What is Product Marketing? All you need to know

What is Product Marketing? All you need to know

As defined by a lot of sources Product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market and overseeing its overall success.
And although a lot of companies have this function separated and proving the benefits of applying the product marketing tactics and techniques, there are still a lot of hot questions on the table. 

In this article we will cover;

  • What are the differences between traditional marketing and product marketing?
  • What are the differences between Product Management and Product Marketing?
  • Why is product marketing important?
  • What do Product marketers do? 
  • Product marketing in practice

What are the differences between traditional marketing and product marketing?

There is a lot of debate around the differences between traditional or conventional marketing and Product marketing. What’s really different? Let’s talk about traditional marketing and Product marketing separately, then compare and see what’s specific to each. 

Traditional marketing as we know it

Marketing is the function that is responsible for the growth and development of the brand as a whole, including the strategy, market research, raising awareness, building and communicating the message, promotions, launching campaigns, evaluating the results, and improving the strategy if necessary.

Product marketing

Product marketing is focused on introducing the product to the market and applying tools and techniques specific to the brand and the product itself to ensure adoption and loyalty to the product.

Product marketing is a component of conventional/traditional marketing. 

It is typically more strategic when it comes to retaining existing customers, ensuring their happiness, and long-term product success.

The core pillars for Product Marketing as a function are;

  • Identifying, knowing, understanding, and “feeling” the customer
  • Effective positioning of the product 
  • Building targeted messaging and monitoring the best channels for communication
  • Preparing detailed launch plans and supporting sales with insights and materials
  • Clearly defining the metrics and KPIs to measure the product marketing activities
  • Constant measuring of product success and improvements to the strategy for the long term success

Differences

  • First of all, product marketing is a part of marketing.
  • General (conventional or traditional) marketing is usually more focused on driving demand and product marketing is more focused on marketing ensuring adoption and long-term customer happiness.
  • Marketing puts more effort into generating high-quality leads and helps in driving sales, and product marketing is addressing the pain points of the customer communicating the solutions via messaging and effective positioning of the product.

What are the differences between Product Management and Product Marketing?

Product management and Product marketing may overlap in a lot of ways, but there are key specifics that make those two functions/roles very different.

Product management is focused on the creation and definition of new products and features, and Product Marketing works on bringing this product and its features to the market.

Product Marketing Lifecycle

Why is product marketing important?

There are a few important aspects on why and how product marketing is important, however, the outstanding one is that business growth is impossible long-term without happy customers. Product marketing is the process of providing you with the strategies and execution plan to create long-term success.

Product marketing focuses on bringing the product to the market. And no matter if this is a new product that is going to be introduced to the customers if it’s an existing one rebranded or just retargeted to another audience, the strategy, and the execution approach is going to be essential to proceed to the next step, the adoption.

Speaking of which, adoption is the process where the customer should decide on whether or not to try your product. This can be a very easy process if the product is coming out under a famous brand or label (for example the Apple products) and it can take months or even years for some products to help their audience to break the hesitance and try a new product.
With this said, the stronger and more fine-tuned the strategy for Product Marketing is, the smoother the potential customers will transition to the adoption phase.

There are a lot of companies that distribute the product marketing tasks between the product management and marketing teams, which may be a solution for some products or company development stages, but in the long run, this is considered to be less effective for the success and business growth in general.

Another way Product Marketing is important comes from its strong focus on working with customers, ensuring satisfaction, and gathering insights. And insights are huge when it comes to fine-tuning the strategy to retain more customers, ensure their happiness and loyalty to the product. 


Finally, business success depends on a great strategy. And what do you need to build a great strategy? Among all the other essentials, you will most definitely need to have a deep understanding of the target audience and existing customers, your competitors, and the overall market you are intending to enter. These are the core responsibilities of product marketers, and that’s why it’s important to consider this function/team or position, whichever is applicable to your product and company.

What do Product marketers do?

As we have already discussed here, product marketing is the function responsible for creating marketing strategies that drive business growth.
And although it seems pretty straightforward when we mention building the strategy, this function may vary a lot depending on the type and development stage of the company, as well as the product itself, even within the same company that has multiple products.

However, there are a few points that are common for most product marketers.
In a nutshell, the great product manager should be able to understand the customers and their needs, build a strong strategy and always keep an eye on improvement possibilities, position the product effectively, build the messaging, create launch plans, as well as support the team which is responsible for the execution of that launch.

Product Marketer’s core responsibilities include;

  • To ensure that the product (new features of existing product) is positioned on the market in accordance with the overall Product strategy
  • Test and ensure that the product fully covers (even better if it exceeds) targeted customers expectations
  • Provide sales and marketing teams all the information and materials they need for their processes
  • Ongoing product evolution and adaptation strategies to the market and target customer’s needs

Deliverables usually include;

  • Personas identified within each segment and target audience 
  • Research and analysis on positioning, packaging, and messaging
  • Effective positioning techniques, packaging directions (including materials), and messaging built based on the insights of analysis
  • Ongoing evaluation of the market and how the product fits in, sharing the insights with sales and marketing
  • Detailed insights to support action plans for all the aspects of marketing, promotion activities, and sales

There are a few nuances to the Product Marketer’s role

The strategic part of the role includes the ability to clearly define the target audience and position the product, understand what is the niche/place you hold in the eyes of your current customers, evaluate the pros and cons to that and the techniques to match the perfect fit you were targeting. 

The tactical part includes the ability to foresee the opportunities for your product, navigate sales where to look for the customer, how to recognize the “right” customer, and how to address their pain points.

The fun part of the job includes the customer interaction via insights and ensuring their happiness, empowering sales to achieve their goals and just ongoing work on the strategy and how to make your product even more loved by your customers.

Product marketing in practice

When it comes to product marketing in real life, the essential point is keeping the messaging focused on solutions and benefits, as well as keeping the customer at the core of that messaging. 

Hubspot and MailChimp are great examples of clear and targeted messaging in very competitive markets like CRM and email marketing respectively.
HubSpot’s messaging is “There’s a better way to grow” and MailChimp’s “Create beautiful, branded emails that make you look like a pro”.

HubSpot is addressing the passion for growth and the fear of the inability to manage things properly or to keep them organized during the scaling and MailChimp provides a solution to have nice-looking, branded email, and leave an impression of a professional not just a newbie with clumsy emails. 

Asana, the project management app, is building its messaging around remote team coordination issues that are pretty common these days, by messaging “Keep your team coordinated, wherever you are”.

Product Marketing is important, exciting and can be a game-changer for the product if handled professionally. It requires experience, skill, and talent to be able to translate product features into customer benefits. This may look like a lot of effort, but it’s worth every bit of it.



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