What Product Marketing Means To Me

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now. Mostly because it is like going to determine the direction my life is going to take from here on out.

This post is going to be about product marketing.

Before I start, I have a confession to make: I’m not a Product Marketer — at least, I don’t think I am…

.. Not yet.

Maybe I am, but it’s more likely that I’m just a punk marketer who is really passionate about creating and sharing great products.

I fell down the “product marketing” rabbit hole after reading this amazing post from the team over at Drift. It blew my mind and I’ve used “product marketing” in my search queries more times than I can count.

The dots had finally been connected.

It got me thinking. Not just about my job and career — but my life in general. It forced me to ask myself the question: what am I doing here?

Being a twenty-something with great ambitions, I’m probably not alone in this existential crisis. Adjusting to adulthood and finding your path is serious business yo.

I want to be myself and play to my strengths, skills and passions. To some degree, I think I’ve found myself in product marketing. Mostly because it’s just putting a label on everything I’ve been doing all along.

what is product marketing

Marketers do a lot of shit.

When you say that you’re a marketer, you could mean a hundred different things. There are so many different marketing disciplines, I can hardly keep track of them all.

It’s not just hard to define marketing — but it’s even more difficult to describe what a marketer actually does.

My standard marketing model/framework/funnel/whatever is pretty simple and nothing ground breaking:

  • Attract,
  • Convert,
  • Engage.

For me — that’s marketing. Marketing is the art, science and process of attracting, converting, and engaging with your audience.

A product marketer’s job is to drive growth and bring products to market. It requires a deep understanding of the product, the marketplace and the end-user. They exist to support and scale a brand’s product, marketing and sales activities. They use the customer journey as their framework and find ways to optimize and grow:

  • Product
  • Marketing
  • Sales

The intersection of these three disciplines is key to understanding the role of a product marketer. In a way, you could say that product marketing is user marketing.

Product marketing is focused on the user. That’s what I love about it. There are no boundaries to what a product marketer can do; they are lean and agile, strategic and tactical. They are brand evangelists and product experts and they work with multiple teams and stakeholders to drive growth, promote alignment and build great products.

core themes of product marketing

I see product marketing as being defined under several core themes. These themes (combined with an unwavering focus on the user) are what separates product marketing from other marketing disciplines.

branding + experience

Branding can be often be oversimplified to a logo, some fonts, a color palette, visuals and some guidelines for voice and tone — but branding is much more complicated than that.

Branding is the personality behind your company. It’s the experience that someone has when they encounter your brand. Building brand equity is a continuous process and one that involves constant improvement.

Product marketers are brand evangelists and it’s their job to communicate culture, craft an engaging user experience and ensure consistency across channels.

Branding is about ~a e s t h e t i c ~ and you can’t teach that.

customer development

Customer Development is the process of finding the right audience for your product and supporting them throughout the customer journey. It can be related to product/market fit but is (again) more focused on the user.

It starts with finding the right audience. The type of customer that is going to get the most value out of your product and will make the biggest impact on your growth.

Product marketers do this through surveys, interviews, personas and by digging into business metrics. They measure product success with NPS scores and user engagement and they work to communicate value at every brand touchpoint.

demand generation

Demand Generation is where shit gets real.

As opposed to lead generation or your acquisition strategy — demand generation is the whole sum of all your marketing activities at every brand touchpoint and how they translate into customers in your sales funnel.

Demand generation requires a broad perspective and bridges the gap between marketing and sales — it allows marketing activities to be tied to bottom line revenue and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Product marketers focus on running intelligent marketing campaigns and acquisition strategies that build brand equity and target the right type of customers.

Through effective positioning, messaging and measurement, product marketers identify, target and nurture prospects and opportunities that will make the biggest impact.

Product marketers use nurturing and lead scoring to provide the sales team with the most qualified prospects engage with.

sales enablement

Sales enablement is all about marketing’s true purpose: to support and scale the sales process.

This means creating sales materials, automating sales activities and seeking continuous feedback from your sales team.

Product marketers are promoters of sales+marketing alignment. Their job is to support the sales team and scale their efforts. They provide tools and resources and run intelligent campaigns that support their efforts.

Simply put, product marketers purpose is to make salespeople’s lives easier.

multimedia production

Multimedia production is more than just “creating content” — it’s a creative process and an artistic expression.

But this is the real world — and if you’re a creative person, you need to find some way of turning that creative passion into something tangible and valuable.

This is how is see the multimedia production process:

  • Plan— figuring what you’re doing.
  • Produce — creating something awesome.
  • Promote — sharing it with the world.

Product marketers are multimedia experts and they direct the production and promotion of brand content.

launch planning and execution

Launch plans are used to direct and guide marketing activities and product launches. Product marketers own the creation and oversee the tasks associated with a successful launch.

In order to launch and measure a successful campaign, product marketers adopt a lean/agile approach to managing their projects. I’m positive this differs from marketer to marketer but I like using a modified version of the Kanban method to managing campaigns and launches while being agile.

Kanban uses boards divided into three columns; to-do, doing, and done to keep track of and manage tasks.

I like to add a bottom row that are used to manage miscellaneous tasks and tactics called “ideas”.

Each task can then be evaluated using the ICE model. ICE measures the impact that you think it make make, the confidence that you have that it will work and the ease of implementation or how difficult it will be to accomplish. This helps you prioritize and focus on the tasks that will be most effective.

Project planning is lot more than what I’ve covered in this section but above all, it’s about managing your time effectively, communicating with your team and launching products that connect with your users.

links + resources

Before I go, here’s a collection of links and resources if you want to learn more about product marketing:

essential reading

further reading

audio