For any organization to achieve consistent growth, all of its departments must function optimally – aligned to a common larger goal. Most of these roles are quite well-defined. The engineers build the product, the finance team keeps the books in order, the sales department brings in business and the support team ensures that customers are happy. But what does a Product Marketer do?
Product marketing sits at the intersection of product strategy, sales, customer satisfaction and marketing. A Product Marketer not only understands the product inside out, but also has a deep understanding of the potential customer psyche. He is responsible for the overall positioning of the brand in the minds of existing as well as prospective clients. While a product manager’s job is to define and develop the product, a product marketer’s job is to bring the product to market.
What is a Product Marketer?
In a nutshell, before the launch of a product, the product marketer defines the positioning, messaging, customer support mechanisms and overall go-to-market strategy. After the product hits the market, his job is to drive sales and ensure its success by understanding the customer demand, hesitations, adoptions, etc. A successful product marketer effectively defines a narrative that forms the backbone of all marketing and product activities across the funnel.
What Do Product Marketers Do?
The key functions of Product Marketing can be broken into four areas – Strategy, Marketing, Management and Sales.
Strategy – Every successful product launch is marked by a well-defined market strategy. A Product Marketing Manager is expected to have a thorough understanding of different target markets as well as insights on how to enter those markets effectively. This is achieved by extensive market research, understanding customer needs and market drivers, competitive analysis and strategy building.
Marketing – A Product Marketer owns the core messaging and positioning of a product/brand. He is responsible for defining the brand’s marketing principles, techniques and the overall positioning of the brand. Product Marketers liaise with Product Managers and other stakeholders to create a sequence of marketing communication activities that deliver clear messaging, generate demand and drive sales.
Management – A Product Marketer’s job is not restricted to communication and marketing. Since he’s the one with the deepest understanding of the customer, it is his job to ensure that the evolution of the product is aligned with customer-oriented benefits. A product marketer is also required to manage multiple stakeholders to ensure adherence to deadlines and unhindered communication.
Sales – The sales foot soldiers are the ones who actually go to ground and face your customers. They are the ones who ultimately communicate what the product is about, why was it built, what has it achieved and why is it that a customer must choose you over others. This might take considerable trainings, presentations, demonstrations and falls under the purview of the Product Marketing Manager.
How Can You Become a Product Marketer?
Loosely put, Product Marketers are the link between the what the product does and what customers care about. To do this well, they are expected to demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills, subject matter expertise or industry expertise, deep understanding of different marketing and sales channels, high management and team skills, and, effective leadership skills.
Even though product marketers have always existed, the term ‘Product Marketing’ is relatively new. Most Product Marketers today are previous Marketing Managers that overtook this role accidentally; making the path to Product Marketing even hazier.
Nonetheless, Product Marketing has evolved to be a dedicated and lucrative role that many young and mid-level professionals are delving into today. It doesn’t necessarily require a specific formal education but a combination of skills and practices that set the path for successful product marketing.
If you’re intrigued, check out Chet’s What is a Product Marketer microcourse, explore the modules and decide for yourself if it’s the way to go.