March 15, 2022

A short guide to product marketing for startups

A short guide to product marketing for startups
Table of contents

Product marketing lies in the intersection between what you have to offer and the needs of your audience. 

Even if there’s one or multiple problems that you solve, these can be looked at from different angles. Meaning, it’s the responsibility of the product marketer to align these perspectives into a single clear narrative for people to understand. As a result, effective product marketing will  increases product awareness and demand. 

In this guide, we’ll go through what product marketing is, what the process looks like, and how a product marketer can help you scale.

Product marketing strategist

What is a product marketing strategy? 

A product marketing strategy details how you’re going to enter the market with your product and promote it to your target audience. This includes how you’ll position it to fit the customer journey as well as how you’re going to communicate its features and benefits.

For businesses of all sizes from startups all the way to enterprise organisations, it’s a core element of success because it helps you drive demand, growth, and revenue. 

However, there are different aspects to take into account such as its:

  • Positioning
  • Development
  • Launch
  • Promotion

With a roadmap that outlines each of these, there’s more clarity in bringing your product to life and visualising what you’re working towards.

8 Steps to develop a product marketing strategy

Product marketing lies in the intersection between what you have to offer and the needs of your audience. 

Even if there’s one or multiple problems that you solve, these can be looked at from different angles. Meaning, it’s the responsibility of the product team to align these perspectives for people to understand how it works. As a result, it's what increases product awareness and demand. 

With that in mind, we’ll go through the 8 steps of developing a strategy that makes an impact on the marketplace. 

1. Conduct customer research 

The first step is to identify the audience you’re going to target. In other words, the group of people that the product is made for. 

But the question is, how do you know who those people are? 

To find this information, create a buyer persona based on what your typical customer would look like. This points out details about their background such as:

  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Motivations
  • Likes and dislikes

Starting from here, you can focus on marketing to one buyer persona at a time. Otherwise without knowing who your customers are, it’s difficult to communicate your values to them in a way they can resonate with. 

However, there are also places where you can find this information aside from writing out a rough idea. The more accurate the data is, the more likely your strategy will be effective and could lead to better performance. 

Here are a few places to do your research and ways to find the relevant details about your target market:

  • Review sites, e.g. Trustpilot
  • Facebook groups
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • Interview existing customers
  • User surveys

2. Conduct a market analysis 

The product marketing manager or strategist will conduct a market analysis. This is where you assess the current marketplace to get an understanding of how the product fits within that context. 

For example:

  • Competitive research
  • Reviewing industry trends
  • Identifying market segments
  • Product comparisons

To put it another way, you’re looking for gaps that you could leverage based on what you have to offer. This helps with determining how you’re going to shape your message and to see what drives a successful product marketing strategy in your target market.

3. Determine your unique value proposition

The unique value proposition (UVP) states how customers benefit from using your product. This should express what makes yourself different from your competitors and what consumers stand to gain. 

There are multiple selling points you could talk about. But, the main value proposition is what makes you stand out and establishes why you’re the best option in the marketplace. 

Once you understand what the emotional benefits of your product are, it’s your job as product marketers to present that in a message your audience connects with. This is also where the storytelling aspect comes into play since you’ll need to summarise the product experience into a concise, impactful narrative. 

To get a better idea, we’ll look at one value proposition example below.

Product marketing strategist

Wagestream is a London-based fintech startup company. 

They help businesses build a more engaged workplace by enabling frontline workers and employees to get instant access to their wages. 

As you can see from the positioning statement on their website, they’ve centred their product messaging around the benefit of financial wellbeing management. They’ve also reinforced it by stating that they’re proven by data and supported by charities, which adds more credibility to the service at first glance.

4. Set goals and objectives 

Setting goals is a fundamental aspect for any strategy to be successful. 

That being said, this outlines what you’re working towards and how you’re going to achieve them. Having targets written down also enables you to monitor your progress and make adjustments where necessary. 

But, each objective needs to be directly related to your product. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Increase monthly sales by 20%
  • Increase organic traffic by 30% per month
  • 50 new leads per month
  • Expand market share by 10%

5. Choose a pricing strategy

There are different pricing strategies to choose from such as:

  • Bundle pricing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Monthly subscription
  • Penetration pricing
  • Value-based pricing

The best option depends on what you’re offering and the customer’s needs. 

For instance, a software as a service (SaaS) company might use a subscription-based pricing model. This is because it’s continuously being updated to enhance the user experience along with new features being developed on a regular basis. Or, they could include an option to price it as a high-ticket service for a one-time fee. 

Before making a decision, it’s crucial to communicate with key executives alongside the sales and marketing team.

Here’s an example from another tech startup company based in London.

Hopin is an event management platform that helps businesses host virtual meetings where people can interact with one another as if they were there in person. 

Since it’s a SaaS company, it’s common to use a subscription pricing model. 

From the example above, you’ll notice a range of options for users to choose from depending on their needs. They also have an annual subscription offer with a discount to make the offer more enticing. This leads to having clients that they can retain for the long-term.

6. Product launch 

The product launch phase is where you bring the product to the marketplace and make it live. At this point, people can buy from you and see what you have to offer.

The main purpose of this stage of the process is to raise product awareness. This means everyone involved in the organisation both internally and externally knows of its existence.

As you continue to work on product growth, it’s important to coordinate with the sales and marketing department to find any key insights. For example:

  • How are people behaving on your website?
  • How are they using your product?
  • Who are the types of customers you’re attracting the most?
  • Are there any trends from all the customer feedback you receive?

After gathering the data and doing extensive research, update your buyer persona to enhance the lead generation system.

From there, this helps with making an informed decision when shifting your focus or positioning.

7. Product promotion 

Once your product is live, the next task is to market to your consumers effectively and get more eyeballs on your service. Without reaching your group of target audiences, it’s difficult to build a pipeline of marketing qualified leads (MQL) and get new customers. 

By promoting consistently with a strong brand message, you create opportunities while building a reputation. 

Here are a few examples of product promotion strategies to use:

  • Host a product launch event
  • Offer previews
  • Post on social media platforms such as LinkedIn
  • Answer questions in Facebook groups
  • Send a weekly newsletter via email

8. Measure the impact of your strategy 

Lastly, measure the success of your campaign and track the impact you’re making by monitoring KPIs such as:

  • Customer engagement
  • User signups
  • Product usage

Using this information, see what areas of the product are performing well and the areas that could be improved. For instance, how can you pivot the product messaging to appeal to your target customer and build customer loyalty?

One of the most effective ways to improve the performance of your campaigns is to listen to customer feedback and to genuinely want to help your audience.

In other words, give them the most value they can find.

The skills and qualities of a product marketing manager

All product marketers alike will be equipped with each of the points listed. But, one of your priorities is to find an opening to reach your potential customers.

In-depth research 

You’ll need to know how to do thorough research into your customer and product. This includes finding data on the following: 

  • Industry trends
  • Customer experience
  • Consumer interests

More importantly, the next step is understanding how to read the patterns and how to use the information to make your next move.  Each of the details found is used to create another buyer persona, outline the strengths and weaknesses, or find opportunities within your target market.

Analytical skills

After conducting in-depth research the product strategist uses the data to analyse what each trend or figure means. Based on those insights, they can use it to find solutions and creative ways around each roadblock that comes along the way. 

Since they also have the ability to think critically, it makes them good problem-solvers. 


To find the relevant data, they’re capable of using online tools such as Amplitude.

Strategic planning and execution

Strategic planning relates to setting measurable goals and objectives. 

Aside from establishing these targets, it’s equally important to know how to execute the plan to achieve the desired results. This is vital especially during the product development stage to ensure you’re making progress towards growing the business.

Copywriting

Understanding the product is one thing. Communicating how it works in a simple non-technical way that sells is another. 

Good copy means translating the product values and features into a concise, compelling message that resonates with your specific audience. Not only should they understand how it works. But, they should also feel the need to want to buy into your solution. 

This is also where having skills in empathy comes in.

With a skilled product marketing manager or strategist, they know how to build an emotional connection and how to select their words carefully to drive an impact.

Communication

As product marketers, it’s your responsibility to define each value proposition and selling point. 

However, on top of that communication skills are required since you’ll need to present your findings to different departments within the organisation. For example:

  • Key stakeholders
  • Marketing team
  • Sales team
  • Support team
  • Technical team

Experienced marketers 

Product strategists are experienced marketers who have adept knowledge of basic business functions and the sales funnel. Therefore, delivering results and promoting products to your customers successfully is something they would be familiar with. 

When it comes to marketing as a whole, they’re experienced in different aspects such as:

  • Branding
  • Content marketing
  • Demand generation
  • Lead generation 
  • Project management
  • SMM (social media marketing)

How startup companies can use this to achieve product-market fit

Before we wrap things up, we’ll go through 2 ways you can use the steps in this article to identify a product-market fit. Or alternatively, how you can use the expertise of product marketers to reach your target audience and achieve a product-market fit.

With effective campaign management and strategic positioning, you'll be on your way to carving your spot in the industry.

Target a specific audience

As you continue to implement your product marketing strategy, narrow down to a specific niche before expanding into other segments of the market. 

Once you achieve success with certain audiences, it gives insight into the other future consumers you could potentially target. If the demand continues to grow or there’s a growing trend within a particular area, it’s one indicator of a product-market fit. 

Monitor product success metrics

Keep an eye on the key metrics such as:

  • Active user ratio
  • Monthly revenue
  • Customer churns 
  • Lifetime value 
  • Retention rates

Each of these provides you with quantitative data, so it can be used to influence decision-making. Which helps with understanding more about your current and potential target audience.

However, it depends on the goals and objectives that have been set when it comes to the question of which to prioritise. Once you see an unusual or recurring pattern with the data shown, you can use this to further develop your product roadmap to continue the growth of your startup company.

Need a product marketing strategist? Here’s how to find a specialist within 72 hours

A skilled product strategist that truly understands your target customers and values isn’t always easy to come by. 

But it doesn’t have to be difficult finding them – at least, not with Passionfruit. 

With a marketplace surrounded by the best marketing specialists, they’ll match you with the person that’s capable of meeting your most complex needs. Each of them has a proven track record with strong flexibility to fit in with your schedule.


All you have to do is sign up for free right here.

Conclusion 

Unlike traditional marketing, a product marketing strategy dives deeper into the values of your solution.

One of the most important factors to take into consideration for your company's success is how customers interact with your product and if you’re meeting their needs.  Therefore, customer satisfaction and user experience come first. This takes priority in order to develop an effective marketing strategy.

After implementing each of the steps in this guide, you’ll be equipped with the foundation you need to reach product marketing success.

Astley Cervania is a freelance writer and content marketer. He works with HR Tech and B2B SaaS companies to scale user growth. You can find him online via his website or LinkedIn.

Written by
Professor Passionfruit Illustration
Table of Contents

Product marketing lies in the intersection between what you have to offer and the needs of your audience. 

Even if there’s one or multiple problems that you solve, these can be looked at from different angles. Meaning, it’s the responsibility of the product marketer to align these perspectives into a single clear narrative for people to understand. As a result, effective product marketing will  increases product awareness and demand. 

In this guide, we’ll go through what product marketing is, what the process looks like, and how a product marketer can help you scale.

Product marketing strategist

What is a product marketing strategy? 

A product marketing strategy details how you’re going to enter the market with your product and promote it to your target audience. This includes how you’ll position it to fit the customer journey as well as how you’re going to communicate its features and benefits.

For businesses of all sizes from startups all the way to enterprise organisations, it’s a core element of success because it helps you drive demand, growth, and revenue. 

However, there are different aspects to take into account such as its:

  • Positioning
  • Development
  • Launch
  • Promotion

With a roadmap that outlines each of these, there’s more clarity in bringing your product to life and visualising what you’re working towards.

8 Steps to develop a product marketing strategy

Product marketing lies in the intersection between what you have to offer and the needs of your audience. 

Even if there’s one or multiple problems that you solve, these can be looked at from different angles. Meaning, it’s the responsibility of the product team to align these perspectives for people to understand how it works. As a result, it's what increases product awareness and demand. 

With that in mind, we’ll go through the 8 steps of developing a strategy that makes an impact on the marketplace. 

1. Conduct customer research 

The first step is to identify the audience you’re going to target. In other words, the group of people that the product is made for. 

But the question is, how do you know who those people are? 

To find this information, create a buyer persona based on what your typical customer would look like. This points out details about their background such as:

  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Motivations
  • Likes and dislikes

Starting from here, you can focus on marketing to one buyer persona at a time. Otherwise without knowing who your customers are, it’s difficult to communicate your values to them in a way they can resonate with. 

However, there are also places where you can find this information aside from writing out a rough idea. The more accurate the data is, the more likely your strategy will be effective and could lead to better performance. 

Here are a few places to do your research and ways to find the relevant details about your target market:

  • Review sites, e.g. Trustpilot
  • Facebook groups
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • Interview existing customers
  • User surveys

2. Conduct a market analysis 

The product marketing manager or strategist will conduct a market analysis. This is where you assess the current marketplace to get an understanding of how the product fits within that context. 

For example:

  • Competitive research
  • Reviewing industry trends
  • Identifying market segments
  • Product comparisons

To put it another way, you’re looking for gaps that you could leverage based on what you have to offer. This helps with determining how you’re going to shape your message and to see what drives a successful product marketing strategy in your target market.

3. Determine your unique value proposition

The unique value proposition (UVP) states how customers benefit from using your product. This should express what makes yourself different from your competitors and what consumers stand to gain. 

There are multiple selling points you could talk about. But, the main value proposition is what makes you stand out and establishes why you’re the best option in the marketplace. 

Once you understand what the emotional benefits of your product are, it’s your job as product marketers to present that in a message your audience connects with. This is also where the storytelling aspect comes into play since you’ll need to summarise the product experience into a concise, impactful narrative. 

To get a better idea, we’ll look at one value proposition example below.

Product marketing strategist

Wagestream is a London-based fintech startup company. 

They help businesses build a more engaged workplace by enabling frontline workers and employees to get instant access to their wages. 

As you can see from the positioning statement on their website, they’ve centred their product messaging around the benefit of financial wellbeing management. They’ve also reinforced it by stating that they’re proven by data and supported by charities, which adds more credibility to the service at first glance.

4. Set goals and objectives 

Setting goals is a fundamental aspect for any strategy to be successful. 

That being said, this outlines what you’re working towards and how you’re going to achieve them. Having targets written down also enables you to monitor your progress and make adjustments where necessary. 

But, each objective needs to be directly related to your product. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Increase monthly sales by 20%
  • Increase organic traffic by 30% per month
  • 50 new leads per month
  • Expand market share by 10%

5. Choose a pricing strategy

There are different pricing strategies to choose from such as:

  • Bundle pricing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Monthly subscription
  • Penetration pricing
  • Value-based pricing

The best option depends on what you’re offering and the customer’s needs. 

For instance, a software as a service (SaaS) company might use a subscription-based pricing model. This is because it’s continuously being updated to enhance the user experience along with new features being developed on a regular basis. Or, they could include an option to price it as a high-ticket service for a one-time fee. 

Before making a decision, it’s crucial to communicate with key executives alongside the sales and marketing team.

Here’s an example from another tech startup company based in London.

Hopin is an event management platform that helps businesses host virtual meetings where people can interact with one another as if they were there in person. 

Since it’s a SaaS company, it’s common to use a subscription pricing model. 

From the example above, you’ll notice a range of options for users to choose from depending on their needs. They also have an annual subscription offer with a discount to make the offer more enticing. This leads to having clients that they can retain for the long-term.

6. Product launch 

The product launch phase is where you bring the product to the marketplace and make it live. At this point, people can buy from you and see what you have to offer.

The main purpose of this stage of the process is to raise product awareness. This means everyone involved in the organisation both internally and externally knows of its existence.

As you continue to work on product growth, it’s important to coordinate with the sales and marketing department to find any key insights. For example:

  • How are people behaving on your website?
  • How are they using your product?
  • Who are the types of customers you’re attracting the most?
  • Are there any trends from all the customer feedback you receive?

After gathering the data and doing extensive research, update your buyer persona to enhance the lead generation system.

From there, this helps with making an informed decision when shifting your focus or positioning.

7. Product promotion 

Once your product is live, the next task is to market to your consumers effectively and get more eyeballs on your service. Without reaching your group of target audiences, it’s difficult to build a pipeline of marketing qualified leads (MQL) and get new customers. 

By promoting consistently with a strong brand message, you create opportunities while building a reputation. 

Here are a few examples of product promotion strategies to use:

  • Host a product launch event
  • Offer previews
  • Post on social media platforms such as LinkedIn
  • Answer questions in Facebook groups
  • Send a weekly newsletter via email

8. Measure the impact of your strategy 

Lastly, measure the success of your campaign and track the impact you’re making by monitoring KPIs such as:

  • Customer engagement
  • User signups
  • Product usage

Using this information, see what areas of the product are performing well and the areas that could be improved. For instance, how can you pivot the product messaging to appeal to your target customer and build customer loyalty?

One of the most effective ways to improve the performance of your campaigns is to listen to customer feedback and to genuinely want to help your audience.

In other words, give them the most value they can find.

The skills and qualities of a product marketing manager

All product marketers alike will be equipped with each of the points listed. But, one of your priorities is to find an opening to reach your potential customers.

In-depth research 

You’ll need to know how to do thorough research into your customer and product. This includes finding data on the following: 

  • Industry trends
  • Customer experience
  • Consumer interests

More importantly, the next step is understanding how to read the patterns and how to use the information to make your next move.  Each of the details found is used to create another buyer persona, outline the strengths and weaknesses, or find opportunities within your target market.

Analytical skills

After conducting in-depth research the product strategist uses the data to analyse what each trend or figure means. Based on those insights, they can use it to find solutions and creative ways around each roadblock that comes along the way. 

Since they also have the ability to think critically, it makes them good problem-solvers. 


To find the relevant data, they’re capable of using online tools such as Amplitude.

Strategic planning and execution

Strategic planning relates to setting measurable goals and objectives. 

Aside from establishing these targets, it’s equally important to know how to execute the plan to achieve the desired results. This is vital especially during the product development stage to ensure you’re making progress towards growing the business.

Copywriting

Understanding the product is one thing. Communicating how it works in a simple non-technical way that sells is another. 

Good copy means translating the product values and features into a concise, compelling message that resonates with your specific audience. Not only should they understand how it works. But, they should also feel the need to want to buy into your solution. 

This is also where having skills in empathy comes in.

With a skilled product marketing manager or strategist, they know how to build an emotional connection and how to select their words carefully to drive an impact.

Communication

As product marketers, it’s your responsibility to define each value proposition and selling point. 

However, on top of that communication skills are required since you’ll need to present your findings to different departments within the organisation. For example:

  • Key stakeholders
  • Marketing team
  • Sales team
  • Support team
  • Technical team

Experienced marketers 

Product strategists are experienced marketers who have adept knowledge of basic business functions and the sales funnel. Therefore, delivering results and promoting products to your customers successfully is something they would be familiar with. 

When it comes to marketing as a whole, they’re experienced in different aspects such as:

  • Branding
  • Content marketing
  • Demand generation
  • Lead generation 
  • Project management
  • SMM (social media marketing)

How startup companies can use this to achieve product-market fit

Before we wrap things up, we’ll go through 2 ways you can use the steps in this article to identify a product-market fit. Or alternatively, how you can use the expertise of product marketers to reach your target audience and achieve a product-market fit.

With effective campaign management and strategic positioning, you'll be on your way to carving your spot in the industry.

Target a specific audience

As you continue to implement your product marketing strategy, narrow down to a specific niche before expanding into other segments of the market. 

Once you achieve success with certain audiences, it gives insight into the other future consumers you could potentially target. If the demand continues to grow or there’s a growing trend within a particular area, it’s one indicator of a product-market fit. 

Monitor product success metrics

Keep an eye on the key metrics such as:

  • Active user ratio
  • Monthly revenue
  • Customer churns 
  • Lifetime value 
  • Retention rates

Each of these provides you with quantitative data, so it can be used to influence decision-making. Which helps with understanding more about your current and potential target audience.

However, it depends on the goals and objectives that have been set when it comes to the question of which to prioritise. Once you see an unusual or recurring pattern with the data shown, you can use this to further develop your product roadmap to continue the growth of your startup company.

Need a product marketing strategist? Here’s how to find a specialist within 72 hours

A skilled product strategist that truly understands your target customers and values isn’t always easy to come by. 

But it doesn’t have to be difficult finding them – at least, not with Passionfruit. 

With a marketplace surrounded by the best marketing specialists, they’ll match you with the person that’s capable of meeting your most complex needs. Each of them has a proven track record with strong flexibility to fit in with your schedule.


All you have to do is sign up for free right here.

Conclusion 

Unlike traditional marketing, a product marketing strategy dives deeper into the values of your solution.

One of the most important factors to take into consideration for your company's success is how customers interact with your product and if you’re meeting their needs.  Therefore, customer satisfaction and user experience come first. This takes priority in order to develop an effective marketing strategy.

After implementing each of the steps in this guide, you’ll be equipped with the foundation you need to reach product marketing success.

Astley Cervania is a freelance writer and content marketer. He works with HR Tech and B2B SaaS companies to scale user growth. You can find him online via his website or LinkedIn.

Written by
Professor Passionfruit Illustration

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