Bringing a new product or service to the market can feel like a daunting task to some. If it is not promoted properly, you could miss out on an opportunity or lose money down the line. Join Alex Virden as she discusses what it takes in real life to bring a new product or service to market and how she combines creativity and innovation into her work.
Susan Jones: What is product marketing?
Alex Virden : Product marketing is an interesting and emerging function. For me at EVERFI, my role as a product marketer is a centralized role, a connector to the key teams that I work with including customer success marketing, sales product development, engineering customer marketing and market Intel competitive intelligence. There are five different areas that I'm working in day-to-day. One would be discovery, where I'm looking into hypotheses around potential markets, potential items to put on our roadmap, flushing out personas and talking to customers. Another area is strategy, which includes product market fit pricing and go-to market planning for launches or feature releases. Next is defining and training, so working with our sales team and our marketers on training about what the new product could be or how to talk about it and how to write marketing messaging about it. And finally, getting set and growing a product from launch and post launch activities.
Susan Jones: Could you give us the step-by-step for when a new product or service is released into the market?
Alex Virden: When we're thinking market strategy I like to put the different planning processes into two different buckets. One would be a new product or service into the market, where you're starting from scratch in the development process. The other would be diversification, when you're adding a new feature or a new side to the product in an existing market. Both of those might have different tactics underneath, but the general mapping of a marketing plan would be focusing on launch planning and research upfront, marketing and sales strategy next, and then thinking also beyond that launch of what do you do when somebody bought the product or what do you do to keep interest growing in the market.
Susan Jones: Could you talk about building hype about a product inside the company as well as when it goes to the marketplace?
Alex Virden: Internally it's really important for our product marketer to work closely with their product manager, the product owner, and understand what's going into that product what the roadmap looks like. Understanding that when these different breadcrumbs are revealed, you can synthesize and put out into a training or a one pager that gets the marketing team excited, that gets the sales team excited and that gets everybody on the same page tracking towards that launch date. When you do that, and you start to build a lot of resources for teams to start using, that's when they get excited because they start to see that awesome products are coming to market and they have all the tools to start talking about it with prospects and customers. It’s a lot of just making sure that information about the product gets out, and that it's the right information that the team needs to start building a pipeline and generating leads. From the external perspective, it's a partnership with somebody that may work in demand gen. For example, I work closely with our marketing directors to say here's what I'm seeing from our persona market landscape competitive intelligence perspective, how can we infuse some of these talking points or some of these features and functionality into some email messaging or how can we write a blog about this?
Susan Jones: What's the most rewarding part of bringing a new product or service to the market?
Alex Virden: I love to see the growth of a company and the growth and interest in the market. That gets me really excited and says everything we did to build this product and everything we thought this product could be is paying off on not only customer happiness but we're also seeing the right leads come in and qualifying move down the funnel to close one. I just think the business impact of releasing something that's right in terms of its market fit and right in terms of its business goals is really exciting.
Susan Jones: How do you use storytelling in B2B?
Alex Virden: We take the approach of trying to humanize the products we have and humanize the end user. For EVERFI, we have a sponsorship model in some areas. We really want to showcase how teachers and students are using our products to those sponsors so we do things like impact reporting where we'll showcase knowledge gain and teacher quotes and different things like that. Outside of the education technology space that I'm currently in, I think it's really about humanizing the product and making it something that's connected to a business problem that we all can relate to. I think you see bigger brands Google and Amazon doing this quite well where they're sort of blurring the line between this is a B2B product but we're going to play on a human feeling and need and sort of take that B2C approach and infusing it. B2B can be entertaining, it's just striking the balance between showcasing a business problem and the product or service that fits and realizing that the person on the other end of the line is a human.
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