The New Role Product Marketing Plays in Content

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As content marketing and inbound marketing have taken center stage in the past few years, there’s become a great push toward thought leadership. The theory goes that you start by giving people food for thought and interesting information until they eventually like and trust you enough to raise their hand and ask to speak with sales. 

While we’re big fans of thought leadership and see its value, this progression has created some unintentional collateral damage. Specifically? It’s resulted in many marketers shunning the idea of talking about their products in their content until the latest stages of the funnel. Here’s why this actually isn’t the best way to go, and how product marketing deserves a seat at the content table. 

What Do You Solve?

As with many marketing strategies, once thought leadership caught on, it snowballed. Now, buyers are inundated with articles and white papers sharing ideas and waxing poetic about a variety of industries. This type of content absolutely has its place and can be really well-received, hence why it’s become so popular. But at the same time, the volume of thought leadership that an average person is exposed to each day makes it impossible for them to consume it all. Put simply? Buyers don’t have the time to read everything you send them.  

However, there is a type of content they will always make time for: content that solves their problems. So, evaluate your current approach. Are you delivering thought leadership with no solution attached? Or, on the flip side, are you pushing your product with no connection to how it helps someone? Neither will work. Instead, marry thought leadership to your solution. Think of it like you’re saying this to a buyer: “Here’s a problem you’re facing, here’s our philosophy on it, and here’s how we can help you solve it.” This is what they want more than anything. 

Break the Rules

Now, let’s talk tactics. To boost engagement from your target audience, give yourself permission to buck the trend of waiting to talk about your product. Of course, there’s a balance to be had and you don’t want to come off as overly salesy. But this can easily be accomplished by starting slowly and testing as you go. First, start sprinkling product details into some of your top-of-funnel activities, like your blog content and webinars, etc. Then, test it. How is it being received? You might be surprised. 

Consider this scenario: An organization creates a campaign consisting of multiple emails, one of which speaks directly about a product and offers a demo request as a call-to-action (CTA). We’ve seen this exact scenario play out, and guess which email in the series performed the best in real life? The one that included product information and the demo CTA. In fact, that one email easily surpassed all the others that led to more thought leadership instead of a demo request. So, feel free to break the rules and experiment a little. Worst case, if you find your audience isn’t responding positively, you can always change course. But if they are? You may be hitting on a new, more successful approach you can replicate again and again. 


As you begin to weave more of your product messaging into the earlier parts of your buyer journey and your campaigns, rethink your relationship with your product marketing team. Traditionally, these folks are often limited to drafting product positioning and creating copy for bottom-of-the-funnel activities (e.g. sales enablement). But, there’s a role for product marketing throughout the entire buyer journey. 

Invite your product marketing team to sit in on meetings with the entire marketing, sales, and customer success departments. The more you all learn to speak each other’s languages, and are privy to one another’s challenges, the more you can cohesively craft materials that resonate with your audience. Silos are not only outdated, but actually also harmful to your goals. So break through them, and get comfortable working in cahoots all throughout the customer journey. 

Talking about your product in the top and middle of the funnel doesn’t have to feel like a smarmy sales pitch. Reframe your mind-set, and think of yourself as a resource. How can you solve buyers’ problems? How can you be a supportive resource to them? What can you try that’s new? All of this will show the pride you have in what your company has built, and a willingness to help your audience improve and grow. At the end of the day, that’s just better.

Matthew Desrosiers is Uberflip's director of content marketing. As a former journalist and managing editor, Matthew learned early in his career the importance of serving your audience with relevant information and content that helps their daily lives. Carrying this forward to his marketing career, he's focused on developing content strategies that put the buyers first.

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