What Is a Product Marketing Plan?

A product marketing plan is a set of tasks that helps a company launch a new product or feature. Here’s why they’re impoortant.

Written by Adam Thomas
Published on Dec. 28, 2022
What Is a Product Marketing Plan?
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A product marketing plan is set up by someone who has the responsibility of overseeing go-to-market (GTM) strategy — usually a product marketer or, in some cases, a product manager or product owner. The product marketing plan lays out what makes a launch successful. This can include who the customer and/or user is, what they find important, what behaviors will certify success, the pricing of the feature/product and even what failure looks like in case the product needs to be shelved.

 

Why Are Product Marketing Plans Important?

A product marketing plan is important because teams can find themselves attached to building the product but unable to wrap their heads around how to launch it after spending so much time working directly on the product itself. The product marketing plan helps teams launch the product (or feature) smoothly by anticipating possible questions or concerns. They do this by developing a plan to respond through paired content or through the product itself. A great plan ensures the team is able to grade their launch and make the product’s next steps more clear.

More From Adam ThomasWhat Does a Product Manager Actually Do?

 

Product Marketing Plan Strategy

Creating a product marketing plan has four steps:

  • Collect the data that affects the launch, including information on personas, market forces and anything that could change your marketing, pricing or release timeline.
  • Determine what is a good outcome for the product. Define what success looks like.
  • Plot out what you need to do in order to be successful. Start by looking at the data you’ve collected. Write out the steps to achieve success and what will lead to failure. What proactive steps can you take now in order to achieve a good outcome later?
  • Unveil the plan to the team. How can you make it better? Iterate from there.

Product marketing plans come in many different forms. If you work with product marketers, you’ll see that for yourself if you ask for a GTM strategy.

If you’re the one asked to make a product marketing plan, take a look at the following:

Smartsheet Product Marketing Guide: This guide will give you some great prompts, including asking about current market conditions, current needs of your customers and how your product is perceived by your target market. Your responses to these prompts will give you a head start in making sure you have the right data to form a plan. Now use this data to create a strategy.

How to Create a Marketing Plan for a New Product (2022) - Adacted:  This guide is a great way to take the data above and turn it into a plan. The prompts guide you to think about timelines and what’s important to your company.

Like all documentation, this all means very little without any iteration. Just know that your first attempt will get better when you share it with relevant stakeholders, get feedback and iterate.

Product Marketing 101: Go-to-Market Plan (by an ex-Google PMM). | Video: Henry Wang

More From Built In ExpertsHow Product Managers Build Trusted Marketplaces at Built In and Beyond

 

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Product Marketing Plan?

Product marketing is a powerful tool to help you become aligned with a launch. It is a requirement for large releases because if no one determines ahead of time what success or failure look like, it is very easy to look up months later and see a release that isn’t serving customers.

These plans are an investment, but it’s important not to overdo them. Smaller releases do not need a full-fledged plan. It is worth thinking about some easy basics for any release, such as building marketing templates that can ensure a quality release when the stakes aren’t high.

Remember, plans are also meant to be broken. As Mike Tyson said: “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the mouth.” Your product release to the market is that punch to the mouth, and the product marketing plan is there to help you figure out how to respond ... before you get hit in the face.

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