10 Lists of 10: Insights on Social Media, Product Marketing and More

May 27, 2013

Top 10 Lists on social media, product marketing and more


Because “lists of 10” is a popular format on this blog, I decided to round up a “list of 10 covering the lists of 10.” Without further ado, I present you with my ten favorite lists of ten.

1) 10 Reasons Print Rules in The Digital Age

Call me old fashioned: this post provides ten reasons why I enjoy magazine subscriptions to The Economist and SI.

2) 10 Steps to Creating Blog Posts Your Readers Will Love

My ten step process for writing blog posts. Since this post is a compilation of past posts, I didn’t use the process this time.

3) 10 Reasons Texting Has Taken Over the World

10 reasons texting has taken over the world

Texting is not limited to the younger generation – in fact, texting is taking over the world.

4) Unable to Attend an Event? 10 Ways Twitter Fills the Gap

You simply can’t make it to all events. And when you can’t, turn to Twitter to fill the gap.

5) 10 Reasons Storytelling is The New Product Marketing

Storytelling is the new product marketing

Calling all product marketers: tell good stories.

6) 10 Reasons to Skip the Web Site in Favor of Twitter (When Researching a Company)

When I research a company, I find it more useful to skim through their home page, then jump directly to their Twitter profile.

7) Top 10 Tips for Social Media Time Management

How to manage your time on social media

Intimidated by the amount of time social media consumes? Check out this list of tips on social media time management.

8) The 10 Things Marketers Should Do When Starting a New Job

When Marketers start a new job, they should engage with Sales right away, among other things.

9) 10 Reasons Social Media Addicts Should Go Camping

Camping lets you take a break from social media

Want to get off the grid and disconnect from social media? Go camping.

10) 10 Reasons Product Managers and Event Managers are Kindred Spirits

How product managers and event managers are alike

This list argues that documents how: product managers and event managers do a lot of the same things.

The 10 Things Marketers Should Do When Starting a New Job

May 25, 2013

Do these 10 things when starting a new marketing job

Photo credit: Courtney Dirks via photopin cc


Recently, I started a new job at DotNetNuke, a leading web content management platform. As a product marketer, part of my role is to help tell the story of the great products we sell – and, in a broader way, the great company we are.

As a result, I wanted to meet everyone in the organization, from Sales to Legal, from Engineering to Finance and from HR to Customer Support.

Here are the ten things marketers should do when starting a new job.

1) Introduce yourself to everyone.

Meet everyone at your new company

Photo credit: Flickr user: screenpunk via photopin cc

Depending on the size of your organization, it may be challenging to meet “everyone.” I’m based at headquarters, with about 40 other team members. I was taken “on the rounds” to meet everyone. If you don’t have the benefit of being taken around, be sure to introduce yourself to everyone you come across.

2) Ask for an org chart.

I was provided an org chart on my first day, which helps on a number of levels. First, it gives me a list of everyone in the organization. Next, as I meet people, I’m able to look them up on the chart to confirm their role. And finally, it gives me an early sense of whom I’ll be working closely with (e.g. account managers, account execs, etc.).

3) Engage with Sales right away.

Sales and Marketing alignment begins with a “hello.” Introduce yourself to as many sales reps as you can. The first week is primarily an “existence proof,” so Sales knows your name and begins to recognize your face. It’s the beginning of a long-standing (and important) relationship.

4) Focus on completing the “logistics.”

Filling out the W-2, reading the employee handbook and enrolling in benefits are important and necessary steps. Spend the time early on to complete these steps. If you can get them done on Day 1 or 2, the rest of your first week (and beyond) is set up for success.

5) Schedule video conferences with remote teams.

Meet remote teams via video

Photo credit: Flickr user: oxmour via photopin cc

Since our Engineering and Support teams reside in a different location, I was scheduled on orientation briefings with the leaders of those teams. We used a Polycom video conferencing system, which allowed us to see each other. If you don’t have such a system in your organization, go with Skype or Google+ Hangouts.

6) Attend as many internal meetings as you can.

Ask for permission to attend as many internal meetings as your schedule permits. Because you’re new, you’re guaranteed to learn something in each meeting. I attended a daily scrum meeting and got to hear details around the current product release. It also gave me a feel for how the Engineering team works.

7) Tell Sales what you plan to do for them (informally).

I boiled it down to this: I want to enable Sales to sell more. Define your objective up front and communicate it. That helps shape everything else you do. Communicate the “what,” then work to define the “how.” Sales will be sure to help you with the “when.”

8) Ask for the fire hose to be turned on.

Ask your peers to send you as much information as they can: email threads, project plans, existing marketing content, etc. It’s better to have the fire hose be turned on than to be lacking in water. You’ll need to prioritize what you consume and review – but as a marketer, you’re skilled in working with (and prioritizing) massive amounts of content.

9) Attend sales calls as a silent observer.

It’s good to see product demos from peers, but it’s priceless to observe a sales call (and demo) with prospects and customers. You get to learn a lot about your products. And importantly, you get to see how Sales is positioning and selling the products. During your first week or two, you may not be ready to have a speaking role on these calls. So let Sales know up front that you’ll focus on listening.

10) Develop a short-term plan.

Your boss will probably provide you with a short-term plan. Take that plan and compress it down to an even shorter timeframe (e.g. your first 1-2 weeks). This helps you prioritize at a more tactical level, to ensure your first 1-2 weeks are as effective as possible.

5 Reasons to Run Social Ads for Product Marketing

April 27, 2013

Social ads help generate awareness

Photo source: User TimYang.net on flickr.


As a product marketer, you need to generate awareness of your products. Of the many tools in your tool chest, social media has emerged as an effective swiss army knife.

While some have found success driving leads and opportunities via social, I’ve been using it to generate awareness. I’ve found paid social ads to be a necessary complement to my “organic” (non-paid) social marketing.

Let’s consider five reasons to run paid social ads for your product.

1) Our short attention spans are getting shorter.

Across television, the web and print; across devices mounted on walls and in our palms, we’re inundated with more media than ever. How can we pay attention to any one thing? It’s hard and social media adds more food to the media buffet. Paid social ads can provide you with a small boost of attention (with your target buyer).

2) Your posts on social media are bound to be missed.

Let’s face it: unless your product is sold to social media managers, your target audience is not on social media all day long. In addition, social media is breaking news, real-time information, here, now. I like to say that if happened yesterday on social media, it didn’t happen. Paid social ads help combat this.

3) Gets you past social gatekeepers.

Reach more people with Facebook Promoted Posts

You spend years building up the Likes on your Facebook Page. Now, you pay for Promoted Posts to reach your own fans? Yes, that doesn’t seem quite right to me.

But I’m a pragmatist. “It is what it is” and you know what? It works. Spend $10-$15 and get more awareness to your own followers (Likes). You’ll also reach people outside of your network and have the potential to generate new Likes (of the post), shares and Likes (of your page).

4) Extends the life of your social posts.

So you wrote an awesome case study, then crafted a creative tweet to promote it. Chances are 95% of your followers didn’t see the tweet. And of those who missed it, another 95% will never, ever see it (the other 5% may see it because you included a hash tag that they follow).

With paid social ads, you can set a budget and your ads (posts) will be promoted until the budget runs dry. If social media posts suffer from radioactive decay, then social ads double your half-life.

5) New targeting options available.

You can now target Twitter ads by keywor

Twitter recently launched keyword targeting for Twitter Ads. Now, you can target your Twitter ads to users who engage with certain keywords in their timeline or in search.

Let’s say you tweeted about your daily special at your hot dog stand. You can now promote that tweet via these keywords: hot dog, ketchup, mustard, frankfurter, relish. The targeting can help not only with awareness, but also in driving conversions (leads).


The fun thing about social media is the fast pace of change. And while I’ve focused on Facebook and Twitter ads in this post, I’m sure new advertising options will emerge. In addition, there are existing options to explore, such as LinkedIn Ads. So experiment, measure and adjust. And have fun!

10 Reasons Storytelling is The New Product Marketing

April 20, 2013

Storytelling is the new product marketing


Whether it’s a white paper, product sheet, case study or video testimonial, product marketers need to tell good stories. People enjoy stories. They don’t enjoy white papers.

I once interviewed a client for a case study and told them, “I want to tell a story and present you as the hero. So help me understand how you achieved something heroic.” They liked that analogy and set out to help me assemble the story.

Do you see what I just did? I used a story to make a point about storytelling. Did you like my story? Let’s consider ten reasons why storytelling is the new product marketing.

1) We grew up with them.

We’ve consumed stories our entire lives. It started with the bedtime story, continued into poems and fables and then into novels, books, film and TV. Stories get passed down from one generation to the next. If only your product collateral could do the same.

2) There’s a beginning, a middle and an end.

Yes, I know. All content has a beginning, a middle and an end. The difference with a story is that we come to expect a rather clear sequence. Once upon a time…

3) We all love a good plot line.

It keeps you glued to the television. It keeps you up all night with the reading light on. A good plot line keeps the reader engaged, because they need to know what happens next, as well as the final outcome. Your product marketing won’t be as suspenseful, but create a good plot and you’ll hold your reader.

4) We associate with protagonists and heroes.

We associate with heroes, like Rocky Balboa

Photo source: Wikipedia. Who doesn’t love Rocky?

And of course, in the story, the hero uses your product. Who says product placement doesn’t work?

5) Places your candy into an attractive wrapper.

B2B content can be quite dry. Speeds, feeds, dimensions, features, specifications and the like. Conveying this information via storytelling places that boring and sugar-less candy into a neat looking (and recognizable) wrapper.

6) It works in presentations as well.

Product marketers are called on to give presentations to customers, prospects, partners, media and analysts. Captivate your audience by telling good stories. I try to fit a story in during the beginning, middle and end – this makes the entire presentation a story in itself.

7) Stories create an emotional connection.

A good white paper engages with your mind. A good story engages with your heart. Which would you rather have? Find stories in customer use cases of your product. Can any use cases be presented in a way that makes an emotional connection with the reader?

8) It has the chance to entertain.

An entertainer is a form of content marketing

Photo source: flickr.

A white paper or product sheet rarely entertains. Tell a good story, however, and you may be able to entertain your reader. Once you do that, you had them at “entertain.”

9) It increases retention and recall.

Think about everything we’ve covered: plot line, emotional connection, suspense and entertainment. Achieve all that and I can nearly guarantee that your readers will have better recall of your content. As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” As product marketers, it’s our mission to create memorable feelings (not just content).

10) It’s fun!

Hopefully, you produce stories that are fun for the reader. Better yet, you produce that are fun to make! I have a lot more fun producing product content when it’s formed around a story.

Ten Ways Marketing Services Differs from Marketing Products

November 7, 2012

Linda Holroyd, CEO and Founder of FountainBlue

The following is a guest post by Linda Holroyd, CEO and Founder of FountainBlue.

Read this blog’s related posts on product marketing.


Back in the day when Sun workstations sold like hotcakes and everyone was waiting with bated breath for Windows 95 (98, 2000), product marketing managers for technology products were well respected for what they did:

Define and drive the product development cycle in collaboration with marketing, sales and engineering.

This is not so long ago, but times have changed to the point where products are becoming more commoditized, where software solutions are in the cloud, where services rein over products, and where even companies like Microsoft are looking at how to provide customized services to their network of customers.

Product Marketing for Service-Oriented Solutions

What does this mean for today’s product marketing managers, who are focusing more on service-oriented solutions? We interviewed Dr. Juan P. Montermoso, President at Montermoso Associates and Professor of Practice in Marketing at Santa Clara University, who spoke at the October 3 SVPMA event titled “Marketing the Experience: Applying PM Concepts to Services and Events.”

The program description notes that more than 70% of GDP in places like the United States, the Netherlands or Australia is service-based, while 60% of revenues for companies like IBM are attributable to services. For tech product managers and CMOs of tech products and services companies, the message is clear: designing, marketing, and delivering not just profitable services but memorable experiences will be the keys to success.

10 Tips for Marketing Services

Here are the top ten keys for doing just this. Product marketing a service has the same fundamental qualities as marketing a product: its focus on products, pricing, and promotion.

  1. Know your product details, market segment and your customer niche, and communicate your offerings based on the needs of your customers.
  2. Your promotion and pricing should speak to the needs of the customer and your product offerings should be designed to serve their needs, not the other way around.
  3. Continually seek feedback from the customer about the value of what you are providing and get their input about how to make it better for them. It is essential to gather this feedback to refine product features and definitions, pricing strategies, promotional plans.
  4. Create a community for your clients, partners and other stakeholders and provide value-added information, connection and services to them. This is an efficient way to build deeper relationships, connect with your customers, and add value beyond your current offerings.
  5. Work in conjunction with the marketing, sales, engineering and management team to address the needs of the customer, for knowing what the customer wants, in isolation of what a company will deliver is only half the solution. The new way users are selecting products and services is no longer about the sales process and funnel, but has evolved into a complex, multi-faceted, multi-directional stages of evaluation, consideration, advocation, experiencing and buying, as well as bonding with others throughout the process. (See McKinsey Quarterly Report article’ The funnel is dead. The new consumer decision journey,’ http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/The_consumer_decision_journey_2373). So as we evolve into the marketing of services, and address the decision processes for the more empowered user, we must still consider the products, price and promotion, but also look further into the overall user experience:, the process, physical environment and people who impact the users and the choices they make.
  6. The experience a user undergoes to evaluate, adopt, advocate, endorse, recommend a service must be seamless and elegant, and should be easy to communicate to friends and groups. And collaboration between marketing, sales, management and engineering is even more important to deliver this experience.
  7. There must be an efficient process for customers to easily adjust and communicate parameters and requirements, as well as a process and methodology for providers to efficiently and sustainably deliver these customized services.
  8. Bonding is now an element of the decision-making process, so it is more important to identify and speak to the needs of niche customer groups as well as individual customers, and creating and leveraging social media and community development and support abilities will be more important as you do so.
  9. Content matters. Service marketing must communicate the core technology offering, as well as the range of customized adaptations of what you could do with the core technology, and speak in a vocabulary and voice a customer will understand. And this must hold true for each niche audience.
  10. Social media solutions will be an integral part of success service marketing efforts. Leaders in this space such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are strategizing on how to create and support niche communities of many different colors and stripes, and creating a value to these individuals and companies, a value worth charging for. Product/service marketing professionals would benefit from following what’s happening with these social media leaders as they consider the privacy, policy, outreach, integration and other challenges and opportunities for creating and developing these niche audiences.


Regardless of where you are in the product/service continuum, product marketing will continue to play an essential role in the success of any tech company. I invite you to share your thoughts in the Comments section below. You may also contact FountainBlue via email.

About Linda Holroyd

As CEO and founder of FountainBlue, Linda and her team produces in-person events and writes and speaks on market, technology and leadership trends. Linda also serves as a start-up adviser to Silicon-Valley-based high tech companies focused on delivering personalized services to clients worldwide.

Previously, Linda was co-founder and CEO for Galatia, a high-tech, service-oriented web consultancy in the emerging internet field, where she oversaw the development of dynamically-generated web sites in the financial services, government, high tech, and academic industries.

Prior to that, she engaged in similar marketing, alliance, operational and sales roles in three emerging start-ups in the document imaging, file security and web development space. Two of the start-ups were purchased and one of them is still running. Linda is a graduate of UC Davis with a major in Psychology and a minor in Education, and earned certificates in nonprofit management, executive management and program management through UCSC Extension and San Jose State.

She serves on the advisory boards for VLAB, WITI and WCA, as well as her client companies.

What “Inside Apple” Teaches You about Product Marketing and Product Management

September 4, 2012


While reading “Inside Apple,” Adam Lashinsky’s book about “how America’s most admired – and secretive — company really works,” Apple Computer became the most valuable U.S. company in history. Apple’s market capitalization reached $623.5 billion, exceeding a record set by Microsoft in late 1999.

I’m a PC” aptly describes my lifelong experience with computers (aside from college and post-college years with assorted variations of Unix). Recently, however, Apple devices have made their way into my household. There was the iPod Nano (for me, in 2005), the iPod Touch (for my daughter, in 2009), then the iPad and Macbook for my wife.

Some evenings, I’d peer across the family room to see all family members using Apple devices: daughter on the iPod, wife on the iPad and me on the iPhone. Apple has made a large dent in corporate America as well. At my workplace, many users have moved to the Macbook. And, emails sent during the evening hours typically say “Sent from my iPad.”

So with all that in mind, I wanted to read Lashinsky’s book, not only to discover Apple’s secrets, but also to gain insights into their product marketing and product management.

Insights on Product Marketing

Build anticipation and suspense around your product launches.

Well before Lashinsky’s book was published, we all knew how insanely secretive Apple is, with just about everything. Apple has clearly demonstrated, however, that secrecy works wonders as far as product launches go. Apple’s product launches are like The Super Bowl, the Oscar Awards and the Election: monumental, “must see” events with a massive amount of coverage.

Why Apple does this:

  1. The build-up of anticipation creates heightened excitement and intensity when the big announcements (i.e. new products or product features) are made.
  2. Minimizes deferred purchases, which affect sales of existing products (e.g. “I’m not buying the iPhone 4 because the iPhone 5 is due out soon.”)
  3. There’s a danger to pre-announcing products or features that you don’t end up delivering. HP pre-announced the sale of its PC business, then later changed its mind.
  4. Pre-announcing product details gives the competition a head start in responding.

While reading the book, in fact, TechCrunch published a piece about a Silicon Valley start-up whose product launch was ruined by a broken embargo. While Apple never would have done this, it must be said that Apple’s position affords it the ability to do “big news” product launch events.

Start-ups, on the other hand, face a chicken and egg problem: they need to brief reporters on their new product in order to get the coverage (to some day be as prominent as Apple).

Tie each and every deliverable to a single owner.

Chapter 4 describes Apple’s approach to event marketing planning. The event marketing group creates a document called “At a Glance,” a detailed schedule for the event. “Each item, along with the time and place it will occur, includes a DRI.” (DRI stands for “directly responsible individual”).

DRI’s are used not only in event marketing, but throughout Apple. Every single task, no matter how small, would have a DRI assigned to it. Jobs “made committee a dirty word at Apple.” With DRI, you knew whom to contact when the signage never appeared at your trade show booth. You don’t contact the event marketing team, mind you – instead, you contact an individual.

Insights on Product Management

Product development process.

Apple uses a repeatable process to build product. It’s called ANPP – the “Apple New Product Process.” Once the design of the product is under way, two parallel tracks begin: the supply-chain team (who determines how and where to source the component parts) and the engineering team (who figures out how to build and assemble the parts).

Related to the DRI concept, the supply chain effort is headed up by a Global Supply Manager (GSM) and engineering by a Engineering Program Manager (EPM). Based at headquarters, but spending most of their time in China, these individuals head up each team.

Most companies will follow through on a product development process until the product ships. Apple is different. “But once Apple is done designing, building, and testing a product it starts designing, building, and testing all over again.” This process happens every four to six weeks.

An extreme focus on the user experience.

User experience not only defines the ease with which end users operate your device or application, but it can also create emotional bonds. The user experience is a key reason why Apple has an adoring fan base of intensely loyal users.

This segment from the book tells it all: “.. the modern obsession with user experience has created a shorthand for how Apple employees communicate .. At Apple, thirteen of fifteen topics get cut off after a sentence of discussion. That’s all that’s needed.”

Pillars of Simplicity

Image source: User JoshSemans at flickr.

In the building housing Apple’s marketing and communications team, a large wall reads “SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY.” And a line is drawn through the first two SIMPLIFY’s. Apple is all about simplifying, from product design straight through to product marketing.

Simple is hard.

You may be inclined to think, “simple is easy.” Simple means less things to include, less to say, less to do. That’s easy, right? Wrong. Simple is hard and doing simple right is even harder. That’s part of Apple’s competitive advantage: they do simple well.

What makes “simple” challenging:

  1. Adding more features is far too easy.
  2. Saying “no” to particular features is hard.
  3. Simple means less – and when you have less, what remains (the features, the design, etc.) must be world class.
  4. As such, simple raises the bar on every nook and cranny of your product.

Simplicity in the product line.

You can see Apple’s simplicity in its product portfolio. You could once fit their entire product line on a conference room table (this may no longer be possible). Even with a company of Apple’s size and stature, they focus on a few key things at a time. “The minute you’re doing a hundred things, you can’t possibly do things the Apple way,” said a former executive there.

Simplicity in product marketing.

Think about doing product marketing for the iPhone. A conventional approach may be to list all the amazing and unique features that it has. You might list this out in a matrix, alongside competitors’ phones, showing all the areas you beat the competition.

If you ask Bob Borchers, who ran product marketing for the iPhone, “the best messaging is clear, concise and repeated.” Apple boiled down the iPhone messaging to:

  1. A revolutionary phone.
  2. The Internet in your pocket.
  3. The best iPod we ever created.

The approach here is to highlight what makes the iPhone stand out, then give “consumers only as much as they needed to get excited.” According to Borchers, “Just use the same words over and over again. That will turn into the same words that the consumer hears, which ultimately will turn into the same words that they then use to define the product to their friends.”


Lashinsky’s book provided interesting insights on the Apple Machine. Some insights can be applied directly to your product marketing and product management, while others are completely unique to Apple (this post attempts to distill what you can apply directly).

To summarize some of the key points:

  1. Product launches are hugely important events. Figure out how to best manage the information you provide around them.
  2. Assign deliverables to individuals, rather than groups or committees.
  3. Develop, refine and continually re-use a product development process.
  4. KISS (keep it simple, sir).

Buy the book at Amazon:


Note: I invite you to connect with me on .

How iPads Transform Product Marketing

July 25, 2012

Note: The following is a guest post by Gavin Finn, President & CEO of Kaon Interactive, Inc.


Most of us are very well aware of how mobile platforms (smartphones and tablets) are transforming sales for B2B companies. Many companies are now arming their sales forces with these tools, and we see what is happening right at the moment of each sales encounter: a very much more excited prospect. An iPad is much more than a mobile email and CRM platform for the salesperson to use on-the-go: it is a new way of engaging customers directly.

Mobile Device Content

“Marketers are generally delivering exactly the same brochures, videos, and presentations for use on the iPads as they were previously delivering on the laptop. What a missed opportunity!”

But what is less obvious, yet just as important, is a new focus on answering the question “what exactly is on these mobile devices?”  It’s all very well to put a mobile device in the hands of the sales force, but what content are you going to use to truly capitalize on this innovative platform?

In reality, today the answer, sadly, is that marketers are generally delivering exactly the same brochures, videos, and presentations for use on the iPads as they were previously delivering on the laptop. What a missed opportunity!

This new delivery environment is designed for a very different type of encounter — not so much a presentation as an interactive dialogue between the salesperson (or marketer) and the prospect. Why not take advantage of this interactive environment by creating and delivering truly interactive content?

Interactive Content

What is interactive content? This is a new kind of application that does not follow a linear demonstration or presentation sequence. It allows users to interact directly with the content itself, rather than watching a video or a pre-sequenced flow of slides.

A great example of this is a fully interactive 3D Product Model — where the user sees a photo-realistic virtual representation of the physical product, and can touch the screen to rotate the product, zoom in to any area, measure, and explore the product in any area of detail that is of interest or importance to that user.

What’s unique about this encounter is that even though the information in the 3D product model is the same for every user, each customer experiences this product in a distinctive way. They each have a very specific path that they follow through learning about the product — spending as much time on any detail that they want, and looking at features or benefits in any order.

Interactive Content is Better

Why is this better? Cognitive studies have shown that when people are presented with information (either via a video or by a person) they retain a very small portion of the material (anywhere from 5 to 20%).

However, when a person is actively involved in the process of delivering this information, they remember dramatically more (anywhere from 66 – 75% for the same time period.)  So, it is much more effective to get the prospect involved in the delivery of the marketing or sales information through interactivity, because they will remember more of what you want them to know.

Interactive Sales Experiences

In order to make a sales experience interactive, it needs to engage the prospect in three ways:

  1. Intellectual: There has to be meaningful information conveyed: information that is of interest and is relevant to their needs;
  2. Sensory: One or more of the five human senses must be engaged (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch);
  3. Emotional: The experience has to evoke some specific emotion (anger, joy, fun)

All of the developments in mobile platforms (and interactive content) come at a propitious time for marketers. MarketingProfs released a study that found that B2B marketers had a far greater need for content that was “more engaging” than simply “more” content.

What we know is that studies have shown that many sales people don’t use up to 60% of the content that marketers deliver, and it is not uncommon for sales teams to spend up to 40% of their time customizing or developing content of their own. In other words, there is a really strong demand for more engaging and effective content. Now, happily, there is also an ideal platform on which this kind of content can be delivered! The mobile device — smartphone or iPad.

“A mobile application is an easy way to put a product demo into the hands of a salesperson. Instead of carrying a big physical presentation around, it can be in their hands at all times and deliver collateral that engages the client.” –Michael Greene, Forrester Research Analyst

Kaon 3D Product App

The Kaon 3D Product App, mobile application is an example of the perfect combination of stunning visuals, interactivity, and ideal delivery device. When sales teams have the ability to show their customers every product in their portfolio, at every sales and marketing encounter, they are empowered to capture the most out of every planned and unexpected face-to-face customer touch point.

But when those sales encounters are turbo-charged by giving the customer control of their own interactive experience, a powerful and transformative experience is realized. Not only does the right message get conveyed at the right time, but it is also delivered in the most effective way possible — so that the customer retains the critical information necessary for them to understand the benefits resulting from the differentiation inherent in your products and solutions.

The direct sales and marketing benefits from this type of interactive solution on the iPad are many, and companies realize these benefits almost immediately.

Cisco Systems uses its Interactive 3D Product Showcase on the iPad to shorten sales cycles, in more than 100 countries. Ciena Corporation uses its Interactive Product Portfolio on the iPad to deliver its product and solution message at a variety of venues, helping to eliminate 85% of shipping and drayage expense from trade shows.

Other companies have developed interactive 3D Product catalogs on the iPad, using Kaon’s mobile applications, to deliver a consistent, compelling sales message to sales and channel partners all over the world, ensuring that everyone is selling using a common set of the most effective value propositions.


True interactivity, putting the customer in the “driver’s seat”, means more effective delivery of the right product information in a way that will have a positive effect on buying decisions.

Mobile platforms mean that no sales opportunity is missed — whether at a customer’s office, an unexpected airport meeting, or a trade show. Fully interactive 3D product models mean that marketers don’t have to ship physical products to every venue — saving a great deal of money, time, and effort, while achieving superior results. Isn’t that what every marketing and sales department wants? More sales, at a lower cost.

About the Author

Gavin A. Finn, Ph.D., is President and CEO of Kaon Interactive, Inc. For questions about this post, feel free to contact Gavin via email.

So Just What Is Product Marketing?

May 3, 2012


Riding up a ski lift with a buddy of mine, we got to talking about our jobs. He asked the question, “so just what is product marketing?” I unleashed a number of overused terms, such as “positioning,” “messaging,” and “go to market strategy,” at which point my buddy’s eyes glazed over. Returning home from the ski trip, I was determined to develop a better definition.

Here goes:

Product Marketing is the art and science of generating attention, interest and adoption of your organization’s products and services.

Let me explain further by breaking it down.

Attract attention

It’s the job of many groups within an organization to generate and attract attention: the “C Suite,” corporate marketing, product marketing, sales and others. Attracting attention is all about getting your foot in the door (and then hoping that door stays propped open for you). Typical ways a product marketer can attract attention:

Launch Campaigns.

In the bygone days, a launch campaign involved a large venue, invited press, analysts and customers, loud, rollicking music and copious amounts of food and beverage. These days, a launch campaign may comprise a series of blog posts (and guest blog posts) reinforced via your social media channels. However they’re structured, one of the goals of a launch campaign is to generate attention by introducing new products (or product features) to the market.

Content Marketing.

Write informative (and eloquent) posts and articles about your industry and you’re bound to attract attention. Post your words of wisdom on your blog – and when possible, sprinkle in customer case studies, as well as insights from customers about how they’re using your products.  You’ll not only attract the attention of prospects, but search engines as well (and they play critical roles in attention gathering).

Simple Products or Simple Pricing.

A great product is one that sells itself. If you can make your product simple to understand (and also easy to use), then you may not need to take explicit steps to attract attention. If I can start using your product this minute – and then pay you $10 per week to continue using it, that’s a great thing. And as long as I continue to like the product, I’m apt to tell others about it. The product that sells itself becomes even more powerful when others sell it for you.

Sustain Attention

Now that you’ve got your foot firmly planted in the door, it’s time to wedge the door further open. Here are a few tools used by product marketers.

Email Newsletters.

A subscription to your email newsletter amounts to an electronic contract: “send me occasional content (via email) and if you provide value and don’t send too often, I’ll remain subscribed.” If you’re successful honoring this contract, then email newsletters can be the start of a great relationship. Every month (or every few weeks), you can “re-sustain” your attention.

Regular Webinars.

Product marketers should think of an ongoing webinar campaign as the “pulse” of their “sustaining attention drive.” Expose your best product managers, customer service staff, engineers, customers and partners to the world. Have them pitch in to your sustainability (of attention) efforts. I’m sure your target audience wants to hear more of them (and less of “marketing”).

Road Shows.

If budget (and your ROI analysis) permits, hitting the road for a multi-city road show gives you the opportunity to meet with customers and prospects face-to-face. They give you the chance to generate new business from existing clients and help move prospects further along the sales cycle. You may also combine road shows with launch campaigns.

Drive Attention Towards the Close

Sales has engaged with prospects during certain phases of the “attention period,” and may need to further engage product marketing to move prospects further down the sales funnel. Here, product marketers may need to focus on:

Competitor Matrices.

At this stage of the buying cycle, prospects often want to see the vendor’s view of the market. Often done in matrix form, they’ll want to see comparisons around feature set and pricing. Product Marketing ought to maintain up-to-date versions of these matrices and be prepared to develop custom versions for particular business opportunities.

Detailed Product and Feature Sheets.

A prospect may need to drill down and understand how particular product features work. It’s the Product Marketer’s job to maintain this library of collateral – and, to provide information (or help track it down) as needed. For instance, if there’s a Sales need to provide documentation around an upcoming release feature, Product Marketing is called on to deliver on that.

Pricing Sheets and Rate Cards.

If Product Marketing owns pricing, then they’ll be called upon to maintain pricing sheets and rate cards – and help in the pricing of complex programs as necessary. Product Marketing may also be called upon to approve pricing discounts on particular deals.

Customer Retention.

I omitted “customer retention” in my definition (above) because every single employee is responsible for it.  That being said, here’s where Product Marketing plays a role in customer retention:

Good Product Marketing Breeds Retention.

This may be presumptuous to say, but good product marketing can make for more satisfied customers. If your marketing collateral is top notch, your customer case studies insightful and your content marketing frequent and informative, then customers will be more likely to keep giving you their business (assuming other conditions are also met).

Customer Advisory Boards.

Invite selected clients and partners to join a Customer Advisory Board (CAB). Schedule regular CAB meetings to discuss your particular product features – or, brainstorm on where the market is headed. You not only show customers that their input is important, but you help feed Product Management and Engineering with important feedback to inform the product roadmap.

Promote Your Customers.

While often the domain of Corporate Marketing or Marketing Communications, product marketers can help turn their customers into rock stars. Write a blog posting about your customer’s successful program – or, shoot a YouTube video of them and publish it to your followers. Pitch and promote customers when fielding media inquiries. I find that media would much rather cover a customer’s use of a product over anything else.


Phew. After reading all that, you might think a product marketer’s job is never done. Don’t worry, though. I intentionally took a broad view of things. Many organizations will segment these responsibilities across a number of people (or groups) – and some may skip particular ones altogether. Let me know your thoughts on product marketing. Did I miss any roles or responsibilities?

Related Posts

  1. 12 Most Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Improve Your Products
  2. Product Marketing Is Dead. Long Live Product Marketing!
  3. New Book: 42 Rules of Product Marketing

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New Book: 42 Rules of Product Marketing

April 2, 2012

Book: 42 Rules of Product Marketing


A great new product marketing book has been published. It’s called “24 Rules of Product Marketing,” and it was assembled by Phil Burton, Gary Parker and Brian Lawley.

You get to hear from 42 product marketers, who share rules, tips and insights from the product marketing trenches. According to the listing at Amazon, “This book will expose you to the experience and knowledge of a group of the world’s leading product marketing experts with a range of perspectives in both consumer and business markets.”

In addition, the book includes some “bonus rules” from Phil, Gary and Brian.

My Top 10 Favorite Rules

Here are my Top 10 favorite rules from the book:

  1. Learn from Your Customers’ Digital Body Language
  2. Help Your Prospect Know “What’s In It For Me?”
  3. Make Your CFO a Social Media Fan
  4. Remember Your Internal Customers
  5. Use Online Metrics for Product Marketing Success
  6. Help Your Sales Team Communicate Your Message
  7. Always Test Your Message
  8. Speak in the Customer’s Language
  9. Turn Your Audience into Advocates
  10. Create Simple Messages for Complex Products

My Contribution

In the interest of disclosure, I contributed to the book. I authored Rule #10, “Make Social Media a Listening Platform.”

While product marketers can drive value (and results) by tweeting, posting to Facebook and uploading videos to YouTube, I suggested that we spend an equal amount of time listening.

I made the analogy that in any conversation, I learn more by listening than I do by speaking. Social media can provide an effective listening platform for market research, insights and pain points, that can all be used to inform you marketing language, launch plans and strategy.

You can purchase the book at Amazon:


Note: I invite you to connect with me on .

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