Product oriented companies and why marketing matters

I was involved in one Cloud oriented startup that earns money by selling monthly and yearly subscriptions. Whole team with CEO included were devoted to create technically superior product for their current and new customers but none of them liked to work on promoting benefits of their product, so marketing tasks were not on the priority list. They are all aware that this is the bad thing but none of them was willing to do marketing tasks, so, apparently they needed to hire one good marketeer.

Product grew organically but they were not been able to produce “hockey stick” growth¬† and they thought that by adding new features it will be enough to make their product more interesting to the new customers.

The reality was the opposite. No matter what they have added it didn’t help them quickly because nobody knew nothing about their product/service (it was not promoted aggressively). It is not bad in general, but it could be so much better.

This happens when company management have only technical background and not marketing background and when everyone enjoy making product technically better. So, they had made a plan: they will finish first one big update and then they will dedicate most off their efforts to the marketing tasks and they hope that this will make the impact on the market.

Product is good, their customers are satisfied but they need to find more customers to make whole thing sustainable business.

These are the tips what you must expect from your marketing manager and his team:

  1. Make marketing team to focus on producing the content (as fast as possible) that will promote the value of your product online – marketing manager and his team need to write blogs, PR articles, case studies, be active on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook), to give useful comment on relevant forums like Quora and on important vertical markets. Measure the impact of all these actions. If marketing department is not producing content fast enough, or they don’t add value to product’s growth you will need to replace them with more efficient team.
  2. Marketing should focus on one vertical market at the time and to create strategy to offer them one package that can be sold easily and that does not require much work of production team (this offer use the features that product already has but nobody know about them except the production team). Attack must be direct and coordinated and management need to measure the success (what we have sent and what we have achieved).
  3. Send offers directly to larger customers that can buy large amount of subscriptions (bigger volume), otherwise marketing costs will grow more then you will earn. Contacting small customers by your marketing team is not profitable so they should be focused on big customers or in promotion of your value for customers through different channels.
  4. Use some other services that push good deals like f6s – you can get a lot of customers from these channels.
  5. Be relevant – comment only on vertical markets that are yours.
  6. Marketing should at the end focus on product improvements and data driven marketing (to tell better initial value for the customer and to focus on better funnelling and gathering marketing stats) but this task need to be done only if they have success in primary tasks.
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