What is Pragmatic Marketing? A Pragmatic Guide

Alex Bell

So, you want to develop the Best Product Idea ever. But will customers actually buy it? And how do you market it in practice anyways? 

Pragmatic marketing responds to this uncertainty by orienting the building and selling of products towards the customer. 

The idea behind pragmatic marketing is to take the mystery out of the product life cycle and get real marketing results by putting customer feedback first. 

Let’s go in-depth into what is pragmatic marketing and how to apply this process-based approach to your own business. 

What is Pragmatic Marketing?


Pragmatic marketing is a process-based approach that translates customer pain points into products they actually want. 

At the same time, it presents a roadmap for both building and selling this product within an actionable framework. 

You might feel overwhelmed when looking at the pragmatic marketing framework above. As you can see, there are numerous concepts that intersect within pragmatic marketing. 

Let’s break down some of the most important aspects of this framework. 

Product Life Cycle

pragmatic marketing product management lightbulb in hand


This initial stage flips the question of product creation on its head. Instead of building what you think is the Best Product Ever, you must first ask customers what they want/need. 

It’s possible that what you believe is the Best Product Ever doesn’t actually meet customer needs or address their urgent problems.  

We can see the importance of this stage through product flops. For example, when Google Glass came onto the market, it was a failure precisely because Google didn’t consider customer wants/needs. 

For Google engineers, these smart glasses were the Best Product ever - except that nobody wanted them. Customers found them 1984-level creepy and didn’t understand how they resolved any of their pain points.  

During the product life cycle, you’ll need to work closely with the customer in order to continue testing and revising the product according to user feedback. 

In this area of pragmatic marketing product management, you can take the following customer-oriented steps:

  1. Identify gap or pain point in the market
  2. Make win-loss analysis
  3. Analyze competitors and market landscape
  4. Propose alternative offering 
  5. Cycle through testing and revision 

Positioning and Messaging

pragmatic marketing foundations people searching on laptop


The next key stage of pragmatic marketing is positioning. This area is focused on how to approach the customer mindset so that users understand how your product solves their problem - and create the urgency that they should buy this product today. 

Positioning is all about aligning the product with the customer mindset. In practice, it revolves around how to talk about and showcase the product, as well as who you’re targeting the product to. 

Though not a tech product, a good example of positioning is the Share a Coke campaign. Even though the product of Coke is decades old, they continue to reposition Coke as something modern and personal. 

In the Share a Coke campaign, for example, users can create Coke bottles with the names of friends and family. The company positioned Coke as a personalized gift and customers were thrilled by the possibility. 

Overall, pragmatic marketing asks you to define the messaging of your product for best results. 

Here are some key action points for positioning:

  1. Define target markets
  2. Determine key sales factors 
  3. Create distribution strategy via marketing mediums
  4. Use brand and portfolio to boost product positioning
  5. Create milestones in the product roadmap 

Marketing Channels

pragmatic marketing foundations users on social media channels


Next, pragmatic marketing is closely connected to marketing channels. Now that you’ve defined messaging, it’s time to define the vehicle of that message. 

Pragmatic marketing foundations are all about identifying marketing channels to target your user personas and boost your overall brand. 

The most successful pragmatic marketing utilizes multi-channels, all of which are oriented towards user personas. (These may include email, social, web, ad placement, etc.) 

Let’s give an example to get a sense of what this stage looks like in practice. 

Uber is an excellent example of multi-channel pragmatic marketing. They have their bases covered with traditional outlets, such as referrals, reviews, partnerships and loyalty programs. 

However, they regularly surprise their millennial user base with innovative marketing channels. They’ve pulled stunts such as giving hot air balloon rides, delivering kittens to offices and bringing Christmas trees to doorsteps. 

These special marketing channels generate buzz for Uber and delight their ideal user persona. 

For marketing channels, you can follow these actions points to develop a pragmatic strategy:

  1. Create buyer and user personas 
  2. Understand use scenarios for your product
  3. Use a robust multi-channel marketing plan 
  4. Set up brand for success with thought leadership and brand loyalty 
  5. Track marketing assets over time

Timing

pragmatic marketing framework timing clock on background


Last but not least, timing is another stage of pragmatic marketing foundations. In this case, we can imagine how marketing action points will develop over time. 

More than anything, timing is key for generating curiosity and urgency in customers. 

Apple is considered a mastermind of timing. They set the product in the customer’s imagination, so that they’re excited and ready to buy. Apple has even created their own company holiday, which generates buzz and allows them to easily launch new products. 

In summary, timing is all about capitalizing on holidays, events, trade shows, brand events, etc. 

The most important aspects of timing include: 

  1. Focus on launch plan
  2. Understand how lead generation will evolve throughout the plan
  3. Focus on both customer acquisition and retention
  4. Capitalize on all relevant sales tools
  5. Support customers as needed 

The Golden Rules of Pragmatic Marketing 

3 key considerations for pragmatic marketing framework strategy diagram


What is pragmatic marketing in practice? Proponents of this strategy often mention 3 key considerations for pragmatic marketing framework. 

Let’s look at these considerations, plus some key takeaways from the framework overall. 

The 3 key considerations for pragmatic marketing framework most commonly mentioned include: 

  • “Individual factors don’t add - they multiply!” = What does this concept mean? Basically, if you start the product life cycle with an incorrect analysis of the competition, this error will greatly impact the next stages. This “multiplying effect” can be seen in almost every process-based strategy, as one step heavily influences the next step. 
  • “Know where to focus in this framework.” = The pragmatic marketing framework is extremely thorough. It’s up to you to focus on the areas you think are most relevant to your project and needs. Not every area will apply to every product development. 
  • “Building products is a high-risk venture.” = The failure rate for product building is extremely high, which means there’s always risk within the pragmatic marketing framework. That’s why it’s key to make sure your assumptions are tested several times during the development phase.


Other Golden Rules of Pragmatic Marketing 

The official list of rules by Pragmatic Marketing are listed here

Besides the 3 key considerations for pragmatic marketing framework listed above, let’s look at some useful takeaways from this framework:

  • Your customer - not you - is the expert on what is the Best Product Ever. = Every step in product development should be revised and tested according to the customer. Your opinion isn’t as important as theirs. 
  • Initial analysis should be done by somebody not involved in sales. = Make sure your assumptions are being checked at each stage. It’s a good idea to separate the sales team from the initial win/loss analysis, so that their ideas don’t impact realistic analysis or feedback.
  • The framework is less like a checklist and more like a roadmap. = The pragmatic marketing framework is extremely robust. Don’t try to use every single area of the framework. Instead, think of it as a roadmap to guide your action points.

At the end of the day, pragmatic marketing is a shift in thinking and an actionable way to understand the building and selling of a product. 

Pragmatic Marketing vs Agile Development


By now, you’ve probably heard about agile development. Agile is a product development process that prioritizes constant testing and rethinking of a product as it’s created. 

The idea is that the product will evolve to fill a market need, instead of simply building something that customers may or may not want. 

What is pragmatic marketing vs agile development? As you can tell, agile development is similar to pragmatic marketing. The pragmatic marketing framework also prioritizes the dynamic cycle to create products that customers actually want. 

In pragmatic marketing, there’s a focus on prototypes and customer feedback too. The intended result is a product that meets the needs of customers.  

Of course, pragmatic marketing vs agile development are focused differently. 

Agile development often relies on a client’s product concept to get to market as quickly as possible, while pragmatic marketing is more comprehensive as it covers not just building, but also selling the created product.

Final Takeaway

In the end, what is pragmatic marketing? 

It’s common for product and marketing strategies to get stuck at the high-level. It can be tough to know what’s going to work for your business and what steps to take right now to reach your goal. 

Pragmatic marketing answers these concerns by providing daily action points based on customer feedback. 

As you use pragmatic marketing, you’ll need the right tools. You can perfect your messaging and marketing with CloudApp, which brings annotated screenshots, GIF creation, and screenshot tools to the cloud.

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