Companies put a lot of effort into marketing their brands (ie. product marketing.)
They design fancy logos, set up email marketing automation programs, and roll out amazing websites, among other efforts. But without a strong product, your brand means nothing.
In fact, according to Media Relations Agency, 80 percent of new products fail. But why? Well, failure could be due to a number of factors:
- Lack of understanding of the market
- Lack of understanding of the buyer
- Lack of communication
- Ineffective product marketing strategy
With so many people involved and so much time and money invested in your new product, it’s important to get it right. You don’t want to spend all your time and energy focused on building your brand only to have your first product fail.
Successful products require successful product marketing strategies. That means you need to ensure the product meets customers’ needs, position it in the market appropriately, and have a plan to get the word out.
Six essential elements of a product marketing strategy
Here are six essential elements of a strong product marketing strategy:
It may be obvious, but the first step to developing a strong product marketing strategy is making sure you have a strong product. Before you even start putting together your strategy, you need to make sure the product is created with the customer in mind and aligns with their needs.
People don’t want to just buy things, they want to solve their problems. So, ask yourself what problem your product solves for the customer. How will it make their lives better? Answering these questions will help you determine the right messaging for promotion down the road.
The value your product provides is more important than its capabilities. In other words, you should focus more on the benefits of your product, rather than its features. Each feature should be developed for a purpose and provide some benefit to the customer. You should have an innovative product, or at least one that solves a common business challenge.
Just like your product needs to be created with your audience in mind, your strategy should also be created with your audience in mind. To do that, you need to truly understand the individuals in your audience and know everything you can about them.
Start by doing some research and gathering any information you can about your intended audience, such as:
- Marital status
Better yet, interview your customers. Set up phone calls or meetings and ask them about their preferences. Listen to how they talk and the language they use. This can help form your narrative.
According to Cintell, high-performing companies are 2.3 times more likely to research their buyers’ drivers and motivations. Any information can be helpful in uncovering your audience’s preferences and how best to market your product to those individuals. Once you have all your information gathered, start building buyer personas.
In your research, you’ll probably discover some patterns among your audience. These commonalities can be grouped together to create buyer personas, or an archetype of what your ideal customer looks like and how they behave. This way, you can focus on marketing to one buyer persona at a time, rather than to your whole audience.
It’s not enough to just think about your audience through product development. You need to communicate with your audience. According to Customer Thermometer, 57 percent of consumers feel trust when they’re emotionally connected to a brand, and that emotional connection is built through your messaging.
Your product messaging should be built around a narrative. Narratives are the easiest way to get your audience to connect with your product because they are relatable and will resonate with your audience.
To craft an effective story, you need to identify your product’s unique selling proposition. What is the main value for the user? Hone in on one key message that will drive your narrative.
Developing and promoting a product requires a multi-team effort. However, keeping multiple teams on the same page is no easy task. Product marketers need to be the bridge between sales, marketing, engineering, and development. They need to bring the teams together and make sure everyone is on the same page.
According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing, only 35 percent of marketers believe they understand their role in delivering a branded customer experience. It’s the product marketer who is responsible for educating and informing the entire team and organization to ensure everyone knows their part.
With so many people working on one project, it’s easy for miscommunication and disorganization to derail your progress. A product roadmap can bring all the teams and internal stakeholders into alignment.
The product roadmap provides a summary of the entire product marketing plan and guides the team on what will happen in each step of the process. With this document, you can maintain visibility throughout the entire project and ensure all those involved know what’s going on.
Having a great product and well-thought-out strategy isn’t where the work stops. You can’t expect your audience to flock to purchase your product if they know nothing about it. You need to get the word out through strategic promotion.
According to CEB, 58 percent of consumers have tried a new brand in the last three months that they didn’t even know about a year ago. Because those brands invested in promotion, those customers were able to learn about them.
Your promotion plan needs to get your message in front of the right audience at the right time. If you’ve done your research and built your buyer personas, you should have no problem identifying the right audience.
But timing is also important. Besides researching your audience, you should also be doing research on the market overall. You need to ensure you have a strong product-market fit and that your launch is timed well to be the most effective.
Communicating through the right channels is also important. Look to where your audience spends time, and include a mix to reach different segments of your audience. Your promotion plan could include:
You should promote your product through the channels that make the most sense for your brand and audience. Make sure you plan your promotion well in advance to ensure everything runs smoothly once you’re ready to launch.
Your product marketing strategy needs to be just that – strategic. You can’t expect your strategy to have perfect results, and you need to be tracking those results to learn from them.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing finds that only 48 percent of marketers are consistently measuring brand, customer-related, and non-financial metrics of success. If you’re not measuring, how will you know how to improve?
Once you’ve implemented your promotion plan and your product has gone to market, you need to watch and listen to find out how successful you are. Focus on several key metrics to track, such as email clicks, website form submissions, reach, share of voice, and, of course, conversions.
Look at both what did well and where you went wrong. If possible, adjust your strategy as you go along, using the lessons you learn to guide your product marketing strategies in the future.