The task of offer definition often falls to product marketing leaders, but the best offers don’t come out of product marketing alone. Here’s who you can work with in your org, and how to work with them to ensure you’re creating products and services that your target audience will love.
What do you mean by “offer definition”?
Great question. Offer definition is what describes the thing you’re creating that someone can buy. The components of offer definitions can vary depending on your organization or what you’re creating, but no matter what the product or service is, an offer definition will need these elements:
For foundational offer definitions of a new product or service:
What category is this offer in?
This is how your audience will make sense of your offer.
Who is my target audience?
What key characteristics does your ideal buyer have?
What problem does this offer solve for the target audience?
The answer is something that alternatives in the category can’t claim.
How does this offer solve the problem?
Answers what is it? Is it shoes? Marketing software? A home cleaning service?
How can you purchase it?
How much does it cost, and what steps do you need to take to buy?
Who needs to collaborate on a foundational offer definition?
Creating an offer your target audience will love happens when you understand what they need, create something that fills those needs, and gives them a great customer experience the whole way through. While Product Marketing plays a role across the board, many other teams should contribute, or even lead, in this process.
At some organizations, Product Management and Strategy might “own” the Offer Definition and Product Marketing is a collaborator. As a Product Marketer, you bring expertise on the target customer in the market, competitive intelligence, and the perspective how it will be priced and packaged. Product Management will likely also have a perspective on the market and customers, and will lead on the “how” the organization delivers on their needs. Working closely with the Product team to build a comprehensive understanding of what the thing is and how it works is necessary work for building an offer.
Are you developing pricing and packaging? Then you should talk to your finance team. Are there margins the company needs to hit on the sale of this product or service? Can they take what you know about demand in the market, comparable sales and performance metrics of past products, to create a forecast? Depending on the scale of your organization, you might need to model some of this out yourself and build a P&L.
Before you finalize an offer with it’s pricing, packaging, benefits, core components defined, it’s always prudent to ask the people who talk to prospects if they think someone would actually buy it. What holes can the sales team poke in your offer? Where do they think the value lies? Does it align with the problems they’re hearing? How excited are they to sell it? Gather feedback, and consider if the offer is strong enough to launch as defined or if it needs some adjustment.
Customer Support and Customer Success
Similar to how you’ll gain feedback from sales, talking to the team or teams who are in the closest contact with your customers can give you valuable insights on making sure the offer would solve your customer’s problems. What value do customer-facing teams see in the offer? Where does it miss the mark? Would your current customers adopt the offer as defined, at its price? This valuable feedback can help you refine the components, price, and more.
Corporate or Business Strategy
Product Marketing tends to build and execute on strategies in the 1-3 year horizon. Product Marketers are thinking about how to take the market the stuff that exists now, and how to validate/invalidate ideas for future products or services in the near future through market and consumer insights. If your organization has a corporate strategy function, they’re likely thinking at a global level for the company, and on a longer time horizon. That said, what you’re doing today impacts where you’re heading tomorrow. It’s always good to discuss new offers and how they fit in the company’s bigger picture.
Putting it all together
Yup, it’s a lot more work to collaborate across your organization and gather insights and feedback. But it will be worth your time and effort when you’re able to create offers that the organization is excited to build and sell, and that will solve an important problem or two for the customers you hope to serve.