Every year the global fashion industry rolls out new lines of fashions from famous designers. The world gathers at trendy fashion shows to gasp in amazement as they discover which designers have outdone themselves this year and which ones have gone off into the weeds.
Maybe it’s time for you to take a look at how you are telling the world about your product – are you keeping up with the latest trends or is your product looking like last year’s fashion failures?
Four Trends In Marketing
Just like everything else in this mad, mad world, marketing never stands still. Every company is facing the same set of challenges: everything seems to cost more to do this year, the environment and the role that our product plays in it (for good or for bad) is becoming more important, etc.
The key thing that any time-strapped product manager needs to be able to do is to find the hot areas of marketing that will help their products both grow in sales and be viewed by potential customers as being an innovative product. Here are four marketing areas that both you and your product are going to have to be on top of:
All customers are not created equal and so product managers need to stop treating them that way. It turns out that by now we actually have a fair amount of information on our customers: we know what they do for a living, where they live, and what they’ve bought from us in the past.
Given that we know all of this about the people that we want to buy our products, then why do we still have generic product brochures? Why do we send out mass mailings (email and postal) that start out “Dear recipient”?
It’s time that we put all of this information to work. This is the year that we need to take the time to create highly personalized communication with our potential customers.
Measurement & Analysis
As product marketing budgets get tighter and tighter, every product manager is going to be under the gun to show that a marketing campaign is able to boost profits. This means that we’re going to have to start doing a better job of measuring our marketing programs.
It’s all too easy to do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation and say “this is what the ROI (return on investment) will be”, but that’s not going to cut it any more. Instead product managers are going to have to take the time and figure out how much each step of your product’s marketing effort is going to cost. Then you’re going to have to come up with a way to determine which customers took action based on coming into contract with your marketing message.
Sure you use email to reach potential customers. You might even use postal mail, videos, and brochures that you hand out at meetings and trade show. But how well do these different channels work together?
With funds for marketing programs being in such short supply, it is now more critical than ever that each of the ways that you get in contact with your customer need to complement your other channels.
This goes farther than just having your company’s web address in small letters at the end of your product’s brochure. Instead, use the brochure to tell customers where they can find videos of your product in action. Use the web site to tell customers how they can order brochures. Make sure that you are telling the world one unified story about why they need your product.
Where will your next batch of customers be coming from? As the demographics of the people who buy our products start to change, we need to make sure that our product’s marketing messages change with them.
The baby boomers are starting to retire and their shoes will be filled by a mix of Gen-X and Gen-Y customers. Will the story that you’ve been telling about your product still resonate with them? Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board and create a new story that will work for them.
What All Of This Means For You
It’s all too easy for product managers to create some form of product marketing and then move on to other more pressing things without giving it another thought. The reality is that marketing messages, like fashion, go out of style and need to be refreshed.
When you go to refresh your product’s marketing message, you need to be aware of the four marketing trends that are currently happening: targeting, measurement and analysis, integration, and prospecting.
Product managers who are able to craft a marketing campaign that leverages these four areas and does a good job of telling their product’s story will be the ones who are hailed as the most fashionable product managers out there.
Question For You: What do you think the best way to measure a product’s marketing ROI is?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
It’s sorta the Holy Grail of product management – to become so intimate with our customers that we can almost read their minds. Now while that may sound like a great idea, have any of us taken the time to consider what our customers might be thinking about us doing this?