As a marketer, I've often found myself feeling a tad embarrassed about my limited knowledge of product marketing.
I've known a lot about driving traffic and converting it into customers, but I've never felt that I truly mastered the art of product marketing.
Over the past year I've studied what makes a great product marketing strategy.
Here is what I've learned:
Product marketing fundamentals
Let's start out with a few fundamental that I think too few people understand about product marketing.
Product marketing is a rather new decipline - at least we didn't have many people with product marketing titles just a few years ago. However the responsibilities of product marketers have been around for a long time.
What is product marketing?
I define it as creating alignment between your product and your target market/audience through positioning and messaging.
Product marketing involves a deep understanding of the target market, competitors, and customer needs. It is the art and science of effectively communicating the value proposition of a product to the target audience.
Here's what I find that not enough people understand about product marketing:
You need to differentiate yourself
Conformity is Anonymity. Be different and stand out.
Product marketing is more important than performance marketing in the early days
Product marketing is more related to brand building than any other marketing discipline.
Everything influences product marketing
When first developing your product marketing strategy, either you start from scratch or you have to work within the set of boundaries.
Ideal customer profile
The art of choosing an ideal customer profile is often taken for granted.
Defining an ideal customer profile (ICP) is essential for effective product marketing. An ICP is a detailed description of the target audience. This could include details around who they are, where they live, how they think, how they work etc.
For any business it's critical to get inside your audience's brain. Understand their needs and pains.
Having a clear picture ICP will help you focus your marketing efforts. That's why people create personas of fictive people: "45 year old, Paul from Sales who works at a 400 person SaaS company".
By understanding the their pains and needs, you can better target and tailor your messaging to resonate with them.
Decide and stick to one ideal customer profile
We've heard it sooo many times:
"Choose a target audience / ideal customer profile for your product"
Yet so many don't do it. And those who do, often don't align their positioning and messaging to that audience. Often they just can't resist the temptation of targeting a broad audience.
By narrowing down your focus and tailoring your efforts to a specific ICP, you can better understand their needs, pain points, and preferences, enabling you to create more impactful messaging and positioning strategies.
One thing is to decide on an ICP. Another thing is to decide on which audiences not to go after - just like there are marketing channels you shouldn't use.
If you have a high-end luxury lifestyle brand targeting women age 25-40, then don't buy bill boards next to the high way and exclude men from your ads targeting.
Focus on people who are in need for your product - right now
Instead of looking for Mr. Right, then always look for Mr. Right Now.
When pitching to investors you often talk about your total addressable market. When crafting your messaging you should always focus on people who have the problem you are solving - right now.T
How are you different?
Different from your competitors or your customer's current solution.
Peter Thiel says that your product need to be 10X better than what's already in the market. I say you need to be "10X more different" to build a product that can beat what's already in the market.
Your positioning helps people put you into a bucket.
Effective positioning is crucial for standing out.
For example, a project management SaaS company can position itself as the a "Project Management Tool" or "All-in-One Project Management Solution for Creative Agencies."
By doing so, they help potential customers easily categorize them and differentiate their specialized offering from generic project management tools.
As a creative agency you would always look at solutions specialised to a business like you. This positioning attracts creative agencies seeking tailored solutions and enhances the company's brand recognition and customer acquisition efforts.
Positioning is the process of defining how your product is differentiated from competitors and how it fits into the market. It involves identifying unique selling points (USPs) and creating a perception of the product in the minds of the target audience.
Effective positioning can help:
Differentiate your product from competitors
Establish credibility and expertise in the market
Redefine the market by creating a new category
Positioning can also be a great way of creating defendability in your business. By narrowing down your positioning to a unique ICP and really working it into your product and it's features, you choose to go down a route where more generic solutions simply can't.
To develop a strong positioning strategy, you need to understand the market your are in. This includes a deep understanding of your competitors. If you don't understand how they differentiate their products, then it's hard for you to find your place in the market.
Positioning is a continuous task. Monitor and adjust your positioning based on feedback and market changes.
Crafting persuasive messaging is an art.
But there is a bit of science to it as well.
Messaging is the process of crafting compelling and persuasive communication that resonates with your target audience. It involves developing messaging that emphasizes the product's unique features, benefits, and value proposition.
I'm not gonna go in-depth with copywriting here.
Effective messaging can help:
Capture the attention of the target audience
Build trust and credibility with customers
Convert prospects into customers
To develop effective messaging, you should:
Understand the target audience's pain points and needs
Highlight the product's key features and benefits
Craft messaging that resonates emotionally with the target audience
Test and refine messaging based on feedback and market response
Features and capabilities beat benefits
Which text tells you the most about the CRM?
"A CRM that will save you time and double your revenue"
"A CRM that automatically scrape Linkedin and send personalised emails automatically."
The first one sounds like I want, but it doesn't answer the question of HOW they are gonna save me time or double my revenue. It sounds a bit like an empty promise.
First answer: What category you're in -> What problem you're sovling -> How you're solving it and what benefits there is to your solution.
My favorite example here is this from Anthony Pierri: