Every marketing department — whether you work in B2B or B2C — needs to:
- sell the brand in order to
- sell the product.
For SaaS companies in particular, this is critically important. Without the establishment of trust and reputation, selling a product — especially in a competitive marketplace — is difficult. You must understand the difference between marketing your company and marketing your product(s).
But how do you market a company differently than you market a product? What happens if you have more than one product? What does a product marketer do once a product launches? Is it a full-time role or a contractor’s role? Is having a product marketer all that important?
In this article, we’ll uncover the answers to these questions, and share the differences between company marketing and product marketing by taking a close look at:
- The role
- The message and content
If your B2B technology company has more than a one-person marketing team, you will likely have a product marketing manager that works alongside a team of marketers focused on content, emails, social media, sales enablement, marketing automation, online ads, SEO, and more. While you may not have a different individual for each of these roles, it’s essential that your team (or an agency you enlist to supplement your team) possesses these skills.
It’s important to note that while product marketing managers will be tasked with their own set of responsibilities, they should not operate in a silo.The product marketing manager will rely upon the expertise of the other digital marketers in your organization to create and distribute the product marketing assets.
Focus on establishing trust and a good reputation within your industry. While this might look different from company to company, in general, company marketing is broader and has a long-term emphasis, while marketing for a given product often has a shorter-term purpose.
Company Marketing Ongoing Efforts Include:
- Gaining new website traffic by optimizing content
- Getting smarter about search terms that matter
- Managing social media
- Humanizing the brand through the use of photos and videos
- Developing email campaigns
- Working closely with the sales team to develop content that better attracts, nurtures, and converts leads
- Managing the website
The role of the product marketer is to specifically market your products. This means doing everything your marketing team does to promote your brand and company, but specifically, for your products. This means creating a go-to-market strategy and launch plan that outline in detail how the product will be promoted and sold.
Within the product marketing role, there are two key areas of concentration:
- What happens before the product launch
- What happens after the product launch
Before a product launch, you product marketer(s) should be focusing on working backwards from the desired launch date. They should that indicates when they will:
- Create a timeline
- Gather feedback from clients
- Develop the positioning and messaging for the product
- Create initial sales and marketing materials (such as website content, sales deck, pricing sheet, etc.)
- Determine KPIs
- Begin promoting the product to clients
- Begin promoting the product to prospects
So, does that mean once a product launches, a product marketer is no longer essential? Absolutely not! After the product launches, the job is far from over. However, due to the shorter term nature, you may benefit from hiring an agency who specializes in product marketing, rather than hiring a full-time person.
Once the product launches, product marketers need to focus on enabling inside and outside sales teams to sell the product. This likely includes working with members of the company marketing team on the development of:
- Email campaigns
- Social media campaigns
- Content for prospective users
- Content for current users
The Message & Content
Developing a message that resonants is the foundation of a successful marketing campaign and brand on the individual product level, as well as the company level.
In both cases, your talented marketers are working on important messaging based on:
- Buyer personas
- Competitive intelligence
- A deep understanding of the market
- Unique selling points and value propositions
- Brand soul
Your company should have one company-wide value proposition and mission statement that transcends every marketing asset you create. For example, Zapier is a B2B technology company that integrates a variety of the apps you likely us daily, including Slack, Hubspot, MailChimp — you name it. Zapier’s slogan “Zapier makes you happier” is evident throughout their website, social media, and overall messaging. (We use Zapier every day in our work.)
On the flip side, product marketing is much more niche. Your messaging and content will vary from product to product. Ensure that you have the same marketing strategy and approach for each of your different products. For example, Zapier has a landing page on its website for every product it sells — each set up the exact same way with the same types of content.
Curious about how the messaging and content for company-wide and product marketing work together? It should feel seamless and cohesive. In other words, the average consumer shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between what your product marketers and other marketing team members are putting together. An excellent example of how company and product marketing work together is on the Zapier blog, where they strike the perfect balance between content that builds trust in the brand, and content that builds interest in their products.
Every SaaS company needs talented individuals who can build trust in the brand and hype in its products. Understanding how their messaging and content works together to boost revenue and keep your sales team happy is pivotal to your success.