How To Do Creative Product Marketing And Successful Offline Campaigns

Elad Simon
Founder & CEO
Craft.io
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How To Do Creative Product Marketing And Successful Offline Campaigns

The Untapped Potential of Offline Marketing

Offline marketing is still alive and kicking. I think especially if the people you’re trying to reach are not so comfortable online, offline campaigns are absolutely legitimate and critical.

When I was at Google, I managed a project with the aim of helping small businesses succeed in the digital world. The idea was that we would teach people digital skills, and we had an online component to the project, but also an offline one where we established training centers.

I was skeptical about the offline part, but there’s a buzz that it creates that is a lot less obvious than easy-to-measure online marketing.

One of our most successful initiatives came for Google Places, when we sent letters that had almost no marketing copy to people in Germany. They were simply official-looking documents with the call to action being instructions to fill out a form - the more laconic the letters were, the more successful we were.

Another thing we did was send personalized tablets that would load up something specific to the recipient’s website or brand. The engagement was incredible.

Thinking about offline engagement as well as online is just so important - there’s so much potential.

It’s All In the Execution

Taboola is a great company, but they didn’t win the market, or necessarily have a better algorithm when they started. Those things came much later. That was also true of Google AdWords, which had an awful UI for a long time. But they succeeded because they got their execution right.

I think people in startups are often too focused on finding the right market or the right product features, but often don’t have any idea about how to put things into practice.

My basic belief is that if you have a sellable product, you can have plenty of success as long as the company’s execution strategy is sound.

Taboola is a company which always knows how to take its next step. It isn’t about resources. In fact, I think you’ll always lack resources for the next thing you want to achieve. That was true even at Google, and the beautiful thing is that the challenge makes you more creative.

The key in all this is to always be thinking about the next step, the next opportunity, and being brave about going for it.

Product and Marketing Should Work Together

Product is one of your biggest growth hacks as a marketer. It’s the thing in your marketing that produces the ‘wow’ moments, and you need to know it inside out.

There’s always conflict in any organisation. You have R&D, Marketing, Sales, Product, and Customer Success all with different ideas and priorities. For example, Product will be thinking about the next feature, and Customer Success will be thinking about making existing features easier for users, and so on.

As a Marketer, you need to stay on top of all the changes and customer feedback, and align yourself with the product.

When it comes to speaking to product managers, it’s so important not to seize control or demand things, but instead think about it from a place of working together to overcome a shared obstacle.

If you approach it with a collaborative spirit, you can address challenges together and come to solutions that could have a huge impact on the performance.

One of the responsibilities you’re entrusted with as a marketer is knowing what your competitors are doing. This information is also highly valuable for product managers, since it’s also part of their job to stay ahead of the game. The issue is that PMs have so many other responsibilities, so a marketer can add a lot of value by providing competitive intelligence that can be applied to your product.

It’s often small features that have the biggest influence.

A product marketer might be thinking about taking AI to the next level, when in fact they should be working out how to lead the many people who might find themselves on your site by accident to the relevant pages.

One of the products I really like is a CRM platform called Pipedrive. A recent feature they added is a schedule that allows you to send a link to people for meetings. It might sound insignificant, but a salesperson will see it and think, ‘Well, you’ve just solved a problem for me.’

It’s a minor feature, with a big impact on the end user.

As another example, Google Photos has an incredible amount of features, and there’s so much you can do with it, but the problem is that users were often struggling with a bloated onboarding process. The solution was to link it to the cloud and adding a search feature, which might not sound hugely innovative, but addressed a key issue for users.

A marketer can take their knowledge of the landscape and the experiences of the users, and work together with the product marketer to create features that address specific issues for the customer.

The two departments can and should work in conjunction.

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Elad Simon is a performance marketing expert and the co-founder and CEO of Craft.io, a product development platform. He is the former Vice President of Media Operations at Taboola, and held several senior roles at Google.

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