The Underappreciated Role of Product Marketing

As a seasoned marketing leader, I’ve witnessed firsthand the critical role of product marketing in an organization’s success. From identifying market opportunities to driving customer-centric growth strategies, product marketing is the unsung hero that fuels business growth. However, despite its significant contributions, product marketing often goes unnoticed and lacks the recognition it truly deserves. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges that product marketing faces and discuss how organizations can give product marketing the recognition it needs to excel.

According to a study by SiriusDecisions, 83% of organizations consider product marketing to be a critical function for their business success. But, I will also guarantee that most of the same organizations won’t truly understand what the product marketing team is supposed to do or deliver. As a way of oversimplifying it, product marketing professionals are responsible for translating market insights into effective product strategies, positioning products, and driving customer adoption. Their efforts are instrumental in identifying market opportunities, differentiating products from competitors, and achieving long-term business growth. As a product marketing leader, I have personally helped pivot brands from being positioned in a legacy category to a brand new category, enabling a much larger TAM (Total Addressable Market).

But despite the importance of their role, product marketers are often overlooked and underappreciated. They remain the unsung heroes of a highly successful marketing team, a super successful product launch or a high-impact sales play that resulted in millions of dollars in revenue.

Challenges Faced by Product Marketing:

Despite the critical role that product marketing plays in an organization’s success, there are several challenges that product marketing professionals often face, leading to their efforts going unrecognized. Some of the common challenges include:

1. Lack of Visibility: Product marketing efforts often happen behind the scenes and may not receive the same level of visibility as other functions, such as sales or traditional marketing. This can result in product marketers’ efforts being overlooked and their contributions undervalued.

2. Misaligned Metrics: In most organizations, product marketing may not have clear metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) tied to their efforts. This can make it difficult to measure and showcase the impact of their work on business outcomes, further diminishing their recognition.

3. Limited Resources: Product marketing teams may face constraints in terms of budget, staff, or time, which can limit their ability to execute their strategies and initiatives fully. This can hinder their ability to achieve the desired results and recognition for their efforts.

4. Lack of Cross-Functional Collaboration: Product marketing relies on collaboration with various teams within the organization, such as product management, sales, customer success, and marketing. However, a lack of collaboration and alignment among these teams can impede the success of product marketing efforts and hinder their recognition.

5. Lack of Executive Support: In many organizations, the product marketing function is fairly new, young, and immature. This leads to a lack of credibility amongst other cross-functional teams, which eventually causes gaps in working models. When there is no support for product marketing teams from the C-Suite or the VP-level sponsors, it can lead to absolute dysfunction where the product marketing team is never respected or heard properly by anyone.

But despite these challenges, product marketers are essential to the success of any business. They’re the ones who make sure that products are successful in the market, and they’re the ones who help businesses grow.

So how can organizations fix the problem of underappreciated product marketing?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Give product marketers a seat at the table. Product marketers need to be involved in product development and planning processes from the very beginning. They need to have a voice in product strategy, positioning, messaging as well as roadmap planning.
  • Recognize the value of product marketing. Organizations (particularly the top executives) need to recognize the value of product marketing and give them the resources they need to succeed. This includes providing them with training, development opportunities, and access to senior leadership.
  • Align metrics with business goals: Product marketing professionals should leverage data and analytics to measure and showcase the impact of their efforts on business outcomes. This can include metrics such as product adoption rates, pipeline contribution, customer satisfaction scores, and revenue generated from product launches. By showcasing tangible results, product marketers can demonstrate the value they bring to the organization.
  • Foster Cross-Functional Collaboration: Key executives should foster a culture of collaboration and alignment among different teams, including product marketing, product management, sales, and marketing. This can ensure that product marketing efforts are integrated into the overall go-to-market strategy and that the contributions of product marketers are recognized and valued.
  • Provide Adequate Resources: Organizations should ensure that product marketing teams have the necessary resources, including budget, staff, and time, to execute their strategies and initiatives effectively. This can include providing adequate funding for product marketing campaigns, allocating enough staff to manage product marketing responsibilities, and allowing product marketers the time and flexibility to conduct market research and execute their plans.
  • Recognize and Celebrate Success: Organizations should celebrate and recognize the success of product marketing efforts. This can include acknowledging achievements, sharing success stories within the organization, and publicly recognizing the contributions of product marketing professionals. Recognition can motivate product marketers to continue delivering outstanding results and drive a culture of appreciation for their efforts.

By taking these steps, organizations can help to ensure that product marketing is given the recognition it deserves. Product marketers are essential to the success of any business, and they should be treated as such.

I hope this blog post has helped to shed some light on the important role of product marketing. If you’re a product marketer, I encourage you to share this post with your colleagues and managers. Together, we can help to raise the profile of product marketing and show that it’s a valuable function that deserves recognition.


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