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Your Practitioners Should Know Your Product—But Not Too Well

December 19, 2017 - Practitioner Marketing - , , , ,
By: Chris Tozzi

When planning a practitioner marketing strategy, you should make sure your practitioners are experts in your product or service—Right?

Not quite. Although it may seem like the people who have the most familiarity with your product are best equipped to develop articles, videos or other practitioner marketing content about the product, the fact is that relying on practitioners who know your product too well can undercut your marketing campaign’s effectiveness.

You should instead strive to work with practitioners who have domain expertise in your area, yet are relatively new to your product or service. These people—who in most cases will be outsiders to your organization—are best positioned to communicate value to the content consumers you want to convert through practitioner marketing.

Let us explain…

Practitioner Marketing Is Not Traditional Marketing

As a marketer, you know everything about the product or service you are marketing. It’s part of your job to understand the value and communicate it to others.

Yet practitioner marketing is not traditional marketing. When you engage practitioners to help market your content, you don’t hire them because you need more people on your marketing team who are experts in your product. Those people are already on your team. (They’re you.)

Instead, you hire practitioners and execute practitioner marketing campaigns because practitioners have the influence and domain expertise—but not the specific product expertise—to talk credibly about the problems your product solves or the types of use cases to which it is suited.

You’re Not Marketing to Expert Users

A practitioner marketing campaign should aim to convert new users to your product or service, not engage people who are already using the product.

The people who know your product best are already using it. They might have questions about specific features, or want to understand the ins and outs of the product.

Existing users are not the people you should be targeting with practitioner marketing. Practitioner marketing should instead focus on converting new users. Leave it to your support and sales teams to optimize the experience of existing users and convince them to expand their use of the product.

Non-Experts Communicate Better with Other Non-Experts

Here’s the biggest reason why your practitioners should not be experts in your product: When you’re trying to convert people to your product or service, knowing too much about it can put you at a disadvantage.

If you use the product day in and day out, and spend most of your time interacting with colleagues who also know the product well, it becomes more difficult to talk about it in a way that communicates its value to people who are not also expert users. You end up in an echo chamber, taking for granted prerequisite knowledge and concerns that potential users may not actually share.

Practitioners who don’t have a great deal of experience using your product are not subject to this challenge. They can talk about it with the conviction of someone who understands the domain it operates in, but without the blind spots that hamper the perspective of people who are engrossed in the product all day long.

Indeed, in this respect, practitioners can help you not only reach target users more effectively through a practitioner marketing campaign, but also help you to understand your own product better.  They can help you recognize your own biases and see your product as potential users perceive it, rather than as people inside your organization view it.

Conclusion: Outsource Your Practitioner Marketing

All of the above is why you should look to practitioners from outside your organization when developing practitioner marketing campaigns.

You no doubt have some very smart people working for your company. They probably know your product or service better than anyone else in the world.

Yet when it comes to marketing that product or service to other practitioners in your industry who are not already using the product or service, in-house practitioners won’t be as effective.

(They will also, by the way, probably be much harder and costly for you to manage, leading to poor ROI.)

So, let your in-house experts focus on making your products and services even better. Leave it to partners like Fixate to provide the network of outside practitioners who are best positioned to drive your marketing campaigns.


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Chris Tozzi has worked as a journalist and Linux systems administrator. He has particular interests in open source, agile infrastructure and networking. He is Senior Editor of content and a DevOps Analyst at Fixate IO.

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