Perhaps the greatest fear of any e-commerce business is to create a product that no one knows about (and therefore never buys!). That’s where E-commerce Product Marketers come in. However, there’s much more to this marketing field than just simple advertising.
Product marketing has been around for a while, but its modern iteration in the digital era of commerce is very different from before. Today, E-commerce Product Marketers work closely with development, sales, and customer success teams to ensure successful new product creation and launch.
They are keenly focused on the physical (or virtual) aspects of the product itself, more than the overarching traits of the brand. They work hard to collect and analyze user feedback, then offer insights to developers regarding issues and improvements. E-commerce Product Marketers also raise potential customers’ awareness of new products while helping them understand any differences from competing products in existence.
- Keeping e-commerce products up-to-date and relevant
- Promoting industry competition and innovation
- Enabling consumers to purchase high-quality, well-developed products with the features they need
3 Main Responsibilities
- Creating and telling the story of the products.
- Identifying the buyer or buyers for the product or service and strategizing how to sell to those buyers.
- Creating and executing a marketing plan for a specific product and show the steps people will take to pursue the product.
- E-commerce Product Marketers work full-time, with possible overtime required during busy shopping seasons.
- Check out Beginner’s Guide to Product Marketing
- Conduct ample market research to confirm suitable markets
- Assess market fit for products being considered for development
- Analyze competitors in the future products’ space
- Work with product development roadmaps and launch plans
- Conduct or oversee user interviews to learn more about what customers might want and their motivations for wanting it
- Talk to salespeople and prospects to gain their product feedbacks
- Conduct research with focus groups
- Offer developers insights and ideas extrapolated from feedbacks
- Reach out to customers about new product releases, product improvements, and other updates
- Determine appropriate product positioning and difference from other products
- Write technical documents
- Perform tests to validate accurate markets are being targeted
- Work closely with development, sales, and customer success teams
- Help identify and fix product-related problems
- Offer potential customers new ways to engage with products before buying
- Observe online shoppers’ behavior using web tools
- Gather analytical data using business intelligence software
- Pay attention to social media comments to see what users are saying
- Devise giveaways, contest ideas, or special offers
- Work with brand ambassadors to create product stories
- Ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations
- Active listening
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Customer relationship management
- Problem-solving skills
- Skills for coordinating and instructing activities
- Sound judgment and decision-making
- Strategic thinking
- Strong communication skills
- Time management skills
- Troubleshooting skills
- Database user interface/query
- Direct-to-Consumer businesses practices
- Experience in e-commerce sales principles
- Knowledge of business intelligence tools
- Product development roadmaps
- Product launch planning
- Project management
- Social media analytics
- User interviews
- Competitor analysis tools:
- E-commerce businesses
- Traditional companies with online sales
- Wholesale trade
E-commerce Product Marketers are key players in any successful online venture selling products. They ultimately bear a huge responsibility to ensure sufficient research is done before creating and launching a product into the market. When a product fails to sell or is met with terrible reviews, managers often look back at the product marketing team to ask what went wrong.
E-commerce companies are currently booming, but as the economy changes, sales can be affected. As a result, businesses must do their homework to make certain they’re offering the best products at a competitive price. It is just as imperative that E-commerce Product Marketers perform due diligence to get the word out about new products being introduced to the market.
Product-led growth has become a hot trend, especially in the software world. Meanwhile, proven strategies like content marketing continue to be vital for raising product awareness; however, there’s also an increasing shift to add video content.
A final e-commerce trend is the prioritization of the customer experience, which, if done right, can lead to more buyers than offering better prices (or even better products). Indeed, even though product marketers focus more on products versus branding, consumers are keenly aware of brand initiatives and want to engage with companies that share their values. Customer experiences combined with smart branding campaigns can drive customer loyalty-building efforts.
E-commerce Product Marketers are usually very engaging and outspoken people. They enjoy talking about new things and sharing information with others. In school, they may have been involved with lots of clubs or activities, because they like staying busy.
They are curious by nature and great at observing things or situations. Many are also creators who want to be “hands-on” with art or other physical projects they can design and bring to life.
- E-commerce Product Marketers should ideally have a bachelor’s in marketing or business administration, combined with specific job-related training (see our list of Skills Needed on the Job > Technical Skills)
- According to Zippia, “75% of product marketing managers hold a bachelor's degree and 18% hold a master's degree”
- Relevant certifications include:
- AMA’s Professional Certified Marketer
- PMI’s Project Management Professional
- AIPMM’s Certified Product Manager or Certified Product Marketing Manager
- ICPM’s Certified Manager Certification
- Many colleges offer academic certificates, such as eCornell’s Product Marketing Certificate
- Check out Medium’s Best Training for Product Marketers list for more options
- Companies around the country offer Product Marketer internships to help you gain practical paid work experience
- Expect lots of On-the-Job Training and continual learning about new products
- You’ll want a program that offers the right mix of traditional and e-commerce marketing courses (with the focus on developing e-commerce and technical skills, of course)
- If you need flexibility, many fully online and hybrid programs are perfect for busy students
- Many E-commerce Product Marketers have a master’s, so if you’re considering doing a bachelor’s and a master’s, look for programs that offer accelerated “dual degree” routes
- Make sure your school and degree program are properly accredited
- Keep in mind, colleges are marketing their programs to you! Take time to research schools and programs you’re interested in. Read alumni reviews and faculty bios; review graduation rates, job placement stats, and other info to help you make a well-informed decision
- Check out college ranking websites such as U.S. News to see where a school stands in relation to other higher education institutions
- Sign up for business, management, marketing, writing, and presentation electives in high school
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends that marketing managers, in general, take courses in “consumer behavior, market research, sales, communication methods and technology, visual arts, art history, and photography”
- Volunteer to help with extracurricular activities so you can get real-world experience with project management
- Seek out Product Marketer internships to gain new job skills for later use
- Join e-commerce and marketing-related professional organizations like the American Marketing Association to grow your network and make friends
- Dedicate yourself to reading articles or watching free YouTube videos about product marketing every week, and take notes about things you learn
- Keep up with industry trends and familiarize yourself with applicable software programs
- Hop on social media and study what brands are doing. Think like a marketer and try to picture the strategies they are using to attract consumers
- Sign up for user interviews to get a feel for how they’re conducted
- Get to know other product marketers through networking groups like Product Marketing Alliance. Join their Slack channel.
- Get certified.
- Learn about the product and customers of the companies you would like to work at.
- Hone your writing and storytelling skills and have samples ready to share with the hiring manager.
- List your soft and technical skills, along with tangible impacts your work has made. For example, try to cite numbers, statistics, or dollar amounts.
- Do market research on the products of the companies you would like to work at. Show how competitors are positioning their products.
- Polish your social media and LinkedIn accounts. They should be as professional as possible
- If you already work for an e-commerce company, let your supervisor know you’re interested in a position in product marketing and ask what steps you could take to prepare yourself. Volunteer to help the product marketing team when they are swamped.
- Ask supervisors and college professors to be your job references
- Sign up for alerts with employment portals such as Indeed.com. Be willing to start at an appropriate entry-level position if you don’t have much experience
- Search online for premade Product Marketer Resume templates you can customize
- Get ahead of the curve by doing mock interviews and studying Product Marketer Interview Questions
- To move up, you’ll either have to take advantage of opportunities for promotion at your current company or will have to switch jobs by moving to a larger company
- Either way, the best way to climb the ladder is to do an amazing job in the role you’re in. Make money for your employer and add value to every process you’re a part of
- Set the bar high for quality assurance, process efficiency, and other standards. Be a role model and hold subordinates accountable for doing excellent work
- Train teammates so they understand expectations and can perform duties to the best of their abilities
- Learn all you can about team-building and collaboration
- Keep motivation running high by taking care of people and their well-being
- Develop your reputation as a problem solver who gets things done
- Learn everything you can about your company’s brand and the products or projects you’re involved with. Be the “go-to expert” that they rely upon
- When appropriate, finish advanced product marketing certifications or professional development that will help you be better at your job and prep you for additional responsibilities
- Know when it’s time to go. If your employer simply doesn’t share your high standards or cannot offer promotions or raises, consider looking elsewhere. But remember, never burn bridges!
- American Advertising Federation
- American Marketing Association
- Association of International Product Marketing and Management
- Association of National Advertisers
- Association of Network Marketing Professionals
- Institute of Certified Professional Managers
- Product Marketing World
- Project Management Institute
- Social Media Association
- Society for Marketing Professional Services
- Product-Led Growth: How to Build a Product That Sells Itself, by Wes Bush
- The Launch: A Product Marketer's Guide: 50 key questions & lessons for a successful launch, by Yasmeen Turayhi
- The Product Marketing Manager: Responsibilities and Best Practices in a Technology Company, by Lucas Weber
E-commerce Product Marketing is a fast-paced, demanding career field that requires numerous soft and technical skill sets. Many people find the job to be extremely fulfilling; however, if you’re curious about other options in a similar vein, a few alternatives include:
- Advertising and Promotions Managers
- E-Commerce Business Analyst
- E-Commerce Project Manager
- E-Commerce Search Engine Marketing Manager
- Marketing Specialists
- Market Research Analysts
- Public Relations Specialists
- Sales Managers