7 minute read · Published April 27, 2024

Product marketing specialists are matchmakers – the kind that brings products and people together

Latest Update May 10, 2024

Look in from the outside and you’ll find that a SaaS business has many moving parts – the product team scopes the project, engineers build the product, strategy leaders decide which markets to target, marketing drives awareness, sales does a more targeted outreach and customer success teams help onboard new customers and extend ongoing support. 

What makes these moving parts run like a well-oiled machine? It’s the product marketing function. A product marketing specialist is involved in the entire lifecycle of the product – from its inception, to launch, activation, adoption, engagement, and retention.

Image showing how product marketing fits in with other departments

Product marketing is a strategic role. It often reports to either product management, marketing, or sales. However, the work of a product marketer goes far beyond these departments – it also touches on customer experience and even business strategy. Recognizing this broad influence, some companies are starting to position product marketing management under the strategy function, reporting to the VP of Strategy or even the CEO in startups.

This goes on to show just how strong an influence product marketing exerts on the company’s revenue and growth, which is fueled by the booming SaaS market – 76.2% of product marketers specialize in SaaS products, according to Product Marketing Alliance’s report. 

Product marketing specialists partner with product managers for product success

You need product managers and product marketing specialists working together, like bosom buddies, to make sure your product is a success in the market. They have a strong bond – 89.4% of product marketing folks work the most closely with product teams. It’s fair to say that product marketers act as co-pilots to product managers, often sharing goals related to activation, feature adoption, engagement, and retention.

Image showing what product marketing specialists and product teams collaborate on
  • Product marketing specialists are the voice of the customer. They use market research, customer feedback, and even competitor intel to understand what people truly want. This then goes straight to product managers so they can prioritize features based on their importance and impact. They help shape the roadmap for a product that customers will actually love.  
  • Product marketing specialists collaborate with the UX teams to design stellar UIs and experiences. Whether through surveys, interviews, or beta testing, product marketer gets down into the technicalities to uncover customer pain points and brainstorm with the UX designers and copywriters to iterate on designs, as well as the messaging to be used on the various screens or pages of the platform to deliver an optimized user experience. 
  • Product marketing specialists go beyond gathering intel; they also gather and analyze product usage data. Everything from when users first sign up, what actions they take on the platform, how soon they discover the activation event, and what keeps them coming back for more influences product development decisions. This data analysis isn't passive observation  – product marketing specialists leverage A/B testing strategies to actively experiment with different features, messaging, and user interface elements to gauge the impact on user behavior. 
  • Product marketers orchestrate product and feature launches, including managing outreach activities to generate excitement and overseeing beta testing programs so that user feedback can be brought in to help product managers decide whether a feature or update is a go or no-go. 

Product marketing specialists support sales with winning pitches

Sales folks are already great at connecting with people and convincing them to close a deal. But who guides the narrative? Who helps them articulate what to say or helps refine their language so that what sales is selling is not a product but a solution to a genuine problem. It’s a product marketing specialist.

Image showing what product marketing specialists and sales teams collaborate on
  • Product marketing specialists work with sales to refine their pitches so that a consistent message goes out to all prospects. They develop product training materials that are used internally. They also work closely on proposals, owning the “narrative”, which has an impact on the win rates.  
  • They work with the sales team to articulate the product’s unique selling proposition, or USP, so that the product doesn’t just become “one of many solutions”, but rather stands out uniquely as the right-fit solution to a specific problem that the prospect is facing. 
  • Product marketing specialists understand the product – which means extracting the DNA from it and translating it into not-so-complex language falls on their shoulders. They build an arsenal of sales collaterals – everything from brochures to presentations to even the scripts for product demos benefit from a product marketer’s touch. They also curate case studies and testimonials that demonstrate real-world impact, giving sales reps a much-needed asset to persuade and win over prospects. 
  • Product marketing specialists conceptualize and execute campaigns that nurture leads and move them through the sales funnel. They design them to warm up leads making the sales rep’s job much easier when it comes to keeping the product top-of-mind and educating prospects about its value. 

Product marketing specialists leverage customer feedback with CX

Customer success teams make for happy customers, and product marketing specialists are the storytellers. They translate customer love into powerful narratives that resonate beyond the CX team, helping to drive brand advocacy and acting as the voice of the customer to build synthesis between the CX and product teams. 

Image showing what product marketing specialists and CX teams collaborate on
  • Product marketing specialists gather feedback from the customer. Everything that the CX touches – from support tickets to 1:1 customer calls, all contains valuable intel on how the customer is feeling and why. By understanding areas of satisfaction and frustration, product marketers can identify opportunities for product improvement and guide product development.
  • Nothing sells better than a good word from someone you trust. Over 75% of B2B buyers check out at least three different recommendations before they even think about pulling out their credit card. CX keeps monitoring the customers’ emotions and ensures that they are delighted with the product experience. Product marketing specialists tap into those emotions to turn new users into product evangelists, so their stories can prompt others in their target audience to take action. 
  • Self-education is important for a SaaS business, or else you risk burdening and burning out the CX teams with a non-stop stream of support requests. Whether it’s about building a self-service onboarding flow or developing knowledge-based articles or video tutorials that explain the product’s use cases, product marketing specialists play a pivotal role in empowering customers to find answers independently. This frees up the CX team to focus on more complex support requests.

Product marketing specialists orchestrate integrated marketing with other marketing functions

Product marketing specialists are probably best friends with other marketing people – together they run integrated marketing campaigns. While different people may focus on specific areas of marketing, product marketing specialists focus on taking the product to market tactically. 

Image showing what product marketing specialists and CX teams collaborate on
  • Product marketers work with the content marketing team and creators to develop content that’s targeted to specific audiences. This could mean producing content tailored to product launches, feature updates, or customer education in the form of blog posts, social media posts, white papers, and even videos. 
  • Product marketing specialists collaborate with demand and lead generation teams to develop campaigns for attracting potential customers and moving them down the funnel. This could involve creating landing pages or email nurture sequences. 
  • It’s not enough to just create campaigns; product marketers are also responsible for measuring their success. They work closely with the marketing analytics team to keep track of metrics that drive conversion and customer engagement. 

Product marketing specialists partner with strategy leaders for GTMs

There’s no denying that product marketing specialists are strategic partners to folks across the organization. In fact, when it comes to navigating the complexities of market entry, ensuring a successful product launch, or sustaining growth, product marketers work extensively with go-to-market (GTM) teams and strategy leaders. 

Image showing what product marketing specialists and strategy teams collaborate on
  • Product marketing specialists actively participate in decoding the market. They define the target audience, craft the ideal customer profile (ICP), and laser-focus on those customers who will benefit most from the product.
  • Developing a clear product positioning and a compelling value proposition falls under the ambit of a product marketer. They translate technical, often complex features, into easy-to-understand messages that the customers and end users can understand to answer questions like, “why does this matter to me?” 
  • Product marketing specialists are the masterminds behind effective go-to-market (GTM) strategies. They lead the charge in everything from defining the pricing strategy and selecting the right sales channels to executing a smooth launch. This leadership is crucial, considering 85% of organizations report their GTM strategy has been very or somewhat effective at driving revenue and/or achieving business objectives.  

Product marketing specialists shape business growth in more than one way

Product marketing specialists take strong ownership of a product’s market success. They wield both analytical data and creative vision to create the kind of strategies that win the hearts of customers. The one thing a product marketer should be really good at is collaboration – they are after all the bridge between product, sales, customer success, and other departments.

This cross-functional teamwork brings a unified approach to how all the different departments – disparate in their roles and goals – come together to drive user adoption.  

Ultimately, product marketing is the bridge between the art of storytelling and the science of market success.

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