How to bring your product roadmap to life
The job of a product marketing professional is more often about maintaining the hype and interest in an existing product, rather than marketing new products. So how do you keep your marketing fresh and exciting to continue driving interest in your products?
Creating a marketing plan for a new product is relatively straightforward. You use a raft of information gleaned from the discovery and market research phases that led to the development of the product, and generate excitement over the fact it is new.
But after a few months, the product isn’t new anymore. Then comes the challenge of keeping the product in your customers’ minds going forward.
Using a product roadmap to inform your ongoing approach to marketing is crucial. Use it to pull out different elements of future product developments, and make a plan to use research you gather about customer usage and impact along the way.
By doing this, you will also demonstrate the continual level of investment and development you’re putting into the product. Making this information come to life is critical to the ongoing success of a product. Here are some of the key things to think about to achieve consistent impact with your product marketing.
1. Value of product and its features
When the product is no longer new, you should make more of the value your product brings to the businesses and organisations you are selling to. Moreover, you should think one step ahead too, considering the value to the person who uses the product itself.
Considering how both businesses and individuals benefit from the product will positively inform your marketing. Include why the unique selling points really stand out, and communicate which features and functionalities are the most sought-after in your industry. There’s a greater need today to demonstrate value through performance indicators, placing data at the forefront. Providing insights to commercial impact and profitably, and with data and market research more accessible, marketers can use this intelligently to promote products (Forbes).
2. Launch and deployment schedule
When you are about to launch a product, you will take advantage of tactics such as a pre-launch, soft sells and waiting lists, followed by official launch pilot offers.
After a product has launched, it is powerful to apply the same ideas of exclusivity and limited time offers, such as early bird or early join offers. By continuing to stagger different marketing approaches like this as time rolls on from the product launch, you are still giving customers reasons to get on board at any particular moment.
3. Product development milestones When thinking of your ongoing marketing beyond a product launch, look in detail at all the product development milestones. Product teams will often be able to provide their development schedule 12 to 18 months in advance, and what will be launched in each quarter.
This is fantastic information for direct use in marketing, and helps to build hype and excitement in the run up to new product features and functionalities. Then you will celebrate success when milestones are reached. Equally, when you reach key usage numbers, use them to celebrate successes such as reaching 500 new customers or 1,000 interactions with your product.
4. Testing and results
Sometimes overlooked in product marketing is the testing process that products go through, both pre-launch and on an ongoing basis. However, there is data in here that directly applies to marketing and promotional purposes. In particular, look for anything that demonstrates return on investment (ROI) or the impact products have made. This kind of information is gold for communications and marketing.
5. Success stories and industry trends
Once your product has been out there for a while, collect and share the success stories from customers using the product. For example, at Haynes Marcoms we’ve been working with a technology company that launched a digital service kiosk; by looking at the impact it had on guest experience, staffing and team demands as well as wider commercial touchpoints we can understand the value it provided. Even then looking into behaviours of how the guest uses the tool (based on your own product development research), gives real-world insights to market activity. This kind of information will help market the product to potential new customers.
You should also support your success stories with wider industry trends that relate to the product. This demonstrates relevance and industry standards. Quantitative data can be used as industry proof points and contribute to new industry reports to keep your product marketing vibrant.
6. Customer feedback
Once there are customers out there using your product, do surveys to gain information on satisfaction levels and retention levels. This is how to market your product with the added credibility of figures such as a 9.7 satisfaction rate, or a 97% retention rate, or 5/5 people would recommend it to a friend.
This customer feedback is ideal to feed into product marketing, making it more eye-catching to prospective customers. Some new product or customer campaigns are even solely based on customer feedback (Marketing Week).