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The PM Guide to Go-To-Market Strategy (with templates and AI tools)

Getting ready for the evolution of product management.

Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb and the only designer-turned-CEO of any Fortune 500 company, blew up the tech world with this comment at a design conference last week:

“We got rid of the classic product management function… Apple didn’t have it either.”

Brian Chesky

While designers may have cheered the demise of the PM role (a topic for another day), a clearer picture emerged through the ensuing pandemonium:

Chesky wasn’t advocating for an elimination of the PM role, but actually an expansion. Airbnb combined the roles of Product Manager (PM) with Product Marketing Manager (PMM). Full context in this video I posted here.

Here’s what this combined role looks like at Apple:

It looks like a lot of work.

So it’s essentially giving product managers the added scope of not only defining and building products but also figuring out how to bring those products to the market.

This… just makes sense:

  • Adoption of a feature is critically important to PMs

  • No one has as much context about a feature as they do

  • PMs owning this function ensures they’re thinking about how they’re going to position their product at the outset

  • The rise of AI will make it more feasible for PMs to take on this added scope

There’s a good chance this becomes the future of the role. Still, for most PMs, myself included, Go-to-Market World is a strange, foreign planet. But Futureprood PMs are never afraid to explore.

Today, we’ll take a crash course in product marketing, look at ways you can start building these skills now, and try out a cool AI tool to help you make marketing landing pages lightning fast ⚡️

Coming up:

  • Fundamentals of Product Marketing

    1. Understanding the Market

    2. Defining your Value Prop

    3. Identifying your Target Customer

    4. Choosing your Sales and Distribution Channels

    5. Pricing Strategy

    6. Marketing and Communication Strategy

  • AI Showcase: Framer.com for building landing pages

  • Further reading and resources

Fundamentals of Product Marketing

Understanding the Market

Before you can launch, you need to know the lay of the land. That's where market understanding comes into play. You'll want to grasp the size, growth, trends, and key drivers of your market.

Make sure you understand the answers to these questions:

  1. Who are the titans?

  2. The disruptors?

  3. The niche players?

These frameworks can be helpful for analysis:

  1. Porter's Five Forces: Framework for understanding the competitive forces at work in an industry and how they impact profitability.

  2. SWOT Analysis: Tool that helps identify and assess an organization's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

  3. PESTEL Analysis: Framework used to scan the external macro-environmental factors that might impact an organization.

Example: Remember Blockbuster? They underestimated the competition and market trends, leading to their downfall when Netflix came around.

Defining your Value Prop

Your product solves a problem in a unique, powerful way, and that's why people need it.

But can you articulate that uniqueness succinctly and persuasively?

That's your value proposition. It's the reason customers will choose you over alternatives. This is also a core aspect of coming up with a product strategy, which we reviewed in the last issue.

Ask yourself:

  • What key problem does my product solve?

  • How does it do this better or differently than anything else out there?

  • What's the transformative benefit my product provides?

  • How does it make my customer's life better, easier, more fun?

Example: Remember when Apple marketed the original iPod? They didn't say "3GB of storage," they said "1,000 songs in your pocket."

This is value proposition at its finest.

Instead of focusing on features (3GB), they focused on benefits (1,000 songs). And more than that, they painted a picture of a lifestyle (in your pocket). That’s what you should aim for.

Identifying your Target Customer

Knowing your audience is as crucial as knowing your product. Deeply understanding your target customer will help you tailor your product, your message, and your strategy. Mastering this can be the difference between a shotgun approach and a well-aimed dart.

Consider developing detailed customer personas - they're more than just demographic profiles.

Ask yourself:

  • What are their needs, fears, desires, and behaviors?

  • What is their “level of awareness”? Where do they fall on the spectrum of being unaware of their need to very aware and already weighing their options?

Based on your answers to these questions, you may need to educate, persuade, or simply tip them over the edge. Tailoring your value proposition to your customer's level of awareness can increase its effectiveness dramatically.

Remember, it's not just about what you're selling, but how you're telling.

Choosing Your Sales and Distribution Channels

Next up: logistics.

  • Which channels (e.g., online, retail, partnerships) align best with your product and target customers?

  • How quickly can you get your product to market through these channels?

  • What are the costs associated with each channel?

  • How will the selected channels affect the customer experience?

Each channel comes with its own unique benefits and challenges.

If your product is complex and high-priced, direct sales might be the way to go. For a lower-priced, mass-market item, e-commerce or retail partnerships might be more appropriate.

It's all about finding the right fit.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing isn't about throwing up a Stripe page and hoping for the best.

It's about understanding the cost of production, the value perception, and what the market will bear.

  • What are the production costs of your product?

  • What is the perceived value of your product in the eyes of the customers?

  • What are competitors charging for similar products?

  • Considering your product's position in the market (premium or economical), what price aligns with that image?

  • What message does your chosen price send about your product and brand?

  • Are there pricing models (e.g., tiered, freemium, subscription) that could work for your product?

This doesn’t need to be perfect right away. The market's response will be your most valuable feedback. Adjust as necessary, and remember that pricing is not a one-time decision but an ongoing strategy.

Setting the right price is part art, part science.

Marketing and Communication Strategy

Finally, you have to put it all together. You've got a killer product, a well-defined audience, and a clear value proposition.

Now, you need to communicate it.

  • What key messages do you need to communicate about your product and its value?

  • Which promotional methods will you use (social media, email, PR, SEO, etc.)?

  • How will you tailor your message for different channels to reach your target audience effectively?

  • What resources (budget, time, personnel) can you allocate to marketing activities?

Remember, each channel speaks in its own language, so tailor your message accordingly.

This is different than sales and distribution above – that is about how your product or service itself will end up reaching consumers, whereas marketing and communication is about how you spread the word and convince customers to buy your product.

Summing It Up

Summing that all up, I made a nice little template for you to copy and fill out on your own. [link]

AI Showcase

Let’s talk about how you can layer in AI here.

ChatGPT can be a great friend throughout this process. If you check out my free megaprompts database, you’ll find some that are useful for these contexts.

But I want to cover a different amazing tool here called Framer. If you haven’t seen it yet, brace yourself.

For this example, I am going to assume you’ve filled out the template above and are ready to start creating assets.

I’ll use that information to make a landing page for a hypothetical product: a service that helps founders retell their founding stories as epic narratives to help them inspire investors (probably a bad idea).

Here’s what this looks like all put together:

Further reading

Identifying your Target Customer: How to Identify Your Target Customers

Choosing your Sales and Distribution Channels: Distribution Channels: What They Are, Types, & Examples

P. S.

If you made it all the way down here, thanks for reading so thoroughly!

I’d really appreciate your thoughts on:

  1. Feedback about this newsletter. Format, style, tone, value of the content, etc. Am more than happy to iterate.

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