“As seen on TV!” We’re all familiar with this type of commercial. It’s been used to advertise everything from non-stick pans to hair removal products to super strong tape.
Product marketing is a wide-reaching umbrella that could include this kind of advertising, but—to borrow a phrase that’s been burned in our collective consciousness forever—wait! There’s more!
In our increasingly digital world, traditional product marketing has been taken to the next level. In this post, we’re going to highlight the big points of product marketing strategy overall and then take a little deep dive into how we can use social media to strengthen our approach.
Product Marketing Strategy: A Brief Description
Product marketing strategy is a term used to describe every step of the marketing process for a product. We’re so used to thinking of marketing as ads that it’s tempting to think that’s all product marketing is, but marketing a new product begins back at the inception of the product itself and in strategic product marketing strategies.
Product Marketing Strategy: Research
First and foremost, you don’t want to launch a product into the world that nobody wants. So before you get too much further into the product marketing process, it’s critical that you do your research. Is there a need for this kind of product marketing research? Who are your competitors? How are they marketing their product, and has it been successful?
Qualitative research methods like focus groups and quantitative research like analytics and statistics can help answer these questions and determine the density of the market you’re trying to get into. It will also help you decide who exactly is your target customer.
Product Marketing Strategy: Messaging
A lot of products get launched without a marketing strategy because the product creator feels there’s a need not being met by the market. That’s a good start. But how many people are in your target market and why should they choose you?
Messaging is the story you want to tell about your product to attract that customer: telling them not only why they should buy what you’re selling but about why you created it in the first place—in a way that speaks to them. Official, constant aspects of messaging include things like the mission and vision statement, but messaging can also be the story surrounding your product or conscious decisions about words to use or avoid.
Product Marketing Strategy: Plan for “Going to Market”
With your industry research at the ready and your messaging settled, it’s time to start preparing for the launch. It’s essential to stand by the research and decisions you made as you let those things inform this next stage.
Part of this planning includes some crucial decisions like pricing. Market research will give insight into how expensive similar products are and what your target customers will be willing to spend. If you have decided to emphasize budget-friendliness or luxury in your messaging, your pricing will need to reflect that, too.
You also need to use that information to find channels that suit your product and your target market for the roll-out. On these channels, create campaigns that align with your promotion messaging and tell the story of your product in a creative and relevant way to the audience you’re attempting to reach.
Launch and Maintain
Releasing your new product is the culmination of all this hard work, so just follow your plan and trust the process as you roll out your product. But then what?
Products have what is known as a life-cycle: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. If you’re in the beginning stages of releasing your product and are able to follow all the above steps to get your product to market, you’re in the introduction phase. Each successive stage requires a strategy shift, looking ahead to the next phase to maintain profit.
Growth marketing will be more focused on building relationships with your customers so they keep coming back, even as your product becomes less of a novelty in the maturity phase. Once in the maturity stage, you want to anticipate your product’s decline to be prepared to make changes to the product itself or its uses/audience to extend the cycle and survive the decline phase. Roll that shift out during the decline phase, and it starts all over.
Applying Product Marketing to Social Media
Let’s take all this information and look at it through the lens of social media marketing. That is, after all, our wheelhouse here at Sociallyin and how our team functions on the daily!
Searching relevant hashtags and keywords on Instagram and TikTok, for example, will give insight into the industry as it stands now. You need to market your new bottle design to moms—so use these apps to get an idea of what bottles are popular, what moms are saying about the bottles that exist on the market already, and what the target audience on that platform looks like.
You can also use social media to see what your competitors are up to. If a company is doing something wrong, you’ll hear about it on TikTok or Facebook. If they are doing great things on social media, study their product content for inspiration.
Social media is a storytelling tool. When it comes to the story of your company or product, this is where you can shine.
Images, videos, and graphics will tell your story visually (that whole “a picture’s worth a thousand words” thing is totally true!), and you’ll need to have that brand guideline handbook finalized when publishing written content. If you haven’t decided what words to use and not use before you start tweeting or creating videos on TikTok, you could end up shooting yourself in the foot by publishing inconsistent content.
#3 Plan for “Going to Market”
All that talk about channels and campaigns as it relates to your messaging comes into play here. Choosing the right platforms for marketing products is critical; a new beauty product subscription box might find its female millennial customer base on Instagram, and a new customer management system might sell better with a strong Twitter or LinkedIn presence, where professionals can find it.
You might find target audiences on multiple platforms, and you might find that there are multiple types of audiences available for reach on a single platform; in either case, that’s when you’ll want to create different campaigns.
#4 Launch and Maintain
Once you’ve launched your product, that’s when you’ll need to be intentional about tracking where you are in the product lifecycle and deciding the best actions to take to extend it.
One marketing angle that is unique to social media is influencer marketing and influencer marketing strategy. Influencer marketing is a great way to introduce your product to the market as well as breathe new life into it when things start to slow down. People are more likely to buy an unfamiliar product if someone they follow and want to emulate uses it. New influencers, brought on at later stages, will bring with them new audiences, an advantage when trying to reinvent your product as it approaches the decline stage.
Frequently Asked Questions
IDK how to sell a product…where do I start?
Product marketing strategy is where you start! Design a product that people want, find out everything you can about the people who would want it, figure out how you want to talk about it to make those people buy it from you, and then get creative with how you market it to customers after it’s released and available for sale. Product marketing is important. You got this.
I need to know how to market a product online. Can you help?
Yes! Marketing online is our specialty here at Sociallyin. We recommend developing a strong social media presence across multiple platforms. Set up the pages and then post, post, post. Search engine optimization is also crucial for product sales—your potential customers need to be able to find you and find you first, so getting onto that first Google page is huge. Finally, use the ad functionality on the social media channels you chose and consider a Google ad, too. For more hands-on assistance, send us an inquiry!
What is product marketing strategy?
Hopefully, this blog helps answer that question. The details are all up there! But in short, it’s the plan you make for marketing a new product. Like most things, the strategy relies on research, so when in doubt, start there. Then use that information to make decisions about the best way to position your product.
Marketing is more than what you see on TV. It’s more than ads, and it’s even more than social media: it’s everything together, including the very product itself. Putting every aspect of product marketing into practice on social media allows you to tell the black-and-white problem and present a full-color solution in creative and effective ways.