top of page

The 3-Step Product Marketing Strategy Framework

Welcome to the Courageous Careers newsletter! My goal is to help you land, grow, and thrive in your dream product marketing role with confidence and courage.

Today, I will share my framework for building a strong product marketing strategy - the foundation you need to up-level as a product marketer or leader.

Today’s content kicks off the first part in a multi-part series on How to Build Your Product Marketing Strategy 🎉

  • Part 1: The 3-step product marketing strategy ← this newsletter 😍

  • Part 2: Aligning the strategy with the growth stage and funnel

  • Part 3: Operationalizing the strategy so you can see results

  • Part 4: Scaling the strategy through building a team

But first, I would like to start with an announcement.

Everything You Need To Land Your Dream Job

For the last five months, I’ve been working on something that will be the most valuable tool for helping you land your next role as a product marketer: The Dream Job Blueprint Course for Product Marketers.

This is the culmination of my work as a job search coach. It includes everything you need to land your dream job (in weeks, not months). It is the ONLY system designed for product marketers and has been vigorously tested over three years.

The course combines my own proven pathway to job success plus a supportive community to help you stay focused and committed.

The public launch is coming in May, but I am excited to invite you to join the waitlist to access early bird discounts and get exclusive content and bonuses.

The 3-Step Product Marketing Strategy Framework

No matter the organization, product marketing almost always struggles to show/generate tangible results, is poorly understood across the organization, and is at risk of being delegated as a supportive function.

Product marketing often struggles to emerge as a strategic role at the same table as product, sales, or other marketing functions.

While there are many reasons for these challenges, the root cause is a lack of a clear, simple-to-follow framework. While tactics can get us started and may result in quick wins, only true SYSTEMS can help us deliver sustained results that will lead to the right growth for the business.

So what foundational system should we adopt? Over the years, I have studied and researched half a dozen PMM strategy frameworks ranging from highly complex to overtly simple. But none of them did the trick for me.

So, I came up with a three-step framework that is both easy to understand and comprehensive. I have used this framework in my roles (it helped me go from newbie PMM to director in three years) and coached my clients to adopt it and rapidly gain traction in their roles.

Understanding and building your product marketing strategy using this framework is the first key step to creating a powerful PMM engine for the company.

So, let’s look at the components.

The there step framework for product marketing strategy

Step 0: Pre-requisite (not included in the above chart)

You need to have product-market fit (or at least be on the way to finding that). If your product doesn't address customer needs, no matter how much marketing is done, it won't generate results.

If you can do a detailed breakdown of your product capabilities and how that leads to value, you'll be in a much better spot to begin setting a strong product marketing foundation.

Step 1: Research

The most important question any business should answer is “Who do we target?” But this should go beyond merely a persona profile. It should include segmenting customers, understanding their market, knowing what frustrations and problems they face, and understanding the customer journey.

For that, you need to conduct three kinds of research: customer, competitive, and market research.

  1. Market Research: This is really important to help you understand the market today and in the future to determine the most viable customer segment to focus on and how to position against emerging threats/opportunities. It will also help you understand the partner ecosystem.

  2. Competitive Research: This will help you map out the competitive landscape within your market segment, understand the strengths and weaknesses of similar products that solve the same JTBD for target customers

  3. Customer Research: This is the most important research activity you should do. This is how you get a detailed understanding of target customers' jobs to be done, needs, and how they make purchase decisions and use your product.

Together, these three research activities will help you build a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and detailed buyer personas.

A product marketing team should spend a minimum of 20% of their time engaged in research to get insights and power strategy, messaging, and GTM. The table below lists the most important research activities to undertake.

Product marketing research matrix

Step 2: Positioning and Messaging

The insights from activities in Step 1 should power positioning and messaging - the most important role of a product marketer, as we are the storytellers of the product. According to the book, LOVED:

  • Positioning is the place a product occupies in people’s minds. It sets a context in which the value prop of a product is clear.

  • Messaging is what teams use to communicate the positioning to customers.

  • A narrative is a story that stitches all of that together to make it stick.

There are various positioning and messaging gurus like April Dunford and Emma Stratton out there sharing valuable tips, so I won’t dive into this step in too much detail.

One call out I want to make is that if you work at a one-product company, your brand's and product's positioning may be hard to distinguish. They should be the same when it’s one product. As the company matures and you have multiple product lines, the positioning for the brand and the product will need to be separated (e.g., Adobe the brand vs. Photoshop the product). ​See my post​ here to distinguish the two.

As product marketers, we need to spend at least 30% of our time on positioning and messaging and revisit it often based on the specific dynamics in the market and product marketing industry.

Step 3: GTM

You developed strong positioning and messaging, but how can customers learn about your product and buy it? You need a clear GTM plan that aligns with business goals.

To have a great GTM strategy plan, you have to consider the specific channels customers are most likely to find your product, price, and package the product to align with perceived value and enable internal teams. Hence, they understand the product's value and can communicate that to customers.

While most B2B teams focus on sales enablement, it’s equally important to enable other teams, such as marketing and customer success (which I collectively call field enablement).

One of the most useful frameworks on GTM I have seen is from the book LOVED: the GTM Launch Canvas. Instead of an extended deck or checklists, having a dynamic, big-picture canvas that all teams can see and contribute to will help drive better transparency and ownership.

This is my recreation of her canvas with my examples. To read more about how to create one, ​read this post here.​

Product launch canvas with quartetly activities

Effective PMM strategies require an organic flywheel to work together. A strong process like this creates a feedback loop, with one step feeding into the next.

Once this foundation is built, you can customize the framework for your needs. We’ll explore this in the next newsletter.

Ready to land your next job?

If you don’t want to spend MONTHS looking for your next product marketing role, this is the course for you. The Dream Job Blueprint Course for Product Marketers is the ONLY system designed for product marketers and has been vigorously tested over 3 years. It covers the A-Z of job search and includes everything you need to land your dream job in weeks and not months.

Get Yi Lin's Newsletter sent to your inbox.
bottom of page