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This year at Aventi Group, we are positioning ourselves much more as a Product Marketing Agency. Why? First, all of us at Aventi Group have extensive experience in product marketing leadership roles and we believe this is the area where we can be of greatest value and service to our clients. Second, in working with technology companies over a number of years, we have witnessed product marketing often as a neglected function that is generally undervalued and poorly understood.
Many technology companies don’t invest in any marketing function at all until they have been operating for several years. Product marketing, if it exists at all, usually has emerged informally, out of necessity, through collaboration between “Corporate” Marketing and Sales. There are certainly exceptions and companies that understand and do product marketing very well. In these cases, product marketing is almost always a separate, clearly defined group, aligned with the sales organizations and razor focused on the success of a specific product or group of products. Companies where this sort of commitment to and understanding of product marketing exists are quite often very successful and leaders in their categories.
Companies should expect to benefit in a number of ways from implementing product marketing best practices. The three most significant that we would call out would be:
1) Lower cost of sales and shorter sales cycles
2) Increased market share and more effective competitive differentiation
3) Faster and more successful product launch and market entry
At its simplest level, product marketing can be explained as applying general marketing practices (the “P’s” - Product, Pricing, Place, Promotion, Packaging, Positioning & People) at the product level or product porfolio level, rather than at the company level. There are many different definitions of product marketing and varying views on what is and is not included. Wikipedia provides a good general definition of product marketing and some valuable context differentiating product marketing from product management and product development. The Wikipedia definition essentially defines product marketing as the “product” element of the “P’s” above. For technology companies, as I stated above, we think product marketing should be defined a little more broadly. Specifically, at Aventi Group, we think of product marketing as including five (5) key areas:
1) Product Strategy
What is the market for a product and what are the relevant trends and dynamics?
What functions or capabilities are required and how are these products and solutions valued and priced?
What is the competitive environment and how can we differentiate our products or solutions?
What is the optimal pricing structure and pricing strategy to optimize profits and competitive positioning?
2) Messaging and Positioning
Who is the buyer and what problems do they have that the product can address?
What key value propositions are offered by the product or product portfolio?
How are the value propositions supported or substantiated?
3) Sales Enablement
How is the product sold?
What marketing materials and sales tools are required and how and when will they be used?
Are sales and marketing strategies and activities effectively aligned?
4) Demand Generation
How and where are prospects for the product or solution found and nurtured through the sale process?
Are prospects qualified effectively to optimize time spent by sales people?
Are demand generation and communication tactics (including social media) used effectively and collaboratively
5) Channels and Routes to Market
What is the channel strategy (direct and indirect) for a specific product or portfolio of products?
How are channel partners selected and what value proposition is offered to them?
How are channel partners supported and enabled to succeed?
In future posts, we will share some examples of product marketing best practices and the benefits these companies have achieved.
You can also view some of our other product marketing related posts:
Aventi Group, LLC
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