“What is your single goal of Product Marketing for 2019?”
Yes, I do have one. “Do you have a product marketing goal for this year?”
This is one of the open-ended questions that I asked in a survey, called “Better Product Marketing”. Some of the responses to this question were perfect. They had great clarity, specifying the manager’s expectations and what she aimed to achieve in 2019.
One of the goals that I liked most among what I received is this well-crafted statement.
Let’s do some math. One million looks like this 1,000,000.
10 percent of it is 100,000. And 0.5% of it is 5,000.
So the person who drafted this knows how the funnel works and how much to expect out of the marketing efforts in reality. In this case, the manager is clear that she wants to focus her energies on the blog for higher conversions and saleability of her product.
Some of the awesome single-sentence goals that I received also included ‘persona priorities’. They are thoughtfully crafted. These goal statements had a strong direction.
The team members using this goal can easily align their time with their tasks.
And, a few other goals really worried me, for their obscurity. I could not really figure out what I should interpret out of them. While I don’t want to crib a great deal about these goals, here are a few examples of them too.
Such vague goals open up umpteen possibilities for those who need to execute them. And this causes the team to fire back questions in multiple directions. ‘What should I achieve? What are the metrics that will measure my success? What is my immediate action plan?’
The goal should ideally speak for itself.
This article focuses on helping you define your goal before you start shooting commands of execution. Also, let me share a disclaimer that this article is mostly designed to meet your content needs within the gamut of product marketing.
Apart from my survey respondents, I felt it would also help many other product marketers and managers out there. If you choose to participate in the survey, please fill out the questionnaire here.
While there are multiple frameworks used to set a goal, I would stick to one simple framework for product marketing goals.
I see that a combined framework of Simon Sinek and John Doerr would do good to this. I am referring to the target circle framework of ‘why-how-what’ that is explained by Simon.
And the OKR (Objectives-Key Results) goal setting framework advocated by John Doerr which is widely used across Google and Intel.
The Purpose and Passion behind setting Your Goals
Why do You Need to Define Your Content Goals?
“There’s a good chance that producing content without a clear goal is doing very little for your brand.
In my case, honestly, each content piece that is produced should fulfill the purpose for your business or solve a pain point for your customer Click To Tweet. If the goal does not contribute to either of them, then I would be contributing to more noise that is already existing and is also being ignored out there.
As appropriate, I use KPIs such as cost per content, look back window of one content piece, most converting keywords, most effective titles and subject lines based on open rates and so on while measuring my content goals.
Even within product marketing, there are many contexts to which you can define goals. But for the purpose of this article, I am dealing with only five contexts that are relevant to product marketing, asset creation, and scalability. These contexts will also help you build the purpose of your goal.
- Product Launch
- Product Lifecycle and Customer Journey alignment
- Customer Acquisition
- Brand Resonance
- Thought Leadership or Gaining Authority
The purpose provided below could be tweaked based on your interests. Also, the purpose listed could be combined together. Each line provides a sample purpose that you could customize to meet your goals. It could be ditched and changed into a new one altogether.
|Product Launch||Simplify the complex business communication.
Provide an automated data think tank for those companies solving healthcare issues.
Provide an educational product that teaches language to toddlers at a low-cost.
|Product Lifecycle and Customer Journey alignment||Simplify the process for your customers of finding your product
Place the content where ever the customer is.
|Customer Acquisition||Increase market share
Shorten the sales conversion funnel
|Brand Resonance||Establish brand recall for your target audience
Increase the association of your brand with a certain quality.
|Thought Leadership or Gaining Authority||Emerge into domain expertise for
Associate my personal brand with a single sentence or word. This requires a lot of repetition.
Let’s have another look at this goal. I am not saying this is perfect, but it would definitely work towards helping you reach a point that sounds like success. “Increased Customer Base” is a hidden cue that describes its purpose. However, this person could have a deeper purpose such as the ones mentioned above.
How to set a Content Goal?
I am referring to the ‘HOW’ part of the target circle or golden circle.
This is where OKRs throw their weight, and it is good to have them around. You need to draft your ‘objectives’. Here is what needs to be included in the objective. Before you get started with that, you need to decide where you are to be spotted on the large canvas. Especially in terms of the stage at which your product stays. With product stages on one axis and your context on another, you can now get started with drafting your goal. While drafting this goal, a lot also depends on how much you wish to rely on content production and marketing to achieve your goal.
|Product Stage||Start and Sustain||Grow and Expand||Take a Trajectory Leap or a Paradigm Shift|
|Customer Acquisition||Get my first few customers in the first year and continue to add more customers each month in the second year.||Earn more revenues and increase customer base in the next two years.|
With the product, it mostly translates into users.
Add more users to my product.
|Add competitive features to my product that will also help me position my product in the new markets.
Make more product acquisitions.
|Possible Channels related to customer acquisition||Website Blog|
Linkedin Sales Navigator
|Grade A Digital Magazines|
Paid PR & Sponsorships
This again depends on why you want to gain thought leadership. You need to decide what it should result in.
|Add more followers in the first year and continue to gain popularity.||Get invited to events as a keynote speaker.||Host and participate in plenary discussions across channels catering to Segment A, Segment B, and Segment C.|
|Possible channels to establish thought leadership||Website Blog|
Linkedin or Twitter
Grade A international events.
|List of events
Start a Slack Community
You need this list, well articulated on paper because you are not the only one running behind that goal. You have an entire team and colleagues representing other teams who should feel equally delighted to achieve this goal. Also, when you start pinning your goal on this landscape, you will have to answer questions such as ‘what channels do I need to use to distribute my content?’, ‘how much content should be placed on which channel?’, and so on.
In the above table, I have added two channels assuming the product stage and context. One option refers to an organic means and the other is through a paid means. Oh, BTW money is involved in either case :-). The difference is all about who is approaching the Product, first. It is about ‘pull and push’ marketing, respectively.
What to Achieve with the goal?
Now that you are clear about your purpose and the process, you need to get down to what exactly you will execute on-field. This is the ‘WHAT’ part of the target circle. The sample goals listed in the sheet below will better resonate with the channels that were opted in the earlier step.
|Product Stage||Start and Sustain||Grow and Expand||Take a Trajectory Leap or a Paradigm Shift|
|Customer Acquisition||Get my first 100 customers in the first year and continue to add customers @10% month on month in the second year.||Earn $ 1,000,000 in revenue or hit a 10,000 customer mark in 2 years.|
With product, it mostly translates into users. So let’s say add 10 million users in the next 3 years.
|Build an allied product to gain competitive advantage with 5 new features and support the existing product.
Make acquisitions in 3 segments. Segment A, B, and C.
|Thought Leadership||Get my first 100 followers in the first year and continue to add them @10% month on month in the second year.||Get invited by 1 premier host and Guest speaking at atleast 10 events.||Host and participate in plenary discussions across channels catering to Segment A, Segment B, and Segment C. One in each segment, in each quarter.|
Apart from using this framework to draft your goal, use this questionnaire to share your challenges around asset creation and content scalability. I will be delighted to provide a solution.
I almost forgot to mention why I have combined the two approaches. Most, often in the OKR framework, people tend to lose out on the “WHY” aspect and forget the purpose. That tells you why I also brought in the golden circle approach.
What is the Better Product Marketing Survey?
Better Product Marketing survey is a short survey that includes 12 questions about yourself and the challenges that you face with asset creation and content scalability. This questionnaire has been receiving interest and continuous response from product managers and marketers. As a part of this exercise, I promise to return a favor to those providing information through the survey.
The series about goal setting and its framework is a residue of the insights that I received from the survey. While this is not the only piece that I promised to give in return, there is yet a lot more to come. Please share your responses here to benefit out of this exercise and help yourself save some time with asset creation and content scaling.
- OKRs: Objectives- KeyResults
- SEJ: Content with the purpose of setting goals for content marketing campaigns.
- TED TALKS: Why the secret to success is setting the right goals | John Doerr