I spent many years as a product manager and I learnt a lot during that period. One of the key take-aways was not to become too inwardly focused. Sadly this is still a trait I see on a regular basis. Product Managers get so wrapped up in the features of their products that they tend to forget that their audience is less interested in a feature-by-feature comparison against the competition and more interested in whether the product will solve their problems.
There were periods in the past where I spent days sitting around a table with colleagues deciding a product name or mnemonic, the reality was that the only people who thought this was important were the people around the table.
There are two main market segments that Product Managers should be targeting and each needs a different approach
Existing customers: These people already know who you are and what you can do for them. If you’re launching a complementary product to one they already have then you need to explain the additional benefits this product will offer and how it will make their life easier. If it’s a new product unrelated to what they already own but still relevant, then the arguments are the same.
They don’t really care about features.
New customers and prospects: These people don’t know you, they’ve never bought from you and they may not even know that you exist. So if you want them to find out what you have to offer, you need to be where they’re searching and that’s online.
The advantages of a content marketing approach
The idea behind content marketing is that people are searching for what you have to offer. By understanding the key phrases they are inputting into the search engines and social media sites you can align your content to those key phrases. Your content gets found online and potential customers click through to your website. It’s not quite so simple but that’s the gist of the process.
However the chances of any of those searchers inputting a term into Google or Bing or Facebook or YouTube specifying one of your products features is relatively small. Remember, people are searching for solutions so your content need to reflect that.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, build an understanding of their needs and wants, brainstorm the key phrases surrounding these issues. Talk to customer services about the main questions they get asked. There are tools available to help you here but be careful not to get sucked back into thinking in industry specific or in-house terms that your audience won’t or don’t use. Be careful taking what the sales team tell you at face-value, they’re the worst offenders when it comes to using internally focused terms and jargon.
But a content marketing approach is not just useful for getting your business found online. In fact that’s a secondary issue, content marketing can help raise your profile within your target market sector by:
- Helping position your business as the GoTo resource for help and advice within your industry
- Raising brand awareness or reinforcing your product offer
- Differentiating your product against your competitors
- Helping to build trust with your audience
- Gaining credibility in the marketplace
- Improving customer service
- Demonstrating your expertise
When you have a good idea of these key phrases and the story you want to tell your audience, it’s time to plan your content creation and distribution. This will probably consist of a mix of text based content such as web pages, blog posts, articles and ebooks and image based content such as infographics, video and photographs. Add it to an editorial calendar and off you go.
Don’t forget that when you put together the business case for your product you had a good idea of what problem it would solve and who would be interested in buying it. Getting involved in a “My product has more blades then yours” argument is not ideal, if you don’t believe me then check out this video by the dollar shave club, it’s had nearly 18 million views.
The days of taking the information in your printed brochure and just adding it to your website are well gone (but not everyone has realised that yet). Today’s audience is internet savvy and you have to be too. Content marketing allows you to tell your products’ story.
If you want more information on how content marketing can help your business grow, read the ebook: Content Marketing Fundamentals.
If you want a better understanding of the digital landscape, sign up for my FREE Digital Marketing Journey programme