When it comes to product marketing, I stand by one simple rule: know your buyer.
Knowing your buyer goes way beyond documenting demographics, business drivers, challenges, and emotional triggers and aligning across sales and marketing. It’s about empathy. It’s about having affinity, rapport, sympathy, understanding, sensitivity, sensibility, identification, awareness and like-mindedness with the person – the human being with whom you are trying to connect.
One thing we (product marketing) learned about our buyers which is probably true for most B2B buyers is that when it comes to product, they really don’t have the time for us. They want us to give it to them straight and cut to the chase. Through all of our buyer and customer research, we found that marketing product comes down to one simple formula mapped to a product buyer journey. We call it the Four P’s of Product Marketing:
Pain (1) + Peers (2) + Product (3) + Proof (4)
We’ve learned that our buyers go through a systematic approach to determine if we pass their litmus test and earn their time.
- “Do you solve my pain? I really don’t care about how smart you are.”
- “Do any of my peers use your product? I’m not going to be the guinea pig.”
- “How does your product work? Show me, don’t tell me in 2000 words.”
- “Where’s the proof? My neck is on the line to champion your product.“
And here is the rub, relevance and speed is everything. The more your can anticipate what information the buyer needs and how quickly and easily you provide the information, the greater your odds of success in earning their preference.
Now this is easier said than done and it requires a ton of upfront work, testing, tweaking, fine tuning. We have been working on this for the past year. Here was our step-by-step journey and how we mapped our strategy to the Four P’s:
- Market: Create an ideal customer profile rooted in pain
- Audience: Determine our buyer champion(s) or buying committee
- Persona: Develop our buyer personae
- Prove: Meet them. Talk to them. Listen to them – personify the personae
- Educate: Communicate company-wide – rally around the buyer
- Drive: Work across marketing to plan and execute plans aligned to
Be prepared because it’s never-ending. There is no such thing as the perfect product marketing strategy, but half the fun of the journey is executing those imperfect plans and learning every step of the way.