Every week, Zikoko will share the hustle stories of Nigerians making it big in and out of the country. With each story, we’ll ask one crucial question in several ways: “How you do am?”
Daniel Orubo’s hustle story took us through his transition from the media industry to tech product marketing, but how do you start a product marketing career as a JJC? That’s why we’ve made this guide.
Who is a product marketer?
From the title, product marketers are responsible for selling and promoting the features of a particular product to a target audience. They use processes such as product positioning, messaging, pricing and go-to-market roadmaps to drive the demand and usage of the product.
To put it simply, their job is to carry their products on their head.
What do they do?
So, we already know that the core of the product marketer’s job is to sell their product, but how exactly does this happen? Every organisation worth its salt knows product marketers are critical to the business’s goals, and they do this via:
- Product messaging and positioning: Product marketers are necessary before, during and after a product’s launch. They analyse the customer’s needs — basically serving as the customer’s voice — and determine gaps to ensure the product’s features take the customer’s needs and feedback into account when releasing product updates and improvements.
- Managing product launches: The product marketer also uses insights they get from customer and market research, as well as competitor analysis, to capture the best strategy and work required to successfully launch the product.
- Product roadmap planning: Throughout the product’s lifespan, the product marketer will need to consider a number of questions, such as:
- What are the tasks required to ensure the product launches on the decided date?
- What are the content marketing and storytelling tactics required to properly position the product before, during and after the launch? What are the sales and revenues goals?
- How are customers going to be onboarded?
In summary, everything related to making the product a success is the product marketer’s top priority.
- Liaising with other members of the product team: The product marketer doesn’t work alone. More often than not, they work in tandem with the sales, marketing and product development team — including tech, if applicable. Imagine the product marketer promising the customer one thing and the tech team doing something entirely different. That’s why alignment is key.
Other members of the product team:
Yeah, we don’t want that.
What skills do product marketers need?
A degree in marketing is beneficial, but many product marketers do without. However, you’d need to take relevant product marketing courses like Daniel did, to learn about the various tactics, strategies and research skills needed to succeed in this role.
Some major hard skills necessary for this career path include writing, presentation, well-honed marketing skills and an understanding of business basics, as you’ll need to understand revenue projections, business metrics and a bit of financial planning.
In the soft skills aspect, strategic thinking ranks high. Product marketers are always thinking about strategies, roadmaps and the market in general, so you’d need to know how to think logically.
Other important soft skills include creativity, an ability to prioritise, communication, advocacy, and a passion for solving customers’ problems.
Are they like normal marketers?
Not really. While traditional marketing focuses on driving demand and creating brand awareness, product marketing doesn’t end at acquisition, or “the sale”. Product marketing also includes product positioning, customer onboarding and ensuring retention.
For example, a marketer can rent a billboard to tell you that ponmo is available, and you need to come and buy. But a product marketer goes forward to add you to ponmo support group, get your feedback on the ponmo, create new ponmo dishes and basically make you see why you should keep eating ponmo, and possibly upgrade to the special ponmo dishes.
So, where can product marketers work?
At the risk of sounding like a Nigerian lecturer, product marketers can work in any organisation that has a product to sell, especially in tech, banking, and media. You just need to know as much as possible about the product, target customers and the general market.
How organisations will look at you
How much do product marketers earn?
Earning power in this field depends on several factors like experience, industry and organisation, but a product marketer can earn an average of ₦400k per month.