A strategic product marketing function can be created with one simple move that pays three big dividends to the organization.
Many product marketing professionals in B2B have long felt like the sales tools on-demand department and rightfully so. It’s a tough rut to climb out of when product marketing is perceived as a tactical extension of product management, tasked with little more than mobilizing product value propositions to drive sales. It’s one of the least effective ways to do product marketing in B2B.
A highly effective product marketing function is a complement to product management. Assume that product management is structured to create products that deliver customer value. The prefect complement is a product marketing function that’s structured to create and communicate value messages that engage decision-makers and influencers in meaningful dialogues.
The number one mistake that’s made when product marketing teams are formed is that they’re structured entirely around products, essentially mirroring product management. There are three key reasons this structure may not yield desirable results.
- It reinforces product silos that may exist in product management and bears little or no resemblance to how customers perceive themselves.
- It creates an expectation that, to be effective, product marketing managers need to be just as knowledgeable on products as product managers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
- It still doesn’t give sales a simple or compelling value story that appeals to decision-makers. The company story may be strong but it falls flat quickly when too many fragmented product messages don’t connect the dots to a common value theme.
One Move: Structure Product Marketing by Market Segment
Structure product marketing by market segment instead of structuring it around products. It doesn’t matter whether you segment vertically (e.g., retail, healthcare) or horizontally (IT, finance, HR, etc.). In B2B, product marketing’s job is to create and communicate value in the context of the buyers’ business. A product structure alone will never get you there.
Unless you’re an early stage startup, your product positioning is well documented. The goal of structuring product marketing along segment lines is to differentiate your value at a higher level that speaks to the strategic aspirations of decision-makers. Segment context provides the perfect umbrella for creating strategic value themes that are logically supported by the tactical value of the products.
Every new release and every new product becomes a simple exercise in adding more proof points to the overall value story for each market segment. It keeps the value story simple and compelling for everyone, especially sales.
Three Benefits of Segment Product Marketing
1. More Revenue From Existing Products
When product marketing is structured by market segment, the context of your positioning changes completely. Instead of problems, features and benefits that make you sound just like everyone else, market segment context makes your positioning more like storytelling because it emphasizes the buyer’s mindset more than the product.
Tell your target customers value stories that speak to their aspirations and you’ll see a noticeable bump in revenue from every product.
2. Bigger and Higher Quality Pipelines
Relevance rules when it comes to creating and communicating your value propositions. The more you speak the language of your target customers (in their industry parlance), the higher your probability of starting conversations and engaging the right influencers and decision makers. It’s that simple.
3. Industry Expertise That Benefits Everyone
When product marketing is structured around market segments, it adds a new dimension to the job, market segment domain expertise. There’s no better place for that segment expertise to live than product marketing as it provides a much stronger foundation for product management, corporate marketing and sales.
The tactical aspect of product marketing is no less important than it has ever been, but the segment structure makes the execution much simpler because every product isn’t trying to be everything to everyone. The collective value of the products in segment context is the key to a strong value story.
Increase the Average Number of Products Per Contract!
A strategic product marketing function that mirrors your markets is highly beneficial for one simple reason. It’s easier to engage influencers and decision-makers with higher-level value messages that speak directly to their agendas. Those agendas reside higher in the customer organization than your users, and the business solutions that satisfy those agendas are almost always more than a single product. Message, market and sell accordingly and the average number of products per sales order should go up!
If segment-based solutions marketing would help you get more revenue from existing products, contact us or check out our Basic Product Marketing and Portfolio Product Marketing courses to learn what to do and how to do it, complete with all the tools necessary to get it done.