Effective product communication is a competitive advantage for a company and helps target customers with marketing messages.
Regardless of the type of product in question (digital, physical, etc.) a product communication strategy is an integral part of a good marketing plan.
The best product communication strategies increase your message’s chance of reaching the right customers and ultimately lead to more sales and revenues.
What is a product communication strategy?
The product communication strategy is the approach used to fulfill product marketing objectives. It's the part of a marketing plan that sheds light on how a product solves specific customer issues, demonstrating the product’s values and benefits in the process. As such, a strategy for product communication regulates the planning and implementation phase of future tasks concerning the product launch, promotion, and adoption.
Why build a product communication strategy?
By creating an efficient strategy, you also factually define the KPIs of your success. From the product launch to the promotion phase of the journey, these can determine whether or not a strategy works, and help keep track of the completion of previous tasks. It will also encourage you to achieve your goals by following your own path instead of blindly following marketing trends or one-size-fits-all strategies.
How to create a strategy for product communication
Identify the goal
As with any strategy, the first step of creating your product communication strategy matrix is to define the primary objectives of your company (and your product in particular).
Understand the situation
When launching a new product on the market, there are a few crucial steps that will help communicate product and feature updates, including identifying a target audience and how to interact with them.
The strategy should answer key questions such as:
What’s the value proposition?
Will the new solution resolve customers' issues?
How profitable is it?
Who are our competitors (if any)?
You can answer these questions, as well as others, by working on the product communication strategy. Your audience usually has to go through several stages of behavior change, such as awareness, consideration, trial, and purchasing. Additional behaviors after product purchase include using the product and purchasing an upgrade (with upselling) or add-ons. Your strategies will change for each phase.
After asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to build the right message for your customers and communicate the product in a way that conveys its full value and the benefits they can get from it, telling them how it can simplify their work or increase business performance.
Determine your target audience
Once you are comfortable with your business goals and you have assessed the surrounding landscape, determine who you want to reach.
Defining your target audience for your product communication is a crucial phase, and the best way to get it right is to conduct the following analysis:
Divide customers into segments such as potential customers, new customers, mature customers, and star customers.
Then, target each segment with different communication messages and promotional offers. For new customers, use your communication to confirm that they are pleased with their first purchase, and encourage repeat purchases through discount coupons and offers. For your star customers, provide customized product communication based on their buying patterns, and consider personal emails or phone calls to confirm their satisfaction.
Media and channels
Align your target audience with what you hope to accomplish by asking yourself the following questions:
Which social channels can you find them on?
Do they more often use a mobile device or desktop?
What types of content do they find valuable and engaging?
Are they already aware of your company and its offering?
What content are they searching for and where?
What do they expect to see on your site once they get there?
Use multiple methods of communicating with your customers. Use email newsletters, magazine advertisements, postcards, billboards, in-store displays, product packaging, direct-mail letters and any other advertising method that effectively reaches your target audience. Create an information-rich website that offers specific product information and insights, chat-based assistance, and customer testimonials. Your goal with your product communication mix is to use enough tactics to reach each customer in their preferred way.
Messaging: tell a beautiful story
Finding the right angle is another important part of creating a communication strategy, which will allow you to tell an honest, emotional, and engaging story. When communicating a new product or launch, you must first figure out the best way to frame the story before you can move to any of the next steps.
By developing your product messaging around a well-designed story, you can increase your product branding, reinforce your theme and enhance product awareness. Your product messaging goal should be to create an emotional response to your product that propels customers to purchase it.
Creating a product communication strategy is a precondition for product success. If a company underestimates or neglects this part, they can risk launching a no-win solution (unprofitable), with a low adoption rate, or otherwise not achieving the intended goals.
There can be many reasons for this: a wrong target audience selected, an unclear value proposition (messaging), a wrong fit for a customer need, media that are ineffective for the target audience, or storytelling that is not engaging enough. For these reasons, it is necessary to take time to develop a strategy that takes all aspects into account and extracts and communicates the right product values, to the right customers, in the most efficient way possible.