While both Product Management and Product Marketing are essential to a successful launch, Product Marketing is too often an afterthought – poorly resourced with no clear objectives.

So, you’ve reached the mid-year point and the revenue you had projected for your prized new product are a major reason that your company is behind plan.  Sound familiar?

 

If you’re a Product Leader, the above probably rings true to you.  In fact, most product launches fail to produce the revenue boost that Management had projected, and often contribute to their companies missing their number.

 

As a new product approaches its launch date, there are 2 related, but definitely different functions generating messaging around the new product.  With limited resources supporting an activity that most companies are already failing at, why on earth would two roles within the organization be doing the same thing?  Well, because they’re not actually doing the same thing.

 

Download our Product Marketing Scorecard to leverage a comprehensive view of all attributes of a successful Product Marketing Manager and to identify Performance Accountabilities in quantifiable measurements to determine success.

 

Different Messages For Different Audiences

 

To understand the differences in the messaging that the 2 roles are creating, first consider the objectives of each role.  Product Management is responsible for bringing the right product to market based on an understanding of the problem that the product is solving for users in the market.

 

Think of Product Management then as being responsible for receiving input, then developing messaging aimed at users of that product.  Try to go to market with a product (no matter how advanced) that isn’t accompanied with messaging around the market problem it’s solving and that product will fail.

 

It Takes More than Product Superiority

 

However, we all know that the greatest product in the world is not going to sell if it’s not properly marketed.  A mid-market software client recently expressed frustration that sales across their suite of products weren’t meeting expectations despite extensive market research showing that users viewed their product as being years ahead of their competition.

 

We ultimately identified that the reason was a lack of investment in Product Marketing.  The market was awash in messaging around features and functionality that was meaningful to the technicians and field personnel who used their product.  However, the company was not reaching those (primarily CIOs and CFOs) that actually made buying decisions with a message that would appeal to them.

 

Product Marketing Speaks To The Buyer

 

Best-in-class Product Marketing functions fill this gap, and, in the process, they increase pipeline attribution, customer loyalty, and customer lifetime value.  For a comprehensive view of all attributes of a successful Product Marketing Manager, download the Product Marketing Scorecard.

 

Product Marketing (or Solution Marketing as noted in this recent article) – takes information from Product Management and develops value propositions and messaging that will resonate with buyers.

 

The messaging that Product Marketing generates is distributed through 2 main channels:

 

  • Direct to buyers in the market via marketing campaigns

     

  • To the Sales Enablement (or Revenue Enablement) function where the messaging can be delivered, taught, and reinforced with sales personnel that will be interacting directly with the customers.

     

Poor Product Marketing Leads To Poorly Executed Revenue Enablement Programs

 

This 2nd point above is too often either overlooked or under-appreciated.  Our research shows that executives understand the importance of Enablement to a solid product launch, but those same executives give themselves very low scores on how well they actually do this. Product Marketing should feed Revenue Enablement with those messages that will drive higher win rates among the new logo sales team and greater cross-sell, upsell, and retention among the customer base.  Too often Product Marketing teams become fixated on features and functions, repackaging the same messages that Product Management has already produced.  The results are predictably poor.

 

 

Both Functions Are Important And Interlock Is Critical

 

So, which is more important – Product Management and its user-centric messaging or Product Marketing and its buyer-centric messaging?  Well, the answer truly is both – one can’t be effective without the other. And effective interlock between the 2 roles is critical to a successful launch.  The graphic below, taken from our Q2 Research Report – shows how Product Management and Product Marketing have interlocked responsibilities leading up to, then following a launch.

 

 

Click here to listen to a recent podcast featuring a former Product leader who has also spent time in Sales and Marketing discuss the importance of interlock across all of these functions.

 

Product Marketing Must Not Be An Afterthought

 

While both Product Management and Product Marketing are essential to a successful launch, Product Marketing is too often an afterthought – poorly resourced with no clear objectives.  Product Marketing teams that do not have revenue targets are viewed as overhead – not revenue contributors.  An under-resourced Product Marketing function leads to weak product value propositions, messaging and competitive positioning, which ultimately results in poor win rates and smaller deal sizes.  Underfunded and understaffed product marketing teams translate to poorly enabled sales forces and disappointing revenue performance.  Don’t let this happen on your next launch.

 

Download our Product Marketing Scorecard to leverage a comprehensive view of all attributes of a successful Product Marketing Manager and to identify Performance Accountabilities in quantifiable measurements to determine success.

 

 

Additional Resource

 

For additional help evaluating your strategies, click here to take SBI’s Revenue Growth Diagnostic.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chad Wittenborn

Bringing growth leaders into alignment around emerging best practices, enabling them to outpace their competitors and make their number.

Chad deploys a highly analytical approach, leveraging a background heavy on growth strategy, sales effectiveness, and operations, to drive top-line revenue growth.  Prior to joining SBI, Chad held a variety of growth leadership roles in industries ranging from Manufacturing to Healthcare.  He has worked closely with sales, marketing, and operations leaders to identify obstacles to growth and to execute initiatives to overcome those barriers. Chad has delivered results by leading projects involving structural transformations of sales organizations, new service line launches, incentive plan overhauls, performance management programs, and CRM implementation and adoption.

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