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Product marketing: what it is and why it matters

Product marketing propels your product to market—and ensures it has a long, successful run once there.

But it’s complicated. Product marketing requires a deep understanding of your customers, a strong grasp of the competitive landscape, and a mastery of strategic storytelling.

Last updated

13 Nov 2023

Reading time

5 min



Product marketing is the key to great product launches. This guide helps you understand what it is, how it differs from other types of marketing, and how you can use it to deliver more value to your customers.

We cover: 

Four benefits of product marketing include 

  1. Improved customer understanding

  2. More effective messaging

  3. Increased sales and revenue

  4. Better collaboration and alignment

What is product marketing?

Product marketing is the business function that facilitates a product’s go-to-market (GTM) process. It involves advocating for customer preferences during product development, creating a product story, and promoting the product in the market landscape.

Product marketing sits squarely at the intersection of four separate teams: product, marketing, sales, and customer support (CS). To do their work well, product marketing managers (PMMs) must communicate cross-functionally (more on this later). 

For example, they may collaborate with the sales team to provide training or develop resources to convert leads, or they may work with marketing to align the product’s messaging strategy with the brand’s.

Tasks and responsibilities of a product marketer include 

  • Conducting customer and market research

  • Creating user personas

  • Developing product positioning, messaging, and branding

  • Developing sales collateral, like landing pages or videos

  • Creating the GTM plan

  • Managing product launches

Cultivate empathy for your customers

Use Hotjar’s tools to understand user behavior and ensure your product marketing drives demand and adoption.

Product marketing vs. traditional marketing

Product marketing isn’t simply another way to say ‘marketing’. It’s actually a subset of traditional marketing. Let’s take a look at the differences. 

Product marketing

  • Focuses on positioning and promoting a specific product 

  • Involves considerable internal collaboration, including working with the product design team

  • Often aims toward marketing a new product to the company’s existing customers

Traditional marketing

  • Drums up interest in the brand or its products as a whole

  • Includes a wide variety of external-facing efforts, including social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing campaigns, or billboards

  • Aims to attract new leads and customers 

While they have different focuses, product marketers and traditional marketers both require a thorough understanding of customers—and they sometimes collaborate on product promotion.

Product marketing vs. product management

Product marketing and product management sound alike and share some responsibilities—like understanding user needs and the market—but also have distinct differences.

Product management involves 

  • Creating a vision and product roadmap

  • Communicating across functions like user experience (UX), engineering, and sales

  • Setting goals and defining success metrics

  • Prioritizing features by ranking them against goals

  • Leading beta and pilot programs

Product management focuses on the product itself, guiding it from vision to execution. Product marketing managers work with product managers (PMs) to share customer research and develop user personas, but in the end, PMMs are more focused on getting the product to market.

4 benefits of product marketing 

With the amount of time and money involved in building a product, you want to ensure it’s a home run with your customers. Whether you’re selling bookkeeping software or a vacuum cleaner, having a product marketing strategy ensures your product stands out from your competitors’ offerings and experiences more growth.

Let’s take a look at four benefits of product marketing.

1. Improved customer understanding

Product marketing involves getting crystal clear on your target audience through market and customer research. Product marketers dive deep into potential customers’ goals, requirements, pain points, and behaviors to develop empathy for their needs. 

Working with team members from other functions, PMMs gather, analyze, and compare data through a cross-functional lens, providing a unique holistic view of buyers. They use this information to ensure a solid product-market fit—and to decide how to communicate their product’s value to customers. 

💡 Pro tip: use Hotjar Recordings to understand how users interact with your product’s launch content, like explainer videos, landing pages, and blogs. 

Recordings capture individual users’ mouse movements, clicks, and scrolls, helping you see what they skip past—and what they need the most—so you can improve key metrics like user engagement and product adoption.

Hotjar Recordings lets you see how people interact with your digital marketing campaign so you can learn how to improve it

2. More effective messaging

Using customer insights, product marketing teams develop messaging that highlights exactly why potential customers need your product. They communicate how your software (or microwave ovens or sneakers) will make buyers’ lives easier, save them time, or change their entire self-perception. 

Product marketers use their rich customer knowledge—along with creativity and a wow-worthy way with words—to craft clear and compelling narratives surrounding your product. This ensures a successful launch and helps your product stand out in a crowded marketplace with scores of similar items.

💡 Pro tip: launch surveys to gather the customer insights you need to create effective product messaging. 

  • User persona surveys help you dig deeper into who your buyers are, their goals, and how they use your product

  • Market research surveys let you learn more about your audience’s existing tech stack, challenges, and preferred product features

  • Product-market fit surveys reveal how often people use your product, what they’d do without it, and what sets you apart from your competitors

Or if your project’s goals are unique, turn to Hotjar’s AI for Surveys. Tell AI what you’re working on, and it generates questions for you in seconds. 

Hotjar AI for Surveys saves you hours by creating survey questions suited to your goal and audience

3. Increased sales and revenue

When the right people hear the right message—it’s magic. They turn into sales-qualified leads (SQLs), shoppers who are interested in your product and ready to buy. That means more conversions and more revenue, helping you hit or exceed your objectives and key results (OKRs).

Plus, product marketing teams create and distribute sales enablement materials—content like white papers, case studies, or industry reports—that help reps deliver seamless purchase experiences and close deals.

💡 Pro tip: use Hotjar Heatmaps to visualize aggregate user behavior data, understand how far down the page your average user scrolls, and what they pay the most attention to, so you can adjust your landing page elements—like the layout—to maximize conversions.

Hotjar Heatmaps allow product marketing teams to understand user behavior signals, so you can improve your landing page and increase sales

4. Better collaboration and alignment

Product marketers share user data and communicate their strategies and objectives across different functions, encouraging cross-functional collaboration and ensuring that a clear and consistent product message makes its way to customers. 

Product marketing managers lay out detailed project plans in a shared visual document using roadmapping tools and hold regular GTM team calls so that everyone’s on the same page. For example, they might create a detailed messaging strategy, so content marketers know exactly how to discuss the product in their articles.

💡 Pro tip: use Highlights to create better team alignment around digital marketing campaigns. 

Highlights lets you save the most fascinating parts of a recording or heatmap that you can turn into a collection, add notes about user actions, and tag your colleagues to spark a conversation about how to tweak page elements.

Highlights let you save an interesting part of a page to discuss with team members later

Empathize with your users to spark long-term product success 

Product marketing allows you to articulate your unique value proposition (UVP)—the secret sauce that sets you apart from the competition—to customers. To do that, you need a deep understanding of your product, the market, and your users. 

That last part is especially critical—by understanding user goals and pain points, you empathize with them and create a successful product that makes their lives easier.

Cultivate real empathy for your customers

Use Hotjar’s tools to understand user behavior and ensure your product marketing drives demand and adoption.

FAQs about product marketing