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2015…poof!

With 2015 behind us, I was conflicted on what kind of post to write to wrap up the year for product marketing. Do I…

  • Send one of those cliche “Happy Holidays” emails that (perhaps I’m speaking for myself here) drive people nuts and cause them to hit “delete” buttons with force before even reading the email?
  • Curate a giant review of the top product marketing campaigns of the year? (Sorry, don’t have time for this while I’m interviewing all the speakers for the Summit)
  • Send all of my readers a virtual fruit cake e-card
  • Pose the question for internal reflection (I’m not a rapper but Wistia is…more on this later) around how your brand seizes the opportunity to stand out from the other holiday messages and promote its product?

Obviously I’m going with bullet #1…. …. Just kidding, I’d never give fellow product marketers coal for Christmas. We work way too hard for that.

“Happy Holidays” emails are NOT effective product marketing…

I imagine I’ve segmented readers into one of two groups with this statement:

  1. “Finally! I’ve found someone else who shares my hatred for the 20 gazillion pointless emails that flood my inbox during the holidays. As if holiday cards from my family weren’t enough. Too bad I can’t physically burn emails.”
  2. “Oh crap, I sent one of those to my customers…what kind of marketer am I?”

Fear not, #2’s. There’s a followup question that may absolve you from your sins.

…unless you stand upon the holidays as your product marketing soap box…

…and use the 10 days of Christmas as an excuse to belt out your 10 most awesome product accomplishments of 2015.

Wistia’s product marketing team gave me everything I wanted for Christmas

Including:

  • Celine Dion singing It’s All Coming Back to me Now
  • A disco ball
  • A Walkman
  • Dinosaurs
  • Drone footage
  • Lots and lots of plaid
  • Slow clap finale
  • Product updates and glimpse into more

I don’t know about you but this made me stop and think, “What the hell was my company doing in 2015?”

You can find me in the kitchen making a disco ball out of aluminum foil to make up for lost time.

People are more human than you think

…which means they’re looking for humanized marketing. Generic “happy holidays” mass email? People read right through it and see it as outright insincere. Why? Because it is. Nowadays, people know how easy it is to compose a mass email and send it to everyone in your database. It’s like bringing the cheap bottle of $4.99 Trader Joe’s wine that’s been collecting dust in your pantry to grandma’s Christmas dinner. She’s slaved over her stove all day (if you think your back hurts now, how do you think hers feels?) and you think you can bring her $5 wine and get away with it? False. Move that decimal point to the right, my friend, in wine and in your marketing.

I’m not asking you to handwrite cards to everyone in your customer base. I AM asking you to put a little more thought into your holiday messages, for the sake of both parties.

Don’t turn your product marketing department into a coal factory

Wistia’s year-end “rap ups” are brilliant for three reasons.

First, it’s unlike anything else that hits inboxes around the holidays. This means open rate and engagement are far better than the “happy holidays” cookie cutter (pun intended) emails we all get from other brands. Instead of hitting “delete” out of spite for another holiday email, you open the damn thing (out of spite) because you assume “Rap up” is a typo.

Second, they use the video as an ambidextrous Trojan horse. The video both disarms your spite by giving you some refreshing giggles, and lets Wistia humanize itself and its technology by showing you the people and culture behind the product. It’s easy to forget that people consider more than the product in purchase and retention decisions. Our products are the sum of all parts- the product, the company behind that product, the people who make up that company, etc. People don’t fly Virgin America for their A320 aircraft. American, United, and just about everyone else flies A320’s. People fly Virgin Atlantic because of the atmosphere aboard their A320’s, largely created by their cabin crew, the people behind the product and brand.

Third, Wistia seizes the opportunity to toot their own horn and recall all the value they produced and delivered in 2015. You’ll see in the blog post that both product and company achievements (and even more personal notations like hires) are showcased by month. This is valuable for both customers and prospects. Prospects are able to see that Wistia is a human company dedicated to delivery, and current customers are reminded of the same. This is important because churn is enemy #1 for our businesses. And churn is often prompted through customers not seeing or feeling progress. We product marketers know, though, that consumers tend to forget all of the progress we make over a timeframe unless they’re constantly reminded of it. (It’s like your dog wanting another treat after you just gave it one.) By reiterating progress and quantifying value, Wistia likely saved itself some churn requests.

 

The bottom line

  • Before you draft up next year’s “happy holidays” cookie cutter email, think about how you could leverage the opportunity and create more effective product marketing
  • People are more human than you think, so be thoughtful about blanket messages– they’ll likely be viewed as lazy and insincere
  • Don’t be afraid to open the curtain and include people, culture and humor as a sidecar to product in your marketing
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