What is a marketing roadmap? Best practices for product marketing teams

Last updated: April 2024

A marketing roadmap helps you communicate the marketing team’s overall strategic direction and align cross-functional groups around an integrated plan. Marketing roadmaps also help you define what you want to accomplish and show what you will do to get there and when.

For many marketing teams, it can be difficult to connect corporate strategy to the tactical work the team plans to get done. This is where a marketing roadmap is a useful tool — it is a visualization of how your activities will meet a set of business objectives.

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Strategic roadmap large


Audiences for a marketing roadmap

Many teams across your organization can benefit from greater visibility into your marketing plans. But each team will have a different focus and interest based on how your marketing plans impact their work.

Here are a few of the common audiences for a marketing roadmap (listed in alphabetical order):

Customer support teams

Support teams that interact directly with customers want to know what marketing messages are being shared so they can anticipate customers' responses. For example, an email campaign might spawn a flurry of tickets. Sharing a marketing roadmap that includes activities with the potential to spark customer outreach will help these teams prepare accordingly.

Executive leadership

Management wants to see how marketing programs and campaigns roll up to the corporate strategy. Presenting these planned efforts in context with your strategic goals and initiatives helps you visualize to executives how that work will impact the business.

IT and development teams

You need to keep your IT team informed of marketing work that could impact the overall technology infrastructure. For example, imagine you are planning to implement a new marketing automation system. Creating a roadmap helps you coordinate your implementation timeline with IT.

Marketing teams

The entire marketing team benefits from an integrated plan that shows what you want to accomplish and when. Visualizing upcoming marketing activities on a roadmap improves collaboration and focuses the team on the work required to achieve your strategic goals.

Product teams

Product and marketing teams need to work closely together to drive product success through effective launches. Building a go-to-market roadmap is an effective way to coordinate the timing of marketing campaigns with product launches so you can maximize promotional opportunities.

Sales teams

Sales teams want to know what marketing activities are happening and when. Communicating this information on a marketing roadmap is an effective way to share key events (like a webinar or trade show) as well as the availability of new tools — think: an updated competitor analysis or success story.


Components of a marketing roadmap

Once you have defined your audience, the next step is to consider the information you want to present. At a high level, a roadmap provides a visual overview of your plans on a timeline. But there are many different elements you can include depending on who the roadmap is for and how it will be used. Here are the key components that are commonly included in marketing roadmaps:

  • Timeframe: Roadmaps typically include dates to show when program and campaign activities will be completed. Choose the time frame (such as days, weeks, months, or quarters) depending on the level of detail you need to share.

  • Goals: Goals are measurable, time-bound objectives. Display your marketing goals on a roadmap to show what you want to achieve and the criteria for success.

  • Initiatives: Initiatives are your big efforts or themes of work. Include them on your roadmap to show the key focus areas that are required to achieve your goals.

  • Schedules: Visualize your major programs, campaigns, and events on a roadmap to communicate what is happening and when.

  • Activities: Marketing activities represent discrete units of work that are required to deliver your plans. Include activities on your roadmap — such as landing pages, press releases, or sales tools — to provide more details about what is coming.

  • Status: Status indicators for goals, initiatives, plans, and activities are a useful way to show how the team is progressing against your roadmap.


Types of marketing roadmaps

If you are new to building marketing roadmaps, it is important to remember that there is no universal marketing roadmap template. You can use different types of roadmaps to deliver a tailored message to your audience. So what matters is creating a visual representation of your marketing plans in a way that captures and communicates your overall direction.

Let's cover some different types of marketing roadmaps:

Strategy roadmap

A strategy roadmap shows how strategic marketing initiatives tie to your overall goals. This type of roadmap is useful when you need to show leadership or board members how your marketing initiatives and programs contribute to the company’s objectives.

A strategic marketing roadmap made in Aha! software with progress bars

Your team can create strategic marketing roadmaps like this one in Aha! Roadmaps. Here, you can see marketing initiatives mapped out for the second half of the year. This makes it easier to track major themes of work.

Portfolio roadmap

A portfolio roadmap is a useful way to align plans across different marketing functions — such as digital, content, and product marketing. Creating an integrated view of your marketing programs shows how you are progressing against your initiatives and keeps the team moving in the same direction.

This is an example of a portfolio roadmap in Aha! software. It shows how releases for different products in a portfolio align with goals and initiatives.

This portfolio roadmap in Aha! Roadmaps shows initiatives and associated activities across multiple products. You can easily tailor this view to show marketing programs instead of a product portfolio.

Activities roadmap

Build out a roadmap of planned work activities. This will keep cross-functional teams — such as sales and support — informed about exactly what is coming and when. You can show when the next campaigns and product launches are happening and provide specific details about new marketing assets that will be delivered.

An activities roadmap created in Aha! roadmaps that shows product marketing activities over a quarter

This view in Aha! Roadmaps quickly showcases the details of a marketing team's work over a few months — with a focus on goals and related activities.

Custom roadmap

Need something even more tailored to your marketing department's needs? Marketing roadmaps can be customized to support a wide variety of use cases. For example, you can create a roadmap to show how your marketing plans support different customer segments or products.

A custom roadmap created in Aha! software that shows progress on goals across a workspace

Custom roadmaps like this one — which features goals, success metrics, and associated initiatives — are easy to create in Aha! Roadmaps.

Marketing roadmaps are the best way to create a long-term view of how you will promote your product or service to reach the right customers. This aligns the entire organization around what you want to achieve — so you can focus on delivering the right programs and campaigns to get there.

Ready to start building your own marketing roadmap template? Aha! software has options — from marketing roadmap templates on whiteboards to customizable, robust roadmaps that generate based on work you have in progress. Browse our template library or sign up for a free 30-day trial to get the team aligned.

FAQs about marketing roadmaps

How do you create a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy captures what your marketing team will do to support the wider company's success. To create the marketing strategy, marketing leadership (e.g., the CMO and VP of marketing) typically connects with company leaders to understand where marketing can make an impact. From there, marketing leaders will work with the marketing team to define goals, initiatives, target markets, and more in order to achieve this impact.

This process can vary depending on your organization. But in general, you should create your marketing strategy before you build the marketing roadmap and your team starts tackling any work. What you include in your marketing strategy will also shift according to your specific needs, but we have outlined some common components in this guide covering the basics of marketing strategies.

If you need a boost to get started on your marketing strategy, purpose-built planning tools such as Aha! software can help. It comes with pre-built creative brief, positioning, and persona templates.

What does a digital marketing roadmap look like?

Much like a general marketing roadmap, a digital marketing roadmap shows goals, initiatives, and activities on a timeline — just on a smaller scale. It displays strategy and work specific to the digital marketing team as well as how these efforts help the broader marketing department reach its overall goals (and by extension, company goals).

For example, let's say your digital marketing team has a goal to launch a new paid media campaign this quarter. Your digital marketing roadmap will showcase planned major initiatives, activities, and milestones over the next three months that will help achieve this goal. This could include things like publishing paid landing pages or testing advertisements across social platforms. This provides another layer of visibility into the digital marketing team's work, whereas a general marketing roadmap will show work across multiple functional groups.

The exact details and information you include will depend on who is viewing your digital marketing roadmap. In general, your audience should be able to tell how the team is progressing against goals and how digital marketing work ties back to the overall marketing strategy by looking at this roadmap.

What separates a good marketing roadmap from a bad one?

The best marketing roadmaps provide visibility between cross-functional marketing groups and the rest of the organization — outlining what the marketing team is doing to reach its goals and contribute to the company. By making this information transparent on a timeline, a good marketing roadmap can help everyone understand the "why" behind their tasks, how each of their projects contribute to marketing's success, and the team's overall progress against the marketing strategy.

A good marketing roadmap is also tailored to your stakeholders. Ask yourself: What information is relevant to my audience? What progress updates do they care about? Use this to inform what you show on your marketing roadmap to have the biggest impact.

Meanwhile, a bad marketing roadmap comes with more questions than answers. If key details are missing or no longer current, then your team and leadership might start wondering about progress. This is also true if it is unclear how your marketing roadmap supports your strategy. Make sure that you can provide a clear link between anything on your roadmap and the goals you want to achieve. If not, your roadmap needs some work.