It’s fair to say that 15 minutes of fame has proved somewhat elusive for product marketers.
Securing a spot at the top table is often deemed a mere pipe-dream, and frankly, we want to see more C-Suiters buck the trend and start dishing out some much-deserved credit - and we’re already heading in the right direction.
With senior figures changing their views more than the weather, it’s no mean feat for product marketers to establish themselves as key figures, despite the evident value of their input.
All the more reason to grab the bull by the horns, make a positive impact within the first 30 days and leave an initial impression that’ll be impossible to sweep under the carpet.
Ready to put your best foot forward and kick ass?
Good. Let’s get the ball rolling.
Don’t be a stranger
Remember that inspirational introvert, who wouldn’t say boo to a goose and kept themselves to themselves?
Didn’t think so.
Communication is at the center of success, and without it, a whole team can tumble like a house of cards. Ultimately, how can you expect to make an impact and make your impression felt if people don’t know who you are, and what you bring to the table?
So, with that in mind, any product marketer must become accustomed to their team. You need to know who every person is, and what they do. You can’t maximize the potential if you aren’t familiar with the roles of those around you.
Build trust and establish expectations
Take the time to introduce yourself to your colleagues, break the ice, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about what they do. Be open to questions about how you can help them, and explain the ways you'll be working together. Remember, product marketing varies from company to company, so set expectations early and be clear about what you do, where you add value, and also bust some myths about what you don't necessarily do..
Familiarity breeds trust, and with trust, comes success.
Study the game plan
Every company has an end goal in sight: McDonald’s wants to sell fast food, Nike wants to sell clothing to sports enthusiasts, and so on. Irrespective of what your company’s goal is, if you don’t understand it, you ain’t gonna tear up trees!
While you can speak with senior management about vision, reach out to other departments and staff members to make sure there’s a consensus and shared goals. If people are pulling in different directions, your job, and that of other people, it will be a lot harder.
There are sometimes times when there may be inconsistencies, and the PMM department can play a pivotal role in setting the record straight, via the implementation of key messaging, positioning, and communication of the company values that may have initially been lost in translation.
Keep an eye on the competition
Competitive edge is the fuel that ignites a company’s fire; without rivals, we’d have no drive, no impetus to improve and slip into bad habits.
Every company has rivalries, and this is a good thing. Let’s face it, many would agree that business isn’t about making friends, it’s about making money, hence identifying rivals to your crown is paramount.
Competitive analysis is valuable in gaining an understanding of the market landscape. For example, if Adidas released a pair of $100 running shoes, Nike would be pretty foolish to launch a pair for $200, right? So, keep yourself in the loop, and don’t commit silly (expensive) mistakes that could easily have been avoided with a bit of research.
That said, don’t let the exploits of your competitors overshadow the needs of your target market. Once you ignore the customer, you’ve dug your own grave.
Know your target audience
We’ve no doubt you’ve heard this before, so apologies in advance! However, every product marketer must know their target audience and target market.
If the building blocks are in place when you arrive, awesome, if not you can orchestrate research into key buyers and personas and take the applause - it’s a win/win.
Identify when the company’s existing personas were established, and if these are out-dated, it’s essential to update them; the market is constantly changing, and targeting the wrong people is a recipe for disaster.
Invest time and effort in getting this spot on, to form a crystal-clear image of who your audience truly is, rather than guessing who they might be. Use social media channels, forums, research groups, etc. to push your product to the masses.
Esther Lozano, Southern Europe Sales & Marketing Director at Santa Fe Relocation, further highlighted the importance of a product marketer gaining an understanding of their audience during the preliminary stages at a new company:
“In the first 30 days as a product marketer, you'll want to understand and get to know your audience. Define what their ‘problem’ is, and how your product provides a solution for that.
“Set up tracking for your current users. You not only need to understand the general audience you're targeting but also how are your current users interacting with your product. Also, establish when your users adopted your product and set up tracking across the funnel. This will help you understand where any drop-offs are occurring, and what’s the most successful.”
Familiarize yourself with the product(s)
How can you form a product marketing strategy, for a product you have no idea about?
Yep, there’s only one answer here, and we’re sure we don’t need to tell you what it is.
We can’t stress the importance of learning the intricacies of the product or service your company is offering. Ask yourself the key questions: What does it do? How is it different? Why do your customers need it?
As always, put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and share their journey. If you reach a point when you’re frustrated, trust us, the likelihood is they’ll be tearing their hair out, as well. So, don’t bury your head and pretend it isn’t there. Meet it head-on and fix it. Make it the best it can be for the best results possible.
Always plan your content
Don’t fall into the trap of publishing content, for content's sake. Not only is it a waste of time and effort, but sloppy execution will cost you money.
Instead, make a concerted effort to put together a thorough content plan, geared to guiding your prospects through the sales funnel and converting them into bonafide customers.
When posting social content, be sure to research which day and what time your audience is most active to gain maximum interactions. Similarly, when posting blogs and articles, check out community pages, and make sure you’re focusing on trending issues within your community that complement your product.
And, of course, don’t forget about your sales enablement assets either. If your reps are working off old battlecards, sales scripts or comparison charts, or worse, don’t have any at all, take them under your wing and use all that research you’ve done to set them up for success and show what a powerful resource you can be to them.
So, to recap, here’s what you wanna be doing in those first 30 days to really make your mark:
✅ Build relationships with key stakeholders
✅ Understand your org’s objectives
✅ Familiarize yourself with the competition
✅ Get under the skin of your target market
✅ Acquire subject matter expertise on your product(s)
✅ Put a strategic content plan in place.