Generally, what Product Marketing is responsible for is:

  1. Understanding your users and their needs. A good PMM not only pays attention to the data that comes from your existing users but looks at all users in the market broadly and attempts to understand their needs, habits, and usage patterns. This means they’ll work with market research agencies like YouGov or use tools like SurveyMonkey to run research and polls to better understand the consumers that you have and those you don’t have (these can be either quantitative research polls or quantitative research panels or focus groups). These insights can then be used to improve your product, add/remove features and fine-tune your messaging.

  2. Knowing your competitors inside and out. Your PMM should not only know who your competitors are but should know which consumers they are targeting, how they are positioning their product compared to yours, what their unique selling points are (USP’s) and what type of advertising/marketing strategies they are using to effectively acquire and retain users. More importantly, they need to stay on top of these trends and inform your product team as these trends change.

  3. Knowing your market inside and out. It’s one thing to know your product and your competitors but what about the broader market? Ideally, your PMM should also be working with your legal and/or government relations team (GR) to understand what other changes are impacting your market. What type of state or federal regulation could affect your product, are there environmental concerns to worry about, are there indirect competitors who could enter your market and grab market share?

  4. Developing your product name. Product naming is a science. Doing this well could be the difference between the success or failure of your product. To give you an idea, back in the day Exxon paid a brand marketing agency $100 million to develop the name “Exxon”. That’s how important it was to them. I’m not saying you go out and pay an agency to do this (although if you’re large and well-financed enough it’s not a bad idea) but what I’m saying is give this task to the people in your company that are the closest to actually understanding your customers and are the most creative. Product marketing should lead this exercise and involve the product, designers, and other creative people as part of the process. Coming up with a name sounds simple but it’s not. There are things to consider such as the gender, ethnicity, level of education of your audience; the shape, height, weight or colour of your product and then whether you want to prioritize distinctiveness, memorability or emotion as part of your product name. Most importantly, don’t ask your PMM to come up with a name two weeks before launch.

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