What We Learned Talking With 100+ PLG Marketers About How PLG Is Changing B2B Marketing

Dave Rigotti
June 9, 2022

A common question I get asked when talking to product-led marketers is, “What does great product-led marketing look like?” Marketing to support sales-led strategies that have been developing for decades. Product-led philosophies, processes, and tools are still emerging. Few “standards” and best practices exist as many marketers are still defining the space. As we’ve been building Inflection.io, a few themes have emerged when we talked with over 100 marketers in PLG companies:

Into the Product

Marketing is moving into the product more than ever before. Marketing needs to be connected with and leverage product activity data, not just what’s in Salesforce.

It’s the natural direction of marketing evolution in the end-user era because we go where our audience is. Incredible products today are all available for a trial at the click of a button. Some don’t even need your email address to start with. With the ability to figure out if a product solves their pain points for themselves, many of our readers and viewers are now users first.

Your product plays the lead role in acquiring, activating, converting, and retaining your customers. Your opportunity to convert your free users to paid subscribers lies in showing them the quickest path to their goals using your product. Product activity can give you the best kind of leads there are - Product Qualified Leads (PQLs). Leveraging product activity data  is essential for nailing user intention. 

Lifecycle Marketing

Marketing to prospects can acquire users for your product. PLG marketing needs to own the full customer lifecycle to drive customer engagement and expansion through orchestrated campaigns.  

In PLG companies, the marketing doesn’t stop with acquisition. Product-led marketers own the full customer lifecycle. From onboarding new users to building advocacy through product adoption, product-led marketing can own so much. 

There is so much more marketing does beyond demand generation to activate and retain customers in the PLG environment. Driving revenue through trial to paid conversions, increasing the net recurring revenue (NRR) through self-service expansion, and delivering delightful brand engagement is what owning the lifecycle looks like. 

But, all this is not done by marketing alone. Every tangible aspect of product-led growth is a team sport. All teams in PLG companies are interconnected by their growth goals. Depending on the user journey stage, product, sales, and support team up with marketing to drive well-rounded business growth. 

Communicating at PLG Scale

Marketing needs to communicate with all users, not just a subset that fits in a legacy marketing automation solution. 

Product-led growth companies have the lowest entry barriers for getting into the product and the widest top of the funnel as a result. It is great to have a steady influx of new signups and active users every month. As a marketer, you need to remind your users of the value they get from your product to be able to monetize the product-led motion. 

One of the biggest hurdles in using legacy marketing automation in your PLG company is the cost of scaling your communication. The pricing and packaging of these tools was not designed for the product-led user volume. I’m sure many of us periodically “cleaned up” or imported lean lists to stay within the bounds of the allowed contact limit.

With existing marketing automation platforms in the market, PLG companies can only run campaigns to subsets of their users that are allowed in the pricing tier. Marketing needs to communicate with all users but practically, the pricing tier decides the number of contacts you can keep or work with. 

Communicating with disparate segments of users is a hindrance to keeping up consistent engagement, uniform brand perception, customer communication, a user experience, and overall a great product experience.

Personalization Beyond the First Name

Marketing needs to move beyond personalization to contextualization. We need to drive product adoption, brand, and sales pipeline while having seemingly one-to-one interactions at scale. 

Hi <first name> greetings are not going to cut it anymore! Customers are expecting personalized interactions that speak to their needs. We need to connect customer data from disparate sources to establish the context. Surveys show that working off of siloed and insufficient data is easily one of the biggest problems faced by marketers today. 

In the product-led world, firmographic, and demographic information from the CRM and other sources are not enough to build a 360° view of the user. You need to connect the customer and account information with product activity events to get a single view of users. This is an impossible feat with the limitations of legacy marketing automation solutions.

Marketing Automation for PLG

We built Inflection.io to address the challenges brought over by the PLG revolution for marketers. We are the only marketing automation solution purpose-built for product-led growth to help you have meaningful conversations with your customers across the lifecycle. 

The modern PLG companies deserve a solution that can scale a marketing campaign to deliver an amazing customer experience that feels like a one-to-one interaction. Inflection can achieve this through

Single view of the customer: We combine data from different sources to give you a single view of the customer. Contextualizing your communication becomes easy when you have the power of wholesome data. 

Modern Infrastructure: We built a contemporary back-end infrastructure to help you even as your business scales. We can support up to 100 million contacts and 1000s of product events while sticking to SOC2 security standards.

Usage-Based Pricing: We’ve packaged our pricing to help marketing get free of the constraints of a contact list. You pay for the number of contacts you market to and not the number of users in your database. 

No-Code Solution: We built a solution for marketers to minimize their dependency on developers. You don’t even need to write SQL queries to manipulate data on Inflection.

TL;DR

The undeniable popularity of product-led growth motion brought about some incredible changes to how B2B marketing functioned. We moved beyond supporting a sales-led motion to generate demand and fill the pipelines. 

Marketing now plays a crucial role in building and improving user-loved products. In the PLG era, marketers have a seat at the table to influence product roadmaps driven by a better understanding of users’ pain points and value realization. B2B marketing needs to scale up to B2C volumes while keeping the conversation hyper-personalized. 

Inflection.io is built with these specific challenges in mind. Our purpose-built B2B marketing automation solution is the need of the hour for product-led marketers. Get insights into specific user pain points and help them achieve more with your product. Leverage the right combination of data from product activity, person, and account with Inflection to have meaningful interactions with your customers.

To see Inflection in action, request a live demo