Product marketing is the process of promoting and selling a product to an audience. Product marketing, as opposed to product management, deals with more outbound marketing or customer-facing tasks.
To summarize, the goal is to identify the market/customer, define the product/service and arrive at Go To Market strategy to take the product/service to the end customer.
After spending a decade in the Technology Services Marketing, I have realized that Services Marketing has evolved and has resemblance to Product Marketing. In today’s time Services companies have to develop new IPs/Tools and Solutions to differentiate themselves into the market and in front of clients. These IPs & Solutions can be for an industry to bring efficiency in the processes OR it can be a Service Line (like Software Testing, Engineering Services) that cuts across all the industries. This blog from Hinge talks about 9 Ways to Differentiate your Professional Services, you can read it here. I have worked on conceptualising & executing Proprietary Thought Leadership Events, Research Surveys, Creation of eBooks, Analyst led Client Workshops to name a few that helps differentiate Services companies.
I have got privilege to work and define GTM strategy for Industry solutions as well as Service Line solutions while working with great companies like Wipro, IBM and Cigniti.
Here are the top 3 key areas that brings similarity between Service Marketing and Product Marketing.
Identify the Market/Customer
Market research is a key activity that helps identify and understand your customer. This is an important exercise to define your target client and then identify approaches to reach them either through existing relationships or building new relationships by identifying key stakeholders and helping them educate about the need around your solutions through blogs, articles, concept videos, social campaigns, whitepapers, webinars, meeting at events etc. This article from Entrepreneur.com covers the 7 Sets to define your Market, read it here.
Defining the Product/Solution
This step involves sharing insights gathered from the market research and feed this information to product/solution development teams. It may also involve doing market research survey to test your hypothesis with a target set of customers. Here we also speak with industry influencers and analysts to test your hypothesis and hear from them what they are seeing and hearing in the market. This blog from Akoonu talks about 5 Tips for improving & Engaging Industry Analysts, read it here.
Once the validation of your solutions message and area is completed, its time to create the value proposition and key messages of the product/solution. There can be multiple formats we can use ranging from positioning slides, articles, whitepapers, blogs, concept videos, sales battlecards etc.
Go To Market (GTM) Strategy
Now that we have defined the market, validated/refined the solution and created the value proposition documents, its time to plan how to launch the product/solution. You have to do it internally (sales, solutions, delivery teams) as well as externally (clients, prospects, analysts) and plan out the entire launch plan, define the marketing dollars needed and then execute it meticulously. You surely have to define goals on what you want to achieve (analyst coverage, develop new pipeline, new client wins, internal enablement coverage, press coverage etc). There will be multiple launch events ranging from online (webinars, tweetchat, internal webex sessions etc) and outbound events (conferences, client roadshows, client workshops etc). This article from CIO.com shares 9 Tips for launching a new product or service, you can read it here.
Content and Digital Marketing efforts will play very important role to create awareness and generate leads for the new product/solution and we need to collaborate with these teams while creating a launch plan. Content & Digital Marketing define your Inbound Strategy and is really key in today’s digital age as it will bring your clients and prospects to you while they are doing their online research & educating themselves to solve their business problems. You surely have to plan and ensure that your product/solution content appears and educates & develops the need while your client is doing their research to solve their business problems.
Similar kind of strategies are undertaken by Product Marketers as well to define the target audience, defining their product and launching their product into the market.
These are great times to build your Marketing career in a Product or a Services company as the Marketing strategies and activities resemble quite a lot.