What Is Product Marketing? (Definition, Duties and Phases)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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Businesses often rely on marketing to advertise products to target audiences and generate higher sales. Product marketing is a technique that helps companies develop and launch products that can succeed long term. Learning about the product marketing process can help you create more refined products that appeal to consumers. 

In this article, we explore what product marketing is, what product marketers do, why product marketing is important and the phases that can make product marketing effective.



What is product marketing?


Product marketing is the process that companies use to develop a product and bring it to the market. It also focuses on monitoring metrics after the launch to ensure the product and messaging are successful. Marketing professionals examine consumer needs, help develop the product based on those needs and create the message to advertise the product.

Related: Product Manager vs. Product Marketing Manager: What's the Difference?


What does a product marketer do?

Product marketing managers are often the link between several departments in a company. They may share responsibilities with development and engineering departments by using their market knowledge to help design products. They may also work with sales departments to gain customers and ensure that their product reaches their intended audience.

Product marketing managers have different tasks before and after a product launch, including:

Tasks before product launch

Product marketing managers are usually responsible for using their knowledge to influence product development. Here are some tasks a product marketing manager may have before they launch their product:

  • Positioning products: Positioning is the process of defining a product's place in the market relative to its competitors. Defining a product's position can help marketers communicate a product's value to customers and help them develop messaging.


  • Developing messaging: Product marketing managers often help develop messaging, which is a strategy that determines how the company presents itself and its product.


  • Leading customer development: Customer development is the process of identifying potential customers and discovering ways to meet their demands. Product marketing managers often take a lead role in this process.


  • Creating a marketing strategy: Product marketing managers often help develop a marketing strategy, which is a plan for reaching customers and gaining new ones. A marketing strategy often combines positioning, marketing, customer research and development.

Related: 20 Effective Ways To Market a Product


Tasks after product launch

After a company launches its product, product development managers are often responsible for taking it to the market and ensuring its success. These are some tasks a product development manager may have after a product launch:

  • Enabling sales: The product marketing manager may work with the sales department to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to sell products effectively.


  • Driving demand and adoption: Product marketing managers often use tools such as email campaigns and social media to increase demand for their products.


  • Ensuring long-term product success: Customer feedback can help product marketers continually improve their products and ensure that they keep long-term customers.


  • Gathering results: Marketing managers review sales metrics and other data to determine which parts of the campaign could work for future processes.

Related: Common Interview Questions for Product Marketing Managers


Why is product marketing important?

Product marketing is important because it helps create products that appeal to a target audience. To accomplish this, companies can engage in more direct and frequent communication with their customer bases. This can help companies identify markets for their products and ensure these products match customer demand. Product marketing can also help ensure long-term success for products, identify demand for new products and enable sales, marketing and development departments to operate more effectively together.

Related: How To Launch a Product Marketing Campaign


Product marketing phases

Companies often use a product marketing strategy in phases when launching a new product. This helps ensure the product arrives in a prepared environment for customers. Here are the phases that many product marketing managers use to develop, launch and market their products:


Customer research

When bringing new products to the market, many product marketing managers begin by looking for demand in the market. Often, the next step is to identify the individuals who pose this demand. This process ensures when the product launches, it already has a potential customer base.

Read more: What Is Customer Research? (Plus Why It's Important)


Product research

After the product marketing team defines its target customers, it can begin developing a product that matches their demand. During this stage, product marketers help developers and designers test the product for safety and effectiveness. They may also test the product with the public to ensure that it responds to what customers want.

Related: How To Do Product Research (With Tips for Success)


Product positioning and story

In this stage, product marketers develop their plan for bringing the product to the market. They typically write a background story or a narrative that communicates their messaging to the customer. This story often answers the following questions:

  • What problem does the product address?

  • Who does the product help?

  • How does the product work?

  • What makes the product better than its competitors?

Read more: What Is Product Positioning? Types and Examples


Launch planning

After developing the product's story, the product marketing team can plan the other elements of the product launch. This can include social media and advertising campaigns, special events and product distribution. They may also develop a plan to help sales, marketing and support divisions facilitate the product launch.

Related: How To Create a Launch Plan Template (With Example and Tips)


Launch coordination

When the launch plans are ready, it's important that the product marketers share them with other departments in the company. They might have a meeting to ensure that everyone in the company is familiar with the product and the launch plan. It’s also important for product marketers to share the message and positioning of the new product so that other employees can follow the steps for product launch and answer customer questions.

Related: What Is a Product Launch? A Definitive Guide


Launch

The launch is the culmination of all the planning. During the launch, companies can begin communicating with influencers, business partners and customers to increase their reach and monitor their success. A successful launch can help a product achieve long-term success in the market and open new product opportunities for the company in the future.

Related: 22-Step Product Launch Checklist (Includes Bonus Tips)


Sales enablement

After the product enters the market, the product marketing team's job is to ensure that its success continues. Many companies do this by closely monitoring customer feedback and product metrics. This can allow the company to improve its product or messaging if needed. Product marketers may also continue to meet with sales, marketing and development teams to improve strategies.

Related: What Is Sales Enablement? (Plus Benefits)


Product marketing vs. regular marketing

Regular marketing, or traditional marketing, is the process of developing plans and methods for selling a good, service or brand. Product marketing is one of the many types of marketing. Both traditional marketing and product marketing involve researching the market, identifying target audiences and developing marketing campaigns, but product marketing focuses specifically on launching a product into the market and analyzing the success of the launch.


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