Why Should Product Marketing be Involved in Roadmaps?
When you think of a product roadmap and who is responsible for it, the obvious answer would be the product team. Going a little bit further, should product marketing be involved in the roadmap?
Product roadmaps are representations of where a product is going. Sure, you probably have a plan regardless, but a roadmap is a tool that helps you communicate what you’re going to deliver as it improves and, more importantly, why. 🧭
We have already talked about roadmaps and best practices to build them in the past. In this article we’ll explore the relationship between product marketing teams and roadmap development, and why it’s vital to invite them to the table.
Here’s why Product Marketing should be involved in your roadmap
Product management or product marketing?
Even though product managers and product marketers work together in product launches and other important product milestones, there’s an important difference in their roles. While product managers focus on execution, deliverables, budget needs, and timeframes, product marketers work on product positioning, having the right messaging to drive demand, show value, and increase engagement.
- Product managers are in charge the execution, working closely with designers, developers, engineers, QA, and all the technical stuff.
- Coordinates teams in alignment with the product strategy and the core goals.
- They are private to metrics like budgets, timeframes and resources needed.
Product managers (and other teams like R&D) have a deeper understanding of the product technical details, required resources, and team availability to reach them. They can better understand how long and how much it will take to make something happen.
Product Marketing Team.
- Product Marketers are in charge of communicating value, while driving demand and positioning.
- They empower the sales teams with value propositions.
- Conduct all sorts of market analyses to improve marketing strategies. Understand the market and competitors.
- Gather and analyze feedback directly from leads, users, and customers, to improve the product strategy
Don’t ask product marketers to prioritize or define timeframes for upcoming releases. Product marketing is at its best while interacting with an audience; the technical details are the realm of your product management and development teams.
Building and sustaining a roadmap is a synergistic affair, which means a combination of different teams and organizations with coordinated goals. In a productive company, product management, and product marketing work together!
Who is in charge of the product roadmap?
Product managers are in charge of the roadmap, and there’s no discussion about it. They know the scope and limitations of what can and should be done. Is the feature request feasible, and does it make sense with the product strategy and use cases? Does the new feature fit with the companies long-term goals? Is the development team prepared to take on a new project? Is that project cost-effective?
Deciding which features are going to be implemented.
The product team and the product manager should have the final say on which features will be developed and which don’t, hence they decide what goes into the roadmap and what doesn’t. All the features in your roadmap should make sense with the rest of your product and should fit your long-term strategy, and the product team has developed that strategy.
Prioritize feature development.
Some features may be too expensive to develop or unfit to the necessities of your user base. Some features may be too specific, solving issues of just a bunch of customers while leaving most of your clients behind. A product manager knows about the available resources. They can make decisions based on budgets, investment returns, effort, and reward. They should set strategies to solve issues for the highest amount of customers without draining resources. Not a case-by-case fix.
Define timeframes or deadlines.
Sometimes it’s not about the money or strategy, but it’s about time and transparency. One of the advantages of roadmaps is the possibility of sharing your process with your user base. Anything that goes in your roadmap should be deliverable, and if you propose a timeframe, you must follow it. Product managers know how much it takes to produce a feature. They can coordinate teams to prioritize time-sensitive updates, keep timeframes and timelines realistic, and boost transparency while avoiding making false promises.
But even though they are the product ship captains, that doesn’t mean that they move that vessel by themselves. They need other teams to keep the product moving, and they can benefit from the particular insight of others while making decisions.
Let’s examine how product marketing (that’s usually left out of the roadmap table) can make the product manager’s life easier and your product roadmap better.
Why should product marketing be involved in the roadmap?
The general answer is simple: products are collective efforts, and no single perspective can predict or plan for everything. Each team has a particular insight on what your product should be, what it needs to improve, and how to achieve those goals. So as a general rule, a roadmap should reflect those perspectives.
But why product marketing in particular? Typically, roadmaps are a product management goal or responsibility. However, having product marketing involved in roadmaps is actually a great strategy. Let’s examine why…
When thinking of roadmaps, product managers are the key players. After all, they are in charge of the internal development of the product. They should know what can be done, what are the best options, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. All of these things are the basics of a realistic roadmap.
But product marketing is not to be ignored. Not only because, as we said before: a product is a collective endeavor. Product marketing is based on communicating the product’s value, and a roadmap is not a simple schedule.
If you show your roadmap publicly, it’s because it helps to keep your users and potential customers updated on the current, past, and future progress of your product. The roadmap entices users with future developments communicating value today with the promise of a better product in the future.
They know the ideal buyer.
As part of their job, product marketers need to understand and identify the ideal buyer personas to better picture their problems and needs. In that deep understanding of their audience, they can anticipate what features will make more sense and produce a greater impact.
A roadmap is not just an organizational tool for the team, it’s a communication and marketing tool for current and potential customers. So even though product managers may understand better the work necessary to produce a new feature, the product marketing knows what feature will be most relevant when launched to the public.
They monitor feedback.
Producing any feature takes time, effort, and money. Picking the wrong horse will have no impact on your users and can drain you of resources that could have been better used for a more valuable and desired feature. That’s why feedback is vital for any roadmap.
Product marketing is always on top of conversion, engagement, and product usage metrics. Because they need to ensure long-term relationships with clients, they have tons of data and resources to ensure this (like surveys, feedback, net promoter score®).
Product marketing can add their analytics know-how to the roadmap, and at the same time, get even more metrics from the roadmap, building a virtuous cycle. Roadmaps can collect feedback in different ways:
- Voting systems (upvotes or downvotes) to measure the public’s interest.
- Comments to get more in-depth opinions and recommendations.
- Feature requests and recommendations to get ideas on how to improve your product directly from your users.
Beamer roadmap has all three! With Beamer, you can create a roadmap in a matter of minutes and even embed it directly in your app or site. You can gather feedback with user upvotes and comments on each feature. It also includes a request system that allows your users to submit ideas that you can review, filter, and put into your roadmap with just a click. Who better to understand what you users want than your users themselves?
They know how to communicate.
Product marketing teams are involved in communication and product messaging from the go-to-market to new features. Roadmaps are communication tools. So, product marketers’ experience in how to better announce what’s coming next or what has been released is fundamental.
A roadmap is not just a list of features, roadmaps communicate value and entice current and potential users. That’s why the content experience of a product marketing team can improve the quality of your publications. You need to think of these features like publications, with the same care and marketing eye as you would do with a blog or newsfeed post.
If you’re looking for a roadmap, Beamer made it easy! Beamer is a powerful feedback loop tool that you can embed directly in your app or site in a matter of minutes. With Beamer you can gather feature requests, get votes and comments from your users, publish planned product changes and show your current and potential customers what’s next for your product and what you have already accomplished. In addition, you can communicate product updates with a changelog and measure users engagement and loyalty with NPS®. Try Beamer for free today!