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Why Product Marketing is the Growth Secret Weapon You Absolutely Must Have

If you’re not investing in product marketing, you’re probably not growing as quickly or as efficiently as you could be. We’ll talk more about that later, but for now, let’s answer this: What is product marketing? Product marketing is basically defined as the process of promoting and selling a product to an audience, to drive […]

If you’re not investing in product marketing, you’re probably not growing as quickly or as efficiently as you could be.

We’ll talk more about that later, but for now, let’s answer this:

What is product marketing?

Product marketing is basically defined as the process of promoting and selling a product to an audience, to drive demand and usage of that product.

There’s nothing wrong with that definition, but it massively oversimplifies what a product marketer does. A product marketer’s role revolves around the product, obviously, but the product is as much a tool that helps the marketer to market more effectively, as it is the thing the marketer’s trying to market.

Confused yet?

Stick with me, and, with the help of this presentation from Hana Abaza, Head of Marketing for Shopify Plus, we’ll show you what product marketing is, and why it’s the growth secret weapon you absolutely must have.

How Does Product Marketing Differ from Marketing-Marketing?

To really understand product marketing, it helps to learn how it differs from more general marketing.

Marketing-Marketing

Marketing is concerned with growing a brand as a whole. To do this, your average marketing manager will be involved in everything from brand awareness and website traffic, to brand messaging and public relations. They’re also likely to look at the whole sales funnel and launching campaigns that target potential customers at each stage of it.

Product Marketing

Product marketers, on the other hand, use the product as the catalyst for growing the brand. They must have a deep understanding of the markets surrounding the product or products in question (including competitor products). They also need to have an in-depth understanding of their audience – in particular, why they use the product (or products), where the product fails them, and how to talk to them in a voice they understand.

Product marketers also, unlike more general marketers, focus predominantly on the bottom of the funnel (although their insights should be fed back up the funnel). They typically think about customers more than they do prospects or leads.

These are the sorts of questions a product marketer needs to be answering:

“What are we building?”

“Who are we building it for?”

“How do we talk about it?”

“How do we go to market?”

They need to know:

  • What the product does
  • Who their customers are and why they would use this product
  • What language their customers will understand
  • How they get the product in front of the people that will use it

If they can do that, they’re not only in a far stronger position for marketing the product or products they’re assigned to, but they can actually enable the company as a whole to operate more effectively.

“Product marketing lives at the intersection of all these functions. It’s probably one of the most cross-functional roles you’ll see in an organization.” – Hana Abaza

But What Does a Product Marketer Actually Do?

We already know that the product is central to the product marketer’s role, and that they assist in growing a brand primarily by developing, improving, and promoting the product.

Despite this very specific focus, product marketers really do a bit of everything.

All of this:

And this:

And this:

Let’s talk about some of this in more detail.

Product marketers:

Position the Product

They figure out where the product sits in the market.

“If marketing is about making it easy for people to find, evaluate and buy your products, then positioning is about figuring out what your product is in the first place.” – Hana Abaza

To do this, you have to understand the context that frames your product. Do that and you can define all of these things:

  • Your pricing
  • Your customers
  • Your competition
  • Your brand
  • Your channel
  • Your message

That will help you figure out things like this…

…which will help you target the right people, at the right price point, with the right messaging.

And on that note…

…They Figure Out Messaging

Product marketers figure out the language people use when they talk about the product. They then use this to create messages that are easy for their target audience to understand.

In her presentation, Hana used Dropbox as an example – specifically, Dropbox as it looked in 2010:

Hana spoke about the fact that her mother uses Dropbox, and that her mother is representative of a not-insignificant segment of Dropbox’s user base.

Back in 2010 however, Dropbox alienated that portion of their audience with the language they were using.

I’m talking specifically about this phrase:

It’s unlikely that Hana’s mother, and others like her, would have understood what it meant to sync files, let alone how to do it. As a result, Dropbox was limiting its target market to people with a certain level of technical knowledge.

Dropbox today looks very different.

To help target users more effectively, Dropbox split their welcome page in two – one page for businesses, and one page for individuals. Select the ‘individual’ tab, and you’re presented with this – simple, direct, jargon-free copy that describes exactly what Dropbox does and how it will benefit the user, in language anyone can understand:

This is the sort of thing a product marketer can help execute.

They Create Spec Sheets

Creating a spec sheet is essentially a data collection exercise, in which information like that shown in the diagram below is collated into a single, easy-to-digest document.

Spec sheets might not look that interesting, but they play a key part in enabling a product marketer to perform their role more effectively.

They Consider Internal Communications

When adding a new product to a company’s existing portfolio, product marketers will be responsible for deciding how internal communications will play out – namely, when other departments and staff members will be told about the product, what they will be told, and how it will be told to them (including the method of delivery – i.e. email or in person, who will deliver the message, and the language that will be used).

They Help Plan the Launch

Product marketers will figure out what kind of launch your product necessitates. While I’m generalizing a little here, “types” of launches can typically be placed in one of three tiers:

  • Tier 1 – tell the world
  • Tier 2 – tell customers and prospects
  • Tier 3 – you probably should have had it anyway so just quietly add it in

They’ll then help formulate a plan for executing it.

And They Help Grow the Product Post-Launch

A lot of companies put all of their time, effort, and resources into developing and launching a product, and forget about the growth part afterwards.

A product marketer will help bridge that gap.

They’ll experiment with how to grow the product’s user base, and how the product itself can be leveraged to drive even more customers.

How Do You Know When You Should Invest in Product Marketing?

So far, we’ve offered up multiple reasons why investing in growth marketing is a good idea. That’s because, generally, it is. But it’s not for everyone – at least right now. In fact, get it wrong, and product marketing could actually do your business more harm than good.

“Bad product marketing can kill your company.” – Hana Abaza

So how do you know whether product marketing is a fit for you right now, and in what form?

You’re probably not quite ready for product marketing if:

  • People don’t understand what you do
  • Your employees don’t know how to explain what you do
  • Your current marketing isn’t working

Thankfully, those are all things you can change pretty easily (once you understand that they’re an issue, anyway).

If these things don’t apply to you, then you’re probably ready to adopt product marketing. To what extent, however, depends largely on the circumstances surrounding your product and company. More specifically, the size of your company, the complexity of your product, and the landscape it’s part of.

  • If your company is still very small, and your product or products are very simple, you probably don’t need to hire someone to work on product marketing specifically, but you should still consider the concept and what elements of it you can adopt using your existing resources.
  • If you have a really simple product but your company is growing, it’s probably a good idea to hire someone to work specifically on product marketing.
  • If your company is still really small but your product is really complex, again, it’s probably a good idea to hire a product marketer.
  • If you’re a big company with a complicated product, product marketing becomes an entire function that necessitates not just hiring a product marketer, but a team of people that can support them.

You also need a product marketer – or at the very least, a knowledge of product marketing – if:

  • You’re about to launch or start shipping something, but you don’t know how much to charge for it.
  • Your product’s about to ship but you have no way of telling customers about it.
  • Your sales team doesn’t understand the product they’re supposed to sell.
  • Your customer support team is getting calls about a new product on your website but they have no idea what it is.

So, Should You Be Using Product Marketing?

While there are some exceptions, as a general rule, yes, you should be using product marketing.

Having someone (or a team of people) who have a deep understanding of your customers and their relationship to your product is, for many businesses, the secret to growth – and not just growth for growth’s sake. A product marketer can assist in driving growth that’s sustainable and that maximizes profit.

The key to using product marketing as a growth lever most effectively, however, is to understand that it’s never “done.” Even once your product has become a success, product marketing should be something that remains in the background and that feeds into a culture of continuous learning, improvement, and growth.

Do you have any insights to add on why companies should be using product marketing, or how they can use it most effectively? If you have a moment to share your thoughts, you’ll find the comments just below:

25 B2B Marketing Strategies You Probably Haven’t Tried

There are plenty of articles touting the importance of lead generation and building up your pipeline for your B2B marketing. It’s easy to get in a rut in your business and assume every strategy has already been done. But there are still lots of B2B marketing strategies out there that you probably haven’t heard of. […]

There are plenty of articles touting the importance of lead generation and building up your pipeline for your B2B marketing. It’s easy to get in a rut in your business and assume every strategy has already been done. But there are still lots of B2B marketing strategies out there that you probably haven’t heard of. If you’re one of the 78% of businesses that aren’t satisfied with their conversion rates, try mixing up your B2B marketing strategy with something different. Here are 25 ideas to get you started.

 

Ryan Farley

1. Use Autopilot for LinkedIn

“A tactic I’ve seen work is using Autopilot for LinkedIn to crawl mass numbers of profiles of your target audience. You put a click-baity headline in your profile, along with a call to action. Then, you can track clickthroughs and see who viewed your profile, and reach back out to them.” – Ryan Farley, co-founder of LawnStarter

 

 

 

Bill Widmer

2. Send Gifts

“Sending gifts is an incredible way to get on someone’s radar. It also plays on psychology and reciprocity – they’ll feel like they owe you something in exchange. Of course, I’m not saying send them something to try and get them indebted to you. That’s just being a ****. Don’t expect anything in return – just build that relationship, and it can naturally open up to greater opportunities, higher CLV, and juicy referrals. Everyone loves getting gifts in a world of junk mail and hiding behind screens.” – Bill Widmer, Ecommerce Content Marketing expert

 

Christopher Kelly

3. Handwritten Notes

“Sending handwritten notes to team members and clients goes further today than at any other point in history. There was a day not too long ago when receiving an email was exciting: Your computer would announce ‘You’ve got mail’ and you would run to see what had arrived. Today, a handwritten note cuts through the digital clutter and is received with a similar anticipation.” – Christopher Kelly, writing for Tech.co

 

 

 

 

Joel Klettke

4. Use Geo-Targeted Ads During Events

“I haven’t seen many companies running geo-targeted ads when events happen in their industry. I’ve had huge wins targeting conference hashtags and combining that targeting with geofencing that only hits people who are actually there, at the event. You can be hyper-relevant across multiple platforms, with just-in-time personalized offers and deals.” – Joel Klettke, Founder of Case Study Buddy

 

 

 

Hans van Gent

5. Empower Your Customers and Start a Dialogue

“A significant trend in content marketing has been the rise of audio in 2016 (podcast listening grew by 23% over 2015). With the release of Anchor 2.0 in March this year, it opens up a whole new way of empowering your customers and starting that dialogue with them in a unique way. And the beauty of it? The app is mostly still undiscovered territory for a lot of marketers so you can have the first mover advantage.” – Hans van Gent, Founder @ Inbound Rocket

 

 

Andrew Dennis

6. Upgrade and Update Your Marketing Funnel

“Upgrade and update your top/middle of the funnel content to build your email list. With this strategy, you take existing content that is ranking well and update or upgrade it in some fashion (add visuals, video, interactives, etc.) to breathe new life into the content and further improve or solidify rankings in a competitive space. Along with updating, add relevant CTAs and/or downloadables to drive email signups and build your marketing list.” – Andrew Dennis, Senior Content Marketing Specialist @ Siege Media 

 

 

 

Sid Bharath

7. Start with a Survey

“Instead of soliciting business through cold email, start with a survey. The benefits of this are two-fold. First, you get to collect data on your industry which you can publish as a content piece. Second, you essentially warm up those cold leads and you can move forward with a sales conversation without coming across as the spammy sales person.” – Sid Bharath, VP of Growth @ Thinkific

 

 

 

 

Brad Smith

8. Do Things That Don’t Scale

“Trying to get your foot in the door? Go old school with direct mail. While everyone else is getting ~1% spamming people on LinkedIn, direct mail recipients visit a promoted website 60% of the time (https://www.usps.com/business/pdf/FY08_DM%20Onl_Sales%20WP.pdf). And also visited the promoted website according to a USPS study (with first-time shoppers being the most influenced). “And one company has seen 25% response rates with companies making over $30 million a year.

So no, it doesn’t scale. Not at first anyway. But prove it on a small scale, and then get some free interns to hand-write mailing addresses for you. Make the unscalable, scalable.” – Brad Smith, Founder of Codeless

 

Ross Simmonds

9. Leverage Niche Communities

“One of the more unique B2B marketing tactics is leveraging niche communities like Reddit to build trust and credibility. Far too many marketers think that B2B marketers can only be reached on LinkedIn or at a conference – in reality, many C-suite executives are browsing Reddit just like the rest of us. If you can create content that relevant subreddits find interesting and valuable – opportunities await.”  – Ross Simmonds, Digital Strategist @ Foundation Marketing

 

 

 

 

Sweta Patel

10. Host an Awards Ceremony

“One of the most unique marketing strategies entails making people feel valued and giving them credit for the work they do. Most people don’t realize the value of people’s work in the company because they are so focused on task over humanity. Most workplaces require more out of individuals in this revenue and data-driven world. Sometimes it’s best to create a strategy that recognizes “rising stars” with their hard work. This is one way of winning credibility with them.

“One tactic is to put on a special awards night event that recognizes your prospects. This way you will win their trust. You can give them ‘special trophies’ and awards that acknowledges their expertise. The nominees can invite their fans and this will help you increase the reach in your business. For example, nominate your top 50 rising prospects and invite them to the award show to collect their prize and trophy with a speech at hand. Tell them to invite their fans for their big ‘spotlight’ ceremony. Make it a sophisticated event.” – Sweta Patel, Director of Demand Generation @ Cognoa

 

 

Patrick Whatman

11. Create Standalone Products

“I love seeing standalone products from companies trying to bring new users into their ecosystems. Followerwonk (by Moz) and the Headline Analyzer (by CoSchedule) are great examples. These are products that help people separate from these companies’ main offerings, but help to build awareness and recognition about the parent company. And they’re great for lead generation.” – Patrick Whatman, Head of Content @ Mention

 

 

 

 

 

Cameron Conaway

12. Send People a Value-Packed Slide Deck

“I’ve come to love Andy Crestodina’s conference-based approach. When he speaks he packs so much valuable content into his slides, too much to possibly cover during the talk, and he asks people to get him their business card after the talk so he can send them the slide deck immediately after the conference. I’ve watched hundreds of people wait in line just to give him their card.

“Then, in the email he sends, he mentions his blog and asks attendees, alongside the amazing deck he’s giving them, if they’d also like to subscribe. I don’t subscribe to many blogs, but I subscribed to his. When somebody completely over delivers like this it makes you trust that they will continue to provide relevant and valuable content.” – Cameron Conaway, Content Marketing Manager @ Klipfolio

 

Cara Hogan

13. Interview an Expert from a Target Account

“I got really creative in integrating expert interviews into an Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy. Rather than just interviewing an expert in your field, interview an expert from an identified target account.

“For example, if you’re selling to a mid-size startup, interview their CEO, VP of Marketing, or even one of the VCs who is a primary investor. Then, when sales approaches the decision maker for that account, they can send them a link to the interview you’ve done, giving your brand immediate credibility and clout. It makes every sales conversation immediately easier and more likely to end in a closed deal.” – Cara Hogan, Content Strategist @ Zaius

 

 

Rob Wormley

14. Use Live Video to Sell Products in Real-Time

“Using live video to build awareness, connect with more prospects, and actually sell products in real-time. We’re doing it with Climb and making it possible for retailers, brands, and influencers to make sales in real-time on Facebook Live. The future of selling online is all about engagement, entertainment, and experience.” – Rob Wormley, CMO & Co-Founder @ Climb

Kaleigh Moore

15. Create Interactive Content

“Use interactive content as part of a larger lead gen strategy, so the convo doesn’t stop after the quiz, but is further personalized based on responses.” – Kaleigh Moore, freelance SaaS writer 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Katai

16. Sell to Human Beings

“I strongly believe in 2 content marketing that is personalized and has a real business purpose. Don’t just create content because it’s trendy or cool, but create content because your audience needs it and wants it. Behind every “B” is a “H” from human. And we are not selling to businesses and brands, we are selling to human beings. And people buy from people!” – Robert Katai, Visual Marketer and Content Strategist @ Bannersnack

 

 

Will Blunt

17. Meet in Person

“It’s not unique, but it’s definitely underutilized… With a large chunk of B2B organizations obsessing over ‘inbound’ and content, we have forgotten about how effective a phone call or face-to-face meeting can be for building trust and closing deals. Use your content to build a base level of trust and credibility for you and your business.

“Then use your team to research and identify a short-list of your perfect clients (the information is all available online). Create a personalized profile of each them. Interact, engage and build a meaningful ‘online’ relationship. When the time is right, get that person into a meeting room or on a video call. Close the deal, be friends forever.” – Will Blunt, Founder of Blogger Sidekick

 

 

Ty Magnin

18. Send Retargeting Emails

“We send what I call ‘retargeting emails’ to people at companies who hit our site and don’t convert. It’s a nice way to engage a passive audience from their inbox.” – Ty Magnin, Director of Marketing @ Appcues

 

 

 

 

Benji Hyam

19. Show Leads You’re Sending Them Traffic

“Brian Swichkow of Ghost Influence taught me this one. If you’re investing in content marketing and want to get the attention of a company, include a link in the post to the company and add campaign tracking to the URL with your site name in it. For example: growandconvert.com/?utm_source=growandconvert&utm_medium=blogpostname

“That way, when readers of your post click the link, the company you’re trying to get in contact with will see traffic being sent to their site by your site. The company is more likely to have a conversation with you when they’re aware of you because you’ve sent a good amount of traffic to their site.” – Benji Hyam, co-founder @ Grow & Convert and Wordable.io

 

 

 

Devesh Khanal

20. Create In-Depth Data Analysis

“Consolidate data relevant to your industry, analyze it, and publish an in-depth data analysis article or study. Very few companies are doing this. Most are doing the same old ebooks and whitepapers. This is evergreen content that is linked to like crazy and shared easily. It’s content that turns you into a thought leader.” – Devesh Khanal, Founder, Grow and Convert

 

 

 

 

Shanelle Mullin

21. Use the Tools Your Ideal Customers Are Using

“Add a Chrome extension like Ghostery or use a tool like BuiltWith. You’ll then be able to see what tools your ideal customers are using. Build a list of those tools and begin reaching out to their content teams. Can you co-host a webinar together? Publish a new guide together? It’s an easy way to get in front of their highly aligned audience (often, by email), especially if you’re going to be producing a lot of content anyway.” – Shanelle Mullin, Content & Growth at Shopify

 

 

 

 

Kylie Ora Lobell

22. Write White Papers Around Pain Points

“White papers are excellent for the beginning stages of the sales funnel. They convince potential customers that your company is worth looking into, and can push them from being marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads.” – Kylie Ora Lobell, writing for Directive Consulting

 

 

 

Ed Zitron

23. Say Thanks in a Creative Way

“TD Canada Trust shared over 300,000 $20 gift certificates for their ‘TD Thanks You’ campaign. You don’t have to go that big, but thanking someone by giving something back to them resonates in a special way with consumers.

It can be as simple as a gift-code, which you’ll see small niche sites like dog treat site BestBullySticks do, or Opentable’s VIP program that gives points per reservation that eventually convert into gift certificates.” – Ed Zitron, CEO of EZ-PR.com, writing for Inc.

 

Margaret Austin

24. Introduce Your Employees

“Giving a face to your brand helps to engage your customers and give them a greater sense of trust in you and your services. We all like to see that there’s a real person behind the company image. This doesn’t mean showing everyone working studiously at their desks nor letting it all hang out at the office party. Create a friendly and approachable video revealing a day in the work life of one of your employees or get them to talk about what it is they do and what your customers can expect from them. And then do some good editing; a static talking head video is unlikely to hold anyone’s attention for long.” -Margaret Austin, writing for B2B News Network

 

 

 

Will Williamson

25. Use Dynamic and Behavioral Lead Scoring

“Knowing how prospects are likely to behave is as important, if not more so, than understanding ‘who they are’ as people. The two don’t always go together. By using information aside from the standard demographics (age, gender, pay bracket etc.), you’ll be able to make lead qualification work better for you.

“You’ll get a better understanding of where the lead came from, how they found your website, and the actions they’ve taken while on the site. This important information gives you an insight on what is involved with the journey of the buyer and what motivates your prospects. As an example, did they find your website through a backlink and go through every page on the site? Or did they enter the site from a search engine and go directly to your product page? Armed with behavioural data, you can set up a targeted email marketing programme that sends them relevant content based on behavioural triggers.” – Will Williamson, writing for JDR Group

4 Growth Marketing Tactics for E-commerce

No matter how long you run an E-commerce business – you STILL ask yourself the same questions:     How to make my business grow? What new methods can I use to optimize the e-business marketing strategy? How to decrease the marketing budget and to increase the sales? Am I doing all I can to […]

No matter how long you run an E-commerce business – you STILL ask yourself the same questions:

 

 

How to make my business grow?

What new methods can I use to optimize the e-business marketing strategy? How to decrease the marketing budget and to increase the sales?

Am I doing all I can to get as many visitors to my store as possible? What else can I do?

 

 

Of course, it is very difficult to run the business and keep up with all the latest developments in online marketing.

 

 

Today I will share with you these 4 marketing tactics for your ecommerce business growth:

 

 

 Micro-Targeting

image00http://www.rtbdigital.com/retargeting-pricing-explained/ – picture source

  • Identify your market niche and the right target audience to work for.
  • Research on the best time (season) for a marketing campaign.
  • Find your consumers in the web (social media, forums, message boards).
  • Learn what your potential customers are discussing (recommend each other; discuss pros and cons of a similar product etc.).
  • Based on the research – improve your advertisements.
  • Work on your SEO.
  • Segment your email lists and create different landing pages for each niche group.
  • Make an A/B testing.
  • Develop your copy all the time.

 

 

 Social Media

image02http://www.brainsins.com/en/blog/social-media-shopping-statistics-2015-infographic/3727 picture source

 

  • Almost 80% of people using Twitter on their mobile devices.
  • Yelp is a leader among the social review sites.
  • Instagram has 300 million active users, 61% of them like at least 1 media/day, 30% like over 10 media/day.
  • YouTube is a leading source for all videos. In the next three years, video is predicted to reach 79% of all internet traffic.
  • Google Plus is connected to all Google services.
  • Facebook just crossed the line of 1 billion people using the social network the same day (it is 1 in 7 people on Earth).
  • Pinterest has 20x more pins per day than there are daily shoppers at the Mall of America.

 

 

Those are amazing facts. Use different types of social media, depending on your business niche, do not limit yourself to Facebook and Twitter. The more platforms – the more leads.

 

 Upsell

Upsell is when you want your customer to spend more, offering him/her the similar product of a higher quality and price.

It is a good tool to use together with a cross-sell (when you offer to buy an additional product together with the one your customer selected, e.g. to buy a mouse together with a keypad).

 

image01https://www.shopify.com/blog/17579484-how-to-increase-revenue-and-improve-the-customer-experience-with-upselling-and-cross-selling chart source

 

These tactics are usually performed by adding the “Recommended” section to your website.

 

Useful tips:

1) Do not upsell for more than 25 percent.

2) When cross-sell, do not offer a product that doesn’t match to a chosen one.

3) Avoid being overwhelmed (limit the number of recommendations).

 

 

 Virality

Viral content is the one massively shared by others. The idea of virality is perfectly explained in the Pay it Forward movie.

 

Virality gives you a conversion of more than 100%.

 

Viral content is mostly visual (pictures, video, infographics).

 

To make your content viral:

  • Make it simple.
  • Make it entertaining.
  • Make it relevant.
  • Create an emotional tie.
  • Add social media icons (to easily share it).
  • Create a story explaining why it is better to use your product together with a friend.
  • Take care of a good design.
  • Share your content yourself with all the available channels of distribution.

image03https://growthhackers.com/growth-studies/upworthy – picture source

 

Remember, the more channels and tactics of promotion you use – the greater number of leads you have.

 

To know more about other marketing tools for your business – Attend the Growth Marketing Conference.

 

I hope this information is helpful and using these tactics will help you to grow your business. I would love to discuss your experience in e-commerce business promotion in the comments below.