1 Breaking the Lift With a Countdown
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The broader view you can take of who your customers are, the more successful you and your products will be.It can be overwhelming if you stop to really think about all of the people in your organization who you need to keep in mind when launching new products.It goes way beyond the customers who are in your target market.Creating cool printed brochures could be a total waste of money if that isn’t the type of collateral your salespeople find valuable.Be sure to talk to them about what is most helpful in their efforts.As noted in the bonus rules, if you have a marketing or sales automation system, ask your salespeople which marketing assets they have learned to monitor closely when a lead has enough points to advance it to become a sales referral.Likewise, work with sales management to confirm marketing campaigns are creating qualified leads.If not, they can help you make sure that campaigns are targeting the right audience and that the messaging is setting up expectations that can be fulfilled, as well as share competitive insights that may provide you with key differentiators.You can make their jobs easier by keeping them well informed during the product launch and by syncing up with them to develop supporting collateral that addresses the most common user questions.It’s also critical to provide the support team with sufficient training so they are ready when the product launches.And don’t forget that your job of meeting their needs isn’t done once the product is launched.The broader view you take of who your customers are, the more successful you and your products will be.One of the challenges product marketers face is that you are sometimes asked to market a product which you had no say in defining, or worse, you may not see exceptional customer value in.The pig shows up at your door, so to speak, for some lipstick and no matter what you do, you know this pig may not fly!So what’s a smart and diligent product marketer to do?The key here is to find ways to influence the product development process and outcome long before the pig shows up at your door.Not only do these practices make your work more meaningful, it helps you wield influence when you have little power and it also makes you invaluable to the organization.Even as product strategy is being developed, bring your knowledge to those discussions.In such cases, product marketing has an important role to play in identifying which markets are large, growing, and addressable with your business assets and satisfy other criteria.As a product marketer you should be integral to leading this effort.The key here is to make sure you’re seen as a thought leader in seeking, developing, and integrating such customer knowledge with the company’s or division’s objectives.The best product marketers understand their customers and freely share this knowledge to strongly influence the initial product strategy and roadmap.The best product marketers also use their customer understanding to help product management make smarter choices about features and function enhancements.They may be forced into the latter in the absence of good data or lack of time to gather good data.Products are increasingly delivered and marketed online.Tracking a product’s online metrics has grown in importance and has become a critical competency that separates leading companies from their competitors.The top metric for conversion is your conversion rate.Google Analytics and Google AdWords let you easily set up conversion tracking.So the goal is to experiment with new channels, see what values you get for your key metrics, and plug them into the above equations.Using these online metrics will help you measure your product marketing efforts and make them more successful.Unless you please the search engines, you won’t reach the people.Identify your target keywords and key phrases.Use the free Google Keyword Toolvi to determine which keywords users search for most frequently.Consider targeting terms for which there is less competition and you have a better chance of ranking highly.Use the keywords consistently and repeatedly, but not so frequently that they annoy the human reader.Use your target keywords in your video and slide deck titles, descriptions, tags, playlist titles, playlist descriptions, playlist tags, and account profile.Organic views are earned views.Before you agree to be measured by leads or pipeline contribution, do the math!Marketing and sales often use lead generation and demand generation interchangeably.These terms overlap, but point to very different mindsets and results.Leads identify buyers at the right point of the purchase cycle so you can step in and make the sale while demand takes a longer viewpoint by influencing buyers so that consideration of your offering begins before they start to actively search for a solution.Both activities make the sales team more productive.Say you’re a teenager who wants to go to a party Friday night.On Wednesday, you call everyone you know to see if they’re having a party, but learn either there’s no party planned, or you’re not on the invitation list.Now let’s take the analogy from a demand generation perspective.You’re the same teenager who wants to go to a party Friday night, but now spends time talking to people who might someday have a party.You nurture relationships who understand you are fun to be around.When they plan a party, they call you to make sure you’re available because your presence is that important to them.The more targeted the approach, the higher quality the lead.But alone, lead generation is insufficient because it isn’t generating demand.Demand generation entails talking early and often about who you are, what you do, why you’re better, and when to consider your offering.It means being part of an ongoing conversation, and shaping that conversation in terms you can win.You’ll know you’ve generated demand when prospects contact you at the first articulation of a problem.Every buyer’s journey encompasses multiple touch points.Usually it’s the combination of all the touches, not any one element, that creates demand and ultimately results in a sale.Lead generation often devolves into a numbers game.You’ll be the first!Before you agree to be measured by leads or pipeline contribution, do the math!Your industry will have a standard ratio of how many leads you need to pour into your sales funnel to generate a certain revenue flow out of the funnel.If you have enough budget to create a material impact on that revenue outflow, then own the objective!If you don’t, then rethink how to leverage your budget for the biggest impact on creating and accelerating sales opportunities.Generating demand encompasses many components, including a qualified and interested buyer, but it is not limited to lead generation, and leads are just one way to achieve the revenue goal.For most businesses, quality matters far more than quantity.Never lose sight of this.My point is not to purge lead generation from your marketing toolbox, but prevent you from counting leads as your primary measure of marketing success.A dollar spent in marketing should make every sales person more effective and efficient and result in customers knowing when to consider your solution, having a basic understanding of your differentiated value, and demonstrating preference for your brand.This is demand generation.