My Induction into the World of Product Marketing

Eva Maria Schmidt
September 28, 2020

Meet your newest Product Marketer, Mady Engelhart (me)! I joined the Selligent family in a Sales Enablement role upon graduating college just over a year ago. When presented with the opportunity to join the Global Product Marketing team nine months later, I jumped at the chance! Though in full transparency, I had no experience in Product Marketing. Even so, the intelligent and hard-working team of Product Marketing veterans at Selligent welcomed me with open arms and helped me take this leap with my best foot forward.

As luck would have it, my new role came around the same time the established and accredited Product Marketing Alliance founded a Core course on (you guessed it) the core areas of Product Marketing. This course dives into everything a Product Marketing role could encompass – from research and discovery, to go-to-market and pricing strategies, to segmentation and product market fit. Maybe you’ve been in a Product Marketing role for decades and could use a little refresher; or perhaps you’re like me and looking to build an entire foundation of knowledge. This course is an incredible resource tailored specifically to Product Marketing professionals!

I loved how the Product Marketing Alliance defines Product Marketing:

“Product Marketing is the driving force behind getting products to market – and keeping them there. Product Marketers are the overarching voices of the customer, masterminds of messaging, enablers of sales, and accelerators of adoption – all at the same time.”

Pretty all-encompassing, wouldn’t you say?

If you don’t know the Product Marketing team at your company, spend some time getting to know them. You’ve likely leveraged some of the work they’ve created or maybe even requested a piece of content from them.

Not to mention, the role of Product Marketers is very cross-functional, and you could likely help each other in some way. Product marketing partners with sales to ensure your product’s value is being positioned correctly and is aligned to the market and persona requirements. A close collaboration with the Product team is key in knowing what you are marketing and when. And of course, a tight relationship with the customer success team helps to keep a pulse on what customers are saying, prevent churn, and support upsell opportunities.

There was one recurring theme I heard in all eleven modules, resulting in my biggest takeaway from the Product Marketing Alliance Core course: The role your customers play in everything you do.

As Product Marketers, customers are at the heart of everything we create. They play a vital role in developing your user and buyer personas. They provide insights into the true value your product delivers, which in turn can help you refine your positioning and messaging work. They help you identify gaps across your organization so you can work to influence changes to improve them and retain more customers. The list goes on. This work simply cannot be built on internal assumptions. Oftentimes, we are so close to our own product that we need another perspective. We help build them, we know how to use them, and how we want to improve them. Qualitative customer feedback can shed light on where your business may be falling short or, what’s more, it can expose you to new revenue possibilities.

Customer feedback is invaluable to your organization. You’ve probably gathered this by now, no matter the product you sell, the industry you are in, or whether you are B2B or B2C. Of course, there are various ways to get feedback and your process depends on what works best for your business. For many B2B software companies, conducting phone interviews or physically sitting down with clients directly on a biannual basis to gain insights on product usage and adoption is likely more effective than sending out an online survey.

That is not to say online feedback surveys are not valuable. They have proven to be extremely powerful in providing influential insights into various parts of an overall brand experience. Leveraging your marketing automation tool to send feedback opportunities and capture responses can help you quickly and efficiently gather insights to elevate your products and your customer experience.

Multi-channel techniques are something to keep in mind here. Engaging customers on the channel they prefer will increase response rates so that you can get both quantitative and qualitative feedback.

Email is a great place to start when conducting customer feedback surveys. When you ask for feedback, customers feel a sense of involvement. Asking for input on what is important to individual customers as you develop new roadmap features can make them feel as though they are helping shape the future of the product.

Trigger post-purchase surveys to get information on how you can improve your buying experience, both online and in store, so they keep coming back. Happy customers equal loyal customers! Of course, time is of the essence with post-purchase feedback. Wait too long and the customer may forget about the relevant recommendations you served or reservation updates they received when arriving onsite. Consider incorporating text surveys into your strategy for quick feedback.

For users who have installed your app, soliciting feedback via In-App messaging can help you better understand how customers are using your app so that you can build the best app experience for your audience. The more you know about how users are engaging with your brand digitally, the better the experience you can provide.

Take it a step further with personalization to make customers feel like they are not “just another customer” in an email blast. You want them to know you value their feedback. At the minimum, personalizing the opening line to say, “Dear Mady” as opposed to “Dear Valued Customer” is an easy way to grab the recipient’s attention and increase engagement. However, including other details about your customer can increase your chances of getting a response by making customers feel like the message was sent to exclusively to them.

I want to note, it is not about implementing every piece of feedback you receive. Analyze your responses and data and see if you can identify trends. From there you can determine whether building a new feature or product is worth your time as an organization. For instance, if X number of clients churned because you did not have Feature Y, you can build a business case to show stakeholders why Feature Y should be a priority. It’s about giving customers that feeling of involvement and in turn, helping your business grow.

It also doesn’t hurt that, in most cases, better products lead to more sales and fewer customer service calls!

Many thanks to the team at Product Marketing Alliance for helping me get started on my Product Marketing journey. And an even bigger thank you to my team at Selligent for pointing me to this resource and supporting me throughout. With this solid foundation, I feel confident to take on my new role. I am a firm believer that experience is the best teacher and I am beyond excited to put my new knowledge and skills into action.