Product Marketing Definitions: And the Winner is…
Google the term “product marketing” and you’ll find contradicting definitions, many of which are outdated, misleading and, more often than not, just not helpful.
In this blog, we’re exploring the five search results we found the most enlightening, based on how adequately each definition captures the magic of what makes a successful product marketing manager.
But first, there were a couple of strong contenders that failed to make our top five:
“Product marketing is the overall process of conveying a good or service to customers. Product marketing includes defining the scope of the product line, identifying potential markets for a product, determining optimal pricing for the market, encouraging potential customers to purchase the product, and finding the best distribution methods for delivering the product to customers or to sales locations.” Business Directory
“Product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market. This includes deciding the product’s positioning and messaging, launching the product, and ensuring salespeople and customers understand it. Product marketing aims to drive the demand and usage of the product.” Hubspot
Misleading: Call us pedantic, but Product Marketing is not a single process. It is rather a strategic discipline that informs, dictates, and refines processes across the company, as far-reaching as legal, HR, licencing, customer services and support.
If you are a competent marketer with the ability to understand technology, or an engineer looking for more diverse responsibilities, Product Marketing can be a great career path. Sometimes, it’s a case of convincing your line manager that cross-training you is a wise investment for the company.
If you are starting out in Product Marketing, however, you would probably be most successful in an established company, under the mentorship of a seasoned PMM, Product Manager or Product Owner.
Our No. 5
It’s no surprise that Wikipedia’s response would rank highest on Google. It reads:
“Product marketing is a process of promoting and selling a product to a customer. Also product marketing is defined as being the intermediary function between product development and increasing brand awareness.” Wikipedia
Misleading: Sales belong to the sales team and product promotion to marketing. Product Marketing on the other hand is primarily a pre-sales, pre-launch activity, refined once the product is on the market and in use.
The next two fall short because they encroach on the domain of adjacent roles. Although Product Marketing may contribute to these roles, they should ideally have dedicated owners.
“Product marketing is a branch of marketing that focuses on finding the right customers for a particular product, and creating an appealing pitch to those customers (see also Niche Marketing). Product marketing uses a combination of research, design, and advertising to ensure a product’s success. It is not a specific marketing strategy, but an essential aspect of many strategies that maximize the potential of a specific product.” marketing-schools.org
Too broad: While product marketing should inform where best to advertise, in the ideal setup, the implementation and tracking of ads is more a marketing or public relations activity.
“Product marketing deals with the first of the “4P”s of marketing, which are Product, Pricing, Place, and Promotion.”
Too broad: A number of sources lead with this one. While generally correct, we need to clarify that the later three (Pricing, Place, and Promotion) are the true domain of the Product Marketer. The Product Manager/Owner is responsible for the product.
“Product Marketers are responsible for identifying target markets and understanding the competing forces that might influence a target customer – those forces might be other personas in the buying cycle, or competing products. We share our knowledge with Product Management and work together to create opportunities to better meet the needs of customers in those markets through effective go-to-market planning.” Renu Martingale@Redgate
We love this description of how Product Marketing is implemented within Redgate. It sounds like just the sort of environment we aim to create for our clients, and would recommend to any of our trainees.
“Product Marketing is the function accountable for the success and growth of a product by connecting customer needs to product capabilities. The value of Product Marketing comes from its deep understanding of markets, customers and their needs.” The Adaptive Marketer
Product Marketing is complex and many fail to capture its essence succinctly. We believe The Adaptive Marketer have articulated it spot on. This definition serves as an excellent summary to the PMK Responsibilities module included in each of the Cambridge Go-to-Market Product Success and Customer Success Training Series.