Roles in sales and marketing have become more specialized in recent years. Salespeople are rarely responsible for a full customer lifecycle, instead focusing singularly on initial outreach, pre-sale discovery/closing, and post-sale relationship management. Marketers have become specialists who focus singularly on content production, acquisition, design, or other specific functions. While specialization allows for deep knowledge of specific skills, it comes at a price.
This goes for product marketing as well. While broader in purview, product marketing has become the sole creator and arbiter of messaging in most organizations. For that reason, the proliferation of product marketing as a discrete discipline has, in some cases, loosened the grip marketers and salespeople have on their market, their customers, and their competitors. This is particularly troubling since they are the very individuals charged with propelling your business' message into the market.
It’s important to avoid thinking of messaging as a strictly strategic endeavor. Specialization allows product marketers to create excellent messaging, but product marketers can’t stop with the classic messaging brief. Jumping into the tactical deployment of your carefully constructed messaging can help ensure sales and marketing efforts make the most impact. There are three key areas where product marketers can drive growth by diving into the nitty-gritty of messaging.
Sales Outreach Messaging
One of the most common mistakes marketers make is thinking that they are the sole couriers of your organization’s message. Depending on the nature of your business, your sales team might be deploying more market-facing messages than marketing. And yet, many marketers are disconnected from the nature of those messages.
The rise of sales engagement platforms like SalesLoft and Outreach means that making improvements to the messaging deployed by your sales team is easier than ever. Email messaging is centralized in those platforms, providing a much simpler view into the nature, volume, and effectiveness of the messaging deployed.
Ownership of tactical sales messaging varies by organization, but product marketing should unquestionably be involved. However, anyone who has worked in (or with) sales can tell you that sales copy is difficult to write, and is different in nature than marketing copy. Effective sales copy is succinct and personalized. Product marketers should create longer-form versions of several different messaging tracks that speak to certain personas, industries, or any other relevant lanes of broad personalization. From there, partner with sales enablement/development or a handful of tenured salespeople to prune the messaging to a length appropriate for sales usage.
Even modest improvements to the messaging deployed by sales can make noticeable changes to top-line revenue metrics. Imagine a sales organization that sends 50,000 prospecting emails per month. A tactical messaging refresh that improves their positive response rate from 2% to 2.5% would translate to a 25% increase in sales opportunities (1,000 per month to 1,250 per month). Rarely as a product marketer can you get such real-time, quantifiable feedback on your messaging that makes such a large impact on revenue.
It’s become incredibly easy to get words in front of people. Marketing email volume has skyrocketed in recent years and is now competing with the aforementioned spike in the volume of sales outreach. Right now, the words themselves matter more than ever. Effective marketing campaigns deploy messaging that’s deeply empathetic to customer goals and cognizant of competitor activity and industry trends.
Most campaign marketers are masters of marketing tech, attribution, and budget management. Many are also proficient copywriters. However, some have a tentative grasp on what motivates their customers, how competitive campaigns impact their own, and the influence that industry trends have on campaign effectiveness. Product marketing can help impact the effectiveness of campaigns in two ways: the actual copy deployed through mediums like email, ads, and your website, and by helping determine the overarching message and topic of each campaign.
To help improve tactical copy, consider hosting an open messaging workshop on a regular basis where your content and growth marketers can run copy by product marketing to ensure their messages have the best chance of landing. A centralized Slack channel or other similar messaging medium dedicated to reviewing messaging is also a great way to encourage frequent, casual messaging reviews. For higher-level campaign messaging, simply ensuring product marketing is involved to some degree in campaign planning is a good start. This allows product marketing to ensure campaigns are differentiated from those deployed by competitors and are mindful of broader trends impacting their market.
Customer Retention and Expansion
Businesses are increasingly recognizing the value of marketing programs that drive retention and expansion of customer value. However, many marketing teams still lack dedicated customer marketers. Not just anyone can fill that void. While customers are typically much more receptive to communication from your business than prospects, they also have a much deeper understanding of your product and how it can (or can’t) further their businesses’ goals.
This is why product marketers are best-equipped to tackle many aspects of customer marketing. While the actual execution of customer-facing campaigns is best left to campaign marketers or account managers, all aspects of messaging should be handled by product marketing. To formulate effective messaging for customer campaigns, take a couple steps back.
Work with product management and your customer-facing teams to determine key behavioral drivers of customer retention and expansion. Identify the most valuable customer personas to target; they may differ from the individuals your team most frequently works with. Create messaging specific to your customer base to be deployed in customer campaigns. Unlike prospect-facing messaging, product-heavy language is not inherently problematic provided you tie it to business goals. Lastly, ensure you have mechanisms in place to measure the success of your campaigns in a manner similar to that employed on the prospect side of the coin.
It’s tempting to think of messaging and positioning as entirely strategic endeavors. Product marketers who reject that notion and dive into tactical opportunities to improve messaging across their business, will find themselves valuable drivers of growth in times when growth is difficult to fuel.
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