Have you heard the words “product marketing” floating around and wondered what it means?
Most people struggle to define what product marketing is. In fact, people know that it’s a combination of sales, marketing, and product—but aren’t exactly sure what tasks a product marketer does in their daily role.
We wanted to help you understand what product marketing means. So, we put together a guide that touches on:
- The definition of product marketing
- The difference between standard and product marketing
- The 7ps of a product marketing mix
- The daily tasks of a product manager
- 5 essential elements of a product marketing strategy
Click the links above to jump to a specific section, or continue scrolling to start learning what product marketing is.
What is product marketing?
The product marketing team behind that product identify the target customer, strengthen (or change) the product’s positioning, and find new customers who will purchase the product. They take the product from start to finish—hopefully, collecting tons of customers along the way.
It’s worth noting that product marketing doesn’t specifically have to be focused around a physical product. The “product” you’re marketing could be a piece of software, or a service, for example.
Product vs. standard marketing: What’s the difference?
Confused as to what the difference is between product marketing and traditional marketing?
Product marketing campaigns focus on one product. They take the product from development to launch, often working on time-based periods.
Traditional marketing campaigns, on the other hand, are evergreen. They don’t typically promote a single product. Instead, they focus on driving high-quality traffic to any page on the business’ website with SEO, social media, and content.
(Product marketing campaigns can use those types of content, too. But the main focus is on developing and positioning a product… Not driving high-quality traffic or generating leads.)
Let’s put that into practice and say you’re launching a new feature for your app. A product marketer works with the sales team to identify which type of people they should be targeting. They also determine how to get a competitive advantage, and speak with beta testers to perfect the update pre-launch.
Your standard marketing campaigns take over when those details are finalized. Marketers would use the product marketers’ data to create general campaigns, and raise awareness about the new feature.
What is a product marketing mix?
The product marketing mix is a term that describes everything a product needs to be marketed successfully.
Also named the 7ps of marketing, the product mix includes:
- Product: What does it do? Think about its features, capabilities, use cases, and design. You want to know your product inside out before launch time comes.
- Price: How much does your product cost? This could be a monthly subscription price (i.e. $7.99 per month), or one-off fee.
- Place: Where will the product be sold? If you’re ecommerce company, this will be your website. But you might also have physical shops, accept mail orders, or sell to wholesalers.
- Promotion: Where will you be promoting your product? Places like social media, search engines, TV, radio, or direct mail fall into this part of the product marketing mix.
- People: Who will be handling the sales of this product? This is especially important if you sell several products. Make sure you’ve got your main point of contact planned—the person overseeing sales for this new product—before launching.
- Processes: How will you do the things you’re planning to do? For example, it might be worth talking to your PPC team if you’re planning to promote the product heavily through Google Ads.
- Physical evidence: What feedback have you got that indicates it’s a good product? You don’t want to launch a product that isn’t as good as you think. Collect customer feedback to gather physical evidence that your product is awesome.
It’s a product marketers’ job to tick all seven boxes off their checklist before launching a new product. That way, the business fully understand what they’re promoting (and how) ahead of time.
5 essential elements of a product marketing strategy
Are you convinced to create a product marketing strategy for an upcoming launch? It’s the best way to get your product out into the world—whilst minimizing disasters.
At a minimum, your product marketing strategy should include:
1. Researching the market
Researching the market you’re entering helps you understand what (and who) you’re competing with when your new product launches.
Let’s say you’re launching a new smartwatch, for example. You might research the market and find that the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Samsung Galaxy Fit all retail between $100 and $200. You also note that they have the same features, and are sold in stores like Walmart and Target.
You can use all of that research to fill-in the 7ps of the product marketing mix—and make sure you’re not missing anything obvious that your competitors are doing.
Plus, you can build your competitive advantage here. For example, the majority of smartwatches in the industry aren’t waterproof below 5m… But yours is. Make sure you include that in your messaging later down the line.
It’s the details that will set your new product apart from the competition.
2. Listening to your customers
Once you’ve done market research, tune into what your customers are saying about the industry, your competitors, or the product you’re about to launch. This is typically done through beta testing, user feedback sessions, or surveys.
When you’re listening to feedback on your new product, don’t brush off negative comments. Take the comments as constructive feedback, and use them to perfect your product before going to market.
3. Developing content and messaging
A product marketers’ next job is to develop the messaging you’ll use when launching your new product. For example, that might be:
- Package design
- Product landing pages
- Case studies
- Advertising copy
- Social media posts
- Blog or guest posts
It’s important to understand the messaging before releasing your new product into the world.
Why? Because if your team isn’t on the same page, your customers won’t be, either. They might get confused as to what your product does, or why they need it. Both of those two problems could prevent them from hitting “purchase.”
4. Sales enablement
Product marketing is a mix of product, marketing, and sales. That’s why your product marketing team needs to work with sales as you’re preparing to launch.
Why? Because without sales enablement from product marketers, everything will be all over the place. Your marketing department will explain the features your product offers—but if your sales team doesn’t understand them, it’s confusing for your customer.
So, take time to meet with your sales team before (and after) launch date. It’s the best way to make sure your messaging is consistent—and your customers buy-in.
5. Encouraging adoption of the product
A product marketers’ job doesn’t end when the launch campaign does. It’s their job to make sure customers are constantly using the product they’ve purchased. That’s how you create a product that lands itself in the hall of fame.
To do this, you could:
- Build a community of product users or customers
- Attend user testing sessions with existing customers to see how you can improve
- Monitor and improve onboarding sequences
Regardless of what you’re doing, your aim (post-launch) is to make your product “sticky.” Try to make every customer fall in love with it—and use it every day.
What does a product marketer do?
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into a product marketing mix. It’s a product marketers’ job to handle all of those elements before setting a launch date.
Here’s a handful of tasks that a product manager handles on a day-to-day basis pre-launch:
- Doing research to create accurate buyer personas
- Creating a go-to-market strategy or new product launch plan
- Write messaging for marketing teams to use
- Conducting competitive analysis to improve how your product is positioned against others
Sounds interesting, right?
Getting your teeth into a new product is an exciting part of a product manager’s daily routine—but their work doesn’t stop once the product is released.
As we touched on earlier, a product marketer also handles the marketing for the product’s entire lifecycle.
This could look like:
- Creating a roadmap for the product’s future
- Encouraging people to use or adopt the product in their own routine
- Marketing new features of the product as they’re released
- Monitoring key product marketing metrics as the product matures
Ready to create your product marketing team?
Every business should have its own product team.
Not only will you bring new skills to your office, but your business will be in with the chances of launching products that could change the world—purely because of how well they’ve been marketed.
But just like any other industry, the product marketing industry is constantly changing.
You’ll need to stay up-to-date with emerging trends. You can do this by reading books, and getting into the trenches to talk to the people who buy your product.
Customer preferences have changed dramatically over the past decade… There’s no reason why they won’t continue to evolve by the time you’re launching a new product.