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Don’t forget the marketing plan

This is the perfect analogy for many early-stage startups: launching a product without a marketing plan is going to cause you pain, pretty quickly.

Even worse, I think, is a marketing plan that includes the following crimes:

  • Marketing as an ‘all-in-one’ platform for ‘every business’
  • Talking only about features on your website, and generic benefits like ‘save time’ or ‘reduce costs’
  • Creating ‘marketing mary’ type personas with no tangible, useful information
  • Using the hero section of your homepage website with messaging so bland, it could be for any company
  • Thinking social is going to be your number one marketing channel
  • Focusing only on external channels, and neglecting to empower your internal teams

Decoupling release plans from roadmaps

If we want to move to a more ‘bets’ based product environment where experimentation is the norm and failure is accepted, we need to stop setting the wrong expectations internally.

In too many businesses, we’ve had grand plans of v1, v2, v3 – releasing products and features in stages. But nothing quite works out like that. What if you can’t be sure that v2 is going to work? What if customers hate v1?

This is a great recommendation: tell people how they will hear about items that will be publicly released, and give them regular updates (even if there is no update). Showing them how they’ll be informed about high-certainty items means you’re free to experiment with less concrete ideas, and setting expectations accordingly.

The language you use matters

I thought this tweet was a great example of how marketers can move from using inside-out language to focusing on the jobs/pains/gains/triggers of your customers, and centering them in the messaging you use.

Look at the third one: what do MatchPint customers care about? ‘Making the most of sport’? Save time? How? Instead, talk to the value the customer desires: ultimately, ‘get more sports fans in your pub’.

Your customer’s path to purchase is NOT your marketing/sales process

A mistake many product marketers (and CMOs, to be fair) make is creating collateral just for the sake of it.

“Make it a PDF, throw it over to sales and they can use it if they want to.” Pointless.

It is so much more valuable to understand your customer’s buyer journey and then create sales collateral and marketing content around it.

You’ll understand more about the stakeholders the prospect has to involve, and where you can create specific content, or empower your champion to internally advocate for you.

You’ll find opportunities to create unfair advantages by understanding the triggers and initial touchpoints that start your customer’s search – so you can frame the landscape and share your unconventional wisdom to gain the upper hand.

And – importantly, for overworked, undervalued PMMs – you’ll be able to be able to show value beyond collateral production to move the needle on key sales cycle metrics.

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