CONTEXT! CONTEXT! CONTEXT!

Storytelling skills for product management and product marketing are essential because without them, the value context (why the market cares) of what you’re building, marketing and selling is completely masked.

That mask is usually in the form of technical product jargon and/or a lot of superlatives (best-in-class, intelligent, actionable, optimized, etc.).

Take market requirements for example. Most market requirements documents (MRDs) lead off with a customer problem and why it occurs. Quickly followed by how pervasive the problem is in the market, and then the proposed solution.

If you’re wondering what the problem is with this approach, it’s the problem definition itself. In most cases the problem is described in the context of how the solution will address it.

“Organizations are unable to create critical performance reports because data exists in disparate systems.”

There’s absolutely no value context in this description because the description is “leading the witness” to the solution.

When your MRDs lead off with a story, the complexion of WHY you’re building, marketing or selling something changes completely. Read on to see how the story format has all the components needed for full value context.

Storytelling Example

“80% of our customers are telling us that the customer experience has become their primary vector of differentiation because products and services commoditize so quickly theses days. But with so many customer touch-points, it’s difficult to identify where the biggest opportunities to improve that experience exist.

It took an act of congress, but one of our customers was able to aggregate information from all customer touch-points. What they discovered was that they were losing revenue and making customers mad because they would try to upgrade and add new services but were were forced to call, wait on hold, etc.

Once the problem was fixed, they saw a 15% bump in upgrades and their satisfaction scores rose by X%.

Our solution simplifies the process of aggregating that information and reduces it from hours and days down to minutes.”

Storytelling skills for product management and product marketing are about leading with this type of context and ending with products and features. In most organizations, it’s just the opposite, except you never get to the full value context once features enter the fray!

Granted, it might not be feasible to create a story like the one above for every scenario, but a few strong examples will usually be enough to establish a solid foundation for building, positioning, selling and deploying the solution.

Apply the same formula to business requirements, user stories, positioning content, sales tools, product demos, etc. Context has a way of making everything easier, and the results will show up in your product usability, the strength of your marketing messages, your sales numbers and customer references.

Want to learn how to create all of your product management, product marketing and sales enablement assets with high-fidelity context and do it with templates that cover the complete spectrum? Enroll in Product Management University On-Demand and learn new skills on your own terms.

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