The Heart & Soul of Everything Marketing
It is the process of promoting and selling a product to a customer. Also, often defined as being the intermediary function between product development and increasing brand awareness.
In fact, Product Marketing is considered the most important Marketing function since it deals with pretty much most departments in an organization! So, a product marketing manager or specialist is a largely busy person! This person might not carry out all product marketing activities by him or herself, but they need to work with and through all departments to go-to-market with the product.
In most organizations, a product road-map is identified as a general guideline for what products will be introduced to the market and when. The road-map also usually includes promotions, product enhancements, and other activities.
Some research is required to identify the target market, projected price point, market segment that the product addresses, and many more marketing aspects. This could involve qualitative and/or quantitative research, to gather what is often referred to as “Customer Insights”. Who should work with the marketing research department to ensure the right questions are asked? It’s the product marketing person.
How does a price point get identified? It certainly shouldn’t be a guess! Will the product need a launch promotion or activity of some sort? Will it require marcom? How is it going to be communicated? Simple brochure, or advertising required? TV? Radio? PR and media? Was a budget planned for these activities? Who needs to have the answers to all these questions? Exactly, it’s our product marketing specialist!
Some products are too special that a company would be willing to splash the cash to ensure it gets the right publicity. Maybe it’s a breakthrough and the company wants to make it significant, especially against competitors who don’t have a similar offering.
The product marketer also works closely with the technology department where applicable to determine and make sure the product offers the right features for its target customers. Last thing a company will want is a product that is not sold “because it doesn’t solve its customers’ problems!”
OK, so you’ve got a product with the right features, you know which market segment you’re going to offer it to, you know how much you’re going to sell it for, and you know what your target sales are of this product per year from launch through maturity till end-of life.
How are you going to sell it? Does your sales team know about it? Do they know the strength points against competing products? Do they know that you have a launch promo? Who’s going to train them on the different features of the product?
Right again: it’s your product marketing person!
It doesn’t end there by the way, this person also monitors the product’s performance, collects feedback, and continuously works on enhancements and improvements to the quality and value of the product to ensure the best customer experience! Isn’t this our main objective?!
So, in brief, product marketing sits at the intersection of marketing, sales, customer service, finance, product development and any other function in the organization dealing with the product! Essentially, the product marketing person is considered the “God of the product”, in reference to the ultimate importance of this function!