One of my favorite marketing articles from 2019 – you can see the full list of favorites here – was a post on Tom Tunguz’s blog about marketing roadmaps.

You can check out the full post here.

The gist is this:

A solid marketing roadmap contains a clear picture of how your product makes life better for your customers. Then you take that vision, turn it into messages, and distribute the messages far and wide.

I went through the full exercise recently, armed with the knowledge of our target customers and our recent conversations about brand beliefs, mission, and taglines. Here’s what I came up with.

The marketing roadmap we use at Buffer.

Here’s the full context on what that image is all about.

How to make a marketing roadmap

Step one:

“Articulate a compelling narrative of where your product will move the market. Begin by stating where the market is today, then predict where you want the market to be.”


Where is the market today? (online marketing & social media)
So much noise online! Declining reach. Hard to stand out and build a loyal audience.

Where do we want the market to be?
Clear path to brand-building: high-quality content, delivered strategically. Loving engagement, made easy at scale.

What I especially love about this section is the impact that this market shift would have on customers. I never really thought of it in these terms, but the article states that our goal as marketers is to help our customers get a promotion.

By buying this product, your future will be better. In software, this typically means the buyer will be promoted. Marketing equips the internal champion to understand a change in the market and articulates the compelling reasons to act – to buy the software. The benefit to the business is important and real, resulting in a promotion.

Step two:

Identify your target personas.

1. Social media specialist
2. Content and creative manager
3. Customer experience manager

Step three:

Map the company narrative to each persona. Identify the pain points that each persona experiences, living in the current state of the market.

  1. Social media specialist
    • What should I post that will get engagement
    • How can my content be seen without paying a ton of money
    • Who are all these people liking and commenting on things? I’d love to know if I’m building something here or just shouting into the void
  2. Content and creative manager
    • Am I getting my money’s worth on social media
    • Is the content I’m creating making a difference on my company’s bottom line
    • Keeping up with the latest on social media so that our content stays quality, relevant, enjoyable
  3. Customer experience manager
    • Time & resources are precious. I need to optimize my team & its workflows for max efficiency and impact.
    • Zooming out to see the bigger picture. It’s easy to get in the weeds without seeing the larger themes of what people think about us

Step four:

Take each of these pain points and build content to educate customers about how your product can help. Think of this in terms of the traditional buyer journey: awareness to consideration to purchase.

For example, with the social media specialist persona, this is how you might approach addressing some of the person’s pain points with content topics.

Social media specialist    

  • Awareness = The state of social media engagement today. What a balanced paid / organic strategy looks like. How to tell what’s working on social. Benchmarks for top social brands. Here’s the top content on social today.    
  • Consideration = Tools that power the most engaging social brands. How xx does social media engagement.    
  • Purchase = How Buffer shows you what to post next. The organic guide to success with Buffer. A day in the life of a SMM with Buffer.

Step five:

Omnichannel! Take the content from the previous step and distribute it to the various places where you reach your audience.

For example:

Benchmarks for top social brands

  • Social
  • Blog
  • Webinar
  • Podcast
  • Talks
  • Co-marketing

Over to you

What do you think of this approach? Have you tried this or something similar? It’d be great to hear what’s worked for you and what you’re eager to try.

Posted by:Kevan Lee

VP of marketing currently living in Boise, Idaho. I work with the lovely folks at Buffer. You can join my email list to get an inside look at marketing and branding and team-building in tech.

3 thoughts on “ How to make a marketing roadmap ”

  1. Kevan, this ots was an eye opener for me. We are used to asking “Where am I, Where do I want to be, and How do I get there?”

    I tried your roadmap and asked “Where is the market? Where do I want the market to be? And how do I contribute to get the Market there?” … and in that I found my leadership potential!

    One of those Aha! moments for me! Thanks for this beautiful article!

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