Measurement, Validation and Numbers, Oh My!

By | July 22, 2011


In my recent post on product marketing roadmaps, we discussed how to get started creating your road map and how it serves nicely as a bridge between other department plans and efforts such as marketing, sales and product management. Once you’ve created your product marketing roadmap, you have to actually use it as a guide to strategic activities. And, if you are going to use it, you need to know that the efforts are moving toward success. You have to look at measurements which gauge the progress of the movement.

How? Put the measurements for each of the elements on the roadmap in one place, a visual representation that tells you everything is working together the way it is intended. Create a dashboard.

The key to success with this is two-fold. First, you shouldn’t be engaging in efforts that you can’t measure. Second, you need a tool to validate your team’s efforts and ensure that they are heading in the right direction. The dashboard becomes a great communication tool for you to share with the leadership team, proving the value of product marketing. So how do you get to these metrics?

What are the metrics you should be looking at?

The answer is “depends.” You need to look at what is relevant and meaningful to tell your story and support your efforts. If you have an element of your new roadmap with a focus on planned strategic initiatives you could look at milestones, leadership acceptance and engagement of team. Know that strategic initiatives are longer term commitments and your metrics will probably not show amazing results until you are at the end of that implementation cycle and you look backwards. If your roadmap has a focus area that includes market segmentation or engagement, you could include the number of market visits, number of win loss analyses completed, number of customer stories complete, efforts that support the brand awareness, which may already be measured through marketing activities.

The metrics will be different for each initiative and will be different for each product marketing roadmap created. For example, you may include success stories – how many do we have now, how many do we need and how many did we create? How old are the success stories? And, the other product marketing team in your company may already have success stories well in control so they did not include that on their roadmap. There is no one size fits all.

There are only two hard rules which apply to any roadmap you create:

  1. Don’t include an item if you don’t apply a measurement
  2. Don’t try to create all new metrics! Look around the company for what numbers may already exist and repurpose the communication of these numbers to support your efforts. Bring information from your product management team, development team, sales teams, the marketing team and even the leadership group to the table.

Include what is relevant, even if the numbers come from another team. If they support your roadmap plan, make them visible on your dashboard. It’s not about the quantity of measurements you include. It’s not about the origin of the measurement. It is about the quality of what you are communicating.

You’ve spent the time on putting together a roadmap, now spend the time to find the right metrics, and put this all together in a way to bring visibility to how you are progressing … and how product marketing adds value to the product and organization.

 

(Please share this on Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Google+:  “@jidoctor: Measurement, Validation & Numbers  http://wp.me/pXBON-2KG #prodmktg #prodmgmt #marketing #roadmap #leadership”)

 

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