Book Image

Cracking the Product Marketing Code

By : Iman Bayatra, Daniel Kuperman
Book Image

Cracking the Product Marketing Code

By: Iman Bayatra, Daniel Kuperman

Overview of this book

In the ever-evolving product landscape, the significance of building the right product and bringing it effectively to the right market cannot be overstated. With this book, you’ll learn how to bridge the gap between your product and the market to meet customer needs effectively. Equipped with a comprehensive understanding of product marketing and its key functions—inbound and outbound strategies—you’ll discover how these strategies interweave throughout the product launch process and how to effectively leverage them to bring a product to market. This product marketing book will help you master the inbound strategies, influencing product development by conducting market and customer research, analyzing the competitive landscape, identifying customer segments, and building buyer personas to identify gaps and drive product innovation. Next, you’ll get to grips with outbound strategies, the driving force behind product adoption and sustained exponential growth. You’ll create and test messaging and positioning, build the go-to-market (GTM) plan, enable your sales team to maximize effectiveness, and ensure a product-market fit throughout the different stages of the buyer journey with impactful collaboration internally and externally for creating value. By the end of this book, you’ll have transformed into a product marketing expert enhancing product innovation, driving product adoption, and accelerating growth.
Table of Contents (19 chapters)
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Driving Product Enhancement with Inbound Strategies
Part 3 – Outbound: Strategies for Product Adoption and Exponential Growth
Part 4 – Impactful Collaboration and Value Creation

Understanding the role of a product marketer

In today's fast-paced tech industry, product marketing has emerged as a crucial strategic function that drives success for any business. No longer just a tactical role, product marketing is now at the forefront of strategic decision-making in tech companies. This shift has been driven by several key factors, one of which is increasing competition. With the rapid growth of the tech industry, competition has become fierce, making it crucial for companies to strive to develop products that not only align with the overall business objectives but also deliver significant value to customers, ultimately driving the company's bottom line. Product marketing plays a critical role in this process by conducting market and customer research to help companies better understand customer needs and identify gaps in the market, monitoring competitors' activities to identify opportunities, crafting effective go-to-market strategies, and communicating the value of their products to target audiences.

Another key driver is evolving customer expectations. Customers today expect a personalized, seamless, and engaging experience from the products and services they use. Product marketing plays a key role in delivering on these expectations by understanding customer needs and preferences, developing customer-centric products and features, and communicating the value of those products to customers.

Finally, data-driven decision-making has become a key driver of the shift toward more strategic product marketing. With the availability of vast amounts of customer and market data, companies can make more informed decisions about their products and go-to-market strategies. Product marketing plays a critical role in this process by analyzing data and using it to inform product development, enhance customer experience, and optimize the customer journey and overall Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies.

Product marketing plays a critical role in the success of businesses. By developing customer-centric products, creating effective go-to-market strategies, and communicating the value of those products to customers, product marketers help their companies differentiate themselves and maintain growth in a highly competitive market. In 2020, a tech company called Quibi launched a mobile-only streaming service that offered short-form video content designed to be watched on the go. They invested heavily in developing original content and securing high-profile talent for their platform. However, Quibi failed to consider the changing media landscape and the behavior of its target audience, which was primarily millennials and Gen Z consumers. They also didn't have a strategic approach to product marketing, which led to their failure. They didn't invest in developing targeted marketing campaigns that would resonate with their target audience. As a result, Quibi struggled to attract and retain subscribers. Its product didn't provide enough value to consumers, who could find similar short-form video content on social media platforms for free. Quibi also faced tough competition from established streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Despite attempts to pivot its product and marketing strategy, Quibi eventually failed to gain traction and shut down in late 2020, just six months after launching.

Quibi's failure demonstrates the importance of having a strategic and customer-centric approach to product marketing, especially in an industry as competitive as streaming services. By not considering the changing media landscape and behavior of its target audience and by not investing in building a strong brand or developing targeted marketing campaigns, Quibi couldn't build a product that provided substantial value to its customers and differentiate itself in a crowded market, leading to its eventual downfall.

Diving deep into the role of a product marketer – key functions and responsibilities

Product marketing involves the crucial task of connecting the dots between the product and the customer. This involves understanding the customer's needs and wants and ensuring that the product addresses those needs. To accomplish this, product marketers conduct market research to identify gaps or opportunities and work with the product development team to shape the product in a way that meets customer demands. Crafting a compelling message that effectively communicates the product's value to the target audience is another key responsibility of the product marketer. This involves identifying the product's key benefits, developing product positioning, and creating effective marketing campaigns that drive customer engagement and adoption. In addition, product marketers must have a deep understanding of the market and competitive landscape. This knowledge allows us to identify trends, anticipate market shifts, and develop strategies to stay ahead of the competition. To ensure a successful product launch, product marketers must build an effective GTM strategy that leverages multiple channels to reach the target audience, equips the sales team with the necessary tools and resources, and continually optimizes based on feedback and data. The GTM strategy is critical to the success of any product launch. Moreover, product marketers must plan, execute, and measure the success of the product launch. This requires careful planning, execution, and measurement to ensure that the product meets customer needs and achieves business objectives. Overall, a product marketer's core responsibilities can be broken down into three key categories: advocating for the customer, effectively communicating the product's value, and driving product distribution to ensure broad reach and accessibility.

Figure 1.1 – Product marketing functions

The responsibilities of product marketers have evolved significantly in recent years, with a greater focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences. Today's customers demand more than just a product or service; they expect a seamless and enjoyable experience throughout their interactions with a company. As such, the role of product marketers has shifted to prioritize enhancing the customer experience across all touchpoints, both online and offline. Looking ahead to 2023, this trend is set to continue, with product marketers placing even greater emphasis on understanding and meeting customer needs in order to drive innovation and accelerate the growth of their companies.

AI and machine learning are transforming the way product marketers reach out and engage with their customers. These technologies enable marketers to analyze vast amounts of customer data, such as demographics, past purchases, and browsing behavior, to uncover insights and create personalized messaging and campaigns that resonate with specific segments of the audience. AI-powered chatbots and other advanced tools also provide valuable customer data that allows marketers to predict demand and market trends, adjust their strategies, and make informed decisions on product positioning, pricing, and messaging. By optimizing their GTM strategies and identifying the most effective channels, messaging, and tactics, product marketers can reach and engage customers in a more personalized and effective way.

With the aid of real-time data and automated Continuous Integration (CI) tools , product marketers are now better equipped to identify market gaps and emerging trends. They can track the actions of other players in the market, enabling them to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition. The capabilities of analytics tools have also allowed product marketers to track the actions of customers at every stage of the buying journey. They can monitor and analyze customer behavior across various touchpoints, from awareness to adoption. Moreover, product marketers are now tailoring personalized buying and onboarding journeys based on customers' specific use cases, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and product adoption.

Furthermore, in the digital age, businesses have undergone significant transformations in how they connect with customers and engage with them. The advent of social media platforms and chatbots has revolutionized the bond between product marketers and customers, offering novel ways to communicate in real-time and glean valuable insights into their needs and preferences. This allows product marketers to tailor their marketing strategies to better address customer pain points and drive product adoption.

As product marketers, our role involves working on various projects and collaborating with different teams within an organization. For example, we may be tasked with conducting market research to understand customer needs and preferences and then working with the product development team to shape the product accordingly. We may also be responsible for crafting messaging and positioning that effectively communicates the product's value to the target audience, which requires collaborating with the marketing and communications teams. We must stay up to date with industry trends and the competitive landscape, which may involve collaborating with the sales team, conducting market analysis, and attending industry events. We may also work with the customer success team to identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.

Figure 1.2 – Product marketing: orchestrating cross-functional teams for market success

Collaboration with cross-functional teams is essential for product marketers to apply a customer-centric perspective, build the right customer experience, develop products that align with customer preferences, and remain competitive in a crowded landscape. Given the diverse responsibilities, product marketers need to be versatile and agile, adapting to different projects' and teams' needs while ensuring all stakeholders are working toward a mutual goal. This requires strong communication and collaboration skills and a deep understanding of the company's product and market. Ultimately, the ability to wear multiple hats and switch between projects seamlessly is critical to success as a product marketer.

Considering the external factors outlined earlier, along with others, product marketers are compelled to shift toward a more strategic approach rather than a tactical one. Nowadays, product marketers prioritize a customer-centric perspective and emphasize innovation, identifying gaps in the market while collaborating with cross-functional teams such as product management, sales, engineering, and customer support by bringing in the customer's voice. This collaboration helps to create the right customer experience, develop products that cater to customers' preferences, and maintain a competitive edge. Such strategic focus allows companies to innovate, accelerate growth, and drive revenues. However, internal factors within an organization, such as company size and team structure, can significantly impact the scope, responsibilities, and reporting structure of product marketers. The next part of this chapter delves deeper into how these internal factors shape the role of product marketing.