You are a superhero. Yep, I am talking to you — product marketing manager. Your superpowers range from understanding how the product really works to a telepathic sense for what your customers really need. You shape-shift seamlessly between your alter-egos as product expert, storyteller, and connector. And you bend time, working backward to plan and launch new products and features. How do you do it? I think I know.
Your secret weapon is your planning prowess and your go-to-market roadmaps. They help you see the future.
As a product marketing manager, you “own” the activities related to the release of any new functionality and the cross-functional roadmap needed to launch with excellence on time. You work closely with the product and marketing teams to make sure that what is being built is clearly communicated to internal teams, partners, and end users.
But as you know, not every launch is a big and splashy new activity. The concept of a go-to-market launch simply describes delivering a new experience to customers — which could be a new feature or enhancement to your product or service. It could also be used when your company wants to introduce an existing product to a new audience or user base. But all launches have some commonalities. There are always many moving parts and stressful deadlines.
Keeping everyone in sync, accountable, and on time — do you have superhuman abilities? Nearly.
You need to track hard dates and deliverables with different dependencies in order to support the delivery of a new customer experience. And your go-to-market roadmap coordinates the timing of those activities. You may not be the one completing every activity, but you are using all of your skills to track every part of it.
You also need the broader team — including cross-functional contributors like sales, support, and professional services — to understand how to represent the technical benefits of the product and how to discuss it with customers.
This may sound like a monumental feat. But you just need a plan. Here are six steps to creating an indestructible go-to-market roadmap:
Soar with strategy
You should be working with an established marketing strategy. This informs your go-to-market strategy — including key items like product positioning and pricing for new offerings. Both strategies are foundational to your roadmap. Connect everything you plan back to the overall goals, and you can show the “why” behind the work.
Swoop up customers
Clarify who your target audiences are and how they will benefit from your product. You need to understand each step of the buyer journey, from customers’ interests and what channels they spend time on to what motivates them to make a purchase. Then, link go-to-market activities back to these personas so you always keep your customers in mind.
Travel to the future
Work back from the go-live date to figure out what needs to be completed and in what order. Plot out activities, identify any dependencies, and set milestones on your roadmap. For example, when the product will be feature complete, due dates for sales training, and other specific launch events.
Rally other superheroes
Include cross-functional teams and other stakeholders in meetings as you develop messaging, pricing, and training, for example. Sharing the go-to-market roadmap internally reduces the chance of misunderstandings and overlapping (or contradictory) work. And you will find opportunities and insights you might otherwise miss.
Activate for launch
Make a detailed checklist for what needs to happen on launch day to make sure everything goes smoothly. If you launch regularly, like we do at Aha!, you can make this a repeatable checklist to ensure consistency. Think about internal communications too. For example, you can draft an internal announcement letting everyone on the team know what to expect and when.
Keep projecting energy
Your work is not done after launch day. Add post-launch activities to your roadmap. How to reach your target audience and drive engagement going forward? These activities may include asking for customer feedback, gathering testimonials, or further training for internal teams.
You do not have to be a superhero to realize the power of a go-to-market roadmap.
You have an arsenal of impressive superpowers as a product marketing manager. But most important is your own motivation and attention to detail. These are the skills you rely on most as dates or priorities shift. Coupled with a solid plan for what you want to achieve, there is no enemy strong enough to bring a high-flying product marketer down.
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