As an instrumental part of any successful business, product marketers accelerate product growth by championing the customer, communicating product value and driving distribution.

These key components of the role have remained consistent, but recently, we have seen a shift in product marketers’ specific ownership and accountability, the use of data collection for insights and how the rapid development of technology has changed the relationship between marketers and customers. The art of storytelling begins with discovery and truly understanding customer pain points in their buyer’s journey.

Ownership and accountability

Many of us product marketers pride ourselves on being well-rounded and being able to turn our hand at anything, as we regularly jump from one project to another — from messaging to analyst relations to customer interactions. As such, the specific roles and responsibilities of product marketers are constantly evolving.

In the past, we were focused simply and solely on a product. In my time at Boomi, this has progressed from just a particular product to also include solutions, industries, and services. Recently, I’ve even had conversations with product marketing leaders that have shifted to referring to the role as “portfolio marketing”, which encompasses product, industry, and solutions.

Today, we own and are accountable for the overall performance and product distribution efforts. Under this broader umbrella, we work to bring all aspects of a business together. Through our work with product management, demand generation, corporate marketing, events, sales enablement, etc., we are responsible for working with each team to ensure the integrated marketing programs are successful.

Data-driven and customer insights

When product marketing first became a sought-after role, it seemed companies were unsure about how to leverage this position. Many knew they needed a product marketer, but did not know how to maximize the role to its full potential.

In 2019, the product marketer is not just facilitating a product’s go-to-market efforts; they are often developing overall product messaging and frameworks, delivering personas, executing product launches, ensuring there are impactful use cases and working with customers to establish accurate data collection and solutions to their pain points.

Data and metrics are key for success in a product marketer’s role. In the past, reports used to only be gathered every quarter and would vaguely inform the business strategy. Today, with the introduction of real-time data, product marketers are able to discuss and understand customers pain points and issues, and address these matters immediately. And for items on a larger scale, product marketers can work closely with the broader marketing and research and development (R&D) teams to plan and initiate updates and platform rollouts that move past just basic product changes.

Technology and collaboration

During the initial days of marketing, customers were often drawn to a product based on the creativity behind the campaign. Today, with the rapid development of technology, the relationship between marketers and customers has changed. Increased customer service capabilities, combined with improved communication efforts, enable product marketers to better understand their customers’ needs.

Instead of just sending a company a complaint letter or calling them on the telephone with the hope of getting a response, today’s customers now have more direct access to have their voice be heard. With the increase in technology, including chatbots, community platforms, social media, and data analytics, product marketers can create an environment that fosters communication and participation. And instead of infrequent and linear feedback loops, customers are now constantly collaborating with the product teams in order to establish a superior product.

Over the past five years, product marketers have evolved from simply bringing a product to market. Today, we are a collective group that serves very specific needs, works with customers to ensure they have a voice and acts as the conduit to work with the broader company to ensure integration. As the voice of the customer, product marketers can truly help drive overall business success.

When you are looking to start as a product marketer or grow in your career to lead a product marketing team, consider the following:

  • Do you want to be a specialist or generalist?
  • Do you want to be the evangelist for the product or support behind the scenes?
  • Are you driven by data and metrics or are you a storyteller?

These questions can help guide your instincts on how you want to take product marketing into the next evolution. Looking forward to the Product Marketing Summit to share and learn from peers.