I’m sure you’ve been through this at least once: you’re out and about, maybe at a local meetup, maybe in a pub with your team, and you meet some old friends or colleagues. Inevitably, they’ll ask: “So, what are you doing these days?”. For me, the answer is “I work with a product marketing agency”. 9 times out of 10, their facial expression changes to a confused look. They have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

Product Marketing Agency: What they do

Everyone and their mother knows what marketing means. Maybe not the official marketing definition, but they know it has something to do with promoting a product or a service. Product management is another well-known term; maybe not as wide-spread as marketing, but still, many people know what it implies. But product marketing? What is that supposed to be?

Well, product marketing boroughs lots of methodologies from traditional marketing, but applies them to products and services, usually in the tech industry. So, for example, even if a book is a physical product, you can’t promote it through product marketing techniques. However, if you were to, let’s say, launch a startup that would provide books to Uber riders so they don’t get bored during long commutes, that’s a whole another story and that is something you could apply product marketing techniques to.

To put it simply, if we were to look at the product manager as the ships’ captain, then the product marketing manager would be his second. Both have the same goals, but complementary skill sets that enable them to work together towards those goals.  

So how can a product marketing agency help you?

First, take this quiz:

  1. Does your product have a clear product-market fit?
  2. Does your product address a pressing problem/pain?
  3. Do people understand how your product can help them?
  4. Do you know who your target audience is, how to describe them? In other words, do you have a buyer persona?
  5. Do you know who your competitors are?
  6. Have you done in-depth competitive research and feature mapping to understand how your competitors are positioning themselves?
  7. If your product is not yet on the market, do you have a clear, step-by-step plan on how to launch it? Do you have a go-to-market strategy?
  8. Have you mapped out the customer journey?
  9. Do you have a marketing strategy for each step in the customer journey? (awareness, trial, conversion, repeat)
  10. Do you measure success? How?

If you didn’t answer “yes” to all these questions, you need a product marketer. And since you’ve come so far without a designated person in your team to take care of all this, chances are you need to outsource these responsibilities to a product marketing agency. So here’s how a product marketing agency can help you:

Product Marketing Agency: How it works

Usually, a product marketing agency can help you:

1. Understand your users and their needs

A product marketing agency not only pays attention to your existing customers but to the whole market. By identifying needs, habits, and usage patterns, they can help you attract more users faster and cheaper (in the long term) than using other marketing techniques.

Quantitative and qualitative research is used to extract insights that can then be used to improve your product, add or remove features, or fine tune your key marketing message.

2. Find out more about your competitors

Knowing who your competitors are is not enough. You also need to know who they are targeting (two similar products can target the same audience or different ones, so you need to see whether they are a direct competitor that eats your market share or just someone who is not an immediate threat), how they are positioning their product compared to yours, what their USPs (Unique Selling Points) are, and what their marketing strategy is. And you need to know all this in real-time as they could change their strategy or add new features anytime.

3. Better understand your market

Knowing your product and your competition inside out is a good start, but it’s still not enough. You still have the broader market to worry about. How can state, federal, or international laws affect you? Are there any environmental concerns you should worry about? You also need to answer these questions.

4. Fine tune segmentation, targeting, and positioning

If you haven’t launched your product yet, a product marketing agency can also help you make sure you’re focusing on the right audience and you have the right message. Segmenting your market into clearly identifiable consumer groups, profiling each group, highlighting the underserved group, and deciding the best positioning for your product is usually the CEOs decision; but it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion/perspective and go through this process without biases.

5.  Develop (and execute) the go-to-market strategy

This one differs from startup to startup, depending on how big they are and how much they can afford to invest. The product manager is also involved in this process as the success of the marketing strategy will determine the number of users you get, the retention rate, the monetization strategy, etc.

The strategy needs to include the STP (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning), goals (number of users, number of downloads, expected revenue, etc.), recommended marketing budget, and a short overview of the tools that can be used to achieve the proposed goals. You can go even further and define the ad networks you’re going to use, the targeted cost per acquisition, and the budget for each network.

Product Marketing Agency: How to measure results

Taking into account the above, you’ll want to know you’re going in the right direction. So you need to determine how success looks like for you. This means that, together with your product marketing agency, you will need to set some KPIs to track and measure.

The KPIs you need to track differ from startup to startup, the type of product you have (mobile app, platform, plugin, etc.), and the results you want to achieve. But here are the most common KPIs you’ll want to look at:

1. Website traffic

This will include visitors/views, bounce rate, demographics. By closely monitoring the website analytics, you can see what pages on your website are driving the most conversions. Then, you can use that information to test different designs or calls to action to improve your conversion rate.

If you have active campaigns (that is, if you pay for promotion on social media), you will also want to look at landing page visitors, mobile vs. desktop engagement, trials generated by campaigns, the conversion rate from advertising channels, and customer acquisition cost.

2. Trials and demos

If your customers need to test your product before buying, you will also want to track the number of trials and demos generated and the conversion rate from visitor to trial/demo, not just the sales. If too few people ask to test your product, you may have a marketing/communication problem. But if lots of people test your product and then they don’t end up buying, the problem is with your product. Knowing this will enable you to make adequate changes in your strategy.

3. Customer satisfaction / customer love

Customer-initiated promotion validates your product to potential customers. We all trust recommendations from friends and family, but did you know that 70% of global consumers also trust online reviews? That’s why many startups consider generating reviews a top priority; it may not make a difference in sales right away, but it will have a huge impact long term. Plus, detailed reviews will also reveal what users think about your product, how it helps them, and what you should improve.

Are you preparing to launch your product? Make sure you read our 8 marketing must-haves for product launch.