I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend about product marketing and where does it begin? They just started a new job running a product marketing organization that previously had no organized product marketing function. And the question is, where should they begin? Personas? Market analysis? Messaging? Collateral? Website?
The firm was utterly deficient in every aspect of product marketing. They had no established messaging, they had no market definition, and the collateral was pretty weak, not to mention they didn’t really do any enablement of their reps. The real answer to their question was probably anything done was going to help, but where is the most bang for the buck?
Learn from my experience
In 2017, I went and helped a client address the establishment of a product marketing function. When I joined the team, they had a bit more than my friend saw. But it was still deficient across the board. The messaging was more about taglines than anything else. They had many datasheets, but most were technical in nature. Their website was out of date. They didn’t have much market research, instead of relying on ad hoc conversations to guide the development and sales of products. To top it off, the firm was hiring agencies en masse to develop assets. But they didn’t have anything to guide the development of their assets. In the end, most of those agency assets ended up just being a waste of resources.
Buyer Personas is the first stop
While in an ideal world, you would probably start with market analysis to determine if the product, solution, or service fits market requirements, chances are the service is already in the market. So that activity, while intellectually stimulating, has limited near term impact. Management expects product marketing hires to have an immediate effect. Personas offer a path to instant impact
Why B2B personas?
I touched on this in a previous blog post (from 2017 no less). The reality is that B2B marketers don’t know their buyers well. By establishing a persona document, this document can then guide the development of everything else. If you know your buyer, creating compelling messaging will be much easier. Buyers also feed into the sales qualification process, creating compelling content (see that blog post above) and not to mention that it will help onboard new hires and agencies much faster.
What Exactly is a B2B Buyer Persona?
In a future blog post, I will define how best to develop a persona. A persona is a document that outlines who your buyer is, their challenges, where they congregate, and a whole host of other items. Here is someone’s blog post that does an excellent job of outlining the document.
If you need help creating personas, I have templates and experience to jump and help you with the process.