Simply putting out good product is not enough for product management. In fact, SiriusDecisions recently talked about how it is more important than ever for this role to become more strategic and less tactical. A big part of this is ensuring that product is closely aligned with marketing. So, even if you are responsible for developing product, there are 5 critical things to know.
- Know your customer. In marketing, everyone does it at least once: you feel the pressure of your boss, the pressure of sales, and you send out a campaign that didn’t have enough thought because you were trying to fill the funnel. The results? Usually dismal, because you didn’t appeal to your buyer. Developing a new product can have the same failures if you don’t understand for whom you are building, their pain points and how to make their job easier. Further, with so many competing priorities (deals to win and customers to save) you could be all over the board. This is why I aim to always remember my customer, stay close to them and design with them in mind.
- Focus on benefits, not just features. For the very reason why companies have accepted and embraced the role of product marketing to move us away from feature checkboxes and into the world of benefits, so too should product. Product should always be developing, enhancing and innovating in areas with the greatest impact to the user, or in our case, the marketer. While one-off feature requests are important, they can steer you off-road. It’s critical to keep a keen eye on the problems you’re solving and how to make the jobs of your customers easier.
- Keep it simple. Buyers no longer read as much. They simply don’t have the tolerance in this digital age. As a result, marketers must utilize simple, pointed messages that resonate with their prospects. Failure to do so leads to prospect disengagement. Product is no different. It’s important to do a few things very well than try to be all things to all people. Ultimately, users need a tool on which they can depend. Marketer’s, in particular, need the flexibility to easily build a campaign that’s consistent with the way they imagine it. Learning “work-arounds” and “must-not-forgets” because that’s how something was built, is not an option.
- Educate and show value. In the world of marketing today, buyers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated. Prospects often conduct extensive research before they even land on your site. When they do, you better be ready. Videos, case studies, proof points and demonstrated ROI will shape their perceived value of your brand and product offering. Product needs to prepare in the same way. Thoughtful product strategists understand they need to consider the market value of a project prior to launch. They consider the problem they’re solving, why customers will need it, how simple it is to adopt and the impact it will have on customers’ workflow.
- Measure and analyze ROI, even if you fear the results. Unfortunately, marketers face ever-growing pressure to prove their value to the organization. Product is no different. Guided by core product development objectives, product should build and innovate with a specific outcome in mind; whether it’s increased utilization, better adoption, decrease in churn, or penetration into new markets. To work within this guideline ensures we are building on a framework of our customers’ and company’s best interests. This approach yields no less than a win-win for everyone.