Strategic product/solution marketing management refers to the set of processes that market position products, services and overall solutions ensuring long term profitability and growth.
Typically, a company’s product management/solution department performs strategic product/solution marketing management with the assistance of the marketing and sales organizations.
Strategic product marketing is not selling, or marketing research or product marketing per se. It is the strategic placement of products, solutions and services to lock in the market and thus keep competition in check while ensuring that the target market evolves in such a way guaranteeing long term demand for the supplying corporation’s solutions and services.
Organizational requirements for a market driven company
There are many ways to organize a company so that it can be considered market, rather than product driven and any good text on organizational structure and organizational behaviour can be referred to for this.
Any market driven company must necessarily contain in one way or another the functions of marketing, strategic product/solution management and sales and these functions must interact properly and efficiently in order to enable proper strategic product marketing.
This article refers to functions rather than departments or units because the article does not address organizational structure efficiencies; sales, marketing and product management can be within the same unit or in distinct separate units for the purposes of this article.
What is important is that these functions exist and interact properly. Where they are placed is a question of organization efficiency that has to do with the corporate culture and size of a particular company amongst other things.
Upon identification of the customer’s needs – usually communicated by market research and general marketing in the form of wants – the role of the product/solutions management function is to define and deliver a feasible solution whose benefits cover the needs of the customer in question.
Taken in an even grander scope, the main goal of the product/solutions department is to have a balanced competitive portfolio of products, solutions and services timely available to address the general market needs and industry trends.
This portfolio is a result of the strategic strengths of the company, the competitive environment, the market needs and technology/ industry trends, and is designed, bundled and communicated for the relevant target customer base always within the general framework of the relevant socio economic environment.
Good marketing input will give the product/solutions management function enough understanding of where the particular customer wants to go in order to be able to conceive (perhaps with the customer’s help) a solution whose benefits fulfil to a large extent the customer’s wishes.
Again, if the marketing information was at the right abstraction level, and did not consider or base itself on any particular solution, this gives ample flexibility to the product/solution management function to use all the available information at its disposal.
This information will usually include an adequate analysis of the competitive environment, a general roadmap of new technologies and product trends, strategic issues important to the company (information that may not be present at the marketing stages) and any other relevant information that will allow the supplier to to both satisfy the customer and keep in tune with the suppliers short term margins and long term interests.