We've been defining product marketing wrong
A guide to audience-focused product marketing for early & growth stage startups
Whenever we talk to founders about their first marketing hire they say “I need a product marketer.” But, if you ask what that means you get a different answer every time. Likely because product marketing means a range of things, and it varies from company to company, industry to industry, and early-stage to large public companies.
In most of these product marketing definitions a key point is missed: product marketers should be just as versed in who the company is building for, as they are in what the company is building, if not more.
This newsletter covers:
Forget the product, start with your audience
Side note: This heading might be more accurately written as, “Forget the product for now, start by understanding your audience.” But that’s not quite as catchy.
Being an effective product marketer starts from deep audience knowledge, then deep product knowledge, and not the other way around. With this in mind, here’s how we define the function:
Definition: Product marketing deeply understands the company's audience and product and determines how to effectively communicate with this audience.
Founders and marketers need a perspective change—we need to think of product marketing as audience marketing. This makes all the difference in the success of not only the product marketer, but the whole marketing function and growth trajectory of the company. In fact, we’d advocate for changing the name of product marketing to audience marketing.
Note: To quickly define “audience”, an audience is the set of entities and/or people that will use your product now or in the future. For B2B, this tends to be a type of company or team. For B2C, it’s a type of person.
PMM responsibilities (re)defined & (re)framed
Here are the responsibilities of a product marketer at a B2B startup (but there’s lots of overlap with B2C), and how those responsibilities become more impactful when thought of through the lens of audience marketing.
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