Product Marketing Checklist
Product Marketing Checklist makes an elusive profession a little easier to break down. Product Marketing requires holistic thinking, the ability to jump into many different and diverse roles as a jack-of-all-trades, and can be ill defined. Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) have many responsibilities, yet the lines of authority are blurred, and there is a seeming endless list of to-dos. As the broadest of the marketing professions, it deserves a comprehensive to do list as a handy tool, solid guide and audit reminder to cover all the bases. Whether you are a seasoned PMM, just starting out, or aspiring to do so; a full list of expected tasks can provide guidance, help and structure. Frankly, the reason I wanted to develop a product marketing checklist, is simple because I wished I had one to guide me, when I first started in the profession 15+ years ago.
First, download the Strategy-D Product Marketing Checklist (SPMC) by clicking on the icon to the left. Don’t worry it is completely free, and there are no strings attached. You don’t even have to sign up for the newsletter, email service, or an irritating follow up call from an inside sales rep. This one is truly completely gratis! Yet, please do not let the low price (free) be indicative of its value. Judge the value of the product marketing checklist – as you would an opensource document.
The SPMC borrows from other lists and from brainstorm sessions with fellow product marketers. Thanks to Karen Woo and ProductCamp Toronto 2015 teams for being instrumental in the brainstorming process. Use it as a helpful tool to remind, inform and maintain focus on what you need to drive to make your product, service or offering a success in market.
There are 157 check points to review. They are categorized into the 11 groupings of the Business Plan, Marketing Plan, Sales Enablement & Product Collateral, Content Marketing, Awareness & Demand Generation, Organizational Readiness, Launch Activities, Advocacy & Feedback, Channel / Ecommerce, Training, and Metrics. Depending on your business, the nature of your product or service, and industry segment; some categories may not be directly relevant. As an example, if your GTM Strategy is purely a direct business model, then ignore the channel marketing components. The SPMC is meant as an aid and reminder for thoroughness. It is does not suggest that all Product Marketing Managers (PMM) must follow every item on the checklist to have done an effective job.
Why these 11 categories?
Eleven categories emerged naturally from grouping and clustering the different checklist items. Although the Business Plan and Marketing Plan could be combined into one Strategy category, they were felt to be distinct enough to keep separated. Business planning would be more tuned and directed at senior management, whereas the Marketing plan would be both the strategy and tactical plan directed at execution by the product and marketing team. Keep in mind that your feedback could be instrumental at refining this list over time. Please comment on your thoughts, additions, regroupings and omissions – for future revisions.
What is not included?
SPMC is a comprehensive list of actions and responsibilities owned by the PMM. Although it is comprehensive, it is not an exhaustive list of every possible action or tactic to be taken by PMM’s for every possible market segment or industry. There may be components important to your job, that are specific to your organisation, or industry. A few extra lines are available in each category – to all you to pencil in the important items for your needs.
How about Leadership and Politics?
Leadership and Political Savvy are both important, even critical aspects of getting the job done. However, for the purposes of the SPMC, it focuses on external facing and organisational readiness components of the job. SPMC is meant to identify the various tangible top and bottom of the funnel tangibles that help drive product sales. Leadership and Political Savvy are key to setting the right direction, and getting the company focused on product sales. However, they were not clear tangible checklist items included on the SPMC.
Enhancing the SPMC
After reading through the Strategy-D Product Marketing Checklist (SPMC), should you feel that something important was missed – please comment on it, or send me a note (Charles@DimovStrat.com). SPMC is meant to be comprehensive, not endless. However, please share your thoughts.
In researching this list, there were two particularly good sources. One is a similar checklist developed by Brand Profility. This too is a free source – so drop them a note to thank them for this resource if you use it. A second particularly good blog post is provided by Hubspot, articulating the 13 Types of Product Marketing Content for Sales Enablement. Hubspot does not expressly provide a checklist, but the 13 items are worth reading.
Reach out if you need help with either the list itself, or with deploying a Product Marketing oriented project, like a new product launch. I am happy to help or provide advice on how to approach a Product Marketing project (find my credentials below).
For ongoing help, I encourage employers seeking qualified Product Marketers to look to the Product Management or Marketing associations as a start. High quality candidates usually gravitate toward their profession through associations, and product related conferences. Deeply experienced product marketing managers are often compelled to give back to their profession by mentoring or training others, and getting involved in their calling. ProductCamp un-conferences are another great example. ProductCamps are held in major cities around the world. Most have websites set up listing the topics and names of presenters. This can be a great source of finding exceptionally talented practitioners, and experts in their field. Make sure to look at what the person has done such as products launched, thought leadership articles written, conference presentation on the topic, to justify their expertise level.
Hope you find this useful, either as a Product Marketing Manager, or as a Manager leading a team of PMM’s. Remember to throw in your opinions on revisions for future editions.
About the Author:
Charles Dimov is Consulting Director of Strategy D, a Digital and Product Marketing consultancy (www.StrategyD.org). He has 20 years of experience in High Technology, with 15+ years in Product Marketing functions – having successfully introduced over 80+ new product to global markets. Charles has a MASc.(MBA), BASc.(Eng), and a BA.(Econ), and loves Photography, Marketing Strategy, and rolling up his sleeves to drive market success. He can be reached at Charles@DimovStrat.com.