Tens of thousands of new products are launched each year, and while some will be a raging success, many of them ultimately fail. One of the most significant determinants of a product’s success is its marketing. Every product needs a robust marketing strategy supported by an effective content marketing plan. Here is a roadmap to the many crucial components of successful product marketing.
What Is Product Marketing & Is It Different Than Traditional Marketing?
Product marketing is the process involved in bringing a product to the market. It includes promoting products and selling them to customers. Although it may sound simple, product marketing is very complex. It requires a solid understanding of the product’s target audience and effective strategies for positioning it in the market and reaching customers to cultivate demand.
Product marketing should not be confused with traditional marketing. Product marketing is very strategic and relates to specific products, while conventional marketing is broader and encompasses all of the company’s marketing. Product marketing is just one component of traditional marketing and rests at the center of a business’s overall marketing effort. Focusing on one product and demonstrating the features and benefits is part of starting a successful product marketing strategy.
Product marketing focuses on driving product demand and encouraging customers to adopt them. It concerns the steps customers follow when deciding whether to purchase your product. It covers a product’s launch, execution, and overall marketing strategy. As a result, product marketing work is a critical factor in a business’s ultimate success as it demonstrates why the consumer needs to purchase the item, and drive overall business.
Traditional marketing, in contrast, focuses more on the broader aspects of a company’s marketing, such as SEO, generating leads, and acquiring and converting new customers. It focuses on the promotion of the company and the brand overall, including its products. Conventional marketers ensure a consistent brand message is used in the business’s content.
The Importance Of Creating A Product Marketing Strategy
A product may never even get off the ground without proper product marketing. At the same time, those that gain some traction will never reach the maximum potential within the target audience if the strategy is poorly developed and executed. Depending on the strategy put in place, a business can either succeed or fail. Here is a closer look at why creating a product marketing strategy is essential for modern businesses.
Complete Understanding Of Your Product
One of the earliest steps in developing an effective product marketing strategy is understanding the product completely. Perfecting product knowledge is the only way that you will be able to convey to potential customers the value that this product can offer them. As part of customer research, the company must understand why customers gravitate toward a product.
In-Depth Insights Into Your Target Audience
As part of your product marketing strategy, you will need to gain in-depth insights into your target audience and what drives them. Understanding the target audience goes beyond a general insight into customers and delves into specific buyer personas that should be targeted in the future. It includes a deep understanding of the customer and their daily life. Developing personas is one way that will help to identify their exact needs. Personas can be used not only to tailor the messaging but also to improve your product in the future or develop new ones that are likely to be well received by the target market.
Establishing Who Your Competitors Are & What Strategies They Are Implementing
Competitor research is a big part of product marketing, enabling you to compare the strategy you are using and the results you are getting with the competition. This can help you identify the benefits and features of products that resonate with the market and any ideas that remain unexplored to help you create a novel approach. You can also consider questions like what your product offers that the competition doesn’t, or help solve a need that your target market has. This will help you find a way to set yourself apart from the pack.
Improves Cross-Department Goal-Setting
Product marketers do not work in isolation. Once they have developed a clear idea of the buyers they are targeting and the product characteristics they wish to emphasize, this information can be used by all of the business’s departments to work more effectively and create a collaborative business effort. Your product and sales teams will better understand the product’s purpose and can better communicate it in their operations.
Enhances Cohesiveness Of Brand Positioning
With product marketing, it is not simply about getting your product “out there”; you need the product’s image, as well as that of your brand, to be consistent and use the right tone to evoke the desired feelings among your target audience. Selecting products that complement your existing offering is a great way to do this. When new products have a similar feel to others in your line, it strengthens your brand and encourages repeat business.
Creates Realistic Expectations For Sales Teams
A good product marketing strategy will help to identify realistic expectations for your sales teams so they can set sales targets accordingly. Sales teams need to know what they are aiming for to measure their success and adjust their strategy to ensure they stay on track to meet their goals. Create an incentive plan to encourage sales and drive business through engaging sales tactics.
How To Create A Strong Foundational Product Marketing Strategy
Developing a product marketing strategy is a very involved process that requires marketing and product management skills. While product management will set out the vision for the product, identifying pain points and creating solutions to them, the project marketing team will be responsible for establishing the customer’s voice and positioning and messaging behind the product. These two departments will work together when it comes to pricing the product and influencing its development.
Here is a closer look at how product marketing and management work together to create a solid foundational product marketing strategy.
Perform Data-Driven Market Research
The first step is performing data-driven market research. Doing so will confirm the demand for the product you have in mind and give you additional insight into your customers’ needs.
Performing research will typically involve two types of analysis: qualitative and quantitative. Focus groups, surveys, and customer interviews fall under the category of qualitative research. When it comes to quantitative analysis, you will need to analyze customer and audience data using internal sources, online sources, and studies from within the industry. This will help you to gain a better understanding of where your products will fit within the market.
Your business can analyze customer data you already have access to and assess what it tells you about average sales, pricing, territories, and the customers your business attracts. One particular area to pay attention to is which products tend to bring more significant profits.
You can also use online tools such as Data.gov to get information on demographics, production data, trade, and economics. Round out this information with studies from industry journals, commercial marketing data, and trade associations to gain a clearer picture of the current state of the market.
You will also want to conduct some social media and competitive research to find out who you will be competing with and the marketing tactics they are currently using. Completing research can help you determine the size of your potential market and how much it may increase or decrease.
As discussed above, interviewing existing customers is one of the most critical steps. You will want to ask them to fill out surveys or questionnaires. One promising approach is contacting them on social media sites such as Twitter or Instagram and inviting them to have a short conversation with you. You will want to ask them questions about their goals, such as what they look for in products and what they hope to gain when they buy them. It is beneficial to find out their pain points, such as their most significant challenges surrounding the issues your product intends to solve. It is also a good idea to ask what customers consider a reasonable price for such a product and how they view the current industry prices for similar products.
One approach you might also consider is minimum viable product testing. This testing entails releasing an early version of the product you intend to sell with just a few priority features for new customers so that you can collect feedback to determine the viability of moving forward and gather ideas for improving future renditions.
Identify Your Target Audience
Next, it is time to identify your target audience. Finding your target audience will give you an all-important initial understanding of your ideal customer, what they expect from your product, and their likes and dislikes. Identifying your audience will also help you guide your marketing efforts in a way that portrays your product as the best choice among the available options.
You will want to create buyer personas focused on critical aspects of your customer base. For example, is your target audience looking to get a good deal above all else, or do they want more tailored experiences and personal attention? What concerns and hesitations do your customers have, and how do they view your product? What are your customers’ ambitions, and how will they find your business?
Experts recommend segmenting this data based on intent, hesitations, and mindset to identify a few clearly defined personas. You will want to use quantitative data about on-site behavior from tools like Google Analytics to develop these personas, such as transactions and average revenue per unit or user and new versus repeat customers.
Your buyer personas should always be based on real people. You need to start over and develop more-rounded personas if they sound like a stereotype. They must be believable as individuals, meaning you can visualize the buyer. Instead of using language like “Persona #7”, refer to them as “Regina, age 42, who works hard and is looking for tools that will save her time in the kitchen.”
Establish Realistic Campaign Specific KPIs
Setting goals can increase your chances of success, so determine what you wish to achieve with the product. For many businesses, this will be measured by sales.
It may be helpful to divide your goals into different categories and set a specific plan for each. For example, when it comes to sales goals, you may use key performance indicators or KPIs, such as revenue, qualified leads, customer lifetime value, close rate, cost for acquisition, and assisted conversions.
Some KPIs you may wish to use for brand awareness include website traffic, market share, and share of voice. Regarding customer satisfaction, consider KPIs such as customer sentiment, Net Promoter Score, and product usage.
Remember that the most effective goals will follow the SMART framework. The SMART framework dictates that goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Following this framework is essential for ensuring that everyone at your company focuses on the most crucial objectives.
Create A Content Marketing Strategy With Keyword Research & Content Gap Analysis
Content marketing is an essential component of your product marketing strategy. In addition to answering questions your target audience might have, it also helps you gain their trust, develop deeper relationships, generate leads, and improve conversions.
Good brands will provide high-quality and consistent content that engages their audience, as content is one of the strongest influences on customers’ buying decisions. This content should carry an identifiable and unique voice and style across various distribution channels.
At the heart of a successful content marketing strategy is effective keyword research. This process entails identifying and analyzing the terms people type into search engines and using this data to refine your content marketing strategy. It enables you to target your desired buying audience by finding out the queries they use when searching online; these terms can then be incorporated into your content naturally to help you rank better and get your name in front of a wider audience.
Although it may be tempting to create your content around what you want to tell customers, basing it on what people are looking for is a far more effective approach.
Keyword research is a very complex process, but there are three main elements it focuses on:
- Relevance: This refers to whether your content meets the needs of those searching on a particular term; those who do not find what they seek will quickly click away from your content, which can hurt its rankings. Ensure that your content is the best resource available for that specific query.
- Authority: Enriching your site with content that is genuinely useful to others and promoting it well can help you gain authority in the eyes of Google and rank higher, getting your message in front of more people.
- Volume: A business’s content marketing strategy must target keywords with a reasonable monthly search volume to ensure a good return on investment.
Content Gap Analysis
Another essential content marketing tool is content gap analysis, which can help you to identify missed opportunities in your search engine optimization strategy. Finding holes in your existing content can guide future content to ensure you have published something that aligns with every stage of your target buyer’s journey. Figuring out the content gap analysis can also help you find new keyword opportunities for existing content.
The content gap analysis will look at the following stages of the sales funnel:
- Awareness: These are pages targeting keywords related to problems that your audience is currently facing. This content will address those problems and provide helpful information but is not focused on creating an immediate conversion.
- Consideration: This content targets people comparing solutions to their problems and may include valuable offerings such as comparison guides and reviews. Content comparing your products and services to your competitors can be very effective.
- Decision: Content targeting those in the decision stage often involves sales and service pages that work as a final checkpoint before a prospect contacts or buys from you. These pages are typically more branded than the content you will find targeted at those in the awareness and consideration stages.
- Success: Content under the success category aims to reassure customers that they are on the path to their desired outcome, whether a type of thank-you page or a follow-up sequence connecting customers to ongoing support or requesting a review.
Get Team Buy-In Across All Departments
Having all of the departments in your company aligned can help your product be more successful. Make sure that all parties involved in developing and implementing your product marketing strategy are on the same page. The sales team often focuses on pricing and sales goals, while the marketing department concentrates on positioning and messaging. However, everyone in the company needs to be familiar with these factors, the product’s benefits, and features, customer pain points, and buyer personas.
An internal knowledge base can be an excellent way to help you ensure that everyone understands the product inside and out. Collaborative online tools such as Trello, Slack, and Asana can give everyone access to a single source of information and ensure that the team stays on track.
Post-Product Launch Priorities
Initially developing your product marketing strategy, you will have to make some assumptions and projections based on the available research. However, once your product has launched, you will have concrete data that you can use to inform your future decisions about the product, such as improvements and new features.
Review Feedback & Analyze Data
Here is a look at some key performance indicators that you can use to evaluate how well your product marketing strategy is performing and make adjustments to ensure you get the most out of your efforts.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS surveys that grade your product on a scale from zero to 10 can help you understand how likely your customers are to make future purchases from your brand and recommend the product to others. Those who choose a rating between 0 and 6 are considered detractors, while those who give ratings of 7 or 8 are considered passives. Customers who give you a rating of 9 or 10 are considered promoters. To determine your NPS score, the percentage of promoters is divided by the share of detractors. You should aim to keep this number as high as possible.
Return On Investment (ROI)
One way of determining your success is by assessing the efficiency of your investment. Take your net income and divide it by the investment cost to determine your return on investment. Understanding your return on investment is an important KPI for understanding the effectiveness of your strategy and communicating it to key stakeholders.
Market Penetration Rate
Another important figure is your market penetration rate, which is determined by dividing the number of your existing customers by the size of the market you have been targeting and multiplying that figure by 100. Higher figures are better, but what has been considered a reasonable market penetration rate varies by product and industry.
However, these are not the only metrics that should be assessed. It is also essential to have someone monitoring your web and social analytics to ensure that you have met your targets. Someone on your team should also be tasked with using social listening to track mentions and conversations about the product. By studying what customers have been saying about the product in various online communities, you will gain insight that can guide future decisions in product development.
You should also continue to collect customer feedback via customer support, social media, and surveys. Be sure to share this feedback with your company’s team, so the product remains as relevant as possible.
Consider Adjusting Strategy Based On Analytics
Businesses need to ensure that their products remain relevant over time. Something may answer the needs of the masses at the moment, but how can you ensure long-term success? Your analytics will provide valuable data that can inform your product marketing strategy and ensure that it meets your customers’ changing expectations, challenges, and needs.
Sometimes, you may only need to adjust your product marketing strategy to keep up with customer sentiment. In others, however, the product itself may need to be updated or modified to ensure interest remains strong.
Start Implementing A Strong Product Marketing Strategy With 321 Web Marketing
In order to succeed, product marketing strategies must meet the customer’s needs at every stage in the product life cycle. Many factors go into developing the right approach, and in-depth research is required to gain the type of view of your market and audience needed to effectively create a product that meets consumers’ expectations and get it in front of people who are likely to purchase it.
An effective content marketing strategy is one of the most powerful components of a good product marketing campaign. Having a strategy will help you influence buyers’ decisions, cultivate long-term relationships, convert leads and establish your brand’s authority.
321 Web Marketing can help your company develop and implement a robust product marketing strategy aimed at helping you meet your goals, attract customers and build a solid brand reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.