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Jillian Kaplan

Product Marketing in a Digital World

Jillian Kaplan

  • Nov 16, 2020
  • 5 Min read
  • Nov 16, 2020
  • 5 Min read
Product Management
Value-driven Planning


I feel like singing Madonna at the beginning of this guide: "We are living in a digital world, and I am a digital girl." As product marketers, we are dependent on trade shows and in-person customer engagement to create pipeline and close deals—so what happens when that goes away?

In this guide, we'll discover how to effectively market products without the regular in-person tools.

Virtual Launches

How do you go about launching a product when you can’t get in front of customers? We have been moving to digital assets for a long time, but they have always been alongside the ability to see people in person. When you are doing a fully virtual product launch, what are your best tools? We'll look at three in particular:

  • Virtual Trade Shows
  • Virtual Private Events
  • Media and Social Media

Virtual Trade Shows

Many trade shows have moved fully online, and the main events are the sessions and keynotes. In order to avoid technical glitches, these are often pre-recorded. It is does not make sense to risk having technical issues, so if you are sharing a launch or information, please make sure to pre-record. However, you have the option to show it as pre-recorded or to show it as mock-live.

Mock-live is when you pre-record a session but then show it in real time. This means that the presenters are available live to take questions after the session plays. The people watching the sessions are able speak to the presenters and do not know that the session was pre-recorded because it appears live, hence the mock-live set up.

My recommend is that you announce the product before the show, or at the very beginning, and then set up sessions where you can dive more into product value. If you are able to announce the product ahead of the virtual show, you can drive attendance to the show and therefore to the sessions about the product.

In-person trade shows are better because you can speak one on one to people, and if the product is physical, you can have an interactive demonstration. However, we are finding that with trade shows moving virtual (and free) that many more people are registering, so there is the opportunity to get your launch in front of more people.

Virtual Private Events

This is my favorite and I believe most underutilized tool: hosting your own event and inviting select customers. This is actually completely free to do if you have an enterprise Zoom account. I am sure there are other platforms that can host this as well.

The way that I think works best is setting up a thirty-minute keynote where people are talked at for 30 minutes or less. Then, after the first 30 minutes, the participants should be broken out into small rooms using a breakout room tool. Zoom has a tool where you can put each participant in a breakout room, and they can be split up by account or interest or anything else so you can answer their questions in a more private setting. For these events, I recommend no more than 100 customers and no more than ten customers per breakout room. This allows for a private event feeling.

When customers register, they get a link unique to them and you can easily track whether they join the event. Additionally, I recommend sending them a little gift and a note saying you are looking forward to seeing them to remind them to come. Sending them a gift goes a long way. We used to be able to take our customers to dinner and give away stuff at trade shows, but without that, it’s nice to show a little appreciation.

One of my favorite ideas is sending some wine, and you can even engrave and customize the baskets with your company logos. This company,, gives proceeds back to difference causes, which makes the customers feel good about the gift.

These virtual events give your sales team something to talk to customers and potential customers about and give you a platform to share your message. The only real cost is the cost of a gift you might send the customer for joining. These are highly effective and underutilized.

Media and Social Media

Media and social media amplification have been used for a long time, but without being able to have face-to-face meetings, I recommend upping your budget for these. Working with various media and social media to get leads and making sure targeting is correct are going to be more and more key.

For example, if you are hosting a trade show or a private event, paid media and social media can help you amplify that message and get people in front of the content that you want to share as part of the launch.


As a product marketer, you need to be able to launch any time, any place. Being able to communicate digitally is a key to success when launching products virtually. Finding the best tools to reach your customers is crucial.

I also recommend that you review my Developing Digital Fluency Course. It will allow you to understand how to speak a digital language and communicate successfully with both customers and internal stakeholders.