Based on https://cxl.com/blog/product-marketing-strategy/ by Gareth Hancock.
Conduct quantitative research: analyze customer and audience data from your CRM, audience intelligence tools, journals, and industry studies.
Analyze the customer data you have access to. What does your sales data reveal about territories, customer types, average sales, and pricing? Which type of products bring bigger profits?
Gather external data from governmental and local organizations. Data.gov and Eurostat offer volumes on demographics, economics, trade, and production data in the U.S and Europe, respectively. Supplement this with reports and studies from trade associations, industry journals and media, and commercial marketing data.
This information will help you answer questions around the size of the potential market, how it will grow or shrink, and what market share competitors own.
If you’re launching a new product, speak to the audience you’re looking to attract. Reach out to them on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn and invite them for a short conversation.
Base your questions around:
- Pain points: What are your biggest challenges with X? What would help you solve that challenge?
- Goals: What do you look for in a product? What do you hope to gain?
- Pricing: What is a reasonable price range? How would you rate industry prices?
- Psychographic traits: What interests you? How do you prefer to buy?
Depending on your product, Minimum Viable Product (MVP) testing might be an option. By releasing a version of your product with a few priority features for new customers, you can gather feedback to determine its viability and improve future versions.
Use your qualitative research data to build robust customer personas.
- Behavioral drivers: Customers’ goals, ambitions, and their journey to finding your business.
- Obstacles: Hesitations and concerns potential customers have. How do they view your product, and how will this impact the information they need to buy?
- Mindset Customers’ preconceived notions around the buying experience. Do they want a tailored experience, or are they looking for a bargain?
Segment data based on common threads. Start with intent, then look at hesitations and mindset. This will help you find a small number of clearly defined personas. Round out these personas with quantitative data from on-site behavior from Google Analytics. Gather data like:
- Average revenue per user.
- Transactions per user.
- New versus repeat customers.
- Frequent customers.
It’s much easier to market a product if you can visualize the buyer. For example, Paul, 35, who values family time and cares about online privacy is a lot more relatable than Persona #4.
Write down how you want customers to see your product: who it helps, the problems it solves, and how it compares to the competition. Build your messaging on top of this product positioning.
Think about the four Ps:
- Product. How does your product compare to others? What’s unique about it?
- Price. How does your price relate to your audience and value?
- Promotion. How do or will your customers discover you?
- Place. Where do your products live? Purely online, or do you have other distribution channels?
Positioning determines your target customers and how you want them to perceive your product. Messaging is how you communicate that concept. Include these elements:
- Unique selling proposition (USP): Why you’re different from the competition.
- Target audience: Your buyer personas.
- Brand story: A narrative of how your product came to be, why you make it, and your mission.
- Messaging strategy guidelines: A playbook that includes a mission statement, tagline, value proposition, brand pillars, positioning statement, brand promise, and design and tone of voice guidelines.
- What sets you apart: Pinpoint at least one thing that makes you different.
- Not trying to appeal to everyone: Don’t just be another option. Be the product your audience has been looking for by appealing to their individual needs.
- Speaking to your customers: Find out their motivations and current level of satisfaction with available options.
- Continual testing: Test your messaging on a small audience, then analyze and adjust. Be ready to change your messaging to suit the product, audience, and opportunity.
Loom’s positioning as an “async video messaging for work” wouldn’t have made sense when they launched in 2015.
Since then, the world has changed dramatically. Loom pivoted from a video recording platform centered around user feedback to a platform that helps professionals (remote ones in particular) avoid excess meetings and emails.
Their messaging is crystal clear across their website, saying what they do and who they do it for: Record quick videos of your screen and cam. An essential tool for hybrid workplaces.
Their async lean is also echoed across social media. Such as on LinkedIn: We’re bringing video messaging to work and empowering everyone to communicate more effectively, wherever they are.
And Twitter: Record and instantly share video messages of your screen, cam, or both. Faster than typing an email or meeting live.
Write down what you want to achieve with your product. Divide your goals into categories - sales, customer satisfaction, and brand awareness - then set a specific goal for each pillar.
- Sales: Revenue, assisted conversions, qualified leads, cost per acquisition, close rate, customer lifetime value.
- Customer satisfaction: Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer sentiment, product usage.
- Brand awareness: Market share, share of voice, website traffic.
Keep your goals realistic by using the SMART framework. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
Create an internal knowledge base to standardize marketing strategy information across teams. Promote collaboration using tools like Slack, Asana, and Trello.
In your internal knowledge base, include information your teams need to be clear on, like:
- Product features and benefits.
- Customer pain points.
- Positioning and messaging.
- Buyer personas.
- Product goals.
- Pricing strategy.
Many tools offer templates to help you do this:
Analyze buyer personas and survey customers on how much they would pay to find the right price point for your product.
Where cost-based and competitive pricing can help you quickly reach a ball-park figure, both neglect the unique value your product offers. On the ProfitWell blog, Patrick explains why focusing on value-based pricing over the alternatives is something his company recommends:
Value-based pricing gives customers trust in your product and brand. Your pricing matches what they’re willing to pay for the value you provide. You can offer packages and price points that precisely meet their needs because you understand what they truly want.
You can price higher than competitors because you conducted the research that proves how much customers are truly willing to pay. You can also re-evaluate prices as you add value to your product and learn more about your customers and their evolving needs.
Value-based pricing is based heavily on data. But by this stage in your strategy, a lot of the hard work is already done.
Use pricing data to create tiers and pricing packages. Test and measure your strategy before rolling it out fully.
Zenefits, for example, offers plans that increase in price based on the features they include.
This personalized price plan is reasonable and suits multiple personas. It also offers clarity. Buyers can see the value they will receive and can choose the most suitable plan for their needs.
Plan out how you will launch your product, and the type of launch you’ll use. Set a product marketing roadmap that includes key pre-launch, launch, and post-launch events.
How you launch will depend on whether your product is rolling out to the market or existing customers.
A launch that prioritizes new customer acquisition might consider awareness, user acquisition, and impressing investors as primary goals. If retention is your goal, then improving the existing experience and engaging existing customers is likely to be the priority.
The type of launch will also influence your strategy:
- Soft: Rolling out to a small portion of your customer base at a time. It aims to work out bugs, gain feedback, and validate product-market fit.
- General availability (GA): Open to your entire customer base. It has common aims like building awareness and acquiring new users.
Your roadmap can be goals-based, deadline-based, or task-based. It must keep all stakeholders and individual contributors aware of what’s happening, what needs to happen, and what they need to do to move the project forward.
Use the DACI model to define roles and responsibilities for team members:
- Driver: The person responsible and accountable for driving the project - usually the marketing manager.
- Approver: A key decision-maker who gives the go-ahead, provides feedback and approval.
- Contributors: The people that do the work - marketers and sales reps.
- Informed: Stakeholders you need to keep updated with milestones and completed phases.
Pick a tool to build and manage your roadmap. Some options are:
Measure and track market penetration rate, return on investment (ROI), and Net Promoter Score (NPS). Monitor customer sentiment through feedback and social listening.
Market penetration rate:
market penetration rate = number of customers / target market size x 100
Return on Investment (ROI):
ROI = net income / cost of investment
Net Promoter Score (NPS):
NPS = promoters – detractors
Employ social listening to keep track of your mentions and the conversations around your product. What are customers saying about your product in their online communities? The insights from these sources can be a goldmine that guides future decisions.
Gather customer feedback at every opportunity through surveys, customer support, and social media. Communicate this feedback across your teams to keep your product relevant.