Why Product Marketing should NOT be a reactive exercise

Many companies think about product marketing reactively, often responding to their customers and not creating a thoughtful and structured Go-To-Market and marketing plan.


I’ve observed that the best companies often have skilled, thoughtful and structured “behind the scenes” Go-To-Market “GTM” and Product Marketing teams. In order to have ease, flow, and seamless hand-offs for upcoming launches and product coherence, GTM Planning is almost always in place so that product, marketing, operations and sales are all moving towards the same goal and in service of a larger company vision and north star.

Unfortunately, a majority of companies hire product marketers reactively (and at the wrong time) when one or more of the following occurs:

  • A product launch fails
  • Initial product success stagnates
  • Their product becomes more complex
  • Their customer base is new or changing
  • Market conditions change
  • Competitors leapfrog their product

So what exactly is Go-To-Market?

One of the most important parts of a product marketer’s role is to create a go-to-market plan. The GTM is a blueprint or roadmap that accounts for all of the inputs into how the company will take a product to market, build a competitive advantage, generate demand in the market, and ensure customer adoption.

A GTM plan is mandatory for a successful launch, and it’s obvious when it hasn’t been created. To give an example, a GTM plan is similar to a coach’s game plan. Without a plan, it’s hard to understand the plays — and even harder to win. Teams without a plan play reactively rather than proactively and end up paying for it with misalignment and losses.

Many companies fail to recognize the simple but important tactical and operational initiatives that need to take place before offering a product to a market. Without a GTM, launch activities are owned by various members of an organization, and without a true owner, can lead to disorganization or worse, failure to launch at all.

If you launch a product in the market, every detail — from business development, operations, product, and marketing — needs alignment and consistency.

Reactive product marketing is similar to playing defense exclusively in a sports game — which as many former athletes know, is not fun. The best sports teams are ones that have a blueprint created for success. They know where they’re headed, and how to communicate across various functions. They wont spend their time reacting and instead, they’ll be taking a forward position in their ecosystem.

If you found this useful, and you’d like to learn more about Product Marketing, stay in touch!

My latest book, The Launch: A Product Marketer’s Guide, is now available on Amazon. I also wrote the book Product Marketing Debunked. The Essential Go-To-Market Guide which you can purchase on Amazon.

If you’d like to become a member of Medium to get access to awesome content, you can check it out here. If you are serious about learning about the go-to-market process, check out my go-to-market workshops.