Being a product marketing manager is not easy. I know this because I was one early in my career. It is hard and important work. You need to communicate the value of the product to internal teams and customers, track all the work that goes into delivering new customer experiences, and seamlessly shift between technical understanding and benefit-driven marketing savvy.
The work is challenging for sure. What you need is a clear roadmap to help you plan it all out.
A roadmap is simply a visual representation of your product marketing plans — the work you want to accomplish and when you will get there. It helps you capture and communicate go-to-market efforts and other product marketing programs to internal teams. Putting all this information in one place aligns everyone around the goals and the timing of what you will deliver.
What does a product marketing roadmap look like? It is not dissimilar to a product roadmap in that it typically includes time frame, goals and initiatives, and the status of various activities. Programs, campaigns, and events displayed on the roadmap should be mapped back to your strategic imperatives. And if your product marketing team works across multiple products, you can see all upcoming work in one portfolio view.
The beauty of any roadmap is that it is not static — you can adjust and update as you work.
You can create different views to tailor the roadmap to specific audiences. This allows you to convey only the information that is most pertinent to who is viewing it — such as executive leaders, product, sales, or customer support. Here are a few roadmap views that our own product marketing team at Aha! has used in the past:
This view shows how the marketing initiatives link to higher-level goals. It includes a timeline and colored status bars to indicate the team’s progress. You can use this roadmap to inform the go-to-market strategy and clarify the work you should focus on — the campaigns and promotional activities that support both the marketing and company objectives.
This integrated view gives an overview of plans across various marketing teams, then breaks the overview out by programs mapped to specific strategic objectives. Seeing everything in one place makes it easy to track progress and make sure the team is aligned on the work that matters most. For product marketing managers, you can quickly see where your marketing teammates may benefit from your product expertise.
A Gantt chart-style roadmap is ideal for planning all the work that goes into delivering a new customer experience. It includes the go-to-market strategy, as well as cross-functional activities required to launch a new product or feature. You can use this view to track deadlines, deliverables, and milestones to hit along the way.
You are no doubt responsible for a variety of programs, from webinars and videos to customer success stories and website updates. This roadmap view organizes all your programs in one place so you can share a high-level overview of what the team is working on. It is especially helpful if you are responsible for multiple products — you can visualize everything at a high level.
When you need a more detailed view of the work, create an activities roadmap. This visualization connects key events to the individual work. For example, you can use this view to show the sales team the new tools (and updates to existing ones) they can expect from you each month — such as competitor analysis, presentation decks, data sheets, evaluation guides, sales training, or an ROI calculator.
Product marketing roadmaps help you quickly communicate your plans to a variety of audiences.
How do you get started if roadmaps are not already part of your workflow? It helps if you are already using roadmap software like Aha! to visualize your product marketing plans in one place. But if you are not, you can still benefit. Begin by assessing all open programs and work items. Then you can use one of our free templates to organize it all — if your team is not quite ready for a purpose-built tool.
Yes, being a product marketing manager is challenging. The work does not end with a few roadmaps at the ready. It is also your responsibility to stay in close communication with cross-functional contributors — making sure that everyone is in sync and on time. And when everything comes together, you get to enjoy the exhilaration of bringing value to both customers and the company.
What types of plans do you use most often?
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