Product Marketing 101

 What is product marketing, and how can a brand do it well?


Powerful product marketing hinges on creating a poignant, emotional, and compelling narrative that consumers can not only relate to, but find valuable. Of course, when there are countless brands competing for attention, and relevance, this is a harder task for marketers than may seem.

On the surface, it may seem like common sense for marketers to "tell authentic stories" and focus on a brand purpose, but finding what resonates is hardly simple. For instance, Rob Poetsch, senior director of global communications at Taco Bell, told ANA, "Our vision is to push the Taco Bell brand way beyond the fast food industry and deeper into a role within culture and lifestyle. Whether it's launching Nacho Fries or the Bell Hotel, we are at our best when we combine unapologetic self-awareness with fan-driven insights and behaviors to create impactful brand moments."

He went on to say, "While those pillars hold strong, the ways in which they come to life are constantly changing. Consumers are becoming more savvy. They're looking for brands to reflect their personal beliefs and show up in meaningful ways beyond what's expected. You'll continue to see that from Taco Bell in our food innovation, our marketing, and our purpose-driven initiatives."

That being said, meeting consumers where they are, and where they digest information, is crucial in creating successful product marketing. For example, virtual platforms play a huge role in how people consume information and make purchases, especially as a result of the pandemic.

Blake Marts, director of product marketing at Inmar Intelligence, stressed that bots are helpful for this reason, and also went on to say that providing samples is a highly effective strategy. Marts also reported that " nearly three in four consumers (73 percent) said a sample would persuade them to buy a new product," illustrating that brands that not only appear generous but show the value of their product do better.

The resources below provide examples, trends, and tools on successful product marketing. 


Best Practices and Trends

  • The Complete Guide to Product Marketing in 2022 and Beyond. CXL, February 2022.
    Product marketing gives you an edge to compete in a hyper-crowded market — and win. It helps you pinpoint the unique positioning and messaging that builds an emotional moat around your brand. In this article, you'll learn how to design an effective product marketing strategy that propels your brand to that top 1 percent.



    Also from CXL, see: 17 Things We've Learned from Top Product Marketers.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing. HubSpot, December 2021.
    Product marketing involves understanding the product's target audience and using strategic positioning and messaging to boost revenue and demand for the product. In this guide, learn about the power of product marketing, how it can help your bottom line, and how it impacts the success of your products. It includes product marketing duties and strategies, as well as examples from Apple and Pepsi-Cola.

  • Accurate Product Information Is the Foundation of Successful Marketing. ANA, November 2021.
    Here's a calamity with which your business may struggle: having a high conversion rate paired with a high return. Usually, inaccurate product information is the culprit. Whether your data is incorrect, missing, or duplicated, your product content will promote an image very different from what the customer may receive. As a result, customers will unhappily send the product back, and worse still, leave a bad review. Product information accuracy means data is not only accurate to the product, but to its target audience. This offers some suggestions for how product information should reflect its intended audience as much as the product itself.

  • Product Marketing Guide. Widen, September 2021.
    There's a key connective web between new products and customers in the market — product marketing. This multifaceted discipline brings together vital components of sales, marketing, and customer success to share a new product with the world. Product marketing requires a unique role to bring products to life and sell them — product marketers. Product marketers are the ones who research, define, and articulate the position of your product in the market. They create a plan and work across departments and teams to bring products to customers.

    These unique product experts are responsible for everything from launching new products and building awareness to getting user signups, converting sales, and growing revenue. This product marketing guide cover what product marketing is, what product marketers do, how they measure their success, and the tools they use to bring products to market.

  • Product Marketing Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide. Peekage, July 2021.
    There are many product marketing definitions available; all of them are trying to illustrate the relationship between product, sales, and marketing. Product marketing is a process, you continuously gather user feedback and reshape your product. This guide looks at what product marketing and why it's important, how to start, strategies, tricks of the trade, sampling, measurement, and more.



  • State of Product Marketing. Product Marketing Alliance, 2021.
    This report offers a granular deep dive into how 2021 shaped life for Product Marketing Managers. There are both quantitative and qualitative findings alongside expert insights from a group of interviewees. It also includes a look into what the future might hold for the role and the wider industry. Sample finding:
    • When it comes to where product marketers are positioned within an organization and who they report to, most PMMs report to Marketing (62 percent), while others report to Product (15 percent), directly to the CEO (11 percent), or Business Development (3 percent). Of the 9% who responded with 'Other', alternative answers included 'Customer Success', 'Commercial Director', 'Strategy', and 'Global Director'. Common answers also covered a vast portion of the C-suite, such as CCO, CRO, CMO, CTO, CSO, and CPO. There were also a handful of PMMs who work independently and report to nobody.

  • How to Merchandise and Market the Virtual Shelf. ANA, June 2020.
    The speed at which brands and retailers can transform digital experiences to (at least remotely) resemble the comfortable experience of browsing vast aisles of inventory and selecting various items to complete a solution will be crucial. While there are notable conveniences of online shopping — namely the fact it's clothing optional — it still creates anxiety for shoppers who lack confidence in their choices, fear forgetting a key item and relinquish the luxury of comparing competitive items' price and packaging by simply seeing them side-by-side on the shelf. How do stakeholders begin to replicate the in-store experience to meet the demands of migrating consumers? Inmar offers a few ideas:
    • Sell a solution, not just a product
    • Counsel consumers' decisions with virtual store associates
    • Reinvent the product sampling experience
  • Product Launch Marketing Brings Brands to Life. ANA, October 2019.
    As marketers ponder the challenges they now face when launching a product or line extension, they must pine for those halcyon days pre-web. Just about every facet of marketing a new product or service has changed dramatically, including the nature of the consumers who purchase the products and the demands of the retailers who distribute them. In the current consumer climate, "good" marketing simply isn't good enough anymore. Product launches are a great opportunity for brands to connect with their consumers. 

Examples

  • SurveyMonkey: A Consolidated Approach to Product Marketing. ANA, August 2020.
    SurveyMonkey's Expert Solutions product is designed to help brands take control of their market research capabilities. However, when the product's launch coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SurveyMonkey had to rethink how it would connect with consumers.



Webinars

  • The Ultimate Product Launch Playbook — Strategies the Best Brands Use to Go to Market. ANA, November 2018.
    Savvy marketers know building a great product is just the first step — after all, you've got to drive awareness and make people want to buy it. You don't have to be a big brand with a big budget to map out an effective strategy for day one and beyond. In this webinar, Bazaarvoice walked through the anatomy of a successful product launch.


Tools and Templates

  • Product Marketing Plan Playbook. ANA/Demand Metric.
    Use this step-by-step playbook and set of 23 premium tools and templates to create a comprehensive product marketing plan. Stages of the playbook include objectives, product, understanding, size up, build, and launch.

  • Product Marketing Go-To Kit. HubSpot.
    HubSpot and SamCart put together a kit of essential templates, available in Microsoft Office and Google Drive formats, to help you organize your product marketing efforts and rally your team around your timeline and messaging. It includes templates to make it clear exactly who's responsible for which launch assets and internal enablement templates to ensure everyone is aligned on product messaging.

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

  • Explore content to access best practices, case studies, and marketing tools. Our proprietary content includes Event Recaps, which share actionable insights from conference and committee presentations.
  • Connect with our Ask the Expert team in real time for customized answers to your specific marketing challenges.
  • Stay on top of trends with Marketing Futures Pulse issues, which explore how new technologies and innovations will affect marketers and consumers alike. 

Submit a request to Ask the Expert here.

Source

"Brand and Sustainability: The Planet, People, and Society." ANA, 2022.