Are Marketing experts migrating to Product Management or is it just my thought?
A marketing strategy is not just a huge excel in a cloud folder (or a very long text file), it is about knowing a product and its desirable (or not) target group, having the customer pulse, get the pains, solve the problems and be there for your customers. Is this what a product person should do too?
As a marketing strategist, my role is to grow the product or company that I am working with. Of course, being in 2018, the ways to do this changed a lot: the digital world is booming, there is a lot of information, a lot of competition and the consumers’ world and choices are almost overwhelming. Therefore, having a nice social media presence and engagement or a pretty website will not be enough. Marketers finally switched from their excels and trending charts to actually making improvements to create great products; And this, folks, matters more than ever to keep a customer’s attention!
In the past years I’ve always been checking the business strategy, the management pain, the developers struggles and I was checking every single support ticket and review to actually understand a customer problem and how he actually expected the solution. Or how much of a solution it actually is what we provide. Of course, the support answers were also a challenge, but this is a topic that I will tackle in another story.
It was a challenging ride: I updated all the (text) presentations multiple times to see what actually works, tested some visuals, answered support tickets and reviews and got feedback instantly on multiple things — e.g short explanations that later on became tooltips or FAQs; I found out that people were having a hard time in finding some features and I could actually reproduce their experience and propose new UI/UX paths; These are just a couple of examples, but there are many more things that could take forever to mention them.
Once I went through all these experiments/steps and talked to all those customers for months, I knew exactly the needed tone of voice, texts length or the kind of visuals that would catch their attention and other marketing processed that would take a long time to reasearch.
But this is not all! I actually knew what would make the product provide more value, how to convert users and make them fall in love with the solution, even though they came to support because they were having a problem/were upset at first —and by converting a user: I do not mean to only buy the app, but making others do so and to review the product in the market. And to gain their trust on the long run and come back whenever there is something in their mind about your product instead of dropping it and move on.
Going through this experience, I started to think what would solve their problems better, what feature would suit them most, how can we simplify what we have or improve it. I actually started to think both like a customer and a product manager. And after all these sumed up nicely, I added some marketing ideas.
All these, in a nicely optimized way for everyone and with some nice charts and data to back the solutions and to check the impact.
This was a slow (maybe too slow, now when I think of it) process and quite challenging, but it lead to a zero marketing budget, a 5-star app in the market (from 3-ish) and, of course, to a higher number of users. Let’s call this a slow, but nice win!
Of course, there is a moment when one has to start pouring money in this too, but at least we managed to optimize this in a really nice way by improving the product, using marketing and PR via support and we also added some small growth hacks here-and-there.
Now going to my title question again: are marketing experts migrating to Product Management/Developement/[insert any other fancy position name in this field]? Should we actually get involved in this process or we should actually have a better communication with the product peeps?
There is quite a while since I do not believe (only) in the copywriter/marketer/PR creativity and the social media coolness, but in the tech habits of a person and how to be there when the customer needs you, where he needs you and in the way he is most probably is expecting it — No fancy stuff, just a natural way of being there.
Creativity is highly important, of course, but research is the mother of them all. And research combined with an actual connection to the customer, strategic thinking, prios and tailored solutions is definitely the success key.
Crossing these lines is tricky, time-consuming, tech background might be needed and if you do not have a team behind — you might actually neglect the marketing implementation to focus on the product. And, of course, doing the marketing planning while the product is not ready is also a problem.
What’s next now? And I do not mean: what is our next fancy job position since we already went from Communication to wizards, evangelists, growth hackers and many other namings. I mean: how do you think that our strategies and planning will change in the next couple of years?
Claps and answers are expected from you, guys!