When you’re in the beginning stages of your company, odds are that a product marketer isn’t on your “first to hire” list.
While there are definite benefits to having someone on-site, there are also ways that you can build up your product marketing strategy without one.
In a productive workshop delivered by Blue Seedling, managing director Jordan Elkind shared highly effective strategies for early stage startups looking to create a product marketing-esque plan without actually having a product marketer on site.
Define product marketing
It can be tough to boil down the role of product marketing as it sits at the intersection of a couple of different departments- marketing, sales, and even product. The ultimate goal of product marketing is to bridge the gap between the product and the user. Through market research, distilling the company’s messaging, and creating product driven communications, successful product marketing can ultimately result in happier, more profitable customers.
To understand best practices for building up your product marketing without a product marketer on staff, we recommend looking into the following tenets of your strategy to evaluate how to better market your product with only your core team.
Strengthen your website
Your startup’s website is usually the first stop for a prospective customer looking to learn more about your product. Boil down who that customer is (or who you want them to be!) and create a website that would speak to them specifically. Putting in the time to fully understand your ideal customer- from what they eat for breakfast to where they like to spend their free time- will ensure that you are fluent in their language across your marketing efforts.
Jordan gives a great tip for building out your website- rather than trying to hit a wide swath of customers, create the site as if it’s meant for that individual consumer you have come to know in and out. This consumer isn’t looking for buzzwords or marketing fluff; they’re looking for a solution to a problem that they experience on a frequent basis. Spell out the exact reasons why your solution is a cut above the rest with tangible examples or visualisations. By doing this, you’ll emphasize why your product is the perfect match for the customer’s problems in a concise and understandable way.
Troubleshoot market fit problems
It's a rare feat to successfully reinvent the wheel when it comes to establishing your place in the market. Your product may indeed tap into a brand new market, yet without the proper resources and manpower to carve out a market from scratch, you could find yourself and your product in a black hole. without a predefined pain point or customer base, your solution doesn't have a strong chance of staying top of mind, no matter how strong your product marketing is. For this reason Jordan suggests that in the early periods, a better tactic is to find a unique pain point within an already existing category.
That comes with its own set of challenges though - specifically product differentiation. You want your product to stand out from the crowd, and the best way to do that is by reeling your customer in. The goal is for your customer to associate your product with their “aha!” moment, or the moment they realized the benefits that come from using your solution. But it can be hard to sell a product sight unseen. To solve that, provide customers with a free demo or an illuminating case study. This will give them a taste of what life can look like when using your product consistently, and convert them into paying customers.
Build a fire sales deck
At first glance, sales can seem like a one sided process. However, when a sales pitch aims to create a connection between the seller and the potential customer, it tends to be more successful. Interactive sales pitches, which show the customer that you know what they need and why they need it, can keep the customer’s attention throughout the presentation.
A key tactic for making your sales pitch feel customer centric is personalization. By including specific issues that speak to the pain points your customer experiences, you make the customer feel seen and heard. In fact, research shows that sales decks which target the customer via personalization are 68% more likely to be read in full.
Effective product marketing doesn’t need to be developed by a top-tier PMM to be good. If your bare-bones team has a strong enough vision to have created the framework of a product, odds are that they’ve also dreamed up who this product will appeal to.
Pulling on these aspects of a general plan, and emphasizing the customer-centric approach we all know and love can push a product marketing strategy until you’re ready to hire a bonafide product marketing manager.