How (And Why) Product-Led Marketing Works

Try letting your product speak for itself whether you sell niche sporting gear or something as commonplace as coffee. This is called product-led marketing, and it transforms customers into genuine, enthusiastic advocates for your product. It lets your customers experience your product’s value for themselves, making customer satisfaction and growth more organic. The natural result is more sales.


The espresso bar and coffee bean roaster Sagebrush Coffee takes this approach to marketing its coffee products, to great success. In this edition of The Power Up podcast, founder Matt Kellso shares his experience with a product-led strategy and how Sagebrush Coffee made it work for their multi-channel marketing campaigns.

What Is Product-Led Marketing?

Product-led marketing is a business strategy that’s all about focusing on your product’s standout features. This is different from product-led sales, which utilizes salespeople to maximize conversions.


Product-led marketing centers your products. You’ll give people the best experience possible and connect with them meaningfully, making it easier to get new customers. The product itself does the selling; its quality and ease of use convert curious onlookers into paying customers. A free sample is an excellent example of product-led marketing. 

Tablescape display

Key Components Of Product-Led Marketing

Understanding customer pain points

What makes your target audience tick? What do they struggle with? Knowing what shoppers need — and how your products meet that need — is key to customer success. 


Start by surveying existing customers, conducting research online, or talking to others in your industry to get an idea of what people want. From there, develop a plan supported by tailored marketing tactics and messaging that resonates.

Market fit

Your product needs to make sense for your target shopper. Identify the product’s features and benefits, and connect those capabilities to the product’s role in your prospective customer’s daily life. How does the item in question solve a problem or elevate a typical routine? Answering those questions addresses customer pain points and centers your product in your marketing efforts.

Trend monitoring

Trends come and go, but savvy marketers know how to make the most out of viral moments. Identifying and capitalizing on consumer behavior introduces your product to new shoppers, connecting your product to those trends — and tapping into a new area of revenue growth.

Vintage shop dress display

For example, suppose you run a vintage shop and you’ve noticed that lots of people are looking for ‘60s dresses. Your business also gets lots of traffic from people walking past your display windows and loving what they see. This is why you start displaying heavily discounted ‘60s vintage dresses in your window. You also put a little chalkboard below each and write a few exciting phrases describing each — “gorgeous flowers!” might be an example. You’re using your products as your marketing while tying your business to a current trend.

5 Ways To Implement A Marketing-Led Product Strategy

1. Teach your audience about your products

Whether you’re launching a new product or selling from your tried-and-true assortment, help customers understand how they benefit from it. Blogs and videos are great ways to educate readers about the product’s features, benefits, and the problems it solves. These videos can be repurposed and posted to social media, turning a single piece of content into a multi-channel marketing campaign.


If your business operates out of a storefront, hosting live demonstrations is another way to give customers an up-close look at your products. Showcasing the item’s superior performance with no tricks or filters is a surefire way to capture customer loyalty for a lifetime.

2. Keep up with the data and stay flexible

Being data-driven and adaptable involves continuous monitoring and customer data analysis. With these processes in place, you can make smarter decisions and find ways to improve. You can also really get to know a shopper’s buying process and understand your customers’ changing preferences.


For example, through customer surveys and online reviews, a skincare company discovers that shoppers use the best-selling face cream on their hands. Instead of rushing to make hand cream, the company can create a series of videos supporting this alternative use of their product. The company’s quick response to the feedback — and savvy marketing of this change — improves product alignment with customer preferences, leaning into a true product-led approach.


The key to implementing this successfully is your ability to change. Flexibility means adjusting strategies based on evolving consumer preferences. If you keep up with how customers actually use the items you sell, you lean into a true product-led growth model that evolves with your shoppers in real-time.

3. Open multiple sales channels to reach customers

Diversify the platforms and avenues through which you sell your products to customers. Instead of relying on a single channel, explore online marketplaces, social media, pop-ups, and other ways to reach shoppers. Some of these new channels could become a new source of monthly recurring revenue.

Consider a handmade candle brand that only sells on Etsy — this small business should try reaching customers who aren’t on Etsy. The company thus decides to build its own website, use social selling tools on Instagram, and set up Google Shopping. It discovers that some candles sell more on Etsy, others on Instagram, and others still through Google. This is great for optimizing revenue since the company can create Instagram videos and captions highlighting what makes the candles special. This content can influence the customer journey along the way. 

4. Expand to new marketing channels

Give customers new ways to discover your products, whether through email marketing, social selling, direct mail, or SEO. Embracing new channels through a multi-channel marketing strategy means you stay ahead of industry trends and give customers additional ways to interact with your products.


Let’s say you sell a cleaning product that removes red wine stains from fabric, and your organic SEO strategy is performing well. You could acquire more customers with powerful visuals that show the stain disappearing, alongside endorsements from influencers in the wine community. Social may not be one of your preferred channels, but pursuing new customer acquisition tactics is necessary to increase your bottom line.

5. Tailor content marketing based on different sales channels

To successfully implement a marketing led growth model, you need to understand how each marketing tactic works on multiple channels. Furthermore, tailoring your content and messaging to each channel is key.


For example, your online content might focus on detailed product descriptions, user reviews, and interactive visuals to cater to digital shoppers. Meanwhile, offline channels might emphasize product experiences, promotions, and interactive displays. This approach ensures that your marketing messages resonate effectively with the customers who use each channel.

How Sagebrush Coffee Leverages A Marketing-Led Product Strategy

Founded in 2012 by Matt Kellso, Sagebrush Coffee began as an online specialty coffee retailer, prioritizing high-quality, freshly roasted beans sourced globally. Today, the business has evolved to include a physical location in Chandler, Arizona that offers a variety of coffee beans with distinctive flavor profiles. As Sagebrush’s business has grown, Kellso has diversified the company’s marketing strategies while focusing on the core product-focused concepts that first drew customers to the brand. 

Sagebrush Coffee’s start in product-led marketing

In the business’s earliest years, Kellso took a personalized approach to communicating with customers by sending informative email newsletters on coffee trends.

Sagebrush Coffee blog

He also started a blog to create engaging, product-centric content. In one of his posts, Kellso raved about a specific Kenyan coffee to his audience of coffee enthusiasts. The product sold out within 24 hours, highlighting the effectiveness of this personalized and authentic marketing approach.

Carefully tailoring marketing to the target audience

As its product line grew, Sagebrush adopted a nuanced marketing strategy. Now, Kellso regularly determines the smartest platforms on which to sell each type of coffee throughout the year. That’s because some types of coffees are best when professional or experienced roasters brew them, whereas other types are just fine for home roasters. Kellso carefully matches each bean to its ideal scenario and markets it to its target audience.


“It’s part of why we’ve opened up so many [sales] channels,” he said.

Combining human connection with product-led marketing

When creating content, Kellso revisits the purpose of the business’s marketing efforts: fostering a genuine human connection with the products Sagebrush sells. Every week, the company sends out an email about a featured coffee. 


“We pick [an] employee and give a quick bio, and they talk about what their favorite drink is this week and why they love it so much. I get responses from our customers all the time that are like…‘I want the coffee they’re drinking!,’” Kellso shared.

Face-to-face time with customers

Kellso schedules nearly every Sagebrush employee to work as a barista. This way, every team member closely interacts with the coffee so that they can connect more meaningfully with both the products and Sagebrush’s customers.


Additionally, none of Sagebrush’s marketing employees are full-time marketers — these employees may too work as baristas. They take their firsthand experiences with the products during their barista hours and translate them into effective business marketing tactics.


“We look to find ways to connect people emotionally to Sagebrush Coffee. … That’s the point of marketing to me. [People] can get coffee everywhere. … There has to be something emotional that ties them to the business.”

Growth Through Product-Led Marketing Strategies

Whether you’re selling coffee beans, cleaning products, smartwatches, or any other item, product-focused marketing puts your best foot forward. And with a few smart changes, you can make a product-led marketing strategy work for you, too. For inspiration, check out Sagebrush Coffee on their episode of The Power Up podcast to pick up more tips and tricks for your business.

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