A well-executed product marketing strategy can catalyze a successful product launch for your exciting new product or service, or increase sales for an existing offering.

In this article, we’ll explain each step you need to deliver a successful product marketing strategy, such as:


How to analyze the market

To begin creating your product marketing strategy, you need to complete thorough market research to identify your personas and competitors.

To gather this information, you’ll need to conduct  market research and competitive intelligence.

Market research is essential when creating a product marketing strategy. It confirms exactly what your personas want, which products they’re already using, and what they want to see from a product.

Competitive intelligence plays an equally important role when it comes to creating a product marketing strategy.

It's a process in which companies gather information on their competitors, customers, and the overall market, before using their findings to introduce appropriate strategies, as they strive to gain an upper hand in their respective market.

During this stage of building your product marketing strategy, you need to conduct primary and secondary research.

What is primary research?

Primary research is collected yourself or by a specialist who has been hired to collect the data on your behalf. For example, we collected primary data for our 2021 State of Product Leadership report.

What is secondary research?

On the other hand, secondary research includes information that’s previously been gathered and archived for your reference. This data includes things like:

  • Reports,
  • Books,
  • Journals,
  • Newspapers,
  • Letters,
  • Government websites.

How to use primary and secondary data in a product marketing strategy

Findings from your primary research should be used to create a buyer persona or user persona, while the secondary research will be used to complete the competitive analysis phase of the market analysis.

Primary research involves activities such as interviews, surveys, and focus groups with existing or prospective customers.

These sessions should provide an insight into what features their existing products are lacking, and where they think improvements can be made. Using this information, you can tailor your product and ensure you’re ticking all the boxes.

Secondary research involves using external sources such as databases, journals, websites, and so forth, to gain further insight into whether your product is commercially viable.

For example, say you’ve applied a pricing strategy that priced your product at $200. You then carry out secondary research into average spend per product among your target market and find they pay a maximum of $100. This indicates they wouldn’t be able to afford your product, paving the way for a financial loss, as opposed to a profit.


How to conduct competitive intelligence

Market research is important because it helps you answer the essential question that really matters: what does the customer want?

You also need to lift the lid on who your main competitors are, what they’re currently offering, and where you can improve your product to surpass their offering - this is where competitive intelligence comes into the equation.

30 competitive intelligence tips
When we surveyed product marketers for the Competitive Intelligence Trends 2020 report, we unearthed a plethora of 30 competitive intelligence tips to consider when conducting the process.

There are two types of research you can use to collect competitive intelligence: external research and internal research.

What is external research?

External research involves gathering information from sources outside of your company. For example, newspapers, websites, social media, etc.

When we completed the Competitive Intelligence Trends Report 2020, we explored how product marketers collect competitive intelligence insights, and it transpired 76.5% of product marketers rely press releases and media mentions as their main source of information when researching their competitors, followed closely by competitors’ websites and marketing activities (74.3%), each of which are externally sourced research methods.

When we completed the Competitive Intelligence Trends Report 2020, we explored how product marketers collect competitive intelligence insights, and it transpired 76.5% of product marketers rely press releases and media mentions as their main source of information when researching their competitors, followed closely by competitors’ websites and marketing activities (74.3%), each of which are externally sourced research methods.

77% of PMMs said they check out press releases and media mentions to understand the current activities of those within their market, with 74% taking the relatively old-fashioned approach and heading straight to the source itself, checking out competitors’ websites and marketing activities.

What is internal research?

Internal research is when research is conducted within the company.

Effective in-house communication is a feature across many successful product marketing teams. It can also be the difference between mediocre competitive intel or impactful intel. As we discovered during the Competitive Intelligence Trends Report 2020, several communication methods can be used to complete internal research.

Effective in-house communication is a feature across many successful product marketing teams. It can also be the difference between mediocre competitive intel or impactful intel.  As we discovered during the Competitive Intelligence Trends Report 2020, several communication methods can be used to complete internal research.

We found simple means of communication, such as emails and conversations among peers, were the most popular form of internal competitive intelligence research.

In terms of which specific teams PMMs were liaising with most when conducting competitive intelligence, the sales teams were identified as the port of call for many PMMs, with 86% saying they turn to them for CI support.

Encouragingly, 46% of product marketers we surveyed about internal research said they get information from members of the executive/leadership team.

How to categorize your competitors

After identifying who your competitors are, you need a comprehensive understanding of how you both compare.

Compile a list of their products, check out their websites, and see what kind of content they’re publishing on their social networks. Then, arrange them into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary competitors.

What is a primary competitor?

Primary competitors both have the same product and audience.

For example, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods both sell sports products, and both target sportsmen and sportswomen.

What is a secondary competitor?

Secondary competitors sell similar products, but their audience is slightly different.

For example, McDonald’s and Subway target customers looking for a bite to eat, but offer a different product, McDonald’s sells burgers and fries, Subway sells sandwiches.

What is a tertiary competitor?

Tertiary competitors market to the same audience but don’t sell the same products as one another.

For example, while Nike and Lucozade both target a sporting audience, Nike sells sporting apparel, while Lucozade sells sports drinks; they market to the same audience, but don’t compete with each other in any way.

However, if they expanded their business, with Nike launching their own brand of sports drinks or Lucozade releasing a range of sports apparel, they have the potential to become competitors.

After researching your competitors, you need to decipher where your product sits within the market and make a SWOT analysis.


What is a SWOT analysis?

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths: what sets you apart from the competition? Do you offer a feature unique to your product? Are you an innovator? Do you have an established, engaging social media presence?

Weaknesses: what is it that’s stopping you from having the competitive edge? Is it a lack of capital? Is your marketing strategy letting you down?

Opportunities: these are prospects or openings you could take advantage of to get ahead of the competition. They could be new developments in the market you serve, a new trend, or perhaps a popular feature you're sure you could improve on.

Threats: include anything that could negatively affect the business, internal or external. For example, evolving technology is always a threat! Anything that makes you especially vulnerable in the market is a threat.

How to complete a SWOT analysis

Conducting a successful SWOT analysis isn’t about being exact in your predictions - it’s about planning for all eventualities.

Outline your objectives

First of all, establish what data you're trying to gather and assess; this way you’ll know precisely what to look for in the research stage.

You might want to run a SWOT analysis to decide if you should introduce a new feature or launch a completely new product, add a new department or outsource a specific process. It’s flexible enough to assess all kinds of different areas across the organization.

Recruit your team

Next, you need to assemble a team with knowledge and experience aligning with your objectives.

Your team can include anyone who you consider to be a suitable fit, including customers, stakeholders, executives, and so on; the more feedback you can gather the better.

Conduct extensive research

You need to carry out unbiased research to find out where you stand in the market.

Be honest about your weaknesses, as they could well lead you to your biggest strength.

For example, the Bentley Bentayga Speed SUV is the world’s fastest SUV, but do you really think the prestige car manufacturer struck gold right away? Of course not!

Various prototypes would've been picked apart by car buffs who’d have identified alternative models that were faster, better to drive, and easier on the eye before the production of the stunning vehicle that’s taking its place on the roads today.

Acknowledge your strengths too; without this research, you’ll never be able to compete or maintain your advantage.

Join the dots

Use a competitor SWOT analysis template to condense your results (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) into concise sentences.

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

This template will help you visualize your success and find potential connections between each square.

For example, which strength could you use to eliminate a weakness? In doing so, will this open up a potential new opportunity?

Action point #1 - Complete market research, competitive intelligence, and a SWOT analysis to fully understand where your product stands in the marketplace.


Identify your target audience

After completing your market research, you need to create a buyer persona and user persona for your product.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a profile of an average person who will buy your product. Buyer personas are different to a user persona because a buyer persona isn’t necessarily a user of your product. However, they may be in the future.

When building buyer personas, speak with your existing customers, and conduct further research with potential customers, and key stakeholders at companies within your target market. Their persona profiles will include key information about topics such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Location
  • Education
  • Goals
  • Challenges
A buyer persona is a profile of an average person who will buy your product. Buyer personas are different to a user persona because a buyer persona isn’t necessarily a user of your product. However, they may be in the future.


This stage of your product marketing strategy is pivotal because it’ll provide you with a clear-cut understanding of customer needs and support you in positioning your product effectively.

What is a user persona?

User personas target the people who use your product or service. Every single company has their idea of what a perfect user persona is. These personas can be defined by a host of key characteristics including:

  • Gender,
  • Age,
  • Budget,
  • Their main goal,
  • Pain points.

The semi-fictional character created by a company is the epitome of an existing customer or representative of the type of customer a company aspires to attract in the future; these can be formed by communicating with users.

After a company has communicated with its users, findings can be segmented further into an assortment of demographics and psychographic data. This information is used to enhance the overall output from a product marketing team and form representative user personas for the company.

Exploring the intricacies of user personas
User personas target the people who use your product or service. Every single company has their idea of what a perfect user persona is.

Action point #2 - Establish who your personas are (buyer and user) to ensure your product meets their requirements and solves their pain points.


What is product positioning?

The aforementioned process of categorizing your competitors is useful because it allows you to understand how you can improve your product positioning.

Product positioning is used to find a product or service’s place in the market and earmarks what makes your product different from the others on the market so you can focus your messaging and effectively explain your value proposition to potential customers.

In the words of positioning expert April Dunford:

“Product positioning describes the specific market you intend to win and why you are uniquely qualified to win it.”

By this point, you’ll have an understanding of who your audience is, your competitors, and perhaps, most importantly, what you need to do to make your product the most appealing option on the market. So, with this in mind, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to write a strong positioning statement.

What is a positioning statement?

A positioning statement is a one or two-sentence declaration that identifies your product’s unique value to customers concerning your main competitors. Before writing your positioning statement, you need to consider:

  • Who is your target customer?
  • What category does your product or service belong in?
  • What’s the biggest, unique benefit your product or service offers?
  • Can you prove that benefit?

From there, you can create a compelling positioning statement.

Let’s take a look at an example:

“Our vision is to be the most recognizable, luxury shoe brand in the world. When men and women wear our shoes, people will ask ‘are they Louboutins?’”

This positioning statement is effective because it tells us the company’s intended audience is 1. Men and women, and more specifically, wealthy men and women.

Its benefit is the perceived social status the customer experiences simply from owning a pair of red-bottom Louboutins, and it’s proven by how the brand has infiltrated popular culture.

How to create a product message

If your target audience doesn't know the problem your product’s solving, you’re immediately facing an uphill battle.

A well-rounded, defined product message will clearly articulate to your audience exactly what problem your product solves.

Your product message should be:

✅ Short and last no more than one minute
✅ Always focus on the benefits your customer will experience - not the features
✅ Use a tone that’s reflective of your brand
✅ Use appropriate language that’ll resonate with your audience

Better yet, you can segment your audience and create ultra-targeted messaging for different groups.

With a whole bunch of ways to segment your audience, we’ve popped together a handy diagram for you to refer to. 👇

With a whole bunch of ways to segment your audience, we’ve popped together a handy diagram for you to refer to.

Action point #3 - Complete your positioning statement and product message to effectively position your product and clearly communicate to prospective buyers what makes your product different from market alternatives.


How to choose a pricing strategy

So, you’ve analyzed your market, positioned your product, created your personas - now it’s time to start thinking about your pricing strategy.

Product pricing can be the difference between a product succeeding and failing. Introduce a hefty price tag, and you’ll price your product out of the market. Price your product too low and this too can hurt sales, as it could be construed that your product lacks quality.

There are multiple pricing strategies to choose from, including:

  • Competitor-based pricing
  • Cost-plus pricing
  • Value-based pricing
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Penetration pricing
  • Price skimming

For a full breakdown of each of these pricing methods, check out our guide to how to price a product. 💰

Pricing & packaging pricing roadmaps to help grow revenue
When you layer on pricing and packaging and know how it hits the bottom line and revenues, you become a very powerful product marketer.

Ashley Murphy, Director of Market Insights and Pricing at Toast is (unsurprisingly…) an expert in all aspects of product pricing. She shared her insights, recommended strategies, and a whole lot more during a pricing Q&A session.

Action point #4 - Introduce a pricing strategy that's suitable for your target audience.


How to develop a go-to-market strategy

After settling on a pricing strategy to suit your audience, the time’s arrived when you create a go-to-market strategy to propel your product into the market and successfully reach your target market.

What is a go-to-market strategy?

A go-to-market strategy is the way in which a company brings a product to market and generally speaking touches on three core components, your target audience, marketing plan, and sales strategy.

Every product and market’s different which means every GTM strategy is unique, but although there’s no such thing as a blanket template, there are a series of steps every product marketer should follow before, during and after the process.

It’s also worth noting GTM strategies aren’t just for new products or services, they can also be used for things like:

  • Acquiring other businesses,
  • Changing your business’ focus,
  • Announcing a new feature,
  • Entering a new market
  • Rebranding, and
  • New positioning or repositioning.

Whether you work in B2B or B2C can impact your GTM strategy too, and some of the key differences between the two include the length of sales cycle - this is typically much longer for B2B purchases because the buyer isn’t spending their own money and there are several stakeholders involved in that purchase process.

The second is that B2B sales strategies tend to have more one-on-one contact, think about when you make an online purchase as a consumer, there’s probably little-to-no human interaction, right?

Compare that to business purchases and there’s usually at least one or two conversations with sales finding more out about the product - which requires sales reps to have more in-depth product knowledge - and booking in for things like product demos.

The third major difference is the lead pool size. B2B buyers usually have more defined and specific company requirements to meet and this shrinks the lead pool by millions. There’ll also always be more people than companies, which massively impacts how and where you find your target market.

Go-to-Market
Refresh yourself on all things Go-to-Market.

One of the objectives of a go-to-market strategy is to give sales representatives information about time parameters surrounding an upcoming release. But there’s much more that can be done to make their lives easier, with the creation of sales enablement assets critical to any product marketing strategy.

Action point #5 - Create a go-to-market strategy for your product.


Types of sales enablement resources

Sales assets come in different forms, but they can all generally be split into internal and external facing assets. Your internal assets include:

  • Battlecards
  • Product sheets
  • Sales scripts
  • Competitor comparisons

And your external assets include:

  • Case studies
  • Product demos
  • Blogs
  • Guides
  • Webinars
  • Whitepapers
  • Sales one-pagers

Action point #6 - Create appropriate sales enablement assets, and host internal training sessions to ensure your teams understand how your product works.


Why is it important to promote your product?

Before a prospect converts into a customer, they pass through the sales funnel, in which they:

  1. Become aware of your product,
  2. Take an interest in your product,
  3. Decide to invest in your product,
  4. Take action and complete the purchase.

If you a) use the right methods to promote your product, and b) communicate your product’s benefits in the right manner, not only will this make your buyer personas aware of what you have to offer, it’ll make them more likely to sit up, take notice and choose your product over a market alternative.


How to promote your product

Focus on lead generation

Firstly, you need to generate as many leads as possible for your product, and there are several ways you can do this:

Your lead generation strategies will be dictated by your budget and team resources in place at your company.

Create a content marketing plan

While the expression “Content is King” is one of the most overused cliches in the book, there’s no doubting the effectiveness of content creation in helping you enhance your brand loyalty and number of organic leads.

Whether it’s landing pages, video content, blogs, or podcasts like Product Marketing Life and Product Marketing Insider, good quality content compels audiences to take action and invest in products - and that’s only good news for you, your team, and your product.

How to acquire users through content marketing
When it comes to content marketing the possibilities are almost endless. If you’re not sure where to start here are 18 tactics you could use to start luring in new customers today.



Embrace social media marketing

Did you know there are 192 million users on Twitter, 740 million users on LinkedIn, 1 billion users on Instagram, and a whopping 85 billion users on Facebook?

All the more reason you need to use appropriate social media platforms to communicate with your target audience to attract more leads.

A social media competitive analysis is a key component to developing a successful social media strategy. Unsure what a social media competitive analysis is, or what constitutes best practices?

Check out our guide exploring the nuts and bolts of the area. 👇

How to conduct a social media competitive analysis
A social media competitive analysis is a key component to developing a successful social media strategy. In fact, it’s one of three elements that feed any strategy that I develop for clients. But what is a competitive analysis and how do you conduct one?

Action point #7 - Raise product awareness via the implementation of appropriate promotional methods.


How to measure product success

Product marketers sometimes fall into the trap of releasing a product to market and assuming the hard work has finished, when in fact, it’s only just begun.

You need to have OKRs in place that’ll enable you to measure product success after your product has been launched. This will help you gauge a clear understanding of what’s working well and in some cases, you may need to reposition your product, to align with your findings.

Which OKRs should a product marketer use?

In the 2021 State of Product Marketing Report, we explored which success metrics PMMs are being measured on.

Due to the nature of the product marketing profession, attributing efforts to specific performance and success metrics can be tricky; it’s hard to pinpoint product marketing’s contribution to revenue and the bottom line. That might explain why 15% of our participants don’t currently have any OKRs in place at all.

For those who do have some metrics to answer to, generating new revenue was the most common, with 50% of participants citing this as an OKR they’re measured against. Increasing marketing qualified leads (40%), increasing win rate (35%), customer retention (35%), up-selling customers (34%), and sales confidence (31%) were also popular.

Around a quarter of PMMs are also measured against cross-selling customers (24%), increasing website traffic (24%), active users (23%), and asset utilization (23%) respectively. This is another demonstration of how vastly diverse and multifaceted the role of the product marketer is.

Increasing win rate, up-selling customers, and boosting sales confidence were all higher up the priority list this year by a small margin while increasing sales qualified leads, cross-selling customers and increasing website traffic were all slightly lower down the ranks when compared to last year.

An intro to product marketing OKRs | Product Marketing Alliance
We love equipping product marketers with wicked resources to take them to the top of the tree - and beyond. But what’s the point of exhausting yourself and your team, if you don’t know how to track your success?

Alternative OKRs you can use to measure product success, also include:

  • Sales volume
  • Market penetration rate
  • Net promoter score
  • Return on investment

How to calculate market penetration rate

Market penetration rate = (Number of customers / Target market size) x 100

How to calculate return on investment

ROI = (Gain from investment – cost of investment) / cost of investment

Return on investment is a commonly used KPI, as it allows you to track revenue, understand the success of your sales strategy, and communicate them to key stakeholders within your organization.

How to calculate net promoter score

NPS = (% of promoters – % of detractors)

Net promoter score is essential because it allows you to measure customer loyalty and establish whether they’d be willing to recommend your product to another potential customer.

Action point #8 - Identify OKRs pertinent to your organization and use these metrics to conduct thorough research into product performance. Establish what went well, and put measures in place to address areas for improvement.


How to get customer and market feedback

With your product sitting pretty on the shelf, last but by no means least, you need to collect feedback from the people who matter the most: the customers.

Customer and market feedback gives product marketers the chance to gather invaluable insights from buyer personas.

The responses provided can give an insight into what worked well and what needs to be improved. This can often lead to the repositioning of the product, amendments to the messaging, or changes to the product itself.

When collecting customer feedback, it’s pivotal to utilize all resources and contact points available.

While phone or face-to-face interviews are the preferred means of collecting customer feedback, this can be difficult to facilitate sometimes. However, there are alternative options out there, like:

  • Internal data - Communicate with your sales and customer success teams, to ensure their data is being used to its fullest potential.
  • Surveys - Whether it’s in-app or over email, sending out surveys in standalone communications, or engrained into your email footer, for example, is a fairly low-resource route to topping up your feedback pot.
  • Social media - With billions of people registered, the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are a great way to generate feedback from your target market.

User-friendly tools such as poll options present product marketers with the opportunity for customers to offer their opinions in an engaging, interactive way.

  • Email - Email contact forms are a simple, yet highly effective way to generate feedback from your customers, and there are proactive steps that can be introduced to improve response rates.

For instance, set expectations amongst the recipients of the correspondence, and let them know when you’ll be back in touch. A range of specialist tools is also available, to ensure that minute details are captured.

  • Customer interviews - Going direct to the source and interviewing your customers is an effective way to gain useful customer insights. Interviews give customers the chance to candidly express their opinions, and this qualitative data can add further detail to quantitative findings that may have materialized.
  • Online tools - Analytical tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar offer statistical insights into the performance of a product or service. Plugins such as website heat maps indicate which areas of a website are being attracted to most, while statistics such as bounce rate reveals whether the content is engaging or not.

Action point #9 - Gather product feedback from customers. Keep an eye out for trends where your product could be improved.


Product marketing strategy action points

Action point #1 - Complete market research, competitive intelligence, and a SWOT analysis to fully understand where your product stands in the marketplace.

Action point #2 - Establish who your personas are (buyer and user) to ensure your product meets their requirements and solves their pain points.

Action point #3 - Complete your positioning statement and product message to effectively position your product and clearly communicate to prospective buyers what makes your product different from market alternatives.

Action point #4 - Introduce a pricing strategy that's suitable for your target audience.

Action point #5 - Create a go-to-market strategy for your product.

Action point #6 - Create appropriate sales enablement assets, and host internal training sessions to ensure your teams understand how your product works.

Action point #7 - Raise product awareness via the implementation of appropriate promotional methods.

Action point #8 - Identify OKRs pertinent to your organization and use these metrics to conduct thorough research into product performance. Establish what went well, and put measures in place to address areas for improvement.

Action point #9 - Gather product feedback from customers. Keep an eye out for trends where your product could be improved.


What’s the most important part of a product marketing strategy?

A product marketing strategy is like a jigsaw puzzle: every piece is needed to complete the whole picture - if your messaging doesn’t resonate, your relationship with your customer will suffer, if you don’t have a stellar product, people won’t buy it, and so on.

Here’s what some of the PMMs in our community had to say:

“Each stage is critical and they work together. Each is so different. However, if I have to go with one, I would say product/platform/solution because without something that solves a problem you have nothing. But you need to know your audience to have any idea of the product or even have a chance.”

Martin Bakal, Product Marketing Director and Evangelist at OpenLegacy

“I’d say internal teams because being able to effectively speak and understand with colleagues makes your product marketing strategy relevant and effective.“Then, I’d be inclined to say customer intelligence; knowing how to collect and use it is another founding pillar of any strategy.”

Silvia Kiely Frucci, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Castor

“I’d have to say the audience, AKA the customer - they’re at the center of everything.”

Lauren Culbertson, Co-Founder and CEO at LoopVOC

“I’d go with messaging. Product marketing needs to build the story/ narrative/message that ties together the product and the audience that’s then used by internal and external teams for promotion.”

Jeff Boehm, Chief Marketing Officer at Formlabs


How to improve a product marketing strategy

Product marketing strategy sits at the heart of any sales efforts worth its salt, and you need to understand the nooks and crannies of every element that’s involved in the process to improve the overall quality of the strategy itself.

Product Marketing Core is PMA’s official certification program, honing in on the ingredients for a successful product marketing strategy.

We continue to wow product marketers worldwide, with the course vetted, tested and, approved by senior-level PMMs from companies like Salesforce, HubSpot, Google, Facebook, and more, so you can be sure you’re getting the real deal.

Get certified, refine your understanding of key PMM principles, and build a product marketing strategy befitting your expectations.