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Product marketing: product positioning is essential

The definition of Buyer Persona, the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and a laser-focused messaging, that is only the tip of the iceberg of a clear product positioning. Product positioning represents the most important point of product marketing - even in B2B marketing, purely nothing works without product positioning.

At the SaaStr, not without reason, the great success stories were attributed to essential product positioning. That's exactly why a target audience analysis and strategic placement are essential success factors you need to consider.

What is product marketing 

First, let's clarify what product marketing actually is, why it's so important for your business, and what strategy you can use to successfully build your product marketing.

Product marketing describes the process of bringing a product to market (go-to-market), promoting it, selling it to customers, and keeping the product on the market. For successful product marketing, you predominantly need to know and understand your target audience. Which needs does it have? What do they want that your product fulfills? What gap in the market closes your product? With the help of these questions, you can apply strategies adapted to your target audience to position your product. 

Unlike traditional marketing, product marketing takes a more strategic approach. In many companies, product marketing is a specific approach to marketing and the considerations start in product management. Product marketing focuses on all the steps a customer goes through until a purchase is made. The focus is on building deeper customer relationships. Decisive are not the objective properties and characteristics of the offered performance, but the benefits of this performance perceived by customers. Your company wants to market its products through product marketing in such a way that they appeal directly to the target group and are attractive to them.

The objectives of product marketing

1. The buyer persona - get to know your customers better

It must be clear to your customers what added value your product offers them. To be able to adapt your product exactly to the needs and demands of your customers, you need to get to know them better in advance. What problems does she often have to deal with? What wishes does she have? You create a so-called buyer persona - a profile of your target group, in which you record all of their needs. 

Adapted to the needs of your customers, you can market your product in such a way that it is precisely tailored to them and therefore appeals to them positively. Your customers want to feel seen and understood. Customer research always has a positive effect on your product marketing and allows you to always be up to date and thus offer your customers a product that is modern and up-to-date. 

2. Get to know your competition and find your unique selling point

To discover your own individuality and present it properly, you need to get to know your competition. What advantages do their products offer? What aspects do they fulfill that your product does not? In which areas do your competitors still have gaps, but you can fill them? 

To establish yourself in the world market, you need a unique selling proposition, an aspect that makes your company and its products unique and offers your customers better value than other products. 

Competition invigorates the market, but it also makes it a lot more dangerous. So regularly find out about your competitors and develop your own business on them in an individual way. 

3. Right product positioning 

One of your main goals in product marketing is to position your product appropriately. Your product, your brand image, and your "tone of voice"should all be in harmony and evoke the right feelings in your customers. To achieve this, you should ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Does my product fit today's market?
  • How is it different from the competition?
  • Can I distinguish my product especially from those of my competitors?
  • Are there any products that we used to sell in the market but would no longer sell today? If so, why? 

What tasks does product marketing include?

Product marketing is a large subject area that includes many smaller complex areas that must be considered for successful product marketing. Below, we highlight the six most common tasks in product marketing. 

Your target audience is the top priority for successful product marketing, as it determines how you can market your product in a way that appeals to customers and guarantees you profit.

If you want to create a buyer persona that is representative of your target audience, clear illustrations are a good idea. Create a kind of CV or a profile of your buyer persona, so that you can find all the important information in one place and quickly get an overall picture of your target group.

Your marketing strategy allows you to create and expand content and develop campaigns. It supports you on the path to your Buyer Personas and Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). To create an appropriate marketing strategy, you need to consider the following points: 

  • Know your target audience
  • Stand out from the competition by clearly defining your product positioning and message
  • Set goals for your product

Product marketers must maintain a direct relationship with sales and work with them to attract appropriate customers for the product in question. They also provide sales representatives with materials that equip them with all the information about the product in detail. 

This way, you and your teams are on the same page when it comes to what gets shared with customers, and you can provide a consistent experience for everyone who comes in contact with the product.

Make sure your product meets the needs of your target audience and align them with the product roadmap and product management. This point must be reviewed at all times so that you consistently deliver on the promise to your target audience that your product will meet their needs, which the competition has sometimes disregarded. 

Your target audience's needs change over time, as innovations continue to evolve, new offerings emerge, and your customers move in new directions. If you regularly inform yourself about the current needs of your target group, you can adapt your product accordingly and do not run the risk that your customers suddenly lose interest in your product. 

Keep your product current. If your customers' expectations and desires change, you'll not only need to make slight changes to your product, but you may also need to make changes to your marketing strategy. In any case, your product should be current to stay interesting. 

Product positioning represents one of the most important points of product marketing. You need to clearly present to your customers why your product was developed, who your product is for, what problems your product solves, and what makes it unique. 

What exactly product positioning is all about, and why it is such an essential part of product marketing, we'll take a closer look at in the following sections. 

But now to product positioning

Product positioning? What often seems simple in the B2C sector presents many a B2B company with mountains of challenges, especially thanks to complex and often very technical products. And this is how positioning works: via enumeration of product features.

Nobody understands why a product is outstanding by simply listing sober facts - or do you know why a NAS with PCIe 10GbE network card and Quad Core processor is a real advantage for your company over an ordinary storage system? Or what a NAS even is? Your potential customers will feel the same way if you only throw around technical terms and lists. And that's where product positioning comes in: It's about showing your buyer persona how your product benefits them.

We want to sell - and really good products

What all software companies, whether SaaS, start-up or established B2B, probably bring to the table is a fair amount of expertise. Your company shouldn't lack that either

However, a really good product won't get you anywhere if no one understands that it's a really good product.
Before advertisements are planned, brochures are printed and every effort is made, you should nevertheless intensively deal with what excites your customers. And for this you must deal intensively with your own offer. Because: Only if you know what makes your customers' hearts beat faster, what excites them, can you highlight the advantages of your product. And operate targeted marketing - This is exactly where product placement comes in.

In the following sections, you'll learn,

  • What product positioning is.

  • Why you need to know your target audience down to the last detail.

  • how you communicate strategically smart.

  • how you highlight the benefits of your product.

  • How to create a positioning for your product in the marketplace that will drive sales.

Good and bad positioning

One thing in advance: not every positioning is a successful positioning. So - very casually put - it can not be the goal to shoot your product into the market and praise something about it highly as a unique selling proposition. But what makes a good positioning?

How you can tell that your positioning is bad

That one's own product could be poorly positioned is something that people are quite happy to generously overlook. Or you simply don't recognize it.

You can recognize poor positioning from the following signs:

  • Your sales force has to spend a long time explaining to customers what it's all about until they understand.

  • You have a poor retention rate, or a high churn rate

  • You have a lot of leads, but ultimately they buy from your competitor

  • Your prospects feel the price is too high. Only if you offer a generous discount will you be able to sell at all.

It is important that you always keep in mind when positioning that it must be adapted to changes - both in the product and in the market.

But when is positioning good now?

If you belong to the target group and are confronted with a well-positioned product, you won't soon forget it. Excellent examples of this can be found almost exclusively in the B2C market to date. Just think of the positioning of every new iPhone: The message is clear - technically at the top, visually in a league of its own, and all that without selling data. There is usually no mention of the chip in the iPhone or any other technical details. Essential: The iPhone is not an ordinary smartphone and is not positioned as such, which is strategically clever, since it can do much less than one without a jailbreak. The fact that we do not complain about this is primarily due to the positioning as a device in itself, which has its very own qualities.

Such examples of strategic positioning from the B2C sector can easily be transferred to the B2B market. Here, too, the central goal is to provide the target group with powerful arguments for your product that they can relate to.

In summary, good product positioning is characterized by the following features:

  • It is aligned with the knowledge and needs of the target audience.

  • It does not create pressure to justify missing features.

  • It communicates the benefits.

  • It names what the product is about and what makes it unique.

Why is the product positioning so important?

This should already have made it clearer why the strategic positioning of a product is important. But perhaps the following questions are pressing on your mind:

But don't products sell that hardly anyone understands? Do I even want to reach people who can't do anything with the technical details and don't understand the technical language?

Even in B2B, where customers can be expected to have greater expertise than in B2C, these questions are frequently asked.

However, this does not make sense, which can be quickly explained with the chosen example: Doctors do not have to be good at organizing their practice. They don't need to understand why booking appointments online can make them money. Nor do they need to know how risky it is in terms of data protection to completely outsource the organization of appointments. Anyone who wants to reach this target group must therefore be able to do more than program it watertight and be able to name the details.

Also in B2B, a product is brought closer to the target group through positioning, in order to ultimately be able to sell it.

So it is just as important here to know the needs of the target group, to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the competition and to be able to position your own product with its advantages accordingly.

Four steps for the perfect product positioning

Such strategic positioning can be achieved in four simple steps, which we have listed for you below.

Step 1: Who is your target group and what do they want?

If you don't know your target audience, you will fail. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who has bought your product so far?

  • Who might be interested in it?

  • And why is this group in particular interested?

Create as detailed a target group profile as possible:

  • Are they small or large companies?

  • In what industry do they operate?

  • What is their turnover?

  • What competencies do they have?

  • What problems do they face?

  • What do the people in charge get annoyed about again and again in their everyday work?

  • Where is there potential for improvement?

Step 2: What can your product do?

You need to know your product at least as well as your target audience. Again, it pays to create a profile.

To move from product to positioning, you need to know what features it offers and what the benefits are.

In addition, you also need to know what your product can not do. Here is a brainstorming in the team. It is important that not only developers are involved, but also other perspectives are taken. It makes sense, for example, to specifically ask existing customers what exactly they appreciate and love about the product.

Step 3: What can your product do better than the competition?

Let's not kid ourselves: There are probably competing products already out there and the idea is not completely unique. Therefore, it is important to know the competition well: What can it do? What can't your product do? What can your product do better? In the discussion of the already established alternatives, some concise unique selling propositions should be developed that fit the needs of the target group. These should be formulated as succinctly as possible, and again the way they are formulated must be tailored to the target audience - law firms and real estate companies are approached differently than tech startups.

Step 4: What trends can you capitalize on?

Frequently, it makes sense to look for trends that you can take advantage of. Trends that have a tangible connection to the product often help to clearly communicate the benefits. In the example mentioned, the trend towards digitalization, for example, can be harnessed, since this buzzword already invokes a massive frame of meaning that conveys some benefits to the target audience without you having to go far afield. However, such trend positioning should be done carefully and not degenerate into reproducing mere empty phrases that only end up causing confusion.

Without positioning, no marketing works and without marketing, no sales

Strategic positioning is important because the path to sales leads through product and positioning to marketing. In concrete terms, this means that no meaningful marketing positioning is possible without the appropriate groundwork, which affects the sales success of the product.

Product positioning is not a nice extra, but an essential part of the marketing strategy that must precede all concrete marketing measures.

Conclusion: the right product positioning for successful product marketing

Product marketing is about aligning product positioning with customer needs so that customers actually buy and use the products. In a systematic approach, we bring your product to market and make it sellable.

Finding a positioning for a product is also one of the most important corporate tasks in B2B. Only those who know their target group and position their product accordingly on the market can engage in targeted marketing and achieve sustainable sales success. Above all, however, one thing is important: It is not enough to simply know that product positioning is important, you also have to implement it.