The Simplest Answer to, “What Is Product Marketing?”

Pop quiz: If you had to define product marketing right now, what would you say?

A lot of folks have difficulty answering this question, but it’s not your fault. Although product marketing is a prominent department across both B2B and B2C companies, it’s pretty hard to find a good definition of it anywhere — even on Google.

What makes it especially difficult is that it’s one of the few job functions that touches product, marketing, and sales. It all comes down to knowing the target customer and testing to find ways to learn more about them and how best to interact with them.

Product marketing doesn’t stop once the product has gone to market (if it did, well, product marketers at a one-product company wouldn’t have much to do after the product’s launch). The process of marketing a product as the final step is to ensure the right people are aware of the product. Those people who know how to use it, according to the needs and feedback of customers are being listened to over the product’s lifecycle.

Let’s talk about where to start in product marketing and what other aspects of your business can support this product as it grows.

A good way to begin brainstorming your campaign is through implementing inbound marketing methodology into your strategic plan. We mentioned before that product marketing is continual, and your approach should be the same. Inbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on attracting your audience and turning them into loyal customers that advocate for your product.

This is demonstrated in our “Attact, Engage, Delight” model below.

You can attract, engage, and delight your customers with other aspects of your business including strategies that identify your target audience, provide a clear positioning or marketing message, and countless other ideas. But in short, starting your product marketing plan with this model and an understanding of inbound methodology can set your business up for success.

Now that we have a sturdy foundation to build upon, let’s get into it.

What does a product marketing process look like before, during, and after a product is launched?

Product Marketing Starts With Your Customer

HubSpot’s early years faced a challenge that many small businesses face: product ambiguity. Except for the slight majority of people who perceived HubSpot as “marketing services” — which is indeed part of our product stack — our perception consisted of numerous other terms that our audience used to describe us.

This is a primary reason businesses implement a formal product marketing operation, and it starts with your buyer persona.

A great product means nothing if it doesn’t get the attention of the people who would benefit from it. So, who’s your audience for this product? How (and where) are you reaching them, and what’s the story you’re telling to present this product to them? When preparing to launch a product, working with the rest of your marketing team to identify your customer and develop the messaging is critical.

Seven Critical Steps of Product Marketing

When product marketers know exactly whom their product caters to, the marketing can begin. Here are seven things product marketers may do before, during, and after their product enters the market:

1. Product Research: A helpful and well-made product isn’t made in a vacuum, and it also isn’t marketed in one. In the weeks and months before a product launch, product marketers work with the product’s developers to test the product both internally and externally through controlled beta environments.

2. Product Story: Products are also brought to market in the form of a story. What problem does the product solve? Who’s facing this problem? How does it solve this problem? What does it do that competitors don’t?

3. Product-Focused Content: Product marketing’s next stop is at the desks of the content creators. Here, product marketers may create and A/B test various marketing copy, blog content, case studies, and landing pages on their website — all dedicated to describing the product.

4. Product Launch Plan: No product marketing team is complete without a written launch plan, spelling out every last stage of the marketing process and who’s responsible at each point.

5. Product Launch Meeting: When the product is launched, everyone involved meets the day it’s rolled out. Much like a rocket launch, this is the product marketer’s finest hour — it’s the climax of a product marketing campaign.

6. Community Engagement: As product marketing generates enough buzz around the product within the industry, it’s common for the marketing team to capitalize on what the market is saying about them. This includes reaching out to partners, influencers, and existing customers for commentary.

7. Sales Enablement: As a product is being prepared for the marketplace, the sales team is waiting in the wings to develop a sales strategy around this new business opportunity. It’s the product marketing team’s job to meet with sales staff before, during, and after the product is rolled out to the public. This ensures the messaging created for this product is consistent through to the first sales call.

With all of this in mind, you may be wondering what exactly a product marketer has to do to see these projects to completion. Let’s dive into it.

Product Marketer Job Description

A Product Marketer, or Product Marketing Manager, promotes products and their features to an organization’s target audience. Their duties include studying the company’s products, highlighting key features to attract customers and creating marketing campaigns for products.

Product Marketer Responsibilities

A product marketer’s main responsibility is to promote a product’s value to the target audience. This goal is achieved through a combination of strategy and ideation such as:

Determining the mix of marketing content for creation and distribution
Creating and managing budgets for marketing campaigns
Working with content creators to make content that reflects the product and brand image
Managing a calendar of content and creating the schedule

Product Marketer Salary

A product marketer, or product marketing manager’s salary in the United States varies greatly depending on the experience and tier. According to 2021 industry averages, the median salary of different tiers are as follows:

Entry-Level Product Marketer or Product Marketing Assistant: $43,630
Product Marketer or Product Marketing Manager: $111,890
Director of Product Marketing: $166,928

Promote Your Product with a Plan

As you develop your product marketing team and strategy, think about how the elements above might take shape, and who you’ll need to work with to make it a success. Take these questions into consideration in your next great product marketing plan.