When bringing a product to market, you must think about how you are going to market the product. One of the biggest factors in marketing in a product is who you are going to sell it to. This doesn’t just include creating a customer profile, but also whether you are going to sell it direct to consumers or to businesses. Both of these are customers, but the avenues in which you launch the product will vary.
B2B product marketing refers to selling to another business, or business to business. B2C product marketing refers to selling to a consumer or end user, or business to consumer.
Understanding who your audience is is one of the reasons that product managers work with product marketing versus general marketing. The marketing for the product is very specific and targeted in contrast to a general marketing campaign.
This is when you are selling to another business and not a consumer. As an example, this could be a CRM software tool, which an end user would not buy but a company would buy to manage their own end-users.
You would likely sell this product through a sales force instead of in a store, but you could also have the availability to order and/or customize a bit online. However, as the business you are selling to gets bigger it will become more likely the sales will be done by a sales person instead of online. If you think about it, most business aren’t walking into stores to buy things, maybe a few office supplies but their big purchases are much more hands-on than picking something up off of a shelf.
Therefore, your launches are going to use outlets in which these business customers are going to be looking for new products to help them with their business. Let’s look at some of the ways to conduct B2B product marketing:
Social media and website assets
Sales enablement tools
We are going to dive into each of these as we look at product launches and marketing for each of these outlets for launching your product.
Technical documents are something that you are going to have to contribute to. There are many different forms of technical documents, but often times these are written as solution briefs that tell a story of "why this product," with a focus on the core users and use cases for those users. When you are doing B2B launches, these are often bigger ticket items, and perhaps you need to do some customization as well. These technical documents will help your customers understand why they need the product and why this solution will work for them.
Infographics will tell the story of the product in a less wordy way than a technical document. They are simple graphics that quickly reference the product benefits. Often the benefits include time or money savings. An infographic is a one-pager that can graphically highlight this without getting into too many details but will pique the interest of the reader so they'll want to dive in and learn more. These are often used for media, social, and web promotion as well.
Social media assets and websites, especially those on more business-focused platforms, are going to be key. Many product launches are done on social media, and for B2B products your focus would be on LinkedIn and Twitter. Working with marketing to create easy-to-consume assets that explain what the product is and why the customer needs it is going to help you take advantage of today’s social world.
Webinars will be something that a product manager often presents. This would be presenting a slide deck for the product to the customer to explain the value proposition and why they need it. Sales might also do these webinars, but as the product expert it would likely be the product manager doing the launch webinar. Webinars are key for B2B customers because they create a custom and white glove experience.
Sales enablement tools are going to arm your sales force with the things they need in order continue to sell the product after launch. These are things like presentations, solution briefs, technical documents and battle cards so they can help the customer understand the competitive analysis.
This is more commonly referred to as B2C product marketing and products. This is when you sell directly to a customer. As an example, you might sell a TV directly to a consumer. This marketing is often done via outlets that consumers are on and there is not often a sales force calling the consumers directly, although there can be if it’s a cold calling type of situation but it’s not as targeted.
You will note below that there are less examples of B2C product marketing as it tends to be more general. Examples of B2C product marketing are:
Social media and website assets
Print and mailer advertisements
We are going to work through each of these marketing outlets focused on consumers. You may be targeting a specific demographic with your launch but they can be done within each of these three outlets.
Commercials are usually web or TV ads that are focused on consumers instead of businesses. Usually the CEO of a company is not watching TV looking to purchase their next CRM system. However, if you are selling a camera then your consumer might be watching TV and want to buy that camera. You would focus on commercials for programming that your target demographic would be watching.
Social media and website assets are going to look similar to your B2B focus but you are going to look more at consumer-focused outlets. This would mean you would pivot to create assets that work better for platforms that consumers are on such as Facebook and Instagram.
Print and mailers are unique to consumer marketing. If you are launching a consumer product you might consider running some print and/or targeting with mailers for your target demographic.
B2B and B2C product marketing and launches look very different overall but do have some areas that overlap. The biggest difference between these two types of launches is that most often with B2B sales you have fewer customers but you sell each of them more stuff, whereas with consumers you often have more customers but you only sell each one or two. That will really help you as you begin to think through your launch and marketing.
You will find that as you bring products to market you need to be very involved in the messaging no matter who the audience is. However, where you message will vary and it’s important that you work with product marketing as the technical and product expert to focus this messaging.