Why Product Marketing Alone Doesn’t Work
Once upon a time, focusing on a product’s features and price was enough to attract and engage buyers. But now, audiences have changed — and product marketing alone won’t bring long-term success.
What’s different? Predominantly, the internet and social media have changed the way people and businesses do their shopping. Today there is so much information about a product that over 50% of buyers do research themselves before contacting a salesperson – giving buyers more leverage than ever before.
As a result, businesses have had to shift their marketing techniques to focus on the full customer experience to adapt to these changes in the buying experience. Now nearly 46% of businesses plan to prioritize the customer experience in the next five years. Consumers are presented with endless amounts of information on the Internet, so it’s important to stand out from all the background noise. Otherwise, your marketing campaigns will drown in a sea of price and feature-filled marketing campaigns. Instead of defaulting to the product-centric approach, companies should aim to create captivating content that engages prospects in any buying stage.
Product Marketing Vs. Content Marketing
Product marketing focuses on marketing specific product features and benefits with the intent of getting the buyer to purchase. It includes everything from core messaging, the product description on your website, sales decks, product data sheets, and customer case studies. Product marketing aims to persuade consumers that they have the solution to their problem. It primarily targets buyers who are familiar with the product already and are actively looking for a solution.
Content marketing on the other hand strives to draw audiences into your brand with genuinely helpful content. It focuses on solutions for customers’ pain points and challenges and aims to educate and inform rather than to buy. This ultimately taps into what the user cares about by focusing on value propositions over product specifications. Content marketing targets those who aren’t aware of your product and who would most likely buy from you. This audience is “top of the funnel,” or users who are not ready to buy but are aware they have a problem. Content marketing is usually more helpful at the top-of-the-funnel since it involves long term strategies.
Why focus on content marketing?
Unless your customers are already looking to purchase, your well-planned product marketing runs the risk of being overlooked by the majority of your buyers. In fact only 17% of buyers spend time meeting with potential suppliers while they are considering a product purchase. That means your pool of buyer-ready prospects is generally small, and if your campaigns are only targeting these buyer personas, you are losing out on reaching thousands of possible future customers.
Listed below are three common types of content and an explanation of how they lead to long term marketing success.
Company content focuses on your company’s values, goals, and culture. Your audience cares who they buy from. Seventy-one percent of consumers ages 35-54 and eighty-three percent of consumers ages 18-34 would only buy from companies whose values align with theirs. That’s why it’s important to tell your audiences about what matters most to your company and how you contribute to related causes. You could also describe your work culture and explain how it sets you apart from the rest, or even describe the goals the company has as a whole later on five years down the road. Providing this insight engages those prospective customers who share similar perspectives on life. This builds trust because it allows consumers to feel good about the company behind the product.
Providing expert insight into industry news or how-to articles that solve common customer problems are a few examples of thought leadership.This type of content is generally distributed through email, blogs, or online articles. When customers see you as a thought leader in your industry, your credibility is strengthened. Sharing your content on platforms such as LinkedIn and getting positive public feedback helps shape your image as someone who is a reliable source of information. Thought leadership builds trust — which is important because consumers want to do business with companies they trust.
Lead generation content has a very specific goal: to identify opportunities. A critical aspect of growth, lead generating content captures opportunities from existing and new audiences, aims to build brand awareness, and most importantly, persuades prospects to complete a call to action. The audience may not be familiar with your brand or product, so product marketing alone may not garner much interest. However, giving your target audience something for free such as an e-book or demo allows you to capture their information for future campaigns further along in the marketing funnel. Now that they know who you are, they are more likely to be receptive to your outreach moving forward.
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Content marketing sets you up for long term success by engaging your audience even when they may not be in the buying stage. Your customer testimonials, interesting LinkedIn blogs, and attractive lead gen campaigns, for example, all work together to help build brand awareness, loyalty, and trust. Remember, if a customer isn’t looking for your product at the time they see your ad, your product’s pricing and features alone won’t matter. Content marketing builds brand trust and in the long run, increases your revenue. That’s why it’s important to combine the two for the best results.