Updated: Apr 22, 2022
A Product Marketing Manager works at the intersection of product development, marketing, and sales. A Product Marketing Manager (PMM) tells the product's story to the market. The PMM's job is to understand the product's value proposition and turn that information into compelling messages for customers, prospects, and internal audiences.
A Program Manager (PM) is a strategic project-management professional that oversees and coordinates the various projects, products, and other strategic initiatives.
Now that we cleared that up let's cover Best Practices of Product Marketing in a technical product/service environment.
Product Discovery, Research, Ideation, & Goals
Product Discovery is a process that prevents product/services teams from investing in ideas with no discernible market. Instead of creating solutions to problems no one has, product discovery justifies why your product workflow should exist and identifies who will use it. Its power can surface plenty of valuable insights that you can use to optimize your market launch, especially around positioning and audience messaging.
Great ideas gain speed under their momentum, but it's worth slowing down enough to perform product discovery properly to set yourself up for a successful product launch. Often feature changes are logical yet are not used. This is why products that solve problems that the user does not have time to take advantage of can be subtle. The best way to get started is through Research and Ideation.
- Rather than assumptions or developer bias is the best way to build and market a product that appeals to a user base. Surveys and customer interviews are outstanding research. Just be sure that your questions aren't constructed to support a conclusion you've already made.
An additional method is the A/B feature test with telemetry. Because of the significant UI differences between desktop, browser, and mobile, your tracking of in-app user behavior should be included in your research.
- Consider something in a new way. It might be a new approach to a problem, a new perspective, or a result from data. Employers in all industries want employees who can
think creatively and bring new perspectives to the workplace. The goal of this step is usually to have a team (Agile) think of as many ideas as possible. Then, you can sort through all of your thoughts and choose the ones that can solve your problem most successfully.
- Once we understand the buying steps, we can establish goals for marketing outreach. With questions such as:
How do we want it to influence buyers?
What next steps do we want them to take?
- Most companies launch products and features frequently, but not every launch is made equal. That’s why it’s essential to agree early on the launch level, especially among the key stakeholders. Using a launch framework, you can quickly prioritize and categorize launches.
- A major product launch that will acquire new customers, open new markets, and adjust the company's GTM strategy.
- A product or feature launch that will improve retention and unlock new revenue potential.
- A "motivate" feature launch that improves the playing field and improves retention.
- A minor improvement that creates stability or resolves an issue. With this system, you’ll rank each launch between (make a big splash) and (release it quietly). This framework allows you to strategize how to use tactics to take your product to market because:
• You can’t shout about each product and feature (or give each the same level of promotion); otherwise, your customers will stop listening • You have restraints on time and resources, so you need to make sure you prioritize the launches that will provide the most significant business impact • A framework creates a fair and consistent way of prioritizing launch activities so that something doesn’t get extra love just because the champion was a little bit louder (we’ve all been there) Once you’ve aligned on a launch tier, you’re ready to draft your plan.
Audience & Segmentation
- The first thing you need to include in your launch plan is a clearly defined target audience. Since you did the research before developing your product and gathered feedback from beta users, this part should be a breeze. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s not critically important to document. Remember, not everybody in your organization is as close to the customer and product as you are. A big part of your job now is to get everybody in the same boat, rowing in the same direction. If your company has already developed user and buyer personas, this is a great time to use them.
Positioning & Messaging
- A solid product positioning statement requires how you solve your target audience’s pain points and why they should choose your product over your competitors. Too often, outlining the story behind your product is rushed or overlooked. But we all know how essential storytelling is to connect with your company’s vision and your audience. Developing the correct narrative about your product offering is almost as important as the product itself.
- positioning is how your product fits into the market and what pain point it solves. Typically not customer-facing, your positioning statement is most effective as an internal tool to keep your teams aligned. Used properly, a positioning statement should help ensure that every touchpoint is cohesive and connects back to a clear and unique value proposition. Ultimately, those touchpoints will shape your prospects’ and customers’ perceptions of your product. The narrative for positioning uses this formula PN = mc+b (tg/nw) Product's Name] is the [market category] that provides [benefit that sets your product apart from the competition] for [target user group] who [need/want X solution].
What makes your product better—and ideally, different—than the alternatives? Your positioning strategy should be informed by the research and audience insights gathered through the early stages of this process (hint: starting with discovery). Competitive intelligence should also be input. Regardless of your approach, defining your positioning early will put you and your team in a position to succeed.
- a product message is the words you use to convey your positioning to your target audience. It’s the expression of the positioning where it comes to life. Your messaging should capture the key points you want to convey about your product or service. Consider: what do you want customers to remember? Unlike positioning, messaging is written with an external audience in mind. It should resonate with your product’s target audience and be used consistently across all externally-facing assets, including your website, sales collateral, and marketing campaigns. Inside Tip: If your new product or feature still needs an official name, you may be in luck. Consciously or not, your product's name will shape users' perceptions of it. Take this opportunity to reinforce your positioning; just don't overthink it ;-)
Mapping Your Omni-Channel TACTICS to your Product Marketing Goals
A Unified Buying Experience Across Touchpoints Has Become a digital first, yet prospects still have to navigate the complexities of B2B buying dynamics. B2B buyers expect you to take the steps necessary to unify the buying experience across all touchpoints. Siloed approaches for digital, direct, and indirect sales models don't work.
Omnichannel Goals Dictate Your Org Model, Culture, And Technology Approach
The mandate is clear: Serve your customer where they are and when they're in need. This is the key to your product marketing tactics.
WHAT? Only the first two stages of Product Marketing Best Practices?
Contact me to hear more about the remainder of this Infographic and more on Product Marketing Best Practices.