Creating a New Category with High Alpha
Zylo CEO Eric Christopher discusses the importance of brand in becoming a category leader.
Product marketing has undergone a paradigm shift in the past ten years. The days when company growth was sales-led and then marketing-led are coming to an end, and now product-led growth is the direction the B2B SaaS sector is moving. Product-led growth is still such a new concept that conversations and conferences about product marketing drift into confusing discussions about the topic. To help simplify it, the features of product marketing now often involve a software product that is given away for free as a service to companies. The product marketing goals will then involve getting those businesses using the free software to become paying customers.
In product-led growth, every aspect of a company becomes focused on the software end-user experience, including the sales, engineering, design and marketing teams. This new focus on product-led growth is changing the way the entire industry approaches product marketing. Product marketing activities are directly focused from every division in a company toward a positive, necessary end-user experience.
Some of the best product marketing companies in existence today started out as a free service. One obvious example of this is Dropbox. The free file-sharing service is so useful to end users that many end up paying for additional storage space. A key element to the success of Dropbox is that the recipient of a shared file had to sign up for a free Dropbox account; every user became a “grassroots marketer” for the product. Today, thousands of companies that started out as free users of Dropbox are paying customers — even companies that are not directly in the tech sector.
Download our Product Marketing PDF today to learn more about the paradigm shift that product-led growth has caused in the industry.
Product Management Courses
The best way to stay ahead of the curve as a product manager is to constantly improve your own skills through product management courses. The marketing industry is changing rapidly, so look for a product marketing course that offers the latest innovations and strategies in product-led growth. Remember that your product marketing certification doesn’t have to be limited to a bricks-and-mortar school; you can also find product marketing courses online free to supplement your learning.
When searching for a product management course, remember that product-led growth is the current trajectory of the market. Depending on where you are at in your own training level, a good product management course should cover:
- Modern project management methods
- Managing startup projects in the B2B Saas sector
- Amplifying existing lines for growth
Just one example of a great learning tool for product marketers is the “Business” line from Coursera. Product marketing Coursera trainings can range from individual classes for a small fee, to company-wide trainings for a larger expense. Remember: Product marketing basics can be essential company-wide if the goal is to orient every employee toward product-led growth.
Some members of a company’s team will need to start out with product marketing basics. If you try to throw high-level marketing concepts at your engineering or design teams, they may struggle with product-led growth strategies initially. Your sales force may be ready for more high-level marketing concepts. For company-wide marketing trainings, your best bet is to tailor the level of difficulty for each team, while still focusing on the goal of product-led growth.
If you’re looking for a product marketing bootcamp to jump-start your career, download our free product marketing course here.
Product Marketing Strategy Example
Strategic thinking is a key pillar for product marketing if you want your company to survive long-term. Here’s a statistic to think about: 21 percent of mobile app users uninstall the product after the first time they use it, and 71 percent of app users uninstall the app before three months have passed. These are not good product marketing examples.
A great example of marketing strategy for a product that has employed strategic thinking for decades is WebFX. You’ve probably heard of WebFX as a Search Engine Optimization B2B company, but many people don’t realize that WebFX has been around since 1996 — that’s practically the Dark Ages for internet users! The founder of WebFX had the visionary idea that survived the paradigm shift of the 2010s, when marketers realized that millennials do not respond to traditional advertising methods at all. However, consumers are still typing in search terms to find product reviews so they can make buying decisions (product-led growth) that are not advertising-driven. WebFX not only survived that paradigm shift, but has gone through steady growth throughout its existence as a company.
How is your company’s product marketing strategy template? Are you employing the following strategic thinking elements:
- Do employees plan their work strategically?
- Do you offer ongoing training in strategic marketing?
- Does your company have a marketing mentorship program in place?
- Is product marketing strategy a part of your corporate culture?
A solid product marketing strategy can help a company survive, thrive and grow long-term, despite paradigm shifts in the marketplace. Strategic thinking helps companies to weather any storm that comes along, because the focus is shifted to the product and to the end-user experience.
Need help getting started? Download our product marketing strategy PPT and product marketing strategy PDF to jump-start your strategic thinking today.
Product Marketing Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that product marketing jobs will continue to grow at a rate of 8 percent per year through 2028, which is faster than average for most jobs. If you find yourself exploring product marketing job descriptions in your free time, then a product marketing career path may be right for you.
Entry level product marketing jobs tend to have salaries on the lower end of the scale, those who work their way up to a product marketing director salary can expect to make six figures. Your level of experience, ongoing training and geography will all play a role in how much money you can make in this exciting field. Product marketing jobs tend to be concentrated in larger cities and urban areas, which also tends to increase salary ranges. An entry level job as a deputy marketing director or a junior product manager can expect a salary between $32,000 per year up to $65,000 per year, depending on the industry.
By contrast, here are the salary ranges for some high level product managers, according to Glassdoor:
- Project Marketing Manager Salary in NYC: $108,000 per year
- Product Marketing Manager Salary at Facebook: $151,000 per year
- Senior Product Marketing Manager Salary at Amazon: $140,000 per year
Marketing Plan for New Product Launch
A successful marketing plan for a new product launch should be incorporating a knowledge of product-led growth to ensure success. Here’s an extremely simplified sample marketing plan for a new product:
- The Planning Stage: The length of the planning stage can depend on the scope of the product and how much time you have until the launch date. You have probably taken steps already to define your target audience, but the planning stage goes much more in-depth. Have you followed conversations of potential customers and competitors’ customers on social media? What are they looking for? How will your product solve their problem? During the planning stage, the company also establishes a clear set of launch goals and a calendar and/or timeline of events leading up to launch, so that surprises are minimized.
- The Creation Stage: During this phase, your team will create graphics for your digital product launch, post content to social media leading up to the launch date, and send pre-written marketing emails to followers. Your marketing plan for new product launch may also include investing in blog posts about the launch, as well as paid reviews from social media influencers. Reach out to media outlets about the upcoming launch and gather solid contacts to follow up with as the big date approaches, to try to garner positive coverage.
- Pre-Launch & Launch Day: Use the days and weeks leading up to your launch day to creatively spread the word about your product through social media. Recorded video, podcast interviews, webinars and group messages on social media should be generating buzz before and on launch day.
- Post-Launch Nurturing: This is the stage where strategic thinking really comes into play. Gather positive reviews of your product to share on social media. Run contests, giveaways and free tutorials on how your product solves the end-user’s problem.
- Dealing with Negative Feedback: A strategic marketing strategy thinks about how to deal with negative product feedback before it happens. Understand that you will have negative reviews online (it’s a guarantee). Develop a strategic plan for how to graciously address and respond to complaints. Turn negative reviewers into customers by anticipating them.
Product Marketing Books
The best marketing managers in the business will tell you that they never stop reading the latest product marketing books. Some of the books that come out each are filled with hype and the latest marketing fads, while others contain really useful, pragmatic marketing information. It takes time, but eventually you’ll learn to weed out the nonsense and hone in on the best books on product innovation and marketing. Here are three quick picks from among the best product marketing books of 2018:
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Ayel: Ayel uses years of behavioral design experience to explain how to create products that users will want to use habitually.
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger: Why do some products go viral while others stagnate? Berger explores some of the reasons.
- Permission Marketing by Seth Godin: Seth Godin is a legend among digital marketing gurus, and his latest page-turner is a must-read product marketing playbook for anyone interested in the industry.
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