Over the last ten years, the role of a product marketer (product marketing manager) has been adopted by tons of technology-focused companies and startups all over the world. Although this role continues becoming more common nowadays, it's sometimes misunderstood. This is especially true for new product marketers who have just started their careers.
To help address this gap, I have compiled four things about product marketing that you might miss anyway. I hope this article will help you better understand what it means to be a product marketer.
1. Product market and competitors
When identifying the target market of your product, your approach can be top-down or bottom-up.
A top-down approach refers to creating an optimistic estimate of the market share your product represents or will represent over a specified period (e.g., 6 or 12 months).
A bottom-up approach entails the use of aggressive estimates to figure out the current sales of similar/competitor products to forecast the market potential your product can capture through marketing and sales activities.
Whatever approach you choose, you need to analyze competitors and their product offerings because this analysis will help you make judgments on how your product can look like. Based on the competitors' analysis, the features you built in your product must get your users and customers happy and enhance your brand.
2. Product user vs. product customer
When you run a product marketing strategy, you communicate with users and customers of your product. Sometimes, users (those who use your product) are not customers (people who pay for using your product).
In product marketing, a user is an individual who shares feedback about technical issues and provides suggestions for improvement. A customer can be an individual or company that pays for using the product and its features (depending on the business model - license, subscription, etc.), providing their feedback about the general capabilities.
3. Product marketing vs. product management
Simply put, product marketing is focused on promoting a product to existing customers and generating new users, while product management aims to design, code and release a product.
As a product marketer, you are responsible for market research, competitor analysis, strategic positioning and communication around the product, lead generation, advertising, sales promotion, demos and presentations, pricing policy.
As a product manager, you lead the creation of a product throughout the development process. You elaborate product vision and roadmap, identify and articulate product value, manage and update technical requirements and specifications, communicate with the product owner, work with the development team and stakeholders, set task priorities and schedules.
Here below is a comparison list "Product Marketing vs. Product Management" that highlights the top five differences:
Product marketing focus:
- Developing and implementing a go-to-market strategy
- Positioning and communicating a product and its features to the target audience
- Managing lead generation and advertising campaigns
- Working closely with the sales team to help close more deals
- Driving product demand and adoption to the market
Product management focus:
- Managing the development and release of a product, making sure it technically feasible and economically viable
- Defining user stories and what features to build or improve, oversight tasks and deadlines
- Working with users, collecting their feedback, identifying UX/UI design gaps at any stage of product development
- Helping developers, QA specialists, designers, etc. to build the right product
- Making sure the development team delivers the product within the right time frames
4. MVP marketing and feedback loops
An MVP (minimum viable version) is a market-ready product that offers users enough features and functionalities to compete successfully in its market niche. MVPs help product marketers gather user feedback and identify priorities for continuous product improvement.
Lean MVP development and marketing involves a series of steps to experiment with a product on the target group of users (early adopters, open beta testers) and collect feedback for analysis and decision making about further product development. MVP marketing uses feedback loops as a fast and effective method to evaluate a product and its features.
Here are five steps to build feedback loops and get to know what users think of your product:
- Identify and describe the problem-solution set that your MVP embraces. You must clearly understand the business case to market and grow your product.
- Identify assumptions (e.g., using what-if scenarios) and build one or more hypotheses around each assumption to come up with a list of actions for dealing with both positive and negative effects of the MVP.
- Establish minimum criteria for success that will help you figure out whether the product is worth building or not.
- Decide on what feedback collection methods to use. It can be landing pages, explainer videos, paid advertising campaigns (e.g., Google AdWords or Facebook Ads), cold emailing, beta tests, and more. Make sure you create a recurring loop of user feedback.
- Use wireframes to walk users through your MVP and explain its content, structure and navigation. Also, you can build prototypes to demonstrate and promote MVP features.