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The importance of Product Marketing in early-stage thinking

by Sibel Bal~ an Auxilia member

If you take a look at tech jobs on LinkedIn, which is often a reflection of the market’s demand for positions, many Product Marketing-related roles have been popping up over the last year.

In Berlin, fin-techs like Klarna and N26 are heavily investing in building up their Product Marketing teams, while other known companies in eCommerce, SaaS, and Health are doing the same. So, the market has defined a need for Product Marketing resources: why do you need them in your organization, and when should you start?

Product Management literature and best practices cover the product development process from end to end. Product Managers I’ve worked with have a keen understanding of said literature and how to apply it in their day-to-day, even including Product Marketing tasks within the roadmap to validate their prototypes and hypotheses. The results will often cover the basics of the coveted Go-To-Market strategy more closely than an analyst or business development manager could, as they are usually easy to turn into valuable insights for the product’s positioning and lifecycle.

Where it gets confusing is that the Product Manager’s job is to focus first and foremost on their product development. By contrast, Product Marketing involves more invisible work behind the scenes and is “nice to have” when timelines are tight and there’s pressure to get the product live.

That’s why it’s crucial to think about what a Product Marketeer (whether freelance or in-house) can bring, or train yourself to evolve this thinking early on. Otherwise, later when you have even less time close to launch, you’ll realize the information needs to be tied together for the marketing organization to deliver the best launch campaign possible- It could ultimately make or break your Product’s success

Here’s a basic breakdown of key Product Marketing deliverables to start within the ideation phase:

  • Research: user research, competitor and market research to identify and benchmark your product as well as the similarities and differences in different countries

  • Early product testing: involving the Product Marketeer to see what insights can be used for the optimization of your positioning

  • Positioning: how do we talk about the product? Is it technically superior or are we matching the current user base’s needs?

  • Go-To-Market plan: the marketing plan and rollout roadmap that coincides with the product’s development and business objectives

  • Target customers: brainstorming the user journey, testing new/existing channels, outlining the funnel from awareness to conversion

  • Channel mix: outlining the marketing channels that cover the funnel and business objectives

You might be sitting there thinking to yourself: wait a minute, there are people doing those jobs already. That may be true: but think about how far they are from the technicalities of the product and working hand-in-hand with the Product team.

The Product Marketeer’s role here is to sync and align with those stakeholders, to get buy-in and drive planning and execution rather than do it all themselves.

I hope this helped clear up a little bit of the need for Product Marketing in the early stage. Feel free to reach out and connect for further discussions! — — — — — — — — Sibel Bal is an active member of Auxilia- a group of women, passionate about increasing funding to Female founders. She is a Product Marketing Manager at SumUp and you can follow her thoughts on Twitter: @sibelmayb

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