Product Marketing – the missing discipline…

An effective Product Marketing team is most probably the best insurance policy for any new venture.   For a trading company the Sales team and CEO’s all have tunnel vision on next quarter’s revenue.  The role of product marketing is to build next year’s revenue and ensure that any investment in product development produces a measurable return. 

The finite definition of product marketing’s function is variable, but it unanimously does include the full range of marketing activities, rather than just promotion activities. Noting that for too many business people, marketing is just a promotion activity.

Key activities of pure product marketing that are often absent in businesses include:

  • Assessment and validation of marketsWill someone actually buy this product once it is created?
  • Access to channels to marketsmart go-to market strategies and distribution agreements that are workable and will not conflict with potential company exit strategies.
  • Return on Investmentworking out if this is the best use of the company’s capital and when and how will it get a return.
  • Development of effective sales collateral and messaging – that communicates what is relevant to customers, rather than a feature or technology list.

Check your company’s marketing activities against this great list from www.pragmaticmarketing.com

This is one area we have a lot to learn from American technology companies. New Zealand technology companies often make the first move of appointing product managers, to manage product road maps, product requirements definitions, and act as the referee between sales and development teams.

My suggestion following on from my recent  Rule of 10’s post is, at the very least, budget an equivalent amount of money in the complete list of marketing activities as you do in product development. Likewise, balance your marketing spend between strategic and tactical activities.

I would encourage CEO’s of companies, Crown Research Institutes and universities to explore this missing discipline. I would also welcome the Ministry of Science and Innovation to begin to invest in this crucial area of commercialisation, rather than just the science part.

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2 thoughts on “Product Marketing – the missing discipline…

  1. Totally agreed! Do they actually understand what commercialisation means? I suspect given the high level of influence of the universities and crown institutes have with MSI that there might be unbalanced view of what commercialisation actually means. Ask any business who is trying to penetrate new markets particularly export markets if its all about the science and the reality is, they will all tell you, it all comes down to the diagram above. You don’t have anything genius unless people want to buy it its that simple. And you can spend whatever you like to crack the genius, but if no one cares, you don’t have a business.

    It interests me that MSI seem scared to invest in this kind of assistance for businesses, but WILL spend on the science and yet it is the very thing they bang on about businesses not getting right!

    And another great post Mark thanks.

  2. Hope is on the horizon with the formation of Kiwinet, to create central and common front door to CRI’s and unviversity commercialisation centres for business. This combined with yet another new ministry I am hoping they will eventually see the light and begin funding full commercialisation including product marketing.Got to keep pushing… watch this space.

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