Finally, we can provide a definite answer to the age-old question: what is product marketing? Cleary the role differs from company to company; however, there are certain consistencies among them. These variances are likely to blame for the job title confusion.
I like to view product marketing as a bridge role. In the simplest terms, you bridge the gap between the technology/development and marketing departments, and you bridge the sales team with the market. The role is extremely broad within a technology company, and because of this, product marketers often focus on specific parts within their position.
So let’s divide the position up by their general responsibilities:
Though not typically on the communications team, a product marketer needs to influence the marketing-communications team. Many responsibilities, such as positioning, competitive analysis, and product highlights play a part among the company’s communications. Therefore, a product marketer needs to have keen communication skills to ensure potential customers can clearly differentiate their product from any of the competitors.
Differentiation and positioning are all crucial parts of the product strategy. Product marketers are typically the people writing the content for the website and drafting informational white papers.
Though a product marketer is not a salesman, trust me, I’m far from it. The sales team needs to rely on you to assist with lead gen and to help with the sales “script”. Your role is to know the market, what they’re looking for, and why they should buy your product over a competitor. A product marketer needs to properly convey this information to the sales team so they can effectively persuade potential customers. A common practice of the product marketer is to provide a “cheat sheet” to their sales team detailing and highlighting unique product features.
However, the assisting the sales team doesn’t stop there. A proficient product marketer interacts with customers after the sale and further details key product features and helps with upselling to a more premium service/product.
A product marketer needs to have their ear to the ground and understand the market their product is in. What are customers asking for? What problems do they need solved?
Because of this, product marketers again need to communicate these needs to the product team in order to better suit the needs of more potential customers. It might sound like I keep beating the same drum, however, it’s imperative for a successful marketer to have superb communication skills – both written and oral. They’ll need to influence several areas to create a cohesive bond between marketing, sales, development, and the market.