Product marketing is a critical strategic function. It centers around a keen understanding of the product’s target audiences and strategically positioning and messaging your offerings to boost demand, adoption and revenue. But when you boil that down, it’s simply about driving go-to-market (GTM) strategy.
In order to do that effectively, there must be a consistent, company-wide understanding of your target audience. How your various personas interact with each other as part of a buying committee, and when they consume content/information over time can be mapped out through all the stages of the customer journey. Ultimately what they want to individually hear and see, i.e. messaging (+ content strategy), depends on each persona and what stage of the customer journey they are in. And during the learning and evaluation stages in particular, several personas will invariably require competitive details to discern between your offering and the various alternatives available.
And there I’ve just described the four foundational pillars of product marketing, upon which to build an effective and aligned GTM strategy!
You can download my battle tested templates for all four, and support the full multiplicity of personas (economic buyers, champions, influencers), customer journey maps (products), messaging platforms (company, products, features, etc.), and battle cards (competitors), that you face.
With a well-defined template in place you can quickly establish a consistent framework and foundation that scales, even as products mature, markets change and the competitive landscape evolves. It will also ensure and enforce completeness for more effective collaboration (maybe even a little self-service!) between product marketing and demand generation, the web team, PR, customer marketing, sales and sales enablement, product management, and engineering. That said, every organization is different, with different cross-functional needs, so feel free to adapt and change as needed. I have!
These have no doubt been influenced by my early years as a product manager and the teachings of Pragmatic Institute (formerly Pragmatic Marketing), then my journey with IBM from IT-centric offerings and personas to applications and LOB messaging, facilitated by the Sirius Decisions team (now Forrester), and numerous CEB sessions I’ve attended over the years as an enterprise customer of Gartner. I’ve adapted and often simplified the tools and methodologies I’ve picked up over the years, based on my own needs at IBM, OpenText, and Couchbase, proving their practicality across the most monolithic of enterprises, to the less structured start-up environment.For each template, I share some of my own practical motivations, an example of each completed template, as well as some ways I’ve successfully leveraged these assets to facilitate cross-functional collaboration to drive tactical plans, execution, and bottom-line results.If you found this series and any of the templates useful, please share, like or leave a comment with your thoughts and own experiences. And if you’re not already, please join me as a member of these vibrant communities for like-minded product marketing professionals: Product Marketing Community and Sharebird.
Thomas Dong is an executive-level product marketing professional (IBM, OpenText, Couchbase) with extensive experience in go-to-market strategy, persona-based marketing, and customer journey mapping. Tom’s strengths include market-defining thought leadership and the effective messaging and marketing of emerging and complex technologies, with success building new markets and influencing innovators and early adopters to action. He has achieved explosive rates of adoption (first million users in 12 months) and mentored and managed product marketing teams of all sizes (5 to 85+). Follow Tom on LinkedIn.