I was honored to be asked by the folks at Forrester to speak at their first ever Product Marketing Summit this week. Forrester runs a set of Technology Leadership boards that allow very senior marketers to network together and share best practices.  This meeting was unique in that the group consisted of CMO and VP level leaders at B2B tech companies that are responsible for Product Marketing.

We kicked off the day with a discussion around how we each would define Product Marketing.  To illustrate how poorly most people understand Product Marketing, the Forrester folks put up the Wikipedia definition:

Product marketing deals with the first of the “4P”‘s of marketing, which are Product, Pricing, Place, and Promotion.

Product marketing, as opposed to product management, deals with more outbound marketing tasks. For example, product management deals with the nuts and bolts of product development within a firm, whereas product marketing deals with marketing the product to prospects, customers, and others. Product marketing, as a job function within a firm, also differs from other marketing jobs such as marketing communications (“marcom”), online marketing, advertising, marketing strategy, etc.

This so-called “definition” is not only laughably vague but the idea that a tech product marketer doesn’t have to worry about stuff like “Place” and “Promotion” was enough to get some belly laughs out of a room of senior product marketers.

To facilitate coming up with a more complete definition we did an exercise where the attendees wrote down list of things they are responsible for and then we broke those up into categories.  The categories we used were taken from my Product Marketing Framework and for the most part those seemed to be sufficient to capture everything that the folks in the room listed.  Below I’ve captured the categories and the items that fell under each one.

What Product Marketers Do:

  • Market Knowledge: Segmentation, User Personas, Buyer groups, Purchase motivators, competitive intelligence, use case scenarios, and customer problems.
  • Business Strategy: Go to Market strategy, sales strategy, channel strategy, sales pipeline definition, market strategy definition.
  • Tactics: Lead generation plans, customer retention programs, branding, awareness, field marketing program definition, campaign definition, analyst relations and media relations.
  • Content: Sales support materials, whitepapers, brochures and data sheets, presentations, demos, web site content, ROI calculators, blog posts, forum content, case studies, press releases, FAQ’s, other special purpose content and video.
  • Optimization and Market Learning – ROI tracking, pipeline tracking, website metrics tracking, customer advisory boards, customer focus groups and user groups.

This seemed to work as a way to define what Product Marketing was all about. Now I just have to find the time to update Wikipedia…

Also – Forrester has recently launched their Technology Product Management and Marketing online community which is open to anyone including those that are not Forrester clients.  There are few places where senior product marketers can share and get questions answered so I’m looking forward to watching this community grow.

I’ve also included my slides below.

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