As communication channels and needs grow more complex, top-notch communication skills are even more critical to business success. Human connection and deep understanding are far more necessary amid so many technological advancements. One of our colleagues, a voracious reader and young marketer with experience across multiple verticals and functions reached out with a few insights of his own on the topic. 3C Comms is delighted to share Jakub Kubicka's thoughts with you.
5 Communication Tactics for Product Marketers
by: Jakub Kubicka
With a growing number of hard skills performed by machines and AI, I started investing in personal development and communication skills. During the past nine years I've read thirty-two self-help books, watched countless documentaries, read more than a hundred articles, and collaborated with ten different mentors in the marketing and communications space.
I've always believed that to give my best self to others, I first needed to be my best self, beginning with great communication skills. Communication is a powerful tool that works wonders, whether you're an entry-level product manager or a business executive at a Fortune 500 company.
The more experienced I become as a marketer, the more parallels I see between personal development and product development. What do I mean? I believe that, before any marketing communications are created, you need to first have a great product. Many household-name products were far from great on the first try. They were chiseled out after multiple attempts to become the world-class brands we now know. Same with building personal brands – like you or me.
This begins with a very simple foundation: your product needs to stop people in their tracks by solving a pressing problem. For example, Robinhood is a company that wanted to simplify investing for the millennial population. To stop people in their tracks, they charge no broker fees for trades. Or, look at Warby Parker; before becoming a worldwide fashion brand, they were three Penn students who wanted to make eyeglasses more affordable.
If you already have a good product, that doesn't mean you can't take it from good to great. To "hack" your product, you first need to:
#1: Know your audience to move your audience
Identify your customer and put them at the center of your universe. What's their age? Do they skew more male than female? Are they city-dwelling? What technology do they love? Define them on all fronts including demographics, psychographics, lifestyle, personal beliefs, the works. Know them better than you know yourself.
#2: Hear your customers out
You must understand the current product experience from your customer’s point of view. To do this, make time to speak with your customers and listen openly so you can see the product from their eyes. Whether through surveys, focus groups, or 1-on-1 shadowing, put yourself in their shoes and ask them to talk through their experience. What obstacles do they encounter? Are there any unnecessary steps where you lose them? These comments should inform your product roadmap to help you optimize for better end-user results.
#3: Map your traction channels
In his 2015 book, Traction, Gabriel Weinberg states that, "traction and product development are of equal importance...spend 50% of your time on product...and 50% on traction." Even the most disruptive products have had a distribution strategy cooked up while the product was being developed. Warby Parker leveraged publicity and reached out to GQ and Vogue to feature their glasses, while Robinhood created "Early Access" lists to pulse demand.
What's your game plan? Weinberg's book identifies nineteen channels worth understanding while picking a few to implement for your product. Test them and earn a small chunk of customers in the process.
#4: Get More Feedback
Once you've tested a few distribution channels for your product and have seen a handful of customers, it's time to once again get their feedback. What's great about their experience? What thoughts did they have at the start, middle, and end? Regardless of the quantity of your customer base, use phone calls, emails, text messages, and in-person coffee discussions to involve them in the journey. This feedback will be the golden thread to create the best possible product.
#5: Repeat Until Things Get Emotional
Reid Hoffman says that all successful world-class products appeal to one of seven deadly sins. I like to put it a different way and say that you know your product is "great" when the consumer has a positive, emotional reaction during your feedback sessions. Is the experience providing peace of mind, relief, or joy to the customer?
Know that no product has been (or will be) perfect from the start; a lot of testing and failing will take place along the journey towards "greatness." As Jim Rohn has said, personal development is "...the never-ending chance to improve not only yourself, but also to attract opportunities and affect others."
The same goes for communication skills.
Whether you’re in a new role or a seasoned professional, these 5 communication tactics will help you get the most out of your product marketing efforts. Remember that it’s not all about the product – it’s about creating great experiences for end-users.
About the Contributor
Jakub Kubicka is a gritty digital marketer-for-hire who has played the role of marketer for tech giants, boutique agencies, and small no names. Join his mailing list at jakubkubicka.com to learn more about product development, demand generation, and "marketing made simple."