Product marketing is a term that might sound a little confusing. Marketing products is exactly what all marketers do, after all. Of course, this is the right description of a marketer’s job. There are some details, however, which make product marketing different from other types of marketing.
On the one hand, product marketing is all about bringing a product to the market. On the other hand, it consists of two separate processes. Product marketing can involve completely different elements depending on whether the product has already entered the market or not. The reason is that product marketing remains necessary before and after the product is launched.
Another thing you should know about product marketing is that product marketing can also have an impact on the creation of the product. Product marketing may combine different interrelated processes. For example, it can help improve the product based on the insights from the market. At the same time, product marketing is aimed to communicate the product to the market.
Product marketing often turns out to be a missing link between different teams within an organization. To ensure that the product will perfectly match the market, all teams should work together and have a common context. When it comes to shaping the product and making sure that it will meet the demands of the market, product marketing may involve audience segmentation, competitor research, and pricing analysis.
At the same time, product marketing also focuses on communicating the product. Therefore, it may also involve content creation, launch management, and product promotion. Obviously, all these tasks can only be completed successfully if all the teams will be perfectly coordinated. Therefore, the success of your product marketing efforts to a large extent depends on preparation.
Many marketers don’t know how to approach product marketing. To achieve success, you should understand how work should be organized within a big marketing team. You should also understand what processes you can use. Perhaps, you might appreciate some templates that could help you organize your efforts from the very beginning.
In this article, we will consider product marketing plans. A well-crafted plan will help you not only approach marketing strategically and to understand what steps your strategy will involve but also to communicate this strategy effectively. Marketing plans are different from business plans but no less important. While business plans focus on companies’ objectives and infrastructure, marketing plans are all about branding and understanding how you’re going to attract customers.
Product Marketing Plan Definition
A marketing plan is a document that describes a marketing strategy and the way the organization is going to implement this strategy in practice. Usually, marketing plans outline PR campaigns and outreach, as well as methods of measuring the effect of these components. A marketing plan may include the following elements and perform the following functions:
- Tailored messaging aimed for certain types of demographics and locations;
- Market research that serves as the basis for new market entries and pricing decisions;
- Personalized messaging intended for certain types of audiences and certain locations;
- Metrics that enable marketers to measure the effectiveness of their efforts;
- Platform selection for promotion. For instance, marketers might use the internet, printed sources, radio, or combine multiple channels.
Companies from different niches may use different types of marketing plans, depending on the types of their products and their specific objectives. Here are the most common types of marketing plans:
- A social media marketing plan. Such a plan may include tactics, channels, and marketing campaigns intended for social media;
- Annual or quarterly marketing plans. These plans focus on strategies that are used during a certain period of time;
- A content marketing plan. Such a plan may include campaigns and tactics used when working with different types of content;
- A product launch marketing plan. A plan of this kind will include strategies aimed to help a company to promote its new product.
- A paid marketing plan. This type of marketing plan focuses on paid promotion on social media, PPC, native advertising, and other paid strategies.
A marketing plan defines the target market, the campaigns that can be effective, the value proposition, and the system of metrics that can be used for assessment of the outcome. It’s important to keep in mind that, although a marketing plan should be quite detailed and comprehensive, it should also be flexible. Marketers need to analyze their metrics and to adjust their marketing plans regularly to make sure that their strategy is able to make the necessary impact.
Marketing Plan vs. Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategy and marketing plan are two terms that are often used interchangeably, and the reason is that a marketing plan should be based on a strategic framework. Sometimes, the plan and the strategy may be included in the same document, especially if the company is relatively small so it only runs a couple of big campaigns during a year. Such a document, however, will have different sections, with the marketing strategy outlining the general value proposition and the plan describing annual, quarterly, or monthly marketing activities.
A marketing strategy focuses on a business’s goals and mission, including campaigns, tools, channels, and content necessary to reach the goal and to measure the success. For example, an organization might aim to promote its products on social media, and it might have a specific strategy dedicated to Facebook.
A marketing plan can include multiple marketing strategies. It also serves as a framework for new marketing strategies and enables marketers to connect and sync their strategies, making sure that these strategies will be effective in the context of the organization’s general goals.
For instance, when a company launches a new software product, the marketing department starts to develop a marketing plan that will introduce the product to the market and enable the company to get new signups. For example, the department may decide to launch a YouTube series to educate the audience about the features of the product. At the same time, marketers may launch a blog dedicated to the latest trends in the industry, and create a new Twitter account to start the conversation about the product. In this case, the product marketing plan will include three separate marketing strategies.
Why Is Having a Product Marketing Plan Important?
No matter what type of product you sell, you need a marketing plan. eCommerce businesses, software corporations, and other companies develop product marketing plans to make sure that their marketing materials will deliver the right message and that their product will meet the needs of potential customers. Let’s take a look at the three key reasons why your business should have a marketing plan.
- It helps generate sales
Marketing is one of the main revenue drivers. If your potential customers don’t know who you are, they likely won’t visit your website and make an order. They should know what you sell, what the advantages of your products are, and how they can benefit from choosing your company instead of your competitors.
A proper marketing plan will help you answer all of these questions and establish a strong connection between the needs and preferences of your consumers and your business. When people visit your website, they are not ready to make a purchase. To become customers, they need to go through the three stages of the marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and decision.
The first stage is about realizing what problem they want to solve or what opportunity they want to use. At the consideration (evaluation) stage, consumers have a well-defined problem and look for different options that might become solutions. At the decision stage, consumers already know what exactly they’re looking for.
To create a good marketing plan, you should take into account all the three stages of the sales funnel. For instance, you can use targeted ads to boost awareness among people who search for topics related to your industry. You may also promote testimonials on your product on social media, targeting the consumers at the consideration stage. Finally, you can plan personalized promotions and remarketing ads to help consumers make a purchasing decision.
A marketing plan may also address communication with existing customers. For instance, it might include referral bonuses, promotional emails, and retargeted ads.
- It can make your marketing more effective
Marketing is difficult, and creating effective marketing strategies overnight is impossible. It’s important to keep in mind the long-term objectives of your marketing efforts and to understand in what direction your strategies should evolve. A good marketing plan can help you better understand the current state of your marketing and to decide on its further development.
You can do an audit of your current marketing practices and consider them in the context of your important business goals. We recommend that you start the audit from the main channels that drive the most traffic and conversions. For instance, these might be your website, email marketing, and social media. Analyze quantitative information from the past year (click-through rates, numbers of posts, site traffic). This way, you’ll be able to properly evaluate your current performance.
When analyzing social media, you may also consider engagement, the consistency of posting, and the number of followers. We recommend that you compare these parameters to those of your competitors’. An in-depth audit of your marketing practices can provide you with countless valuable insights that you can use to improve your strategies.
- Guiding the overall strategy
A marketing plan can also help organizations with many other tasks associated with decision-making. After doing an audit, you may find many problems that require different plans of action, as well as different resources. You may need to improve different areas of your business, and this means that you should properly manage time and budget.
You should also have a clear idea of what these areas should look like if your efforts are successful. When creating a marketing plan, you can set clear objectives and use insights from data to understand how exactly you can improve different areas of your business.
Best Secrets on How to Write a Successful Product Marketing Plan for Your Company
Now that you know what a product marketing plan is and why your organization needs it, let’s take a closer look at the practical side. When marketers decide to write a product marketing plan, they often don’t know where to start. A marketing plan can be more or less specific. Many marketers also don’t know in what order they should perform all the steps to get a nice marketing plan that will reflect the organization’s goals and won’t need too many adjustments at first.
Here are some secret tips that will help you figure out what the key components of a marketing plan are. Thanks to these tips, you’ll also be able to choose approaches that meet your specific objectives.
- Determine your target audience
Before you start to actively sell your product or service, you should figure out who you’re selling it to. In other words, you should determine what kinds of people are most likely to need what you offer and to buy it. This way, you’ll be able to better understand the demand for your type of product in the market so that you can improve communication with potential customers and meet their needs.
To determine a target market, companies need to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. It’s important to clearly understand what problems your product can solve, and what factors consumers may consider important when choosing a solution. Here are some tips that will help you focus your marketing efforts on the right audience.
- Create a customer profile. People who need your product might have something in common. You should create customer profiles based on gender, age, location, and income level. You may also include other factors.
- Research the market. Good market research will provide you with many insights into your potential customers’ needs and preferences. If you want to figure out what your potential customers are looking for, you can use surveys.
- Analyze your competition. You can get a considerable advantage if you learn more about your competitors. Check their social media and websites, determine which of their products or services are the most popular among consumers.
- Connect your key marketing elements
Once you’ve determined your target audience, you can think of the key elements of marketing and determine practices that will help you achieve your business goals.
- Production. A consistent and well-planned production process will help you make sure that you deliver the best quality consistently. Proper planning can also help you increase the efficiency of processes.
- Customer acquisition costs. High customer acquisition costs are the most common reason why startups fail. To properly evaluate your return on investment, you should determine your customer acquisition cost. It will also help you understand what channels you should focus on, as well as what tactics you can use for customer acquisition and retention.
- Scalability. If you succeed, your business will grow, and you should prepare for it.
- Conversion goals. When you know what your target audience is and what it needs, you can understand how to attract them and evaluate the possible outcome of your efforts.
- Allocate a budget
You need to clearly understand how you’re going to spend every dollar of your budget. One of your key goals as a marketer should be to maximize the return on investment. Fortunately, if you’ve determined your audience and the features of your product that you’re going to highlight, it means that you’ve already done a lot of work.
Understanding how much money can be invested in advertising, you’ll know what marketing campaigns you can or cannot afford. Keep in mind that, as your company grows, your marketing budget will also be able to expand. You should be ready to spend more on marketing if you have more resources. At the same time, if some practices don’t deliver the desired results, you should consider replacing them.
- Have measurable goals
We recommend that you make sure that your objectives are clear and describe them in detail. Details and precisely chosen tactics will help your strategy-driven marketing plan work exactly as intended. All your marketing activities should have clear results so that you can effectively measure the ROI.
For instance, you cannot have such general goals as “making clients happy” or “creating high-quality products.” These goals are impossible to measure so they are useless for your plan. Instead, you should set solid goals. For example, you can plan how much money you’re going to make within a few years.
If you have a new business, you can have both short-term and long-term marketing plans. These plans, however, should be interconnected. We recommend that you make sure that your short-term marketing plans can actually help you reach your long-term goals.
- Responsibility and accountability
To ensure good performance, all responsibilities should be assigned to the right people. Never count on people to do their job, especially if you’re dealing with teams. We recommend that you formulate specific tasks for each individual and make sure that they will work on these tasks.
Monitor the results to make sure that each individual puts their best effort into the task. It’s important to ensure accountability and to reward employees who demonstrate the best results or take the necessary actions regarding employees who fail to meet to achieve the necessary goals.
A good marketing plan offers countless benefits for an organization. No matter what your company’s niche is, a well-crafted product marketing plan will help you not only attract more attention to your product but also use insights from the market to improve your product and to meet your customers’ expectations. A good plan can give you a considerable competitive advantage so we hope that our tips will help you increase the ROI of your marketing efforts.