Want the latest data on product marketing and the Go-to-Market process? We won’t just give you the numbers, we’ll break it down and tell you how it impacts you.
Most product launches involve at least eight stakeholders.
Too many? Or fewer than you expected?
Insights like these can change your perspective and the way you strategize.
So we want to share key findings from PMA’s 2023’s State of Go-to-Market Report, sponsored by Ignition, and State of Product Marketing Report to give you the facts you need to plan your next product launch. But it’s not just about the numbers — we’ll break them down and analyze how they’ll affect the way you bring products to market in 2024.
Oh, and just so you know: there aren’t any filler, vanity stats here. Every one of these could change the way you launch your next product.
So let’s get to it.
First, we’re going to ask the question every product marketer has to answer:
It turns out that image is more apt than it would appear, because:
61% of product marketers spend more than seven hours a week in internal meetings.
That shows just how much of their job involves collaboration and communication. In fact:
81.4% of product marketing managers (PMMs) report interacting with at least four people outside their department every day.
However, despite all the meetings and comms, plus the enormous spread of tasks PMMs have to own, PMMs are often on their own:
46.4% of product marketers report that their team only has one or two people.
That presents the risk that they’re stretched too thin, especially because
33.7% of PMMs support over five products.
Gone are the days when there was one PMM per product line. Coordinating the full range of tasks and leading the GTM process could be (a bit of) a challenge under these circumstances.
Finally, we looked into how product marketers describe their own roles. The survey asked product marketers what their main responsibilities were, and as you can imagine, most of them checked more than one box. Here’s what the answers looked like:
The survey responses showed that:
Around 50% of product marketers are responsible for 10 areas.
On top of that, they’re spending hours and hours in internal meetings, balancing others’ interests, and stretching across many different products at once. If your team is struggling to properly support their products, it might be that there are a few too many balls in the air at the same time.
But as if all of that wasn’t enough, PMMs are trying to keep a load of stakeholders happy at the same time. How many?
A majority of product marketers report coordinating with the marketing, sales, product, and sales teams.
On top of that normal product support:
More than 86% of product marketers manage product launches.
Even when they aren’t the primary person responsible, we know they still play a key role in go-to-market (GTM) strategy.
Those product launches almost always mean juggling several stakeholders at the same time:
53% of product launches involve at least eight stakeholders, and 90% involve at least four.
So that’s 8 plus 2 + 4 +...shed loads of people that want to be kept in the loop, and are interested in different information.
Of those stakeholders:
The easiest ones to work with on product launches are marketing teams.
The most consistently difficult ones belong to finance departments.
If you’re a PMM (or you work with one) just think about what this could mean for you. For example, you might need to find ways to bridge communications between product marketing and finance before you launch your next product. With so many stakeholders to balance, clear communication is one of the most important ways you can enable your product marketing team.
Go-to-Market (GTM) professionals face a challenging landscape, but that gets a whole lot trickier when they don’t plan how to traverse it.
A significant 68% of companies lack a plan for every GTM launch.
A similar 69% do not have a defined launch process.
This presents a unique opportunity for GTM professionals to differentiate themselves by developing comprehensive and adaptable plans for each product launch, aligning with the needs of the target audience and the size of the launch, to optimize the impact of each launch.
What could the effect of that be?
Companies with a defined launch process saw 10% higher success rates with GTM launches.
If you want to make sure your launches work, define your process first. The data also reveals a disparity in time investment:
42% of companies invest under 50 hours in a major launch, but 21.8% are dedicating over 200 hours.
You can use these numbers to benchmark your own launches. Are you not investing enough time to make sure yours are successful? Are you getting bogged down in hundreds of hours of work without a defined process?
An alarming 10% of companies are spending more than 100 hours on minor launches.
This underscores the necessity for GTM professionals to judiciously allocate resources, balancing time and effort between major and minor launches to ensure sustained market engagement. If you belong in that 10%, it’s worth looking at what’s extending your launch times.
Unfortunately, 66.7% of companies do not place high importance on launches.
That highlights the need for a shift in perspective: You should prioritize launches, recognizing their pivotal role in driving business growth, and establish a structured and repeatable launch process to enhance the predictability and success of each launch.
That’s especially clear when you consider that 79.5% of companies reported launches had a significant impact on revenue.
If launches impact revenue that much, surely companies must be making sure they’re going as smoothly as possible, right?
Nope, 59% of companies rated their GTM process’ level of maturity and effectiveness as a 6 or below.
Clearly, there’s some room for improvement. GTM professionals should focus on refining and maturing their processes, incorporating feedback, and adapting to market changes to elevate the effectiveness of their strategies.
If you’re a GTM professional or work with GTM teams, consider how these statistics can shape your strategy moving forward. Investigate the gaps in planning and process definition, assess the allocation of resources, and prioritize the importance of launches in your organization. Additionally, make sure to clearly articulate how the lack of planning and maturity in your process can impact the company’s bottom line through underperforming launches.
Speaking of underperforming launches, let’s find out exactly how common it is for a go-to-market launch to fall flat.
From the latest data, it looks like whether a product launch is a success or not is a coinflip:
Half of PMMs estimate that more than 50% of their launches are successful, while the other half estimate that less than 50% succeed.
But different organizations — and individuals — can define their success in different ways. So let’s break down some of the factors that may lead to launch success (or failure).
First, 73% of respondents reported an adoption rate under 50% for new launches, indicating that for many, the challenge lies in gaining initial market traction.
Underlining this issue, at least 26% of a product’s sales happen within the first 90 days for most respondents.
Why are new launches struggling so much? This could be because lack of research time prevented the team from finding the right product-market fit. Or perhaps they found the fit but didn’t have the budget to effectively reach who they needed to, limiting their impact.
Maybe there was a shift in buyer sentiment, and the team was too tied down with other stakeholder interests to be able to pivot with the agility they needed. These are just a few of the reasons a product launch might not go as planned, so it’s urgent that PMs and PMMs look into the root causes of their product launch challenges.
Delving deeper, the data reveals a strong correlation between having a defined launch process and achieving success.
Only 1% of respondents with a defined process reported under a 25% success rate with launches, while the majority saw over a 50% success rate.
This is further corroborated by respondents who rated their GTM process’ maturity as a 9 or 10, witnessing at least a 76% success rate with launches.
As we looked for other difference-makers, we also found that PMMs who believe their companies are underinvesting in launches report 10% lower launch success rates.
Equipping your team with the resources they need is a key step to launching products well.
What’s holding PMMs back from launching products effectively? There’s more than one answer, but we’ve got them here. When surveyed, the most common challenges PMMs reported with going to market were:
Most also noted that they had a problem with measuring the impact of their launches, and at least 30% say that not having a defined process is one of their biggest challenges.
This indicates key pain points in the GTM process: cross-team communication, investment from above, and clarity of vision and process. One great way to communicate goals and progress to leaders would be through measuring the impact of their work, but many PMMs report they have a hard time with exactly that.
Most PMMs report they do have the confidence, skills, and tools they need to make their GTM process successful. But if their leaders don’t understand the value of launches, they won’t give product marketers the direction they need to make that vision a reality. They’re shooting the product down before it ever takes off.
Now that we know the kinds of challenges PMMs face, let’s look at the tools and skills they rely on to overcome those obstacles.
We’ve already covered the communications problems that product marketers face a couple of times here.
Yet 70% report that they use communications tools.
So how come they still have communication problems? Well, because these tools are designed for project management, not communications.
In fact, the GTM tools product marketers relied on the most are aimed at project management.
The problem is, project management tools require everybody to actively adopt and use them for them to work effectively. But this is often not what’s happening. So, it looks like product marketers need tools truly dedicated to solving the communications challenges they face. At Ignition, we have a different approach — we place communication at the center of our workflows, and have automation and AI help out at every step of the way. If you want an all-in-one solution, take a look at our features and book a demo to find out if Ignition’s right for you.
But it’s not the tools that define a PMM, it’s their skills!
Unsurprisingly, 79.5% of product marketers said communication is the skill that has helped them thrive the most in their profession.
However, there were some close runners-up: 77.5% said they used collaboration skills, and 71.5% chose strategic planning/business skills.
These skills all help resolve the most common challenges in a strong GTM process: planning and… you guessed it, communication.
These statistics make it clear: PMMs are in a critical role but need collaboration and investment from others to succeed. Other teams are ignoring emails. Announcements don’t reach the customers they should. They waste time going back and forth in internal meetings.
Worst of all, they aren’t following an established process.
Their stakeholders aren’t aligned, aren’t communicating, and PMMs don’t have an efficient process for getting information across to them.
Product marketing managers need one place where they communicate the right information between stakeholders and teams quickly and easily, one place to manage product launches, one place to store, manage, and share all GTM plans, processes, assets, and track KPIs…and above all, they need to stop being in meetings all day.
We call this place Ignition.
With Ignition, you can easily communicate plans, give context, publish updates, manage projects, and track your metrics through one fully-automated and repeatable process.
Ready to see the future of GTM?