor, while for others, it could be related to selling directly through their websites.
You can see now why creating an effective Product Marketing Mix is one of the most crucial steps in developing a successful marketing strategy.
Step 7: Develop a promotion strategy
Now that you have your Product Marketing Mix defined, it’s time to develop a promotion strategy.
A promotion strategy is about deciding how you’re going to reach out to your potential customers and let them know about your product.
When developing a promotion strategy, the first thing to keep in mind is customizing it for your specific business situation. You want to make sure it fits with who you are, who you’re targeting, and what you’re selling. It should also be customized to your budget and how much you can afford to spend.
With this aim in mind, we suggest you should consider a few promotion strategies when thinking about what steps to take in this stage.
Broadly speaking, when people think about digital advertising, they typically think of the Google Adwords platform, but that’s not all that is available.
There’re many different paid advertising options out there.
Depending on your specific industry, business model, and what you’re trying to accomplish with your marketing strategy, some might be a better fit than others.
Keep in mind that you have to be careful not to spend all your budget on paid advertising because other options are just as effective when done strategically.
These include creating a website, increasing SEO, and using press releases or social media marketing.
The goal of this strategy is to increase awareness and visibility of your business. This is typically less costly than paid advertising but takes a little more time to see the results and establish your brand.
Social Media Marketing is another form of promotion that’s also very effective, but takes a bit of time to see the results. It’s about establishing your presence and brand on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin etc.
When thinking about promoting your product, it’s important to consider what each of these strategies has going for them and how they will benefit your overall marketing strategy.
If you’re looking to drive sales, then Paid Methods can be a good way to do that.
However, if you want something with more long-term potential, Organic/Unpaid methods could be a better option.
Once you’ve developed your promotion strategy, it’s time to move on to the next step – measuring success.
Step 8: Measure success
Before you go about implementing your strategy, it’s important to have some sort of measuring system in place so you can determine if your efforts are actually working and what actions need to be taken next.
Measuring success could be as simple as creating a spreadsheet to track all your leads and sales, or it could be something more detailed like using Google analytics to keep an eye on traffic, social media engagement and conversions, etc.
Choosing the right metrics will depend on what business goals/objectives you established in Step 5.
Once you’ve chosen your metrics, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure they’re being properly measured and analyzed.
- For example, it’s essential to track the percentage of visitors who become leads and/or purchase. This helps determine how effective your promotion efforts are at converting the traffic into leads that turn into sales.
You should also opt for specific actions or events as goals for tracking purposes.
In addition to tracking the success of individual marketing campaigns, you should be keeping a close eye on where your traffic comes from. This can help you determine if it would be more effective to increase or decrease spending in certain areas.
In the world of digital marketing, it can be challenging to determine what works and what doesn’t because there are so many moving parts.
This is exactly why I gathered all the:
9 Product Marketing Best Practices
Here are some general best practices to use as a guide when developing your product marketing strategy.
1- Know Your Market and Niche
Understanding what makes your business unique is key to success in any attempt, but it’s especially important for online marketing.
In other words, you should take the time to get to know who your target audience is, their needs and wants and how they behave not just online but offline too.
This allows you to create marketing efforts that appeal directly to them so that you can pull them through the “awareness funnel” straight into the sales funnel where hopefully they invest their money willingly.
The more niche-specific you are while still appealing to your target demographic, the better a chance you stand of helping them solve their problems, which maximizes your ROI.
2- Choose Actionable Metrics and KPIs
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is spending too much time watching vanity metrics that aren’t related to what’s going on with their business.
This can give you a false sense of success or failure, which is dangerous because it will influence your future marketing efforts.
When finding measurable solutions to problems, be sure to find metrics and key performance indicators that allow you to track the effectiveness of each solution so you can continue making improvements over time. These are typically found on digital software platforms like SalesForce, Google Analytics etc.
3- Create A Feedback Loop
By using a feedback loop, you’ll learn from others’ experiences with similar businesses, which can help you solve problems without having to make costly mistakes yourself.
This allows you to focus on what works rather than wasting time doing things that simply don’t work or won’t ever lead anywhere.
4- Understand Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What makes you different from your competitors?
Why should people choose to do business with you and not your competitors?
If you can’t answer these questions specifically and briefly, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
It’s not good enough to rely on generic marketing terms like “our team is better” or “we offer cheaper rates.” Instead, you need to concentrate on the specifics of the product that highlight your unique strengths and advantages.
5- Develop A Lead Generation Strategy
You need traffic in order to compete online, but it’s also critical that this traffic actually converts into leads in the first place.
The best way to convert an anonymous visitor into a lead is to create compelling content that helps solve their problems rather than directly selling them things they don’t need yet.
By focusing on developing a good content strategy that results in one of your prospects becoming a customer instead of directly trying to make a sale, you allow them to make the decision based on their own needs and problems, not yours.
6- If You Aren’t Getting Leads, it’s Not Them, It’s You
If you wonder why your business isn’t getting any leads despite all your efforts, then maybe it’s time to look at what works well for others in your industry.
Doing this will help you understand which marketing channels are providing the best ROI so you can adjust accordingly without wasting too much time testing things out on your own.
Don’t Forget About On-page Optimization
While SEO is incredibly important it isn’t everything. The reality is that you also need to have a website that Google can actually crawl, which means having your content accessible via HTML.
In addition, if you are focusing on search engine optimization, then make sure to pay careful attention to each page’s title tags and meta descriptions.
These will help people find your website in the first place but it’s up to you to present them with something unique and compelling enough so they choose to contact you instead of going somewhere else.
Have a great user onboarding process in place
Make sure to have a great user onboarding process in place, so t you don’t waste too much time dealing with unqualified leads.
This is especially important if your business runs on the B2B basis since it will be critical for retaining your existing customers and bringing new ones into the fold over time. In addition, by having a great user onboarding process in place, you’ll boost the effectiveness of any future marketing efforts.
Don’t Forget About Retaining Your Customers
Just as important as reaching out to new leads is keeping your existing customers happy and encouraging them to come back for more.
This is often known as customer retention and it’s an essential part of any business’s success since it’s directly related to how many new customers you essentially acquire over time.
If you want people to buy from you on an ongoing basis, then you need to provide them with what they want and need at each stage of their relationship with your brand.
Imagine you were a consumer and spent some time looking for the best product to solve your unique problem.
Now imagine that even though you found the best product at an affordable price, as soon as you started using it, you got disappointed and decided not to use it because the learning curve was too steep.
This is why having great customer onboarding processes in place is so important. It makes sure people take action right away instead of having them drop off without really understanding how to get started with your solution in the first place.
Best Examples of Product Marketing Strategy
Here are some of the best examples out there that you can take a look at when developing your own strategy:
We all know that Evernote is a hugely popular note taking application.
However, you might not know that it’s also one of the most effective product marketing strategies out there.
This is because Evernote understands that to sell their product, they need to make the onboarding process as easy and intuitive as possible. They also need to prioritize increasing their user base by rewarding existing customers with special features they can make effective use of.
It all comes down to how innovative you are at bringing in something unique and compelling enough to entice the customer into making an immediate purchase.
The more you manage this, the better off your business will be in the long run.
Dropbox is one of those products that almost everyone’s heard of, since it’s been around for a long time.
One of the reasons people keep coming back to it is that Dropbox manages to keep them interested by offering a free 50GB account right out of the gate.
This has been done so that users interested in using Dropbox don’t need to pay while trying it out to see how useful Dropbox is. During this trial period, they will most probably recognize tons of values in the product.
It’s something that can easily be incorporated into any type of business model and it’s just one example of why good onboarding processes are so important for getting users to take action at once.
MailChimp is another excellent example of a company that excels at product marketing strategy.
They do this by offering free sign-ups to anyone and encouraging their existing user base to take advantage of free sign-ups to get more people on board.
With MailChimp, the strength lies in their branding campaigns:
“Over the years, MailChimp has grown a reputation for being an email marketing tool that genuinely cares about growing small businesses. Their vision is to help all entrepreneurs realize their dreams through business growth.”
MailChimp’s philosophy is to provide value first so that they can build trust and eventually make money over time. This is a great example of how you want to structure a business model when it comes to product marketing.
Speaking of business models, Amazon is one of the best examples out there of how you can do it successfully.
One thing they’ve done over time is that they’ve provided additional value to their customers in the form of convenience.
Their ability to foresee customers’ needs and deliver on them has made Amazon an extremely popular online retailer.
They also make it easy for customers to get value out of their products when they sign up.
This is a great example of how you can do your product marketing. Once a customer signs up, they can easily become active users of whatever solution is provided.
Uber is a great example of how product marketing goes beyond having just a solid online presence.
One of the reasons Uber has become so popular is that they’ve shown how their app can be used in real life to make people’s lives easier.
Their mobile application not only allows you to hail a taxi wherever you are, but it also shows a map of where the driver is coming from and how long it will take them to get to your location.
This makes it easy for people to understand what they’re getting into before even signing up, which is something every business should strive for.
From establishing clear goals, to selecting channels and measuring metrics, we’ve provided a map for how best to implement an effective strategy that will be successful in today’s competitive marketplace.
There is no one way to market products, but there are ways which work better than others depending on what stage of growth your company is currently at.
Whether you’re just a start-up or more established with a well-known brand, understanding the basics can make all the difference when it comes to establishing your own product marketing strategy.
Remember that the process of establishing an effective product marketing strategy is a long journey, not just a short event.
I hope these guidelines will help you to market your products a lot easier. Have any questions or comments to make about our guide? Let us know. Best of luck with establishing your product marketing strategy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you create a successful product marketing strategy?
So, how do you actually write a clear product marketing strategy? Here’s how:
- Analyze the market landscape
- Define your target customer
- Identify your product positioning strategy
- Create a product message
- Define your Marketing Strategy Objectives
- Create Product Marketing Mix
- Develop a promotion strategy
- Measure success
What is a Product Marketing Strategy?
A Product Marketing Strategy is a plan that revolves around how you promote your product or service to your target audience. This can include advertising, branding, packaging, design and website content, along with pricing and distribution channels.