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Product Marketing


To make a successful product you not only need to build it, but also position it rightly on the market and convince your customers to try it. Luckily people exist who can help you do that - product marketers.

Marketing used to be a bit of a swear word for product people. Most PMs back in the day came to the profession from engineering or design, they were naturally focused on the delivery and discovery rather than on marketing. That inevitably led to many 'could be' fantastic products never realising their potential due to a lack of proper marketing.

What is product marketing?

It is just marketing, okay? Like product is also a part of a bigger umbrella called Marketing. We all focused on understanding our customers, their problems and coming up with solutions to delight them. Product marketing often sits at the intersection of Product, Sales, Marketing and Customer success and it's often tasked with achieving product-market fit and growing their products.

What are the main activities of product marketing?

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things PMMs can do to make their products successful:
  • Work out product positioning on the market
  • Discover and describe user and buyer personas
  • Understand competitive landscape
  • Help define the product's USPs
  • Create attractive product packaging
  • Own go-to-market plan and communication
  • Measure and improve product acquisition channels
  • Grow products with the right marketing mix
  • Empower sales with the right collateral, pricing and competitive information
  • Help CS and product get the right signals from customers to improve the product and provide a better service
  • and many more...

Should product marketing be part of your empowered product team?

Yes. Or, it depends on the size of your product and the busyness of your PM. Some product superstars out there do it all - discovery, delivery, and growth including product marketing. For smaller products or iterative improvements, it's possible, but for bigger endeavours, you will need to collaborate with product marketers. And when you do - they need to work as closely as possible with your team. Product marketing should be a part of your cross-functional product team.

When do you include product marketing?

Right from the start. Both PMs and PMMs should be collaborating from the early days to deeply understand their customers and the problems they are having. PMs and PMMs should look at the data together, do discovery together and be this joint strong 'voice of the customer' to other parts of their product team and beyond.

When PMs deliver their products, PMMs should be there at the demos and reviews to understand deeply how products work and why certain key decisions have been taken. This will help them craft a better positioning and reach the right people with the right message when it's time to bring the product to market.

PMs and PMMs need to help each other define analytics and metrics for measuring product success. They need to monitor and discuss the health of their product regularly and challenge one another to learn even more about their customers and improve their offerings. They could run experiments together to find new ways to grow their products and optimise their bottom line.

Bonus - agile product marketing

agile is steadily gaining popularity not only for engineers but the other business functions. That is agile as an approach to do work iteratively, collaboratively relying on communication with people, not processes. Here I don't mean any particular agile framework or practice but the general philosophy.

Product marketing used to be (and still largely is) a waterfall. PMMs used to work with a project mindset where all tasks were lined up on a timeline. However, seeing their colleagues from engineering and product switching to agile ways, product marketing people are now also embracing the new.

Product managers, scrum masters, agile coaches - let's help our PMM colleagues learn our ways of working. We are meant to be on the same team. But even if it's not yet possible in your circumstances - keep trying. Invite PMMs to your meetings, share with them your processes and explain your decision-making approach.

PMMs, you can read modern product management books, attend conferences, have a mentor from the product team. When learning new approaches - make sure you learn how the best teams work. You might not be able to apply everything immediately, but you'll have a clear idea of what to aim for.

Product marketing plays a vital role in the overall product success and every empowered product team should have PMM onboard.

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