Why product marketing is a misunderstood function in tech
By Nathan LeviMay 10th 2021
Over the past five years, we’ve seen a significant rise in the demand for product marketers in both B2B and B2C companies. Forbes even declared 2020 to be the year product marketing would get its big breakthrough.
Why? Because as tech brands acquire new customers at pace, great customer experience is vital for engagement and growth.
A lot of confusion remains, however, as to what exactly is the role of a product marketer. In fact, ‘just 5% of product marketers are 100% sure the role of product marketing is fully-understood’. Campaign describes the role as follows:
“Product marketing managers are responsible for developing effective marketing strategies and plans to communicate the features and benefits of new products to customers”
This undersells the full requirements of the role. Ada Chen Rekhi, chief operations officer of Notejoy, describes the function perfectly:
“The role of the product marketer is to accelerate product growth by championing the customer, communicating product value, and driving distribution.”
The fact that so many definitions exist for product marketing indicates how much confusion there is over the role.
So, what is product marketing?
Put simply, product marketing is strategic marketing. It’s the use of customer insights to drive planning, looking at the competitive landscape to understand what makes your proposition unique or different, and exploring a variety of messages to launch and market your product.
None of this is new. In fact, in many larger traditional companies, the people who do this are called brand managers. A product marketer needs the marketing expertise that you get from being a brand manager, and the technical and analytical skills that come from working in a tech business.
Where larger companies may outsource a lot of this work to agencies, a product marketer at a tech company is more hands-on. They’ll be required to collaborate directly with product managers, designers and copywriters — as well as many other disciplines, from legal to data science, and of course the marketing team, to deliver their work. This is how we do things at TotallyMoney.
Sharing the credit
TotallyMoney has always championed cross-collaboration. One of our core company values is “share the credit”, because we know the best work comes from multi-disciplinary teams. This culture allows for a hybrid function (one arm in marketing and the other in product) to flourish.
Other marketing functions are better understood by organisations because they have been broken down into specialist disciplines throughout the years. This is well explained by Yoni Solomon of Forbes:
“The idea of marketing specialists isn’t a new one — in fact, you’ll find them across virtually every other marketing function! Under demand generation, you’ll find growth marketers, events marketers and field marketers. On traffic teams, you’ll find writers, back-linkers and technical search engine optimization (SEO) experts. And strong creative teams are made up of copywriting, graphic design and web design pros.
“Expect product marketing to follow suit, especially as resource investment and head count increase. Eventually, it won’t be uncommon for product marketing teams to be organized by discipline rather than product, with some product marketers specializing in tactical product launches, while others focus solely on value messaging, persona and market analysis, or resource creation and enablement.”
The role of the product marketer is currently a very broad one. As demand for this function continues to grow, product marketing will itself begin to diverge into different specialisms. This will make the function better understood in years to come.
At TotallyMoney product marketing is a growing function as we continue acquiring millions of customers. We also understand the value that great product marketing brings to an organisation. So, if you’re a strategic marketer, and also want to work for an innovate tech business, why not apply for one of our open roles here.