Product Marketing Debunked. The Essential Go-To-Market Guide is the “tl;dr” of launching a product. Many entrepreneurs, companies and teams struggle with taking a business idea and delivering a finished product in the marketplace successfully. Product Marketing Debunked provides an approach on how to take an early stage idea and create a proper product marketing strategy and go-to-market plan for commercializing and launching a product.
Product marketing is one of the most important roles at a technology company, and the stewards of a product launch — most often product marketing managers (PMMs) — are responsible for customer adoption. And what’s more important than the customer adoption of your product? The success of any product company hinges on its reception in the market, and there are many cautionary tales of what not to do.
But going to market, whether you’ve done it 15 times or you’re building your first plan, is not simple; there is no one-size-fits-all. Socrates famously once said, “I know that I know nothing.” This truism serves as a daily reminder while navigating the go-to-market launch process, and it’s a philosophy I reflect on as a starting point for all conversations when working on an evolving product roadmap and go-to-market launch.
Launching a product is, in many ways, similar to cooking an elaborate meal without a recipe. You have ingredients and an idea of the outcome, but it’s up to you to test the ingredients and find the right mixture to create a product that users will love. Hopefully it’s something delicious and tasty for your guests, so they’ll come back for more. But we’ve seen enough kitchen fails to know that’s not always the case. Corporate rules usually don’t apply at startups. Oftentimes there are no comparable products or even industries that exist when taking a brand new idea to market. In other words, there is no exact — or secret — recipe for success.
This point here is that being able to think creatively, while understanding the greater business goal and mission for a company, is an important way to approach product marketing. There are basic cooking techniques, so to speak, but you have to create your own recipes based on where your product is today and where you want your product to be years from now.
The go-to-market framework in Product Marketing Debunked: The Essential Go-to-Market Guide can be applied to a number of products, verticals, and industries, but it would be impossible to speak to every single situation and scenario in a single piece of literature. This book is most useful for the business to business (B2B) world, but it can be applied to business to consumer (B2C) companies as well. My suggestion is to use this framework as a starting point and add and remove things that make more sense for your industry and growth stage. (A little extra salt here, a little less there.)
Products Don’t Sell Themselves
The idea that a great product sells itself is not only the worst advice you can get from an engineer or founder, it’s a big reason why nearly 90% of the companies and products in Silicon Valley fall flat or fail altogether. If your customer doesn’t understand your product’s value or how to use it, it doesn’t matter how “great” the product is from your perspective. The only perspective that matters in the adoption of your product is that of the customer.
With the creation of a go-to-market (GTM) strategy, companies can prepare themselves for setbacks and unforeseen circumstances, create solutions, and remove potential bottlenecks from competitors. This GTM strategy requires thinking from a holistic perspective and sits at the intersection of technology, science, art, and creativity.
In the book, I’ll walk through a framework I’ve developed, but before we dive in, remember this:
Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Stay curious. Don’t get too attached to your product. Stay objective. And lastly, question every assumption you make.
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