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Hotjar’s guide to product-led marketing in 4 easy steps

The customer is at the center of all marketing activities in product-led marketing, ultimately driving their success. Here’s how we use product-led marketing at Hotjar. 

Last updated

18 Aug 2022

Reading time

6 min


Hotjar’s Guide to Product-Led Marketing in 4 Easy Steps

B2B and B2C buyers are tired of being sold to and talked at. They face a constant barrage of ads every single day, and an increasing number of people are using ad blockers. This has led to an emphasis on product-led marketing, which puts the product at the center of all campaigns to provide customers with a less invasive experience.  

What product-led marketing means to Hotjar

The objective of our product-led marketing is to let people know two things: 

  1. They have a problem

  2. We have a product that solves that problem

When we bring them to our problem-solving product, it should be both user-friendly and engaging, encouraging their success. Once they have personally tested Hotjar, they should love it enough to go out and tell their friends and colleagues all about it. 

The truth is, people are skeptical of marketing campaigns; they’re skeptical of both overt and veiled ads. We don’t shy away from this predisposition. They shouldn’t trust our marketing—instead, they should just experience the product and see for themselves. 

How Hotjar uses product-led marketing in 4 easy steps

Our product and the problems it solves have always been the driving force behind our marketing. Thanks to this product-led focus, we let our customers do the talking for us. 

Here’s how Hotjar successfully uses product-led marketing. 

1. Understand our customers’ problems

To do product-led marketing, you have to have a product-led mindset. It surprises me how few marketing teams actually talk to their customers, which is the complete opposite of what product teams do. Testing and talking to customers to get their feedback are such huge parts of product development. That’s just a part of the job. But that’s often not the case in marketing. 

Marketing teams tend to lean on quantitative data rather than getting quality information straight from their customers’ mouths. This is where Hotjar does things differently. 

All of our marketing is born from customer interviews, and whenever possible, we take it further by using the customers’ actual language in our campaigns.

To do this, we regularly get on calls with our customers and ask them questions such as: 

  • What does Hotjar help you do better? 

  • What can you now do faster than before?

  • What are you able to do in a way you couldn’t previously? 

Getting this information directly from our customers allows us to create campaigns to target their pain points and offer solutions.

Many companies that come to Hotjar have been reliant on the highest-paid person’s opinion, which doesn’t necessarily represent their customers’ concerns. Or they’ve focused on one-off interviews, which may be inaccurate at scale. Knowing the biggest problems and challenges our customers face en masse fuels the marketing campaigns at Hotjar.

For instance, we recently ran an ad campaign that featured a HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) and demonstrated how building a product on someone’s opinion isn’t as reliable as talking to your customers.


2. Educate customers 

We have two assets to educate customers and drive them towards success: 

  1. Hotjar Learning: a series of courses and videos that walk customers through how Hotjar works and how they can integrate it into their team’s tech stack 

  2. Hotjar Help Center: a library of detailed documents that shows Hotjar’s features and answers frequently-asked questions

#‘How to find insights in Recordings’ learning video
‘How to find insights in Recordings’ learning video

Our primary mindset is that the product should be intuitive—in an ideal world, we wouldn’t need guides, courses, and videos to show customers how to do certain tasks. But as the customers learn our systems, they may have questions. These resources serve to educate customers on topics like why they should be using the Highlights feature or how they can find the best insights in their recordings.

For me, it’s all about empathizing with the customer and understanding the product from their perspective. 

When we discover a customer’s pain point, we include the needed information directly into the product at that point. We don’t want to disrupt their workflow by making them search for the information, so we include it right where they need it.

This is one of the main differences between product-led marketing and other types of marketing—the educational material is public and documented so customers can access it themselves. They don’t have to file a support ticket. They don’t have to reach out and wait on another’s assistance. 

In a non-product-led company, the customer is at the mercy of the onboarding assistant’s pace, but with us, it’s all about helping the customer self-serve. 

3. Embed marketers into the product team 

In any product-led company, it’s critical that marketing and product teams have an open line of communication. At Hotjar, we embed marketers into the product teams. They report to marketing, but they spend their day working with a product team. We liken it to a consultancy model. 

The marketer's role within the product team is to facilitate communication, both between the product and non-product teams and also between the product team and the customer. Marketers are there right from the conception of a new idea or feature and are tasked with considering: 

  • Which problem is this feature solving?

  • What are the main problems the customer might have around this? 

  • How can I communicate this problem and solution in an easy-to-understand way? 

The marketer’s main aim is to think from the customer’s perspective, but they also bridge the gap between teams. For example, they might relay information from customer support to the product team by suggesting a new feature that would fix a common customer problem.

For example, Hotjar has a feature that allows users to filter any screen recordings captured. Without this, it would be incredibly time-consuming to find the desired recording. 

We do have a suite of tools that can help, but the customer success team reported that users either didn’t know how to use these features or they weren’t using them because they seemed too complex.

#How to apply filters video in Hotjar’s knowledge base
How to apply filters video in Hotjar’s knowledge base

Marketing brought this to the product team, who then inserted video tutorials precisely where customers needed this information. The tutorials show how the feature works, its value, and how customers should be using it.

4. Measure the results

It is necessary to consistently measure, track, and tweak your marketing to improve your return. 

The three metrics we focus on are: 

Number of users

First, we simply measure how many people are trying the product. If we’re doing our job by explaining the problem and helping people understand how our product can solve it, we should have more people trying it out. 

Retention rates

When someone tries Hotjar, our biggest question is whether they like it. If they do, they’ll choose to pay for the product and hopefully become a long-term user. To track this, we measure customer usage and retention rates. Ideally, happy customers will also tell others about their experience and encourage them to try it.

Direct traffic

A main channel of growth in the product-led world is happy customers telling other people about the product. Measuring traffic coming directly to the website helps us evaluate this. These visitors haven't clicked on a link from a blog post or an ad—instead, they’ve typed the URL directly into the address bar. Chances are good they were directed to Hotjar by one of their friends or colleagues. 

Hotjar’s goal with product-led marketing is to put the customer first, build an intuitive product, and create synergy between teams. Everything we do has one goal: to drive customer success. If our customers are successful, then so are we.

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