How to Succeed at Product-Led Marketing

Successful product-led marketing means putting your customer at the center of everything you do.

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It’s easy to get lost crafting key messages when marketing B2B software solutions. Many make the mistake of listing out a litany of product features as a way of enticing potential end-user customers to have a look at their offer. But I can tell you from experience, that not only does doing this confuse your audience, it can be a real turn-off (even for technical decision-makers).

Product-led marketing is about showing the value your solution brings to your audience—i.e. what business challenge it solves—and does not mean you have to get super technical. Think about it: if you’re buying a car, would you want the salesperson to give you an overview of every engine part as if you were a mechanic? And even if you were a mechanic, would that be useful for you?

When messages get diluted or are vague, they tend to lose their impact. Keeping your product descriptions focused on business benefits will help your prospects visualize the positive impact your solution will have on their day-to-day operations.

Here are some tips that can help you get started revamping your strategy to succeed at product-led marketing.

Focus on Solving Pain-Points

When your messaging focuses on the WHY, you can save the HOW for a deeper sales discussion. Product marketing aims to drive demand for a product. While the main role of a Product Marketing Manager is to define the target market and value proposition, when creating product-related assets it’s important that such content speaks to your audience based on their needs (instead of basing it on what the product can do). Solving business challenges needs to be the centerpiece of any product-related content, and as everyone knows, content is king. But before that, it is critical that you know your buyer personas inside and out. What keeps them up at night? What is tedious about their jobs? What would make their lives easier? What are they passionate about when it comes to their work? Answering these questions will help you get to the heart of the potential pain points your product was built to solve. Such customer-centric methods will help you avoid the most common trap: creating vague marketing messages that don’t mean anything to anyone.

Take a Holistic Approach to Product-Led Marketing

Educating your audience across channels both on and offline through content is key to creating visibility for your product offer and reaching potential customers where they are. Keep in mind that while the product is your focus, you cannot entirely neglect overall brand recognition and company reputation. If your company is known for delivering one particular type of product and you are launching a new one that has nothing to do with the old, you are going to have some storytelling to do. And when you are mono-product, very often your product takes on the entity of your brand. By taking a holistic approach to marketing, you will cover all your bases (instead of running campaigns in a silo or having a short-term outlook). This means taking a step back to see the bigger picture and designing a strategy that takes into account all the stages of the buyer journey, from top-of-the-funnel, through the product demo phase, and even into post-sales follow-up. Making sure to accompany your prospects along this journey with content adapted to their specific needs in each phase, is critical as such content needs to adapt to your buyer personas’ changing needs over time.

Another very important aspect of holistic product marketing is to release the notion of a deadline. I understand that many marketers have quarterly objectives, and I get that. But product marketing doesn’t ever end (unless the product is dead). Product marketing, therefore, should be carried out in an “always-on” framework, taking into account that your team needs to be consistently generating new top-of-the-funnel leads to enter your sales pipeline.

Make Win-Loss Analysis a Part of your Product-Led Marketing Strategy

Win-loss analysis is often neglected as a way of enhancing your product marketing strategy, and unfortunately, that leaves you vulnerable to losing market share. By interviewing both your (sales) wins and losses, you can get highly valuable information about why your buyer personas chose your solution or that of a competitor. Such data can help you improve your product development roadmap in certain cases, but moreover will help you improve your sales process and increase conversion rates. You would be very surprised at what information comes out of such interviews; sometimes the reasons why someone chose your solution over another are not the ones you think!

Close the Feedback Loop

In line with your Win-Loss strategy comes one last critical stage that I call closing the feedback loop. Product marketers must relay information to the product development team so that new feature sets can be rolled out in a timely manner (in order of importance for your customers). Just as product marketing is never done, neither is product development. Coordination between these two teams MUST be aligned in order to ensure customer satisfaction. Product marketers should run regular customer satisfaction surveys as part of the feedback loop, and maintain close contact with product managers to set priorities and expectations.

Conclusion

Successful product-led marketing means putting your customer at the center of everything you do. By understanding your potential buyers inside and out you will be able to “speak their language” and communicate with them in a way that grabs their attention. Ensuring your prospects are accompanied along the buyer journey with relevant content in each phase will drastically improve your overall sales conversion rates.

Liz Lemarchand

Liz Lemarchand is the Chief Operating Officer of MediaDev, a global IT marketing firm. She has 20 years of marketing experience and provides strategic counsel to software vendors both large and small.


Liz Lemarchand is the Chief Operating Officer of MediaDev, a global IT marketing firm. She has 20 years of marketing experience and provides strategic counsel to software vendors both large and small.