The importance of product marketing should not be underestimated. It gets your products into the market - and makes sure they stay there. To help your company overcome obstacles to growth, you should rely on the power duo of product marketing and product management.
No other development in software marketing today is as significant as that of product marketing. This is already evident from how hotly sought after product marketing managers (PMM) currently are. Companies are scrambling for these specialists and hiring as many as they can. Why is that?
Product marketing has touch points with all major departments in the company. This includes Digital Marketing including Content Marketing, Sales, Customer Success (respectively Service in traditional companies) and the Product Management with their developers. It provides the link between your product and the market, and therefore plays a critical role in its success:
If you want to be strong in this discipline, you need to understand the interplay between product marketing and product management. Leaders in this field have a keen sense of the brand, the product, the target audience and the optimal placement in the market. They will help you successfully take the product from development to launch.
Only when you think product marketing and product management together and use them in tandem can you overcome the problems with your growth strategy.
1. Product marketing and product management are not the same, yet they are similar
Before you can even think about making the most of the symbiosis of product marketing and product management for you and your business, I need to clarify what the differences and similarities between the two disciplines actually are
To cut right to the chase: your product marketing team handles communications, product positioning and growth. Your product manager, on the other hand, welds together all the teams involved in developing the product
Everyone works in a clearly defined area
Product managers bring a strong technical background. This is necessary because they work close to the product and need to communicate every day with the team members involved in its development. Appropriate expertise is essential here.
The PMM starts his work later. The product is already available. Now it is time to bring it to market. That is precisely the task of the PMM. These specialists must be able to communicate the benefits of the product crystal clear to the target audience.
Common ground exists, but goals diverge
Product managers and PMM have one thing in common: They represent the connecting element, between customers and the teams working internally. This is important, for example, in order to forward feedback to the right place. However, both pursue a different goal. The PMM has his eyes firmly fixed on revenue, making sure your product proves to be a stable revenue generator over as long a period as possible.
The product manager, on the other hand, is responsible for implementing customer requirements, tracking the roadmap, and making sure the product is ready on time. The PMM can communicate the benefits of the product in the most compelling way. However, the energy of the marketing machine is wasted if the product does not even bring the promised features.
2. Define the tasks of the product marketing manager
Wrong idea of a concept will lead you to use it suboptimally for you. This is especially true for PMM. It is always amazing to see the different perceptions of the tasks and goals of PMM among those responsible in companiesBut what if the ideas about PMM are not wrong at all, but simply different? And there may be a good reason for this. It could be that product marketing can mean something different for each company. And this is exactly the case in practice.
These are some examples of what roles a PMM can fill for you, or what tasks they can take on:
- Product Launch
- Content marketing planning
- Customer onboarding and its communications
- Documentation of storytelling in playbooks
- Management of the product roadmap
Don't rely on what others think about PMM
Many other points can be listed. The bottom line is that a PMM is not the same for every company. And you should understand that in order to use these specialists profitably in your own business.
What a PMM should do for you depends on the industry, the product and your company, for example. It should also be noted that PMM is a relatively new role in companies. So the process of precisely defining roles and responsibilities is not yet complete.
It is important for your success that you set the priorities of your PMM as you see fit. It does no good to copy your competitors' approach in this regard. After all, no two companies are the same when it comes to product marketing.
But there is another crucial point. Namely, how you lay out the role of PMM depends on how you lay out product management. As we saw in the first section, Pproduct manager and PMM are interdependent. They complement each other perfectly and unleash their full power as a duo.
For this to work, however, responsibilities must be clarified. Since there is a dependency here, it is even more important to precisely define the task priorities for your PMM. Create clarity around responsibilities to get the most benefit from the symbiosis of PMM and product management.
3. Process design designed for collaboration
You cannot invest early enough in the good and fruitful relationships between PMM and product management. So in the product planning process, it's critical to establish the link between the two areas as soon as possible. And you should make sure you avoid the typical pitfalls that lurk here.
These are mistakes to avoid at all costs
It's always the same problems that disrupt the interaction between product marketing and product management and prevent this duo from reaching peak form. I've identified a few points for you that you should definitely consider in this context:
- Marketing teams don't have all the information they'd like: Product managers have all the information about the product, marketing would just like to have it. This is a typical problem in many companies. Counteract this and make sure your marketing teams get all the data as early as possible. To do this, you need the right system that distributes the data to all relevant parties.
- Working with different metrics: This point is particularly exciting. Product marketing and product management often have a different approach to measuring success. Marketing focuses on lead generation and brand awareness. Product managers, on the other hand, are focused on customer feedback and user reviews. However, those who work with different metrics often argue past each other. You should sensitize those involved to this.
- Responsibilities not clearly defined: We have already addressed this point. If the responsibilities overlap too much, it triggers confusion and disrupts the cooperation from the outset. Product marketing and product management should work together and not against each other.
- Departmental goal setting obscures corporate goals: Some departments are so focused on their operational goals that they completely lose sight of the overarching strategic goals. For optimal collaboration, it is important to regularly check whether everyone is still on track with their work.
So that the power duo of product marketing and product management can arise, the conditions must be right. You can achieve this, for example, by establishing a corporate culture that supports collaboration.
4. Product marketing and product management offer two perspectives on customers
Your company develops products, introduces them to the market, and sells them to your customers in industry, for example. You can look at these customers in two different ways: either you see them as users or as buyers. And that is exactly what product marketing and product management do and what distinguishes the two disciplines from each other. Combine the two perspectives and you get an all-around view, around your customers.
The following views of product management and product marketing are critical in this context:
- Product management looks at your customers as users.
- Product marketing looks at your customers as buyers.
It's impossible to overestimate the dramatic difference this makes. And from these considerations, it's also immediately apparent why product marketing and management absolutely belong together.
Use the different perspectives
The product manager works cross-functionally and needs to determine what kind of product your company wants to make and why you want to design it a certain way. What are the user requirements? Do the product features align with the user's goals while also aligning with your business goals? These are the questions you need to answer.
Product marketing, on the other hand, deals with the buyer, with the questions of the right product brand strategy or packaging and product positioning. PMMs have to convince buyers of the value of the product and bridge the gap between the sober product features and their marketing.
The product marketing team has to find the right answer to these questions.
Only when both perspectives come together can you answer all the essential questions on which your product's success depends. This concerns the following three points:
- Product positioning: Product managers help you understand what your customers' goals and pain points are. PMMs provide communication that addresses those exact needs, enabling optimal product positioning: .
- Packaging: Product managers can tell you exactly what a product is and is not. PMMs communicate that in a way that appeals to your target audience.
- Product Launch: The product manager can answer any technical questions about the product. And the PMM can communicate what value it adds to your customers.
5. A content strategy that connects everything
Your PMM and product managers provide you with everything you need to develop a successful content strategy. According to HubSpot State of Marketing Report 2021, 82 percent of marketers use such a content strategy. Marketing automation can also help with this.
Who is the target audience and what do they think?
Before you can tailor content to the target audience, you must first identify them. Therefore, investment in market research is necessary. What target market do you want to serve, what are the product requirements, what are the essential features...but you also want to find out what customers think about your company and its products, and what they like or dislike about them.
What are the reasons customers chose your company over the competition? Where do your customers see the greatest potential for improvement in your products? Without this information, content creation is purely a guessing game. Don't start writing content until you've developed a clear idea of the buyer persona.
Have the right content for every purpose
A smart content strategy prepares you for different scenarios. Content, for example, is meant to excite and draw attention to your brand. Other content is aimed at those who already know your company and want to learn more about a particular product. Whatever your customers demand, you need to have the right content ready at the right time.
Working with a Content Hub, for example, helps with this. It appeals to existing customers as well as prospects and is designed for long-term customer retention. The hub holds content for the respective target group and releases of new content take place at regular intervals. In this way, it is easy to build trust.
To build this content hub, be sure to use the information that product managers, for example, can provide you with. They are the right people to talk to if you want to go into depth and need content with high added value. If you primarily want to generate buzz and shine the spotlight on your products, you should turn to the PMM. They appeal more on an emotional level rather than a purely informational one.
When working with content hubs, I often apply the following rule of thumb: Invest 2h in the briefing for ae content writer, 2h for the review and correction and another 2h for the distribution of the article via Content Hub to the systems website, social media and email marketing. So one-third of the time each for preparation, revision, and distribution.
6. Scaling product marketing through marketing automation
By Product Marketing Automation I don't mean the possibilities to have product descriptions automatically generated - product data from the CMS can be used for product marketing - I rather mean the possibilities to successfully design and efficiently implement your content strategy. Thanks to Marketing Automation, the distribution of articles, images, and data previously categorized in the Content Hub is accomplished in an automated way.
Marketers have been relying on marketing automation tools for quite some time now, so much so that it has become impossible to handle everyday marketing tasks without them. From lead generation to email workflows to lead scoring, the uses of marketing automation tools are endless. And with nearly 5 billion of the world's population now using the Internet, marketers need even more powerful digital tools to reach customers and maximize their opportunities online. But how do marketers plan to use marketing automation to do their jobs now? A study by Ascend showed that 40% of marketers plan to use it for email marketing activities in 2022, while 39% will use automation for social media management. Landing pages (26% ), campaign tracking (23% ) and content management (22% ) are also high on marketers' priority lists. As companies continue to embrace marketing automation tools, here are 10 key trends we can expect to see in the coming years
Increasing use of behavior analytics
If you want to know how powerful behavior analytics is, look at Netflix, Google and Amazon - companies that have built their empires on customer data and analytics. Behavioral analytics will continue to be very useful in gaining a deeper understanding of customers' interests, pains and motivations. The use of behavioral analytics can help companies attract more leads, retain customers, and provide better value. As hyper-personalization increasingly drives customer experience (CX), leveraging real-time data from customer interactions and events is also more reliable than traditional survey-based CX methods.
For example, one study found that only 16% of CX leaders believe survey-based CX measurement systems enable them to address the root cause of performance issues. At the same time, only 13% felt that their company could respond to CX issues in real time (McKinsey, 2021).
As competition gets tougher and companies try to win their share of new prospects and loyal customers, we can expect marketers to use behavioral analytics to develop more meaningful and relevant products, services, and promotions in the coming years. This is further supported by the fact that CMOs and marketers rank customers as the most important influencer in their marketing strategy (Salesforce, 2021).
Shifting to first-party data to understand customers
Marketers have been using third-party cookies for decades to collect customer data for personalization and creating tailored customer experiences. But with Google's efforts to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome starting in 2022, we can expect marketers to turn to other methods of data collection. One of these is the use of first-party data, which is information provided by customers themselves and owned by the company.
The use of first-party data is also less costly and yields a good ROI. One study showed that brands using first-party data for their key marketing functions increased revenue by 2.9 times and reduced costs by 1.5 times (Think with Google, 2021).
The challenge, however, is collecting personal data from customers while ensuring that your company complies with current privacy regulations such as the GDPR, CCPA, and so on. This is where marketing automation tools can really help businesses. Expect more and more marketers to rely on marketing automation software that includes multi-layered security protocols, SSO logins, and security badges. Platforms that also include features that help companies comply with the GDPR and other regulations will also be preferred.
The content plan helps you achieve your goals
Setting up a content strategy is important. But you also need to implement it as a second step. This is where a content plan helps you. Such a content plan creates liabilities, helps stakeholders align with set goals and simplifies organization.
A crucial point: Measures in product marketing and product management are often designed for the long term. This is especially true for complex and expensive products that cannot be introduced to the market overnight. The content plan helps to also align the creation of content for the long term and to ensure that everyday business tasks are not gradually subordinated to these, for example, in the design of the content hub with its requirements.
If you want to link product marketing and product management in the best possible way, you should use all the possibilities, such as marketing automation or a content plan. Think about the optimal product positioning and develop a content strategy that will optimally support your introduction to the market and the retention of the conquered position.
From the above considerations, it is evident that product marketing and product management are always strongest when they act together. As a duo, they're unbeatable and help you reach even more customers with your products. I'm convinced that this symbiosis will help you overcome your obstacles to growth. In particular, rely on marketing automation to give you a decisive advantage over the competition. Because many tasks, even in product marketing, can be automated today.