Of course, there is a bit more to it than that – but in general, Porter is right:
Strategy is a series of choices about what to do and more importantly, what not to do.
But most importantly, Strategy is not something that is hidden in an ivory tower.
Despite the fact that I have been doing “strategy” for a while – and knowing the market and various players well, I have learned that I (or any senior leader) probably know less than the sum of various functions within your organization:
- Customer success or product management is likely seeing your customers pain points (and potential churn… and competition) first.
- Partners implementing solutions understand the other vendors and verticals and are regularly engaged in client discovery
- Marketing and sales know what messages are resonating
Instead of “coming up with a strategy”, the key is to make sure these stakeholders are engaged. Through the process, the constraints, options, strategies taken, and paths discarded – will reveal themselves to your organization.
Beyond a few nudges in some directions – knowing where other vendors have succeeded or failed in similar approaches, my job is not to come up with a strategy, but to help shape the process.
- Are you asking the right questions?
- Where do you want to be in 5 years and do you have a plan to get there?
- Understanding your organizational constraints (resources, tech debt, etc.)
- What are the technologies and trends that will shape the next 2-5 years?
“The next 100 days”
- How to motivate a team about organizational change
- Technical and market due diligence
Product Strategy exists as a coordinating function between corporate strategy (overall goals of the business), product management and product marketing.
The purpose of the role is to clearly share market understanding (as an input), ICP goals and gain alignment on what you are building and how to talk about it to the market.
One of the biggest tasks is to align product management (PM) and product marketing (PMM)
- Understanding the importance of product themes in roadmap alignment
- The definition of “done”
- Marketing release plan
- Understanding and working with your stakeholders
- Customers you have
- The customers you want to have
- Understanding your competitors and their priorities
- Identifying and strengthening differentiators
- Where to seek market opportunities
- Playing to your strengths
- Shoring up your weaknesses
- Effective collaboration and open communication between key product teams
The key to product marketing – especially in marketing technology – is to clearly understand:
- Ideal Customer Personas (ICP)
- Customer journeys – especially for product-led growth vendors
- Product material to entice, engage and educate your core audiences
- How can you clearly articulate your differentiating core value proposition?
- How to get organizational alignment around a shared vision
- How to educate and arm your sales team with clear product understanding and narrative