Hello there! Welcome to Technians’s Product Marketing Blog Series, you are currently reading the second article on ‘What is a Product Marketing Roadmap, How to build one & the connected Strategies. Your next read is ‘Competitor Analysis in Product Marketing’. To see the complete list of articles in the product marketing guide, click here.
A company lives and dies by its planning & stages of initiating, building and pushing business in the market. But, have you wondered how exactly do they shift from one stage to another, or how do they accomplish the goals necessary in each stage for a smooth transition into another? It’s all about the way they plan their strategies into their roadmaps.
It is said that the gates into advertising are opened by implementing product marketing, and that’s how important it is to properly plan this particular niche. Further, a Product Marketing Roadmap is a defined journey of how a product marketer will perform its functions in relation to the product so that its success is ensured in the market. A Product Marketing Roadmap is filled with specific strategies that are adopted by each brand of its own volition. We have also described a product marketing roadmap below in detail while comparing it to its near relatives.
Let’s First Define ‘Product’
When defining a product universally, it can be described as a thing that can be offered to a market in order to satisfy specific customer needs. Though there are a lot of definitions which are studied and practised, however nearly all of them narrow down to this universal definition, and one more essential- ‘Value’.
Philip Kotler, the Father of Modern Marketing defined it as “A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption. It includes physical objects, services, personalities, place, organizations and ideas.”
According to Rustam S. Davar, author of Modern Marketing Management– “A product may be regarded from the marketing viewpoint as a bundle of benefits which are being offered to consumers.
Thus, we can say a product is both what a seller has to sell and what the buyer has to buy. A Buyer will buy a product which can offer him the expected satisfaction.
There are two things that you will find common in all of these terms. First, a product is prepared according to the needs of the market. Second, it establishes a buyer-seller relationship. If you need more insight into what a product should be like, Philip Kotler further adds that “The consumers will favour those products that offer the most quality, performance and features.”
The learning is simple, the market needs to be understood so that the product satisfies customers’ needs.
Where does product marketing fit in here? It is the positioning and messaging of the product according to the customers’ needs and wants so that the customers buy the product to solve their problems.
Product Roadmap vs Product Marketing Roadmap
It is said that a product’s success is carved with the help of multiple niches, a few of which are product management, marketing as a whole, sales, etc. All of these teams work under definite company aims and goals while moving forward according to their own prepared roadmaps as well. Whereas, Product Marketing is a function that is highly interluding with other functions and has an influence on the goals of other teams as well while keeping and abiding by its own roadmap or plan.
Let’s begin to define a product marketing roadmap by first differentiating it from a product roadmap.
- A Product Roadmap is a concise journey of the product that you create; it defines the features and vision and direction of the product that is aimed at satisfying user needs and achieving business goals.
- A Product Marketing Roadmap however defines the strategic initiatives of a product before and within the market, it does not define any particular attribute of the product itself. But takes the ready attributes to the market with a message and an intention to satisfy user needs and meet business objectives. The main goal is to create awareness about the product in a sense so as to position it as a solution to the customers’ problems.
A Product Marketing Roadmap is used to align the goals, tasks and roles that help achieve the specific purpose for which the roadmap was created in the first place. However, each roadmap reaps the benefits of visualization of the marketing goals and effective internal communication that helps all the teams to walk in the same direction.
Why need a Roadmap?
According to a study by the Harvard Business School, nearly 30,000 new products are launched in the USA, however, most of them fail, and the failure is owed to an ineffective go-to-market strategy.
Let’s take a recap of what a product marketing roadmap does. It sets some particular goals, its assigns tasks to each team to reach the collective product marketing goals. It plans the strategic initiatives of the products by coordinating between teams and making them abide by the set schedule.
Here’s how it helps within an organization-
- Collective Visualization of Marketing Goals
It creates specific marketing goals and plans around a product, that lets the whole organization and every team within visualize those goals and work efficiently towards them.
- Effectively Tracks the Progress
By set deadlines for tasks that have been allotted to each team, it views and keeps a track of all individual work in a wholesome manner so as to effectively track the progress of the whole strategy. This also helps in further instructing teams that are lagging behind in meeting their assigned goals and tasks.
- Cross-functional Coordination & Synchronization
The roadmap is a smart device to assign specific tasks to teams, the completion of each of which, makes them finish a broader product marketing goal for the organization. This is an effective way to synch the whole company towards the common success of the product.
The roadmap helps the product marketing team to give a set direction to the other internal teams and stand at the helm of the product’s vision while steering the rudder of marketing goals.
A product marketing roadmap is a driving force in the organization that sets a cross-functional direction towards the determined messaging and positioning of the product, to ensure it meets the needs of the users for which it is being created.
Teams that tag along on your Roadmap
Visibility is an assured thing that a product marketing roadmap provides to all the internal teams and stakeholders. But, let’s move towards completing our roadmap and see which all teams tag along on this journey.
- Client Servicing Teams
These are the teams that interact with the customers on a regular basis. Including them in the roadmap, and letting them know about the message that is attached to the product can help in more effective customer outreach and response analysis. On the roadmap, they can be assigned tasks that are related to surveying and execution.
- Management Leadership
The final calls will be taken by the Management of the Organization, so it is always safe to include them in the strategic initiatives of the product. This aligns with the Organization’s vision of the product and explains how the business will benefit.
- IT Teams
A majority of products are complete with a touch of technology. So, its suitable to include the IT teams in the roadmap to ensure any required tech implementation to your product or its connected services within a scheduled timeline.
- Marketing Teams
Marketers will benefit highly from a concise and precise roadmap that has strategic initiatives and marketing goals planned around the product. This welcomes collaborative efforts and easier achievement of goals.
- Product Teams
A good go-to-market strategy focuses on better promotional opportunities for the product, and hence product and marketing teams have to work closely. This ensures that the product launch and the marketing launch strategies work hand in hand and hence better chances of product success.
- Sales Teams
The Sales Teams are the ones involved in the messaging of the product as well. So, including them in the product marketing roadmap, lets them be aware of any upcoming things, events, features, etc. which in turn helps in executing the strategies around the product.
Elements to Build a Product Marketing Roadmap
Let’s continue to embark on our journey to create a product marketing roadmap for you. You have to imbibe a basic principle that a roadmap is constructed with a set of basic fundamentals.
The very first of these fundamental elements are developing a concrete buyer persona after extensive and insightful research. Anything that has to be there, develops from here.
So, the necessary elements are-
- Buyer Persona
Developing a buyer persona does half of the work. With a lucid buyer persona, you know how to communicate with your customers and so the messaging and positioning of your product are near perfect.
- Product Value Proposition
A Product Value Proposition talks about the problem your product resolves, which is closely related to first understanding the user problems first. Setting a value proposition into a roadmap keeps the strategies visually clear and aligned.
A set timeframe of activities, and strategies to be implemented, is necessary to be illustrated within a roadmap so that the teams that are treading alongside are aware of the events that are going to take place, and this would in turn induce a synchronization between teams.
Goals of product marketing are important to be laid down in the roadmap to make teams aware of what success is expected and when it is expected. This is a constant reminder to finish individual tasks.
- Team Tasks
To achieve every marketing goal on the roadmap, you need to align related tasks to each team respectively. Team effort is all the effort that is needed here.
A time-bound fashion of working will provide timely achievement of goals, lesser lags and a continuous trail of achieved goals and success. This also keeps the broader vision of the roadmap clear to each team.
Events like launch, landing page and press release are certain landmarks that need to be clarified in the roadmap to align each team in the same direction.
It won’t be enough to just set goals and assign tasks and not know the status of each that actually collectively finishes a goal or event together. Status forms an integral part of foolproofing each curve of the roadmap.
You can easily choose to create a roadmap for your organisation using readily available software and tools. These tools help one to create a suitable roadmap for organizations of all sizes while keeping intact all the fundamental elements of a roadmap that you need.
Product Marketing Strategies- The Guiding Light
A Product Marketing Roadmap may lead to nothing if the Product Marketer and Manager don’t have a strategy under their sleeve. Any plan to put across a specific message and position relating to the product can be considered a strategy for that product.
If we were to define a product marketing strategy, it would be termed as a plan to direct the positioning and messaging of a product in a market where it is intended to be launched. A product marketing strategy when incorporated into a roadmap, makes all the teams contribute towards the development and delivery of the desired product positioning and messaging.
Here’s how you can optimize your strategy-
- Determine the positioning and messaging Product Marketing is about bringing a product into the market and ensuring that the users find it useful. More detailed components of product marketing are positioning and messaging. Where the first one refers to the process of deciding the communication of the product and how you want the market to see your product. Whereas, messaging refers to how you communicate the usefulness of the product to your target audience.
Clearing these two aspects will build a foundation for a concrete product marketing strategy and a clearer roadmap.
- Set Goals to be achieved by the Product A company that introduces a product has its own goals behind the business it is initiating, it can be either increasing revenue, engagement with customers, attracting customers from competitors, or boosting brand recognition, etc.
- Pricing of the Product A product’s pricing is much more than what it seems objectively. It helps your business understand the competition that exists in the market and the competition that might enter. The price of a product also helps you understand your customer and their buying capacity. Then, you have to consider a value pricing strategy according to the unique product that you have created. Appropriate pricing sets a lot of things on the roadmap for teams like management leads, sales, product, and marketing.
- Launch Strategies Now, the horizon of all your expectation meets at the brim of your efforts at the time of launch. A product launch can be categorized into Internal and External Aspects. Internal Aspects- The internal aspects of a product launch cater to aligning the internal teams in the same direction. A few aspects are- buyer persona, goals, positioning, messaging or pricing. External Aspects- The external aspects of a product launch revolve around the way you choose to market the product. These aspects can be social media, in-store, blog, product reviews, and promotional events. Hence, the teams involved in this are selective, mainly marketing and sales.
There You Go! You are Ready to Build a Roadmap
A product marketing roadmap thus is a pivot around which most of the internal teams have to revolve to ensure product success. Hence, it shall be made clear that the roadmap itself is clear enough to convey a clear vision of the product and how it is to enter the market.
Now that you know what a Product Marketing Roadmap is, and how to build one with the right strategies for product success, what are you preparing to launch next?
Product Marketing Guide
- Product Marketing Guide: What it is and How to ensure Product Success
- How to Build a Product Marketing Roadmap and Implement Strategies
- Competitor Analysis in Product Marketing
- Persona Building for Effective Product Marketing
- Analysing Product Reviews for Product Marketing
- Product Differentiation in Product Marketing
- How to Build a Product Marketing Team?
- Post-Product Launch Strategies
- Necessities in Product Marketing- Content, Sales, Report Management, Other Things
- Product Marketing Hits and Fails, and How to Succeed with Internal and External Factors
- Product Marketing Framework- Downloadable