Supporting the sprawling group responsible for the success of a product, from development to go-to-market teams, can be a heavy lift for product marketing managers (PMMs). Their long list of responsibilities and lack of available time is why we recommend using curated content to both lessen a PMMs workload and improve their product’s performance and success in the market.
The question isn’t if you should use curated content for product marketing, as the benefits are substantial. The real question is where can it be used to best support the many functions of a PMM?
There are some pretty obvious opportunities, like sharing like-minded content on social media to support your messaging. We’ve listed out six less obvious use cases below as thought starters, to help you conceptualize the many areas where other people’s content can improve your own product’s growth and goals.
6 ways product marketing can leverage curated content
Determine target audience needs and intent
A product’s target audience always seems to represent a contradiction. A target may say that they want a product that does X when in reality they need something that does Y. Figuring out what your customers need and their intended purpose for using your product can involve some assumptions, even if you have data and primary research to work from.
However, content from across the web allows you to eavesdrop on the genuine conversations your targets are having regarding their goals, challenges, needs, and roadblocks. This offers a much deeper and richer perspective and feeds into the entire product development and promotion lifecycle from feature design to customer success assets.
Determine target audience motivation
The motivation of your audience is different from their intent or need. You can ask in primary research interviews and on surveys why someone is looking for a solution to a specific problem, but that can be much more difficult to uncover than a list of features customers want. Our motivations aren’t always clear to us, so articulating them in an interview can be difficult.
For example, a stakeholder may describe their motivation for researching a productivity tool as being “A means of getting better visibility over tasks and time management”, but on Twitter may discuss how the number of projects they are working on has recently increased significantly since a number of co-workers left as part of the Great Resignation/Great Reshuffle.
This target believes their motivation for a tool to be one thing (better time management) when in fact the real driver is finding a way to fit in the additional work that they have inherited. It isn’t just about tracking work, but about finding ways to be more efficient with their time so that they can fit more into their day or week. A PMM can then adopt that motivation into their messaging for the product to connect with the audience on a deeper level.
Understand competitive messaging and positioning (for your own purposes)
Obviously, we look to competitor content to understand how they are positioning themselves, what signals they are sending about potential changes, and what benefits they espouse. However, tracking competitive messaging in near-real-time – and customer response – offers opportunities to repackage and reply quickly.
Many times, competitive research and monitoring are done infrequently, and with many assets, that’s wholly appropriate. A competitor’s core website and positioning don’t change on a daily basis. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t producing content with adjusted or tweaked messaging, or responding to potential customers with variations on those themes.
By keeping up to date with how your competitors talk about themselves in more transient and less formal venues, like on LinkedIn, on professional sites, responding to Tweets, and so on, PMMs have the chance to nimbly reframe the benefits and value of your own product and respond to that messaging with their own.
Spot competitor market movement
Similar to using content to keep an eye on competitor messaging, understanding competitor market movement using content curation can offer an expanded understanding of what the competition is planning, giving you time to plan and react.
Certainly, shifts in language and messaging can indicate positioning movements and is likely something you’re already watching for. But competitor content – and content about competitors, like filings and press releases – can act as an early warning system.
For example, you may have competitors that are a concern in a particular region like the EU, but they haven’t been a concern in other markets where you sell your product. What if they were to move into some of your other regions? When would you know? How would you react? What time would you need to adjust messaging and positioning in those regions to prevent a loss in market share?
Keeping an eye on a competitor’s content and where those competitors are mentioned can keep you ahead of any movements like this. If you’re using Cronycle, you can take advantage of alerts to keep you abreast of these mentions, even when you aren’t checking on them every day.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. The common assumption is that an influencer is someone with a huge audience that can expose your product to potentially hundreds of thousands or millions of potential customers all at once. The question is, how many of that audience actually overlaps with your target audience?
Influencer marketing doesn’t need to be shouting into the void, hoping that a very few hear you. In fact, you can see much better results from exposure with a niche influencer who has a smaller audience but aligns more closely with your product’s vision and purpose.
The challenge is finding those influencers, and this is where content curation comes in. As you discover content on a particular topic or area relevant to your product, the names of certain content producers are likely to come up again and again. These topical experts have the ear of a select group with high interest in that topic. If that area of interest aligns with the promise of your product, that influencer can offer you a captive audience and better ROI.
There is another reason to use content mining to identify influencers that we’ve discussed previously. Uncovering influencers in key topical areas can uncover SMEs for research panels, roundtables, and discussions. These experts have experience and knowledge in tangential spaces that can impact product and market direction. We’ve seen a number of organizations lean more on influencers and SMEs to inform features and strategy as they move away from broader, audience-based research.
Backstop business intelligence
Mining content can augment other methods to offer a narrative of your market and customer in a way that other methods cannot on their own. A perfect example of this is data analysis and business intelligence.
Contrasting two talks from the recent SCIP IntelliCon 2022 conference in Minneapolis illustrates this well. One presentation from a well-known consumer brand discussed the organization’s use of primarily internal data to make decisions and set strategies. A keynote from former deputy director of intelligence for the CIA, Carmen Medina, on the other hand, highlighted that analysis alone can lead in ill-advised directions, while narratives can provide a more complete understanding of what is going on with a population, like your customers.
Consider the story of World War II engineer Abraham Wald, who worked for the US Statistical Research Group during the war. Wald was presented with the problem of too many planes being shot down and failing to return from missions. The military sought to reinforce the planes that returned in the areas that showed the largest concentration of bullet holes – areas like the fuselage and fuel system. Clearly, the data showed that those areas were talking the most hits, right?
Wald presented a counter-narrative – that the armor needed to go on the areas of the plane with the fewest bullet holes, near the engine, which had half as much damage. Why? Because the planes with holes in the fuselage and fuel system were the ones that made it back. It wasn’t the data they had, but the data that they didn’t, combined with an understanding of warfare and missions, that led to the right solution.
Neither the damaged plane data nor the understanding of battle was completely effective on their own. But when data analysis was combined with a narrative the picture became complete. PMMs can do the same by combining data with stories and information from customers, content producers, and topical experts to communicate the value of a strategic decision more clearly and drive toward a decision or strategy more confidently.
Curated content broadens a product marketer’s reach
The use cases presented here are just some of the lesser-known ways that product marketing managers can utilize curated content to inform decisions, extend their influence, and enrich their research. These examples are in addition to uses like social proof and enabling others in the go-to-market stream, like content marketing and sales enablement.
Of course, content discovery, mining, and curation aren’t as useful if they add significant workload to a PMMs already full plate. That’s where Cronycle comes in. With Cronycle you can easily monitor competitor chatter and information, uncover emerging opportunities and disruptions, and flow information to peers and leaders, in a single platform that integrates with your existing tools and workflows. Contact Cronycle today to learn more and schedule a demo to see this powerful platform in action.