Why Good Product Marketing Is Educational and Hands-On
Product marketing involves building a go-to-market strategy to bring a new product to market, including positioning the product in the market, creating messaging and marketing materials to communicate the value of the product, launching it, and training salespeople to sell the product to the audience. It can also help shape the direction of the product by understanding the pain points of the audience and communicating that to the product team of engineers and developers.
Marketing a complex product to a knowledgeable audience can be challenging. You could be faced with in-depth technical questions and encounter complex jargon, or even struggle to gain the attention of a notoriously critical and hard-to-reach audience.
The best way to connect with this audience, raise awareness of your product, boost adoption, and improve engagement is to take an educational, hands-on marketing approach. We’ll explain the importance of knowing your audience and how to best engage them below.
You’re Marketing to a Savvy Audience
One of the common pitfalls that product marketers encounter is that they don’t understand the unique needs of their technical audiences. To be successful, you need to know who you’re trying to reach and what they do and don’t care about. But when you’re marketing your product to a technical audience who has detailed involvement in software and the way it can solve problems, you need to know its features and capabilities like the back of your hand.
Technical buyers don’t want to hear about your product’s general benefits, such as a boost in return on investment; they want to know how your product works. You need to focus on individual features rather than the high-level advantages of your product. This should also include answering questions, such as:
- What problem does your product solve?
- What differentiates your product from its competitors?
- Why should someone use your product?
Instead, engage your audience with an educational marketing initiative that helps them learn about your product. Your users need to know how your product works and what it does, rather than what the benefits are. Users want to work out for themselves whether your product is right for them and meets their needs. The aim is not to generate immediate sales, but to lower the friction between potential users and your product.
Your Users Love Learning
You are unlikely to be able to drum up support for your product, raise awareness before launch, or be able to appeal to your audience if you employ traditional product marketing tactics. Telling your audience — or training your sales team to tell them — about your product’s benefits through a static sales demo, cold calls, and fact sheets won’t work.
Education Helps You Stand Out in a Crowded Market
A lot of products are competing for the attention of your target audience and making users aware of your product can be a challenge. Education is a way to stand above the crowd as it taps into your audience’s love of learning and captures their attention. Providing product education means users are more likely to feel comfortable with your product’s capabilities, potential, and limitations.
Blogs and tutorials are an essential part of the educational mix as they are often a user’s first point of contact with your product, but they are also anonymous and you don’t know who is reading them and you can’t reach out and contact them. To complement this content, Create self-paced courses that are tailored to different roles, personas, seniority levels, and problems.
To provide this educational product experience, the top five product marketing items you need are:
- Product documentation
- Sample code
- Tutorials and how-to videos
- Training courses, and
- Software sandboxes
Creating Industry Content is Important Too
It can be tempting to focus all your education efforts on your product, but there is a better way to gain developer trust. Before you can get people to adopt your product, you need to educate them on the problem that your product solves, what the problem is costing them, how your product is helping other users, and the limitations of current solutions or processes.
Creating courses about peripheral technologies, including tips, tutorials, and how-to guides with useful information, rather than content that solely focuses on your product will help users find your content. Once they know about your product, you can direct them towards more product-focused content.
Provide Hands-on Product Experiences
Your users want to learn about your product by trying it out, not by reading about it or watching a video. Instead of static demos, they need interactive learning experiences and a frictionless version of your product. Your audience will want to use your product in real-world scenarios to see if it will solve the problems they currently face and make their lives easier.
A hands-on learning experience enables your users to quickly understand how your product helps them and provides validation that the product does what your website says it does. As it is a software sandbox, they can manipulate the environment to see how your product performs and whether it will help them solve the problem or use case they are working on.
Software sandboxes remove the friction for the developer to get started with a product versus having to download, install, and configure it. A software sandbox provides an immersive, hands-on training environment that uses the same software and scenarios that your technical users will have access to – but it launches instantaneously, is pre-configured, and comes pre-populated with data. You can also make these learning environments more personalized and tailored to the kind of training that users need. For example, you can create beginner and advanced courses, and allow students to start at different entry points.
Bringing it All Together
Combining a learn-by-doing approach that includes hands-on sandboxes through software sandboxes with self-paced courses, blogs, tutorials, and documentation provides the educational experience that technical users need to decide whether to adopt your product or not.
Creating educational content that matches your audience’s needs is crucial to running successful product marketing campaigns. You’ll also be able to learn from your users, understand what they are going to find most valuable, and shape your product to overcome your audience’s real problems.