People are fed up reading about COVID-19. While it is a serious threat to our health, our society and the economy, there will be a world after the pandemic. For Product Marketers the questions is, how can we adapt to the new normal and help our companies do well despite a hesitant market?
As a Product Marketer I believe that any product and its go-to-market plan have to be based on solving important customer problems. I find this especially true in a time of economic uncertainty. For the situation that we are in today this means that we start with the customer problem and re-evaluate our proposition to make sure that it is aligned with the new needs of our potential customers.
This is where we rely on input from the market including our customers and non-customers. It is not always necessary to conduct our own research. There is a lot of data about how the pandemic has changed what’s important to the market and we might find some good insights into our buyers’ needs from publicly available sources. We can also work closely with our sales and customer success teams to get feedback from recent conversations with customers.
Having gained new insights, we can prioritise segmentation and focus on those audiences that benefit most from our solution. We need to refine our messaging to explain how we can tackle our personas’ new challenges and meet their needs. This new messaging must feed into content that is helpful and establishes us as a thought leader. We want to make sure to not come across as salesy. If there ever is a time to sell, now is not that time.
When creating content and sending communications we want to be empathetic, but not too empathetic. While it is important to lead with empathy for our audiences in a crisis, we need to watch for signals to pull back on crisis messages. I believe that we are at a point, where audiences have heard enough assurances of our empathy and want to be shown a way forward.
However, this does not mean that everything is back to normal. If you are not amongst the Zooms of the world, you will most likely have to work hard to get near your revenue targets for this year. While this has been widely acknowledged, make sure to manage your stakeholders and their expectations. Redefine KPIs related to new revenue and market share for the time being and focus on retention, sales enablement and analyst engagement instead.
Ultimately, this means to me that the core responsibilities of Product Marketing such as market research, persona and target audience definition, and value-based messaging are more important than ever to ensure our continued success in the market. While the world might seem uncertain, Product Marketing will be able to contribute as much value or even more value to a company’s success than before COVID-19. If we follow this outside-in approach we can make sure to be ready for the economy’s rebound when it happens.