This time last year, we looked at our crystal balls and made some predictions for how 2022 would pan out for the product marketing space.
Pssst! Read last year’s predictions to see if they came true…
As we prepare to say goodbye to 2022, join us as we continue our annual tradition and look forward to potential product marketing trends for the year ahead…
We figured the only people who can accurately predict such things are those who are plying their trade in the field all year round…
So, we asked our product marketing experts from this year’s Top 100 Product Marketing Influencers report for their 2023 predictions of upcoming trends within the product marketing industry.
Having looked at the responses, we managed to condense the most popular trends into seven categories:
- Preparing for an economic downturn and budgeting,
- Self-advocacy, and a more competitive market,
- Bigger and better for the whole industry,
- Product-market fit and message-market fit,
- Strengthening of product marketing strategies, and
- Product marketers needing to shift and expand.
Without further ado, here are the product marketing trends to look out for in 2023…
Preparing for an economic downturn and budgeting
“I think “do more with less” is going to be the new “in these uncertain times” for B2B messaging in 2023. It’s already an overused and ambiguous benefit, but layoffs and budget cuts are going to have it popping up everywhere.
“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it, but be specific and provide context if you don’t want your audience to cripple themselves with a hard eye roll. Do more WHAT with less WHAT, and HOW does your product help them do that?”
Tim Hinds, Product Marketing and Product Owner at GrokSpark
“I think we'll see product marketers start to focus on more messaging and campaigns for existing customers, rather than focusing exclusively on acquiring new customers. This might be driven by tighter customer budgets and changing investor expectations.”
Alex McDonnell, Market, and Intelligence Lead at Airtable
“With many markets going into recession and businesses having to deal with rapid inflation, I think we'll need to focus on being as effective as we can be as product marketers, with the resources we have. Hiring for new product marketing roles in many businesses may slow down, as well as spending on new software tools.
“As product marketers, we'll also need to ensure our messaging is really focused on how we can help our customers, as they too will be dealing with tighter budgets and will need to justify their spending in a more challenging economy.”
Eric Moeller, Director of Product Marketing at RELEX Solutions
“Companies with great product marketing practices will thrive when the economic storm subsides. In challenging, more uncertain economic cycles like we’re in now, every deal and dollar will be scrutinized.
“The question buyers are now asking themselves is no longer "What’s the best solution, and how fast can we get going?"; but rather "How badly do we need this? How quickly will we see the ROI? What are the alternatives? Can we just do this with what we already have!?”
“Companies that understand their position in their competitive ecosystem, have internal alignment on their differentiators, and commit to a target ICP and persona will come out stronger on the other end.”
Devon O’Rourke, Founder and Managing Partner at Fluvio
“Product marketing has always been a very important role within an organization. But over the next year, as the world faces tough economic times, it is going to be extremely important for PMMs to bring products and solutions to the market that truly add value.
“As discretionary spending tightens and business budgets shrink, it’ll be very important that PMMs bring forth a competitive and differentiated story to win those dollars.
“Additionally, studies have shown that 57% of complex purchase decisions are made before the consumer even speaks to a sales or customer service person.
“Not only will it be important to differentiate the story, but product marketing will also need to figure out how to provide customers with an exceptional, real-time buying experience that puts the right content in front of the right personas at the right stage of the buying cycle in the channel that cuts through the noise and drive educated purchases while keeping up with ever-changing consumer behaviors and needs.”
Robin Opperlee, Product Marketing Director at CSG
“As economic headwinds intensify globally, B2B and B2C organizations will see their customers reduce budgets. This means every customer will be evaluating your offering even more critically, putting acquisition, renewal, and repeat purchases at risk.
“Therefore, I believe product marketing will need to find ways to demonstrate that their products are not “just the tech or widget.” Companies will need to elevate the purpose of what they offer to make it indispensable and not just a feature-focused race against the competition.”
Scott Shapiro, Global Head of Product Marketing at Secure Code Warrior
“2023 is going to be a tough economic year even if we don’t hit a full-on recession. This’ll translate into longer deal cycles and tighter budgets.
“In a year like 2023, product marketers will need to shift their focus in two ways:
Messaging will need to move from “benefits of product” to “here’s what you miss out on by not buying us”. Why? Because risk mitigation is an easier way to get through Finance.
Product marketing will need to focus more of its effort on partnering with marketing and sales enablement on pipeline acceleration efforts.”
Becky Trevino, Executive VP of Product at Snow Software
“Every individual and organization will be scrutinizing their spending going into the next year. Every product marketer needs to be prepared to double down on the economic value of their products and services. Product marketers should be thinking about prepping sales teams with recession messaging or being the catalyst for promotional discount campaigns.”
Sapphire Reels, Director of Portfolio and Integrated Marketing at PluralSight
“If you believe the news, we could be heading into an economic recession in the next six to 12 months - and many companies are already feeling the pinch.
“But unlike previous periods of economic uncertainty, where any employee tied to a "marketing” profit and loss could be in jeopardy of furlough, reassignment, or worse (being laid off), I think a company’s PMMs are being viewed as far more instrumental to the day-to-day operations of the business.
“Is product marketing completely insulated from company restructuring? Hardly. But I do think product marketing is thought more of as a ‘must have’ discipline, whereas in the past it may have been considered merely ‘nice to have’.”
Erik Mansur, Head of Product Marketing at Ziflow
“With the rising costs of paid campaigns and new lead acquisitions, we see movement toward mid and bottom-of-funnel focus – to increase existing customer retention and MRR.
“Product marketing becomes a data-driven and research-based function that sets KPIs for all product GTM launches, around adoption, market share, up-sell, and retention. As such, it’s the right function to recommend product go/no-go decisions.
“Product marketing will go deeper with the entire org enablement and training. Focus on clearer and well-defined segments, client needs assessments and applications at all company levels – from growth to marketing and business development. It becomes the key enabler that reaches prospects and clients in a “surgical” way with relevant messaging to reduce acquisition costs.
“Product marketing becomes the glue connecting the technology, marketing, and sales orgs, and spearheads product perception and positioning. It’s cracking the product genome and translating features to values that speak to the client’s deepest pain points. We hold the compass for product-market fit.”
Hila Lauterbach, Senior Director of Product Marketing at SpotOn
“As product marketing becomes more business-outcome-centric, the C-suite will continue to see the strategic importance of the function and fund those teams accordingly. Product marketing team size and budgets will double or triple.”
Jarod Greene, VP of Product Marketing at Highspot
“Copywriting will be a must-have skill for product marketers to understand in 2023. Our job as product marketers is to simplify selling across our products and organizations. Copywriting I’ve learned is the sales version of writing.
“The discipline requires a deep understanding of your target audience, problem-solving, and a dash of creativity. All transferable skills we product marketers know too well.
“I’ve started to learn it this past year from influencers on LinkedIn: Eddie Shleyner, Devin Reed, and Justin Welsh. How they wrote clicked. It compelled me to make time to read what they said.
“That’s what we want in product marketing — our target audience to make the time for our products. No better way to do that than learning how to write irresistible copy.
“Copywriting flexes writing muscles I never knew were being ignored. It revealed my writing voice and elevated my writing style. You can’t sell products fast if your words fail to grab enough attention to look in your direction.”
Zach Roberts, Product Marketing Manager at Dropbox
Self-advocacy and a more competitive market
“This may sound like a bummer, but the truth is that our jobs as product marketers aren’t going to get easier in 2023. With the slow-down of investment funds, increase in layoffs, and fewer startup opportunities, product marketers have to hone in on their value at their organizations and become their own best advocates.
“Product marketing can have a huge impact on a business, but it can also become a catch-all if the business doesn’t understand your value. Find and demonstrate your worth to make 2023 a success.”
Anna Daugherty, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Armory.io
“Product marketing is finally catching on as the must-have role for companies that want to grow and open new markets. In the year to come, I expect to see more companies expanding their PMM hiring efforts and for the market to become even more competitive.”
Daniel Kuperman, Head of Core Product Marketing and Go-to-Market at Atlassian
“Organizations will continue to invest in product marketing talent and look for experts that have experience in areas such as developing an ideal customer profile, persona-focused positioning, messaging, technical, content development, and sales enablement. This is to help them differentiate in the hyper-competitive and tightening market.
“Product marketing will be under tight pressure to razor-focus efforts on finding and marketing to the ideal customers that have a high propensity to buy and to quantify the sales pipeline impact.
“PLG (product-led growth) strategic growth ambitions by many organizations will put pressure on product marketing to think differently and show their revenue influence.”
Abhinav Joshi, Director of Product Marketing at Red Hat
“Product marketing will move upstream in the product development lifecycle. I still hear from my peers asking how they can be “more involved” in the product launch and Go-to-Market process.
“Why is this a concern? Maybe it’s because businesses today are continuing to treat product and feature launches like a relay race, with marketing roles being handed a baton at the end of the race without knowing why or what they’re supposed to do with it.
“But with so many “me too” products in a race to the bottom of the market, and too many products and features going unused, product teams are finally acknowledging that what they build has to deliver actual customer value from the get-go.
“That means having a strong value proposition from the earliest stages of development. And you know who’s really good at defining and validating value propositions…? Yep! Product marketing!”
Ali Hanyaloglu, VP of Product Marketing at Amplience
“Imagine a world where we as product marketers are cheering each team and bringing out the best in each of us. Our true self-worth in product marketing is yet to be unveiled, as the linchpin across product, sales, and marketing.
“Cross-functional collaboration and stakeholder alignment are critical for product marketing success. To lead and challenge the status quo, we need the right discipline and core values embedded in our ethos.”
Div Manickam, Expert in Residence at Product Marketing Alliance
Bigger and better for the whole industry
“I think product marketing plays a crucial role in driving growth for any business. More companies are starting to recognize its unique value, and I anticipate product marketers are going to be in high demand for years to come.
“Although the definition of product marketing may still vary from company to company, I predict more clarity and consistency moving forward.
“I think we’ll see stronger adoption and greater overall investment in developing specialized teams to complement the existing structure and effectively bridge the gap between individual sales and tech orgs.”
Katie Rogers, Director of Product Marketing at Warner Bros. Discovery
“Product marketing will continue to grow in importance within organizations as they realize the value a strong product marketing team can bring, which should see product marketing being included at the forefront of marketing and product decision-making. Here's to a strong 2023!”
Sunny Dhami, VP of Product Marketing at Sinch
“I'm expecting 2023 will be a great year for product marketers! Everything going on in the world right now, from the economic environment to saturated markets, means our diverse product marketing skills are critical to every business, more than ever before.”
Sam Duboff, Manager of Product Marketing at Remote
“I predict that we’ll see even more product marketers with a seat at the table for product strategy and road-mapping discussions. I’m starting to see this more now than ever before, and it’s the smart move for companies focused on building for the customer.
“It’s the responsibility of the product marketer to collect and prioritize feedback, understand customer needs, and work with product on how they might meet them. That’s our superpower, and it’s exciting to see product management starting to leverage us more in this way.”
Cora Foster, Senior Product Marketing Manager/Team Lead, OperationsOS at ZoomInfo
Product-market fit and message-market fit
“Product-market fit is going to become much more important as companies try to become more efficient. Companies need to find and nurture the right customers, reduce churn, and grow more sustainably.
“PMMs are great at helping build the personas and positioning that focus on company culture and improve product market fit.”
Marcus Andrews, Director of Product Marketing at Pendo.io
“An increased focus on understanding the different approaches required based on the growth stage of your product or company.
“In the early stages, the message-market fit is far more important than the product-market fit. As your offering matures, product-market fit increases in importance but never overshadows the message.”
Andrew Hatfield, Founder and Marketing Strategist at Deepstar Strategic
Strengthening of product marketing strategies
“I think 2023 is the year when product marketers get back to basics, and focus on perfecting the foundational layers of strategy. We're up against challenging market conditions, and most teams don't have the luxury to run fancy Go-to-Market campaigns that only deliver awareness, but not conversion, adoption, or retention.
“I think the teams that invest in nailing their customer segmentation, pricing strategy, and core positioning will be in the best position to drive impactful Go-to-Market strategies that lead to real business results.”
Tamara Grominsky, VP of Product Marketing and Lifecycle at Kajabi
“Product marketers who are outstanding at positioning are going to be in high demand. There's a really big difference between great positioning and okay positioning, and it can make or break young products and companies. Product marketers who can carve out an ownable spot in consumers' minds will go far.”
Alex Chahin, VP of Marketing at Titan
“The continued rise of competitive intelligence! I’m so pleased to see market intelligence maturing from competitor bashing and inaccurate comparison tables to strategic business input.
“More companies are investing in dedicated market intelligence strategist roles which are filled by bright and brilliant product marketers. Competitive intelligence is valuable input for other product marketing pillars such as positioning, GTM, and voice-of-the-market insight, and tools such as Klue and Crayon continue to add value, automating the collating and sharing of insights on the competitive landscape.”
Louise Dunne, Head of Product Marketing at Linnworks
“It’s been an interesting time for tech the past few years with an explosion during the pandemic and a downturn following that growth. I think we’ll see general trends in tech - a deep focus on profitability instead of revenue, leaner teams, and efficient GTM plans - impact product marketing. In particular, a much greater expectation to drive adoption intelligently.
“Owned channels will become increasingly important in launches. PMMs will drive more bang for their buck with bundling features. Customer research will need to be even more outcome-driven, by tying it to product roadmaps and launches.”
Katherine Brittain, Director of Global Product Marketing at Kry
“Research by Gartner has found that when considering a purchase, B2B buyers only spend 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers versus 27% researching independently online. This illustrates that when prospects engage a rep, they already have thoughts about what products and features they want to buy and how much they’re willing to pay.
“Sales and marketing must collaborate to deliver a purchase experience that transcends product features and benefits to win deals, retain business, or risk becoming irrelevant.
“In this new world, sales teams need to embrace methodologies such as the Challenger Sales model, where Challenger reps use their understanding of their customers’ businesses to deliver new insights and drive their thinking in new and different ways. They bring new ideas, like how to save money or avoid risk, that the customer hadn’t previously considered or fully appreciated on their own.
“Strong collaboration between product marketing and sales enablement; 2022 has been about building content assets. There’ll be a greater need to “re-package” content into bite-sized chunks for sales teams to “drip feed” these insights to their prospect and customer base. Such endeavors will see tools such as outreach.io used more frequently.
“Project management will be a core requirement of product marketers as they’ll need to show progress to the wider business of current marketing initiatives and identify the bottleneck, and be more structured in eliciting deliverables from other stakeholders, and ensuring they adhere to deadlines.
“Unfortunately, legacy tools such as Outlook and Excel for project management won’t cut it anymore. There’ll be a need for project management tools such as Asana to show the status of marketing projects, hold others accountable for pending tasks and ensure adherence to deadlines.”
Amit Alagh, Senior Product Marketing Manager at LexisNexis
Product marketers needing to shift and expand
“2023 is all about quality over quantity.
“I think the downturn we're experiencing is actually a transition period that’s shifting B2B Marketing to a new era. Over the last four quarters, the growth motions that focused on rapid new logo acquisition, at any cost, through marketing efforts that are external to the product, started underdelivering.
“It looks like we’ve reached a ceiling where it’s no longer effective and sustainable to run our marketing efforts this way.
“What used to be the underdog’s playbook of accelerated user-buyer, value-based distribution (some refer to it as Product-Led Growth), is about to force incumbents and growing brands to shift their focus and budgets elsewhere.
“We’ll need to stop counting on bidding wars over eyeballs to fuel top-of-funnel demand, stop spamming through broad automatic nurtures or fluffy gated content, and shift our focus from a high volume of low-intent traffic to value-based marketing with lower volume, but higher intent.
“Generating content and experiences that elevate our prospects and users will level the playing field for smaller companies, help amplify emerging brands, and create a loyal community around them. This’ll ultimately lead to more conversions downstream, thus reducing customer acquisition costs.”
Shelly Eisen-Livneh, Senior Product Marketing Manager and Growth Lead - PLG Motion at Heap
“I believe that the product marketing industry is constantly evolving, and I've noticed a few trends:
“Many companies are trying to fit product marketers into their systems and processes, and I've found that product marketing should be creating the system and processes that work best for product marketing. The role requires agency and elasticity as the GTM process can change based on the changing market dynamics and customer needs.
“The discipline shouldn’t just be pegged to an output like a "launch". A product launch is one milestone, and that product still needs to be managed with other products. Creating a program to understand customers is a constant, and should not be done once.
“Product marketing requires a full-stack understanding of the product roadmap, the ecosystem, and the changing needs of the customer. I also believe that incorporating growth marketing into your knowledge of product marketing will be incredibly important as the role continues to evolve.”
Yasmeen Turayhi, Product Marketing Consultant at Modern Product
“With the incredibly competitive landscape of B2B software, I see an increased need for product marketers to support sales beyond positioning and messaging with slides, talking points, and competitive intel.
“Product marketers will work with sellers on strategy prep sessions, call support, and business case development. I also see product marketing taking the lead in working more closely with the GTM team (RevOps, Marketing, Product, Sales, and Customer Success leadership) to identify problems in the business and create strategies to solve them as a GTM team.”
Maureen West, Senior Director of Content and Product Marketing at Uberflip
There we have it - the most popular product marketing predictions for 2023.
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We’re excited to see whether these trends ring true in the upcoming year. Happy New Year! Here’s to a bigger and better 2023 for us all. 🎉
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