Buyer , User , Startups , Scaleups — 09.16.2022

What it Means to “Get Product”

Chelsea Douglass, Director of Marketing

At Innovatemap, we are product people. We are experts in digital product marketing, research, branding, and design, so we are naturally marketing people, too. Innovatemap is a digital product agency which means we come to the table with a number of skills offered individually by other people and businesses, like freelancers, consultants, marketing agencies and development firms.

In countless conversations with prospects, we tout our ability to bring products to life. Often, that ability is something the people we are talking to understand, appreciate and are looking for, because they’re digital product makers themselves. But we also talk to people who haven’t moved past the ideation phase. In some cases, these are first-time entrepreneurs moving into unfamiliar territory. We know our ability to understand digital products sets us apart from other potential partners. But why is product expertise so important?

Sara Napierkowski (Principal, Client Success) shares what it means to “get product,” and why that skill-set is so important for innovators looking to achieve product-led growth. As the person who is generally the first point of contact for prospects, Sara is able to convey our collective product knowledge and its importance to serial entrepreneurs and first-timers alike.

When you hear someone say they, “get product,” what does that mean to you?

“Getting product” means valuing or having product expertise, or appreciating the skills needed to deliver a well thought-out, business outcome-driven, user-informed product expertise. A strong product function or representation can be a huge differentiator for a business, and someone who understands product would know that right away. They may also have knowledge of or curiosity about product-led growth.

What are indicators that someone, in fact, does NOT get product?

If people or companies attempt to shortcut their way through any part of product design or development, that’s not a good sign. Developing a good digital product usually takes time, and rushing through it may show a lack of experience or understanding. You don’t just want to build a product; you need it to make an impact.

What product-related services allow companies to reach their goals?

There are a number of product-related functions that are critical in the success of digital products. They include:

  • Product management and user research informs the right experience and translates that into a buildable plan
  • Product design makes that experience intuitive, easy-to-use and beautiful
  • Product marketing communicates the value provided to buyer and users through positioning, messaging, packaging and more
  • Product brand supports the story with a visual identity and language, all activated in marketing and sales enablement materials

How does Innovatemap’s expertise in product make it a better partner to digital product companies than other people/agencies/companies?

We were founded on a product-first philosophy, and our collective experience working at and for software companies drives how and why we do what we do. We will support marketing partners, development partners or business consultation partners, but we also have expertise in all of those areas, making us a more all-encompassing partner. We think that a better product for your target market is one that’s marketable (easy to sell, understand, buy), valuable (user-informed, solves actual problems well, for actual users), and usable (it’s intuitive, beautiful, and fun (gasp!) to use).

There’s a reason people come to us and say, “I’m not happy with the marketing agencies I’ve spoken with.” It’s because they need product marketing, not just marketing. There’s also a reason people come to us for help with their product itself; often there are plenty of hands and brains working on the product as it exists at the time. But fresh perspective on the next best version of the product is extremely beneficial, whether that be because the existing product is outdated, new business ventures need to be embraced, or the footprint is expanding up or down-market or in a new industry or target market.

Why do you enjoy working in the digital product space?

My favorite moment with clients is when we flex each of our product disciplines for a client. For example, let’s say we research and design a new product that’s getting built. Then when we get to work with their marketing team to help message those new features, values, and benefits? MAGIC!

Our CEO, Mike Reynolds, often says, “there’s no problem a digital solution can’t solve,” and I absolutely agree, which keeps the work fulfilling! Personally, I especially enjoy when we can apply our skills to spaces and industries where technology isn’t fully embraced yet.

As for how the Innovatemap team hones in on its product marketing skills? Sara says the workplace offers a natural place of learning, with team members gleaning valuable product knowledge through peer-to-peer mentorship and stories and hands-on client experience.

If you’re interested in working with experts that get product, let us know.