The question on today’s docket: How much of successful product marketing is about the intricacies of the product, and how much is about appealing to the individual and their emotional life? 

From enterprise software to medical equipment, from heavy machinery to commercial-grade espresso machines, B2B products tend to be expensive, extensive, and complex. They are often considered purchases with multiple stakeholders within an org. 

Team leaders not only need to understand enough about the products’ inner workings to assess how well it will do the job. They also need to make a convincing case to business decision-makers who probably aren’t as expert about the technical challenges the product addresses. Considering the price of big enterprise purchases, that means translating speeds and feeds into business results. 

Bottom line: Product marketers must help buyers understand technical functions and business implications.

Don’t forget the individual

But this is a juncture where many companies take a wrong turn, into marketing that’s a one-sided communication about themselves and their product’s functional benefits 

In the process, these companies risk missing the most important facet of any marketing communication: helping the individual customer satisfy their positive needs. That can be anything from ego and stature to security and peace of mind. (It’s more than just the job to be done.) 

Great product marketing should be about your customer buying into your process to solve a business challenge or issue. How do you produce content that is relevant to this buying mentality? Your customer doesn’t want to hear a pitch or a laundry list of product features. Your customer wants to hear that you understand their pain.

And that understanding starts with customer research. What motivates your customers, positively or negatively? What measurable outcomes must they deliver for their company? What kinds of professional growth and success do they hope to achieve? Once you’ve assimilated your customers’ motivations and key drivers, you can use these insights to translate your deep understanding of customer issues and desired benefits into your messaging. Articulate how your process and capabilities will help solve their challenge or issue and the benefits and value you can deliver. 

Channeling his inner Gertrude Stein, Milton Friedman famously said, “The business of business is business.” But business decisions don’t develop in a vacuum. They’re ultimately the sum of individual human motivations, connections and decisions — and product marketing must take into account the individual ambitions and fears behind customers’ product choices.