Advertisement spending in the United States crosses the $250 billion mark easily.
Companies spend up to 10% of their total revenue on marketing.
It’s not surprising that marketing seems to be the major concern for most businesses.
Setting up the right product marketing strategy is not only about pouring money. It involves creating an effective strategy with both paid and organic engagement. Marketing in an increasingly competitive market can be challenging.
At the same time, we now have more marketing channels than ever. Let’s find out how to make the most of them and set up a product marketing strategy.
9 steps for setting up a product marketing strategy
We have compiled 9 steps to create a product marketing strategy. These steps deal with the fundamentals of product marketing, irrespective of your sector or niche.
Note that the specifics can vary greatly depending on the nature of the product you are promoting.
Here are 8 steps for setting up a product marketing strategy:
1. Know the market
Before your products launch, the first step to creating a product marketing strategy is to know your target market. The market here refers to the wider consumer base that your product targets. Depending on the nature of the product, the market research would vary.
For instance, the market research for a SaaS tool would be different from that of a general-use gadget. Those who want a better gadget will have different motivations from those who want a better SaaS tool. The same person can be the customer in both cases, but it doesn’t excuse their desire or need for wanting the particular product.
Market research is a long and tedious process. You have to go through data, trends, customer behavior analyses, case studies, and a lot more. The idea is to figure out what the market, as a whole, needs.
All the subsequent steps are predicated on market research. If you have done a good job with market research, the subsequent steps to set up a product marketing strategy would be much easier.
2. Know your competition
The very next step after market research is competitor research and analysis. Unless you have a ground-breaking product, other companies have already done what you are trying to do. There may be differences in the specifics, but it’s impossible to find no predecessor for your product category.
Competitor research involves studying competitor companies to figure out how they became successful. You should also look at companies and ideas that failed to understand why they could not succeed. Studying balance sheets and financial reports of competitor companies is also useful in understanding their business.
While it’s important to study other businesses, it is also important to not replicate them. When you copy-paste another idea, it doesn’t give anything new to the market. At the very least, a new idea should work on and improve an existing idea. This doesn’t happen when with ideas that are rip-offs of other businesses.
Another important category of competitor research is researching the types of products and services they offer. These products are not your direct competitors. Instead, their success boosts your success.
For example, a computer peripheral manufacturer would benefit from studying computer sales, the market for computer users, and other things related to the larger personal computer market.
It would also benefit you to study the product marketing campaigns that your competitors have run in the past. Doing so will give you an idea of what to do yourself, but also present an opportunity to improve on those strategies and develop your own product marketing plan.
3. Create customer personas
Customer personas (aka. buyer personas) are fictitious profiles of your customers which highlight their broad pain points, situation, financial background, social standing, purchasing power, and needs. While customer personas are fictitious, they are based on real-world facts and events.
Creating customer personas requires you to thoroughly study the market and understand consumer behavior. One of the easy ways to do it is through online surveys. Simply choose a survey maker, start writing your questions and share them through all your marketing channels.
A customer persona will help you answer tough questions about your target audience. To begin with, it’ll help you understand the pain points of the customer and what they need.
You would also have an estimate of how much money they are willing to spend on this particular solution. Once you have the answers to these questions, you can position and price the product efficiently and more easily identify your ideal customers.
It’s important to collect a wide range of responses in order to build thorough customer personas. If you’re struggling to do so, take a look at how to find more survey respondents.
4. Storytelling around the product
Even if you have a great product, it would not be successful if not positioned correctly. Positioning a product means relating the product to the customers’ lives. To do this, you must already have market research data and customer personas.
Storytelling is crucial for positioning. While the product itself has its innate value, it is the story around the product that makes it more desirable. It’s the same reason you would choose a Nike cap over a generic cap.
For example, the Nike cap has a story of sportsmanship, fitness, and health built around it.
Creating a story for a product also requires you to highlight the most impressive aspects of the product. It’s important to talk about your product’s USP and explain how it will fit the lifestyle of your target customer. Storytelling does not have any fixed rules – there’s room for innovation and experimentation at all times.
5. Define your objectives
How would you know that your product marketing strategy is successful if you don’t know what you are aiming for? That brings us to the need of having well-defined objectives for your product marketing strategy.
Product marketing objectives typically revolve around hard numbers and figures. But unlike sales numbers, marketing numbers may not always accurately depict the success or failure of a campaign. The number of likes you get on social media may not reflect the number of people who are willing to buy your product.
To arrive at a more accurate conclusion, it’s important to set qualitative as well as quantitative objectives. That tells you not only how many people know about your product, but also what people think about it. Qualitative objectives may include getting positive user reviews, good press coverage, and general goodwill towards your company.
6. Social media marketing
When we talk about marketing in 2022, there’s no way to not talk about social media marketing. Social media marketing is a subset of digital marketing, but it helps with brand awareness like nothing else. The right social media marketing campaign can make your entire product marketing strategy a success.
While there are many benefits of social media marketing, there are some challenges as well. The first challenge is saturation. Social media is replete with advertisements and paid content. With the average person seeing around 10,000 ads a day, it is very difficult to have a meaningful impact with social media marketing alone.
Social media marketing also requires you to be consistent. With social media management tools, being consistent is easier than ever. You also need to strategically use paid social media advertisements to see maximum results. Influencer marketing is yet another strand of social media marketing that can help your product marketing strategy.
7. Content marketing and SEO
Unlike ads, customers have a genuine interest in content, especially when it isn’t promotional. There are many ways of approaching content marketing, and it includes producing content that is purely promotional. But it’s the other side of content marketing that gives you better results.
Content marketing can be educational, entertaining, informational, and even intriguing. The idea is to convert your content into a separate product that customers can access without paying. The goal is to lead them to the product through your content and powerful calls-to-action. When executed correctly, content marketing can be much more productive than paid social media ads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) also relies on content, but it has several other factors. Nothing gives a product more authenticity and credibility than organic search results. SEO has both technical and creative elements. SEO is indispensable to consistently rank in search results and draw more customers.
8. Email marketing
Email marketing remains one of the best converting strategies for businesses. One of the best things about this strategy is that it allows you to market to new customers who subscribe to your email list and also to re-market to existing customers who you’ve already be in contact with.
For example, with existing customers you can up-sell products related to what they’ve already purchased, or even offer discounts and other product offers to increase retention and build loyalty.
That isn’t to say you can’t use these same strategies with leads, but there needs to be a line of communication between marketing and sales teams where marketing qualified leads are identified. Doing so will save the precious time and resources of employees and ensure you’re only pitching to people who’ve shown genuine interest in your products.
If you’re just starting out, here are some lead magnets to help you build an email list, so you can start marketing your product.
9. Keep track of success
The final step to setting up a product marketing strategy is to keep track of your progress. This draws back to the previous point of setting objectives. Once you have set the objectives, you also need to track whether you are reaching them or not.
Keeping track of success means a lot of different things. You can extract the data from your sales numbers, but you can also use Google Analytics for traffic, conversion rates, engagement, and other metrics. You can choose a simple spreadsheet-based approach or use specialized tools to evaluate different KPIs.
It’s crucial to measure success continually, and not at the end of the campaign. Doing so helps you understand what is working and what isn’t. With social media analytics, it’s easier than ever to keep a continuous tab of your progress.
Measuring success is a continuous process. While a successful product marketing strategy would be self-evident, tracking successes and failures along the way help us reach our goals faster.
Another way of tracking success is reviewing your customer service interactions. Creating a list of the most common questions and bugbears of your customer base will help you spot the weak points in your product or its delivery.
The right product marketing strategy is the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful business. You can have a great product, but it wouldn’t get anywhere without marketing.
We hope these nine steps will help you set up an effective product marketing strategy.
Of course, there are more ways to market your product and increase your sales. Here are some digital marketing strategies for small businesses to help you achieve your revenue goals.
This article was written by: Edvinas Kazlauskas