Forget Your Product

I recently came across a great post on “What Is Product Marketing” and why it is such an important yet misunderstood function in most organizations, and in early stage start ups in particular.

It reminded me that a few years ago, I was asked to contribute to a book in which I shared what I truly believe is the foundation of product marketing and what continues to guide my decisions every day as a marketer.

Enjoy the read!

Product marketing is less about what you sell and more about who purchases it. Understanding your customer is what matters most, mainly what they care about and how they purchase and consume products. Only at that point should you strategize how to position, package, price, and sell to your customers.

Planning with the end in mind (the purchasing transaction) distinguishes a good product marketer from a great one.Great product marketers map their marketing strategy and sales initiatives around their customers’ buying journey. Most importantly, they strive to live, breathe, and think like their customers.

Doing so strengthens the product marketer’s best effort to:

Create a memorable story. The best product marketers create an emotional connection with their audience by casting their customer as the story’s main character and speaking in their customer’s voice. They search diligently for the perfect tone of authenticity that resonates best with their customers and focus their message on solutions, benefits, and value without superlatives and buzz words. Or better they let their customers speak on their behalf becoming the marketing voice of their company.

Create an enchanting experience. The best product marketers lead their customers through a beautifully orchestrated buying experience. They appreciate that their customer cares about the cumulative product purchasing experience including the initial website visit, first interaction with the sales team, online registration to community and support sites, and so on. They know, especially in the B2B space, that a cohesive purchasing and on boarding experience will build the strongest relationship with their customer and increase the likelihood of an initial and subsequent purchase.

Create passionate brand advocates. The best product marketers transform enchanted customers into their most effective sales agents by nurturing their customers’ passion and providing them the communication channels to voice their love for the product, whether an online user forum, review site or offline user conference. They root for their customers more than anyone else because they know that in these days of growing peer influence on purchases, their customers are also their best marketing assets, their best brand advocates and ultimately, their best sales reps.

Product marketers have more ways than ever to connect, engage, and insert themselves into their customers’ habits while building a genuine relationship with their customers. With intimate customer knowledge, product marketers are best positioned to lead their company’s go-to-market strategy and execute upon Peter Drucker’s vision:

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Every journey begins with a single step, so slip into your customers’ shoes, walk a few miles in their problems, and…forget about your product