Marketing Trends PMs can Leverage for Product Development

Marketing Trends PMs can Leverage for Product Development

Throughout most of my career, I have made it a priority to partner with marketing as much as possible. It is part curiosity, part empathy, and part self-service as sometimes a marketing department’s goals don’t always align with product’s. (Mostly in terms of prioritization.)

As a consultant, I’m missing out on that collaboration and the benefits of learning about the latest trends. When Digital Summit came to LA April 10-11th, 2019, it was an obvious choice to go.

Here are some of the subjects I was most excited about:

Marketing needs to embrace the customer journey

Perhaps the most rewarding (in terms of validation) was Sean Johnson’s presentation on how acquisition isn’t enough for marketing to concentrate on, and if doing so, can lead you into a pinwheel of high acquisition costs as users churn out. A good visual for this was in his presentation.

Acquisition over churn aka engagement trend

Acquisition over churn aka engagement trend

You can see at the moment that the acquisition train stops, your engagement will plummet as well unless steps are made to keep users engaged. He cited use cases from LinkedIn and Quora whose products employ content loops which trigger behavior to get users taking small actions and coming back. A16z has an amazing podcast on this topic if you want to dig in further.

The product takeaway?

Marketing and product can align priorities very easily if approaching engagement with the same tenacity as acquisition.

SEO and content marketing

Perhaps the kahuna of topics at the conference, there was no shortage of tactical and strategic presentations on developing an inbound content strategy. Knowing that so many start-ups are approaching their launch strategy with a web-first platform, I saw this as a huge opportunity for product managers to approach acquisition from the inside out.

I attended Janet Driscoll Miller’s Advanced SEO workshop where I learned about a host of tools that can be used to enhance your approach to improving SEO. Of primary mention was the Google Search Console, Google Pagespeed Insights tool, ahrefs and the AMP framework.

The product takeaway?

Structured data should be a given. Page Speed, especially on mobile, is a huge ranking factor. Make sure to leverage AMP when possible and avoid using huge images with your designers (resizing via code won’t cut it). Unnecessary pop-ups and interstitials may also penalize you, so be aware when onsite product marketing.

Nadya Khoja’s growth presentation got my wheels turning in relationship to information architecture for web apps. In content marketing, a lot of emphasis is placed on having a strategic plan that takes the form of content pillars or clusters.

Keyword schematic of pillar content

Keyword schematic of pillar content

By conceiving your content in a way that optimizes keyword search, your reach, page ranking, back linking... etc. will increase. Nadya outlines the majority of her presentation in this wonderful write up.

The product takeaway?

Approach IA through a content framework lens to drive SEO discoverability, and as another form of great UX.

Don’t forget email

Uff... there are so many email best practices to which a product person should be committed. Where to start?

Let’s just say this, if you are a product owner:

  • for data or platform -> help with customer segmentation so your email marketing manager can build audiences that look like your users- whether highly engaged or not

  • for acquisition -> make sure you are prioritizing and managing funnel triggers that can be sent to your email marketing tool to re-engage and convert

  • for engagement -> educate your users and validate their expectations with a solid welcome series that matches their app onboarding experience

Wrap up

Because this wasn’t a strictly digital product marketing conference, there weren’t any topics related to push notifications and product marketing. However, I did meet some really interesting people in verticals I don’t come across and it was valuable knowing that these marketing practices are ubiquitous.

Being a Partner to Marketing

Being a Partner to Marketing