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The Role Of Today’s Product Marketer

Are you launching a new product anytime soon?

What if you’ve already launched, and as your product grows more complex, you want to hire a product marketer to grow your user base?

But...what exactly is a product marketer?

If you’ve been reading our content lately, you’ve probably noticed that, just like most marketing terms, it has a loose definition.

That’s why we want to clear things up about what product marketing is, what skills a product marketer needs, and the deliverables and KPIs for product marketers.


What is product marketing?

When it’s boiled down, product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market and managing its success. Product marketers often market hardware, software or anything that is a physical product with multiple features. They sit between product, marketing and sales and facilitate adoption and usage of a product and its features.

At start-ups, you’ll often see a jack-of-all-trades growth marketer who is doing a lot of product marketing, while at a larger organization there is often an entire team just for product marketing.

A product marketer’s role is substantially different before and after a product is launched and it is necessary to understand the differences. The exact role a product marketer plays in your organization also depends heavily on the size of the organization and its product marketing team.

Before product launch

A product marketer’s role before a launch is to own the customer development, positioning, messaging and overall go-to-market strategy.

After product launch

The day a product launches, a product marketer’s role shifts to adoption and usage of the product through various strategies and tactics.

Product marketers continue to sit in the middle between product, marketing and sales and enable each team with the right information.

But how do they actually go about doing all of this?

The skills of a product marketer

Product marketing is often confused with technical marketing, but they require vastly different skill sets. A product marketer is focused on adoption and usage of a product, while a technical marketer is more of a product evangelist.

The skills of a product marketer will vary with a company’s specific product and needs, but there are generally some basic skills every product marketer needs in order to execute.

Hard skills for a product marketer

  • Demand generation execution
  • Social media execution
  • Digital advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Reporting & analytics
  • Presentation skills
  • Project management
  • Business financials

Soft skills for a product marketer

  • Problem solving
  • Empathy
  • Ability to thrive in the unknown
  • Prioritization
  • Collaboration
  • Ability to make decisions

How do you measure the success of a product marketer’s deliverables?

Glad you asked.

Deliverables for a product marketer

It’s crucial to work with leadership to understand the exact deliverables that are needed pre- and post-launch (versus the ones that add incremental value).

Being a product marketer is about having the ability to strategize and execute through tactics. Having real deliverables for each phase of product marketing will keep sales, marketing and product accountable.

Pre-launch deliverables for a product marketer

  • Customer development
  • Positioning & messaging
  • Team education
  • Launch strategy & content
  • Launch day

Post-launch deliverables for a product marketer

  • Product marketing strategy
  • Product analysis & insights
  • User acquisition analysis
  • Trained internal & external product evangelists
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Long-term product road map alignment

KPIs for product marketing

Every company is unique, based on factors like whether you’re a self-service SaaS product, a high-value niche enterprise product, etc.

But, overall, the KPIs for product marketing include:

  • Market share/growth rate
  • CAC
  • LTV
  • Retention
  • Feature usage
  • Referral

Product marketers should be purely focused on the end-of-funnel and post-sale product adoption and usage. They should not be in the weeds on analyzing advertising campaigns or top-of-funnel content marketing, which should be reserved for a traditional digital marketing position.

Product marketing, especially for high-tech or in-depth products like Salesforce, Hubspot, Mixpanel or Amplitude, is where you need someone who has the tactical knowledge. Sometimes companies will have a person or multiple team members who are platform specialists work with product marketers to run reports and implement different solutions or tracking.

Ready for product marketing success?

Whether you’re getting ready to write a product marketing job description, looking to become a product marketer yourself or looking to level up in your current role, understanding a product marketer’s skills, deliverables and KPIs is the key to success.

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