I sometimes find that there is some confusion around the definition of product management versus product marketing. So, let’s clarify the difference before we dig into the details. Wikipedia defines it well: "Product marketing is the process of promoting and selling a product to an audience. Product marketing, as opposed to product management, deals with more outbound marketing or customer-facing tasks (in the older sense of the phrase)."
Pretty straightforward, isn't it?
An efficient product marketing process is a foundation for successful product launches, effective SEO, eCommerce, and much more. Without compelling high quality product stories—including descriptions, specifications, how-to videos, images, cross-sells , and so on—it is very hard to provide a great product experience. The product experience is such a vital part of the customer's buying journey that, without a great one, it is almost impossible to convince anyone to buy anything. Unfortunately, despite its importance, product marketing is often not considered as a strategic process.
There is a big difference in how you need to communicate to B2B Buyers versus B2C Shoppers. It is important that you know to whom you are marketing before you start communicating with them, so there is always a need for buyer personas regardless of industry. However, personas are not persons, and persons have different contexts and intents during the buying journey. Most customers will move across touchpoints and devices, creating a need for content to be developed and stored granularly to help the front-end solutions select the right pieces and adapt the product story—in real time.
There seem to be a misconception that micro-moments are only happening within B2C, but B2B buyers are mobile too, and thus are constantly connected. The B2B buying journey is now as fragmented and unpredictable as it is within B2C. According to Google, 89% of B2B buyers use the internet during the B2B research process. Think with Google has written an interesting piece about this. With B2B marketing, also comes the complexity of often having more than one decision-maker, each of whom can have a different persona and be in a different phase of the buying journey.
Digital marketing is extremely competitive. To win, companies need to have the resources, processes, and systems in place to create large volumes of high-quality content, manage knowledge about the customers, communicate effectively in real time, and have ways of analyzing and optimizing it all.
It is time to realize that without this in place, the other strategic processes and systems that are managing transaction and logistics, such as ERP, are going to have less and less to do in the future when sales are going down. That is why you need to make product marketing a strategic process. If it is not considered strategic to your organization already, it is time to make it so.
Johan Boström, Co-founder and Evangelist, inRiver
-The importance of relevant content for creating a great customer experience
There are different strategies for a retailer to convert on their customer base: price, quality, assortment etc. But regardless of what strategy you choose, you have to be relevant to your customers. If you compare an offline store experience with an online experience you can do some analogies between the two.
The times when I feel comfortable is when a competent and well-informed sales person in a store takes care of me, gives me a fantastic product experience with his/her product knowledge, has the ability to give me advice on combinations of products, and just makes me feel good. If this happens, I will buy more.
If you know about the fantastic book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, you know that we have two systems operating in our minds. It is System 1 that makes most of our decisions - based on feelings, not on rationality. It is all about how the story and the experience of the product is affecting us when we are making the decision to purchase.
If you translate this to a web shop experience, for me it boils down to the hidden sales cycle: the lack of a physical person taking care of me on this journey of experiencing the product. To achieve a similar experience, you must work with the facets of your products. Make sure that all your products have enriched content that is relevant to me at that moment and in that situation, but also guide me. Give me the same experience as in a store with a sales person - just without the physical interaction.
Trained sales people, and having the best ones in your store, can be translated to the web shop by having to put in the work for enriching your product content - to be able to give all your customers relevant advice and a fantastic experience when browsing through your assortments. There is no way around this if you want to stay relevant to your customers. If you do not put in the work of enriching your product content and making it relevant, your customers will not be inspired by your products, they will not understand your product proposition. Or even worse: without great content, relevant products may not show up when searched for, might be filtered out unnecessarily, or may miss out on displaying related products. That is not part of a great customer experience.
-- Jimmy Ekbäck, CTO --