The Rise of the Product Marketer

Last week we had a guest post from Dave Wolpert that resulted in a thoughtful discussion on the role of Product Marketing and whether or not it was on the decline. In this follow-up, I am going to give my thoughts on the role.

In most businesses there is a gap between marketing and product that must be filled. Without an audience, a great product has nowhere to go. Likewise, a great marketing strategy can’t save you from a woeful product.

I believe that business success can be found when you match a great product with a great marketing plan and this is where Product Marketing can have the most impact.

Boaz Ronkin and Tim Johnson added comments to the post that I think are spot on. Product Managers need to focus on the voice of the customer to make sure that the product delivers the necessary benefits to the users. However, the product users are often not the only ones with input when it comes to purchasing the product, especially in B2B products. This is where Product Marketing can deliver on the voice of the prospect and make sure that the story being told is correctly positioned.

A list of technical specifications does not make for a good product message.

Product Marketers need to create and evolve the product story to best attract the right prospects. This story then drives the development of marketing and sales materials – from data sheets to webinars to social media. Product Marketing may not be responsible for producing all of this content but it is their job to make sure that the message is consistent until it is time to evolve.

My opinion is that there is a need for the strategic Product Marketer and it is not just a tactical role. Look at the Zero Moment of Truth and the End of Business as Usual as recent examples highlighting the need for great product marketing in the age of the connected consumer.

Enough about my thoughts, where do you see the role of Product Marketing?


Are you Ready for the Zero Moment of Truth?

marketing at the Zero moment of TruthI recently caught a great post from Amy Taylor at the Brains on Fire Blog on the changing dynamics of consumers and retailers. Amy comments in her post,

After my iPhone shattered, I went on the hunt for an indestructible case by throwing a question out to my Twitter followers. The name “Otterbox” was quickly Tweeted back by many. When I decided to invest in iPhone insurance, my social network (and their glowing recommendations) directed me to a company called SquareTrade. In these instances, my social network wasn’t just influential in my purchase, it was integral.

This may sound like a familiar experience but have you really thought about what’s happening here? This trend might not be new to you but is dramatically changing the way you should market your solutions.

Think Insights with Google has gone as far as coining this new step of the buying process the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and defines it as the following:

ZMOT is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying. I’m sure you know what I mean — you probably do web searches like this every day.

To prove that this isn’t just impacting a small niche of the marketplace, they did some some extensive research (download the Google ZMOT research report here) and found that:

70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase

79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping

83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them

And most tellingly, the data revealed that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010.

This is a gigantic shift and should very clearly signify that the sales process is no longer managed by the seller. By the time a prospect wants to talk with you they will not only know your story but those of all your competitors. If you hope to be considered, not to mention win, during the ZMOT, you are going to have find ways to be part of the early conversation.

So, are preparing to win the Zero Moment of Truth?