Today we are officially announcing Martina Lauchengco’s new book LOVED: How To Rethink Marketing for Tech Products. Below you’ll find the foreword I wrote for the book.
I’m also happy to announce that Martina has committed to donating 100% of her royalties to organizations supporting the advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in tech. Buying the book will give back to our tech community where it needs it most.
In addition to the new book, Martina offers an associated LOVED workshop (the next one is March 1-4). And for those that would like to discuss these concepts with her, she provides “Friday Office Hours” for anyone who sends in a pre-order receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. After we get your receipt, you’ll get an invitation to join an upcoming Office Hour. There is no order minimum and you can pre-order from wherever you prefer to buy books:
You can also read LOVED’s Introduction to get a taste of the book.
Foreword for LOVED
In INSPIRED, I argued that the single most important concept in all of product is the concept of product/market fit.
For startups, achieving product/market fit, including and especially the go-to-market strategy for that product, is really the only thing that matters.
But the reward for reaching product/market fit is growth, and growth brings its own challenges.
Moreover, as the company grows, we typically evolve our product to address the needs of additional markets, and usually we soon begin work on new products as well, so the critical concepts of product/market fit and growth remain at the heart of product work for the life of a technology-powered company.
INSPIRED described the techniques we use to discover a product that is valuable, usable, feasible and viable, and the book discussed how this requires an intense collaboration between product management, product design, and engineering.
But while discovering a winning solution may be necessary, it is not sufficient.
We have all seen countless examples of products that go nowhere because:
- the product doesn’t address real customer needs
- or, there aren’t enough customers with those needs
- or, those customers do exist, but not enough of them learn your product exists
- or even if they do find you, they don’t see how what you provide aligns with their needs
To avoid this fate, as the name implies, there is another dimension to product/market fit, and that is the market.
When we talk about a winning product, we are referring to a strong solution for a specific market.
A product manager’s partner in achieving product/market fit and getting this product to market is the product marketer.
While the product manager focuses primarily on the product side of the equation, the product marketer focuses primarily on the market side, including the go-to-market strategy.
But it’s important to realize that pursuing the product and pursuing the market are not independent activities. They are happening in parallel, and they are very much intertwined.
Which is why the product manager / product marketer partnership is so important to get right.
I have always visualized this partnership as the product manager working with the product marketer to triangulate on product/market fit.
And once we achieve product/market fit, and our focus moves to growth, the collaboration of product and product marketing becomes the key to that growth.
While the product marketing role has existed for many years, for technology-powered products and services, with the pace of innovation, and with very crowded competitive landscapes, it is especially challenging, and more important than ever.
At a strong tech-powered product company, the product marketer helps to answer some very fundamental questions essential for a product’s eventual success:
- determining the best way to reach the target customer
- how and when the customer will be able to learn your product exists
- how to position your product so the customer knows how to think about your product
- how to message the value so that it resonates with the customer’s underlying needs
- how the customer can evaluate your product
- who and how will the customer make a buying decision
- finally, if you’ve done your job well and the customer loves your product, how can they tell their friends and colleagues how much they love your product
Many experienced product leaders will tell you that getting the go-to-market right is as tough as discovering a successful product.
In truth, in our books and articles to date, we know we have focused primarily on the product side of the equation.
That’s mainly a result of our product bias. We know there are examples of products that succeeded despite weak product marketing, but great product marketing can’t overcome a bad product.
However, in our increasingly competitive reality, in order to succeed, we need both strong products and strong product marketing to succeed.
Which is why I’m happy to tell you about this new book.
Martina has had a remarkable career, with many years of experience at top tech companies, most notably Microsoft and Netscape Communications, covering not just product marketing, but also product management and corporate marketing. She is, I believe, uniquely suited to write this book.
Martina has worked for, and been coached by, several of our industry’s most accomplished technology and marketing leaders. As a long-time SVPG Partner, Venture Capitalist, and UC Berkeley Lecturer, she has been advising, coaching and teaching literally hundreds of companies, and countless product marketers on the critical topic of product marketing.
In some cases, especially at early-stage startups, the product manager may need to cover the product marketing role as well. In other cases, others in the marketing organization may need to cover the role.
Whether you are coming from the product side or the marketing side, you are much more likely to succeed if you have a solid understanding of product marketing.
It is the goal of the SVPG series of books to share the best practices of the top product companies, and this is an important addition, addressing a long-underserved need.
And our intention is that this is just the start. We plan to do more going forward, sharing more of the best practices and techniques helping product teams and product marketing to collaborate effectively and successfully.