A go-to-market worksheet for product marketers

Before you start marketing anything, your product team needs to answer these questions. If they can't, you're dead in the water.

A go-to-market worksheet for product marketers

For the longest time engineering/product would handoff their latest and greatest with very little supporting information. Technical docs was about as good as it got. Forget a go-to-market plan.

If this sounds familiar, you already know that a huge amount of work hits your desk every time this happens. It's not reasonable, but you deal with it because rocket ships aren't built by not launching.

It's situations like these where playbooks and plans save the day. And to create a plan we first need a solid go-to-market (GTM) requirement gathering worksheet.

If you're not familiar with the GTM process, requirements help you discover what to build, why you're building it, who you're building it for, and how you take it to market. Good Product Managers do this early and often. In fact, good product orgs will include marketing in their discovery process.

However, if a product lands on your desk without these questions answered, you need a way to capture this information ex post facto.

Below you'll find my go-to GTM worksheet. It's broadly applicable to any industry or sector but does skew toward enterprise software. You're welcome to use it, adapt it and make it your own. It isn't perfect, is a little lightweight on the competitive analysis, but it works for me (at the moment).

If you see any omissions, please ping me via LinkedIn or Twitter and we'll try to improve it for everyone.

As an aside, my greatest successes always occur when I start with the end in mind. Amazon has an an interesting approach to building products.

Go-to-market requirement gathering worksheet

1. Product Working Title

Information to be collected
Product name Briefly describe the product/service being launched.
Product Manager Name of the product team owner (you'll work with this human, a lot).
Technical brief Link to the internal engineering tech brief.
Engineering complete date Scheduled date for engineering to deliver a market-ready product.
GTM Launch Date Scheduled date for market launch.‡
What is the product In 25 words or less, explain what we are taking to market!
If you can't explain it in < 25 you're in trouble ...
Product price The product's price and pricing stragegy
Product economics What is your ICP willing to pay. Include data like CAC, LTV, etc.

‡ Continuing with our fictitious intro, if you're ever handed a product without a GTM plan you must make it very clear that it could be weeks before sales, marketing and customer success is ready to launch. Engineering ready ≠ market ready.

2. Product Positioning

Information to be collected
Your target audience Describe the target audience. If you're targeting a segment, which one?
If ICPs, which ICP/s? If none, is there a vertical you're targeting?
What's the target audience's experience level?
Which stage of the customer lifecycle are you focusing on?
Where do these humans normally look for advice on the topic (their influencers)
and how (channels)?
Messaging In the words of your audience, explain the pain you're solving for them.
Explain what your product/service allows them to do.
How do you want to present/message the benefits?
Key value proposition Explain the primary value you'll deliver to your prospective and/or new customers.
If there can be only one, it's this one!
Explain the secondary value you'll deliver to your prospective and/or new customers.
Explain the tertiary value you'll deliver to your prospective and/or new customers.
Positioning statement Fill the blanks: For (target audience) who (have a need/pain), (your solution) has
a (feature) that allows them to (benefit). Unlike your competitors like (name them),
(product name) has (differentiators).

3. Campaign & Messaging Summary

Information to be collected
Campaign name Give the campaign a short but meaningful name.
Campaign objective Be very clear about which objective (e.g. OKR) this resolves.
Campaign KPIs Define the campaign's goal and how it will be measured
E.g. Create $$$ net new revenue in CY19Q1.
Strategy A sentence or two explaining the general method of delivering your message
to the target audience.
1. Which channels will you use? Eg. internal sales, customer success, onsite SEO,
landing pages, web content, email, other inbound, demand generation, paid, etc.
2. How does the customer get the product/service/solution you're marketing?
E.g. High touch via sales, low touch online, channel partners?
Tactics & requirements Clearly define the activities you're planning for each channel. Include everything
the entire marketing organization needs to know to execute amazing work,
including technical, content and creative requirements.
Social proof/reference Capture points of interest or inspiration from the product team. Is there a
campaign they loved? Did your company ever run a similar campaign that worked?
Milestones & requirements Include strategy meetings, larger deliverables (copy, wireframes, etc.), reviews,
launch and post-mortem reviews. These are the tasks that must be completed
if the campaign is to be a success.

4. Release requirement & opportunities

It's extremely important to be clear about the minimum marketing content and asset requirement you consider necessary for a successful launch. This can include any of the following:

  • Technical release notes and changelog
  • Technical documentation (new? or update existing?)
  • Technical demo (customer facing for sales and/or self-discovery)
  • Product marketing landing page (new? or update existing?)
  • Product store page (if ecommerce,  new? or update existing?)
  • Release announcement (e.g. blog post/newswire)
  • Design assets and art (e.g. marketing demo videos, explainer videos, store icons, hero images, product images, social media images, infographics)
  • Owned digital marketing
  • Earned digital marketing
  • Paid digital marketing & advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Webinars / field marketing / events
  • Sales enablement content (1-pagers, decks, scripts, FAQ, etc)
  • Customer Success/Support enablement (1-pagers, decks, scripts, FAQ, technical highlights, known issues, etc)
  • Any other critical or insanely creative marketing activities?
Information to be collected
Market opportunities Any market opportunities you can take advantage of, e.g changing market conditions,
new trends, VC funding directed to target segments.
Anything missing? Once you're done, it's good practice to revisit the market conditions with the product
manager. You're trying to learn whether there's anything you should know that's
critical to campaign success, or failure.

5. Bonus data for the content marketing team

This is a bit of a throwaway, but if you're handing very specific requirements to (say) the content marketing team it's helpful to be extremely clear about the audience's ability to absorb the work your team delivers.

Information to be collected
Content requirement E.g. Blog post? White paper? Infographic? All of the above?
Reading grade level Flesch–Kincaid readability: aim to be understood
Est. reading time target How much time do we expect of our audience?
Word count target Minimum 600 words (best practice SEO)
Audience tone Is the audience business? Technical? A mix? Some other audience?
Internal reference links Related content, sources and reference material
Short-tail keywords Which short-tail keywords are we targeting?
Long-tail keywords Which long-tail keywords are we targeting?

The missing pieces

This requirement gathering worksheet doesn't include a deep competitive analysis. It should. I'll create one and share it soon.