It used to be that “product marketing” was a fairly straight-forward practice. With the exception of trying to stay in-sync with a constantly changing engineering product roadmap, and a less-than-understanding sales force, you had a discrete set of processes that defined womb-to-tomb marketing.
Based on market input you defined a new product in a Marketing Requirements Document (MRD) and worked with the engineering department to build your visionary widget. You prepared for a product launch with sales collateral, slide decks, press releases, and so forth. You launched the product around key industry trade shows and briefed the usual press and analysts. Over the life of the product, you added features based on key customer feedback, promoted the product in the normal channels and then ultimately went through and end-of-life (EOL) process to take the product off the market.
Today, the rules have changed. The Internet has changed everything. The input/feedback process is no longer iterative in nature, but is far more real-time. MRDs are no longer based on fixed, written documents, but are based on living data. Customers are now part of communities that no longer “provide input”, but rather “make decisions” as a community. Brands are not created by companies, but rather created by the market. Companies learn about the brand from the market communities rather than the other way around.
Marketing has changed, and to be competitive we all need to adopt new methods of harnessing and leveraging the power of these changes.
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