An online marketer's guide to the full product life cycle

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Product management
Once the product has been planned and approved, it's time to build it. In this case, we're talking about a software development project that will be rolled out via a website and a variety of apps across PC, phone, and tablets. The process entails defining the specific features, creating the project plan, working with the product development teams to ensure the correct product decisions are made, coordinating internal communications, and development of the appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the product's success in the market.

In most companies, the product management team is really the "product owner" and makes all the decisions and prioritizations of features of that product. Essentially, the team defines what will be built, leaving the how to product development. In some companies the what is shared between the product management and product development teams.

The key to strong product management is always being customer driven -- which means creating very powerful and accurate personas and scenarios that always drive the "true north" of what is being built. This process should become the basis of what is handed off to the sales and marketing teams in order to drive the go-to-market strategy and sales positioning.

Product marketing
Product marketing is typically one of the most important teams, leading one of the most important efforts -- but frequently this discipline is under-funded and under-resourced. In an appropriately resourced product marketing effort, key partners and customers are engaged in deep ongoing conversations. Ideally, the personas and scenarios that were created during the product planning effort received vast input from the product marketing teams. The go-to-market strategy for how that product will be launched, including all the marketing and training materials used by sales and customer services within the company, is managed by this team, which also feeds the key marketing positioning to the marketing communications teams.

If the product marketing team does its job correctly, the corporate marketing and sales efforts will be successful. Product marketing ultimately owns the decisions related to where and when the product will be rolled out (with huge dependencies on all the other teams).

Marketing communications
Given the intended audience reading this article, I won't spend a lot of time here -- as this is either you or your direct customer. However, a few key points are worth spending time on:

If the correct personas were created, the media strategy and even the core media plan should come together like a breeze. If the correct scenarios were chosen and executed against correctly by product management and product development, then the creative of the advertising should be quite easy to conceive and execute. In a perfect world, there is a direct feed from inception to creation to getting that product or service in front of prospective customers -- and converting them to active customers.

There are, of course, many other teams involved any business, and all play critical roles at varying moments of the product lifecycle. Hopefully this rather nuts-and-bolts summary of the overall process will help those of you who have grown up attached to this mechanism either internally or externally, but who haven't had full exposure to the processes and roles.

Eric Picard is chief product officer at TRAFFIQ.

On Twitter? Follow Picard at @ericpicard. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.