(Product) Marketing for Growth: The Marketing Plan

Credit : Maura Woodman

The Product Marketing Community is all about connecting product marketers and sharing ideas. Last week, we brought five bright minds and one extremely talented graphic recorder together to talk about the Product Marketing Plan. The result was a lively and insightful conversation, and some pretty kick-ass visuals to go along with it. If you want to watch the recording, you can do that here.

So, for all the product marketers out there looking for some digestible advice for putting together your GTM plan, here’s a recap of what we learned last week. Visual learners are welcome!

What are you trying to achieve?

It’s the beginning of the year and it’s time to think about your product marketing plan. The guiding question is big but simple; how are you going to achieve your revenue and profit targets?

Every product marketing plan should start with the business objectives you are striving to achieve. To be successful, product marketers need to always link their daily activities and their goals directly to the objectives of the business.

If you fail to align your product marketing plan to business objectives, and instead cater your plans only to marketers, you’ll limit your ability to have a real conversation about impact with the rest of the business.

Get obsessive about the market

With an eye on your business objectives, it’s time to turn your attention to the market. It can be tricky to get a firm understanding of the market, after all, it is always shifting. But zeroing in on the market is a key step in building a killer product marketing plan.

This means having a keen eye on market size. Sizing the market is a fuzzy science so you need to take a few different approaches and bring the facts into focus.

Projections and measures from analysts can provide external validation, and help you gauge the number of target companies in a given vertical. You can pair this with internal knowledge (think current contract value and usage metrics) to come up with a revenue opportunity measure. As the market size starts to come into focus you’ll gain a better sense of how to allocate marketing resources.

You also need to keep a pulse on how the state of the market is shifting. Is it growing? Contracting? A great way to stay in tune with these trends is to be hip to hip with your customers. Knowing your customers thoroughly (their pains and their successes) will help you cultivate a sense of the how the market is changing.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

With the veil lifted on the size and state of the market, it’s time to take this effort full circle and consider the competitive forces at play.

Competitive Intel is critical across the business — from preparing the field to informing product strategy. In this way, CI is multidimensional. Strategic CI aims to map your own products and solutions against others playing in the same market, considering both direct and adjacent competitors. Then there is CI at the more tactical level — where you are arming Sales with the information that they need to outmaneuver the competition on a deal-to-deal basis.

Analyst, trade publications, earnings calls, competitors’ websites, news releases, social media, and win-loss analysis all inform the collective CI.

Your product marketing plan should capture foundational CI information, and spark your future strategy (resource allocation) for keeping this information sharp and significant.

Who’s ready for a story?