5 Most Common Pitfalls Of Product Marketing


As a Product Marketing professional, if you feel like you are doing a lot but not seeing results, it might be due to a pitfall that you are stuck in. It is important to be aware of the pitfalls so that you get out of one that you are stuck in or think ahead and avoid them entirely.

Pitfall 1: Getting confused between Clients vs Users

Typically, clients are those who pay you for your product and users are those who use your product. In a B2C company, these clients and users could be the same, but in B2B products, they are usually different.

You should have a strategy around who your communication pieces will target and not keep jumping between the two audiences for different products in your company. The ideal approach would be to have a clear mix where you call out how the product benefits the user and how this translates to the client’s monetory advantages.

Pitfall 2: Lack of focus in product strategy

Your product management team and engineering team might be building a lot of amazing products or features for your clients. A common mistake is to treat all these as stand alone releases and go the whole nine yards to market each release. This is not just confusing but also creates way too much noise bringing down the effective impact of all your efforts across these releases.

There needs to be a clear focus while creating an MRD or marketing a new product/feature. A good way would be to have a bunch of features role up into a larger solution offering that is geared towards solving a larger client problem.

Ram Shriram, founder of Sherpalo Ventures and a board member of Google,  told me something that made a lasting impression;

You will have more impact if you go 10 feet deep and 1 foot wide rather than 10 feet wide and 1 foot deep.

Pitfall 3: Being terse and complex

It is a common mistake to assume that your clients understand a product, technology or industry as well as you do. While it might be true, it is still safer to assume that your client does not know it all, especially while you are creating content for the masses such as blogs or whitepapers. While trying to show that you or your company is an expert in its domain, you might end up intimidating your clients or simply not being able to reach them at all.

You can fine-tune your 1:1 sales collateral based on how advanced your client is, but keep the general communication simple and avoid jargons.

Pitfall 4: Ignoring competitor gaps

While understanding competitor strengths, it is also important to proactively understand competitor gaps as well. This will help identify areas where you can be experts or provide value to your clients.

Even more useful is to figure out why those gaps exist. What are the reasons behind why your competitor has not already built the product?  Was it because, you were the first to think of it, or was the effort to build more than the value that particular product/feature provided, was the competitor not set up to build that product, was the client able to get the functionality of that product through other means etc. This will help create a positioning strategy and will make for a convincing story.

Pitfall 5: Over emphasis on products

While the product you are marketing might be really great, it is important to not get carried away and only talk about the product. A Product Marketing Manager needs to think beyond product and the messaging needs to be clearly on how the product address the customer’s needs and not just about the features of the product.

A great piece of collateral usually starts with the customer pain points currently and then goes to explain how the product addresses these pain points with examples.

Keeping these top 5 pitfalls in mind at all times will help create a go-to-market strategy that not only markets your product well, but also makes an immediate connect with your clients.

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