Top 10 product marketing trends for 2019
Just having a marketing team and strategy is not enough. You have to get more specific than that. Product marketing is a different game than marketing just any product or service. Specifically, marketing a SaaS product requires that your focus goes beyond just converting a simple one-time sale. Your job is to understand your customers, deliver a product that fits their needs, and ensure it is a success beyond just the original conversion. There’s a lot more that goes into SaaS Product Marketing than marketing just any other product.
Every year, SaaS companies get more and more savvy on how to reach target customers, convert them, and ensure product success. We’ve done the research, pulled from our own bag of tricks, and compiled the top methods you need to know for this year.
Here are 10 top trends to watch out for in 2019 for product marketing:
1. Demos, video, and VR demonstrations:
Despite the whole discovery and purchase process getting faster and faster, customers still want to get a substantial amount of knowledge on a product before purchase. There is a new standard in information about products potential customers expect, particularly for service products. Demos and video demos are very popular and almost 100% necessary for digital products. What’s most important is that potential customers are able to check out products quickly and understand their features immediately to determine if it fits their needs. There are so many alternatives and competitors, it’s important your potential customers understand the value right away. Don’t mince words on your landing pages, sales pages, and descriptions: get straight to the value and features.
2. Informative and educational content around products:
This has really been a popular one for SaaS and tech for a long time, but it’s starting to make its way into other industries. The better informed customers feel not just about the product but how to use it, the more likely they will be to purchase. For example, home improvement companies like Lowes and Home Depot and interior design companies share “guides” and “how-to’s” that are informative for their target audience and include their products. Hubspot, Shopify, and Mailchimp all create great content helping their customers to better use their products. By creating content around the questions and problems of their target market and including their products as part of the solution, they authentically push their products in an informative way. Good practice is to create content on the biggest questions and problems of your target audience as well as upcoming trends. Write from an informative and helpful intention first and make sure it is truly of value. Include your products as a natural addition.
3. Chatbots and live chat:
With your shop online technically open “24/7”, your customers expect 24/7 service as well, in a way. Chatbots and live chat within SaaS websites and actually within products has become somewhat of an expectation. Customers have plenty of alternatives and alternate sources of information they will go to if they cannot get answers to their questions right away. Live chat takes that away when you provide it right during the decision making process. Live chat can also be used for lead qualification to determine which leads are big enough to require the support of your team by asking for industry, company size, etc. Live chat and chat bots also help customers learn, implement, and realize the value in SaaS products as they start to use them, ensuring long term success. As SaaS companies grow and more users join your product, it’s hard to manage this. Live chat with AI to distribute automated responses helps “serve” your growing global customer base.
4. Influencers and micro-influencers:
As people lose trust in online ads, influencers and micro-influencers have risen to the occasion through social media. “Ambassadors” do a better job at truly impacting consumers than ads because of their authentic and organic appeal. This is nothing new but it’s changed and become more powerful with new channels of social media. Ambassadors for your product are different from influencers. They are normally “regular” people who have amassed a following around something they are passionate about and their engagement is usually very high and authentic from their audiences. These influencers are powerful for brands in the sense that people really feel well connected to them and their following is highly engaged. Another angle of influence many SaaS companies use is leveraging founder’s experience and story to better connect with target users.
5. AI for smarter retargeting and promotions:
Customers from all around the world now expect personalized service. Personalization used to be a luxury some ‘cool’ companies played with on their sites, but now it’s essentially a necessity to get and keep a customer’s attention. 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand. From offers, to emails, and even discounts, personalization and data collection on your customers should be involved to boost sales. This has really moved beyond trend to ‘necessity’. Particularly with SaaS products, there is likely a long decision making process when it comes to conversion and implementation of a product. You need to nurture leads over time with personalization. What is coming up to watch is the tools that help you do this better. For email retargeting based on user behavior on your site, you can try OptinMonster’s email retargetting.
6. Mutual Partnerships:
Many companies are joining forces to offer their target customers a blend of two of their favorite experiences. As naturally more products and services are connected and used in tandem online, companies are seeing opportunity for collaboration. Most examples of this are is software and apps, but there are eCommerce products as well. Not only does the natural use help marketing the products but often the co-branding combines the strength and audience of two closely linked brands. Some examples include Uber and Spotify (music on your ride), Bumble + Instagram + Spotify (create a complete dating profile), and even us: Beamer + Intercom (live chat and news feed updates). Many of these brands cross over in target audience and a partnership can really help boost sales for both. You can also partner with your customers. Affiliate programs can be very helpful in drawing new leads and customers just like your current base by using their influence and reach to the mutual benefit of you both.
7. Push notifications for mobile and desktop:
As consumers online open emails and single-digit rates, it’s been about time marketers start looking at other options to reach customers. A really popular one that is getting higher open and engagement rates is push notifications. The average push notification open rate is 53.3%, which is crazy high. It’s natural for users both on desktop and mobile to receive notifications that open up windows and apps; the whole process requires less work. It’s more in context and direct than sending something to an email inbox. Beamer is a great option for push notifications.
Beamer is a changelog and news feed that sits within your site. You can share updates for anything, including announcements for new features, on it and add photos, videos, GIFs, and CTAs. It opens up when someone clicks the “What’s New” tab in your navigation or icon in your interface. It acts as a central place for all your updates and messages. Beamer has the option to enable push notifications so that those who have visited your site who have opted in get a message when you post an update. When they click, they return to your site with the Beamer feed open. It’s a great way to bring back interested leads or customers and engage them on your site right away.
8. Social Media ad retargeting:
Ad retargeting has gone to a new level in 2019 that allows even small, location-specific companies to have a hand in the game. Social media ad retargeting is opening up the door to getting very specific about who you want to reach and when, very easily. Expect more small brands to take advantage of this very well against large competitors as the barriers to entry are lower than traditional advertising and platforms like Adwords. Facebook and Instagram have partnered to make setting up ads on both platforms connected very easy, very targeted, and relatively cheap. Adroll is great for managing retargeting across your site and your ads across social media with very specific parameters so you can focus on converting your best customers. You want to focus on creating complete profiles of ideal customers and targeting based on that so your leads are well qualified. Branding is also incredibly important when you are retargeting and building awareness of your site. You want your brand to be recognizable on and off your site.
9. Video marketing:
Video has been outperforming other mediums heavily exponentially over the last few years. Thanks to YouTube, it’s exploding on social as the preferred medium of social media users. Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. Promotional videos and video content outperform simple branded posts and are much more engaging. Video production can be expensive, especially for professionally shot videos but there are so many emerging tools that are helping marketing teams produce effective videos quickly. Wave Animatron has a ton of stock video and photo and a drag and drop editor that helps you make quick branded content. Shakr is also amazing for making super graphic brand videos to announce sales, new products, etc.
10. Multi-channel marketing and selling:
The average customer of yours has multiple platforms online they’re apart of and check regularly. They all make up their collective profile and personality online. Many companies are taking advantage to get to know and engage their target customer across multiple channels. It’s imperative your brand has multiple active profiles and you interact with your customers across them. Many brands are taking advantage of using social media profiles to present different offers and sell directly from the platforms, which customers are moving towards. Now is the time to beef up those profiles and make them the first point of engagement with customers.
As a product marketing manager, you need to ensure your customers get the right understanding and value of your product, easy and quickly. Jumping on board and understanding these trends well are imperative to staying relevant and moving at the right velocity with your target audience and competitors.