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Marketing Topics

Product Marketing Channel Marketing
Metrics Marketing Rhythm
Corporate Marketing  

 

Product Marketing

Product Marketing works hand-in-hand with product management to move product into customers hands efficiently. A simple way to define the difference between the two areas is one looks at all the outward bound business issues related to getting a product to market, and the other looks at all the inward bound issues related to creating it. In fact, it's not uncommon at all to combine these roles under Marketing (or standalone) when first starting out (or even in Development, but this tends to work out poorly in the long term).

The product marketing role is measured by much more than lead generation, it is often measured on achievements such as gross revenue goals, sales volume, market recognition (including analyst coverage, etc) -- an indication the product is hitting its intended market. We'll start by looking at the basic activities of product marketing, how it works together with product management and examine some of the possible measures that can be used to establish whether a product is on track to hit key business goals More

Metrics

"You can't manage what you don't know" -- a commonly heard adage that speaks to the heart of marketing effectiveness.  How many times do you see advertisements that bear no resemblance to how you would choose a product?  Establishing metrics for overall marketing performance is a key deliverable of a marketing leader.  Metrics can have a surprisingly large impact on the overall results of the Company as well.  Effective metrics, ones that the team would take action on based on how they change, are difficult to come up with (there are some basic ones though).  A common mistake is to analyze marketing effectiveness to death -- generating all kinds of metrics, analysis and reports that largely show there is business activity, but not necessarily any value coming from it. We'll look at some of the basic metrics to put in place, but more importantly ones that drive what you might want to do as the metric or measure changes over time. More

Corporate Marketing

Getting the message out about who you are and what you do is very important to an early stage company (true at all stages actually). Marketing the Company effectively requires a clear CEO-led strategy, you want to wind up where you say you will as the years go by. Marketing a product is generally considered easier as messaging is often rooted on lead features and benefits. Marketing the Company strategy is not so easy -- the audience shifts towards analysts, strategic partners, investors, etc -- harder to reach for the most part. Further complications arise when your first product does not really yet embody the strategy, yet it is successful in the market, so the market thinks this is the type of company you are. It's challenging for sure.

It's important to understand whether the Company and its lead product are one in the same -- confusing the two can create issues down stream when you try to expand the product line. If the market knows you for your product but the Company name is the brand it recognizes, you may be heading towards being a one-trick pony. If the product brand outshines the Company brand, you may want to consider changing company names. Assuming marketing is effective, the risk issues largely occur when the business is young, once the product line expands, the product brand and Company as a brand tend to take a life of its own.

If we use my former company PlateSpin as an example, the Company brand was much more recognizable than any one of its products. Furthermore, the Company name was not reflective of any one product or product capability but rather the overall strategy of the business (e.g. the challenge of IT management was related to the challenge of spinning plates in the circus -- always bouncing back and forth between many tasks to keep the operation going). There was no brand confusion so corporate marketing could operate without fear of compromising any marketing going on at the product level. More

Channel Marketing

Not all companies use sales channels (indirect sales models) to distribute products. If yours does, Marketing plays a key role in developing programs that target channel partners. Channel partners are not like end customers so marketing programs are oriented differently. Marketing is concerned with channel partner recruitment, implementing partner support programs including sales training, infrastructure for operational support programs such as deal registration, pricing, ordering, and more.

If channel distribution is the main path to market for your products, you may also have a channel sales team. Marketing and channel sales would be working closely to shape the programs needed to achieve the level of success required.

This section explores a variety of channel marketing programs designed to help implement a global indirect sales model. If done without marketing involvement (e.g. by channel sales alone), the effectiveness of what can be achieved is less. More

Marketing Rhythm

There is a delicate balance between being heard a lot and being heard but a little. Too much can turn off your audience, tire them of your message. Too little may play into more aggressive marketing from a competitor, owning the ear of your customer. One thing is for sure, you need to plan the rhythm of your communication - and stick to it. You need to make sure there is depth in your messaging, or you waste whatever eye ball/ear time of your audience that you do get.

A rhythm example might be monthly press releases -- alternating between product news, customer news and corporate news. Be honest with yourself as to whether you can keep the desired rhythm -- don't manufacture news just to keep the rhythm going -- instead, press your team to generate the required news so you have something to say. The CEO can offer the team incentives to achieve newsworthy milestones so you do have something to say More

 

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