Charlotte Norman

Charlotte NormanShare

Head Of Product Marketing, Canva
Charlotte Norman
Charlotte Norman
Head Of Product Marketing, CanvaMay 19

Positioning is about showcasing how you solve your customer's needs in a unique and beneficial way. 

I firmly believe that you can not create strong messaging if you have not completed an audit of your competitor's messaging. I typically use the following framework to audit competitors: 

Competitor framework:

  • Company name 
  • Tagline 
  • Positioning statement 
  • Core benefit 
  • Problem solved 
  • Messaging pillars 

Once completed I’ll map on a 4 x 4 the key territories the competitor sits in and where our company currently stacks up in comparison to the competitors. 

Once I’ve identified where we currently sit, we discuss our positioning strategy: 

  • Do we want to challenge our current position in the market? 
  • Do we want to challenge a competitor in the market? 
  • Do we want to carve out a unique space in the market? 

Once we have our strategy, we speak with customers to see: 

  • How they describe the product and features?
  • What do they believe the core benefits to be? 
  • What language do they use to describe certain aspects of the functionality?

From there we have the competitive intelligence and strategy to start our positioning. 

The framework I use is:

  • Product Feature Name
  • Tagline 
  • Short boilerplate 
  • Long boilerplate
  • Pain points solved 
  • Feature 1: Benefit/problem solved 
  • Feature 2: Benefit/problem solved 
  • Feature 3: Benefit/problem solved
Charlotte Norman
Charlotte Norman
Head Of Product Marketing, CanvaMay 19

The first 90 days is such an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time in a person's career. 

The best way to set up for success in 90 days is as follows: 

Day 1 - 30: Learn, learn, learn
The first task I complete (and subsequently ask my newbies to complete) is an end-to-end product audit. The goal of this exercise is for newbies to learn the product and marketing flows inside out, from the perspective of one of our customers (ie. not looking up internal docs of what the flows are meant to be). While on this journey we want our newbies to use their fresh set of eyes to scrutinize the flows for anything which doesn’t make sense, was confusing, is broken or could be optimized. This audit is shared with the product and marketing teams and suggestions are factored into the roadmaps. This task celebrates the person's new and unique perspective on your product and helps them share their ideas with a wide range of stakeholders. 

For the remainder of the 30 days, become a complete sponge and absorb as much context as you possibly can before your workload starts to creep up on you. The key areas to explore to help build context are: 

  • Identifying and meeting with all your key stakeholders for a listing tour
  • Diving into key dashboards and reporting
  • Reviewing the company and your teams' strategic focuses for the year
  • Immersing yourself in your audience: reading reports, recorded interviews, 
  • user testing, feedback channels, speaking with customers  
  • Understanding the ways of operating and processes of the business 
  • Reviewing all the sales enablement content, sales goals 
  • Reviewing and understand the product roadmap and the current product functionality 
  • Understanding the competitive landscape of your company and product offering

Days 30 - 60: Getting some quick wins

Once you have all this context you’ll be in a much better position to start executing your workload. Work with your manager to identify your key deliverables for the next 60 dates and a prioritization framework. Identify some quick win projects you can quickly execute to help build your confidence in the new role and build rapport with your colleagues. 

In many of the roles I’ve started, I’ve often been brought in to help wrangle a large GTM or group of stakeholders from chaos to clarity. If this is the case, evaluate all angles of the GTM from the perspective of each core stakeholder to help formulate an understanding of the project holistically. Spending a decent chunk of time understanding the blockers, challenges, and misalignment from your key stakeholders will help you build relationships with these folks and ultimately help you develop a GTM strategy that brings clarity to the situation. Helping to bring clarity to any project is a surefire way to have a big impact. 

Days 60 - 90: Executing

Based on your project list, this is the timeframe where you might start to see some of your bigger projects come to life and be executed. Now that you have a better understanding of the company and you’ve got some wins on the board, a great way to make an impact is to seek out new opportunities or problems to solve for your team. Be the person that sees opportunity in a problem and proposes a solution or experiment to try and resolve it.

Charlotte Norman
Charlotte Norman
Head Of Product Marketing, CanvaMay 19

Testing, iterating, and optimizing with your core audiences is the key to successful positioning: 

  • Talk to your customers and prospective customers to see how the messaging resonates with them and if it helps them understand the benefits of the product
  • Mockup product flows, or marketing touchpoints with the new messaging and test this with customers 
  • Use websites like to see how people react and respond to the messaging 
  • Cross-reference your messaging with subject matter experts 
  • Cross-reference your messaging with the sales team to ensure it resonates with them and the feedback they hear from customers 
  • Test the messaging through experimentation live on your product or on the website to track how the new messaging helps with conversion, sales, lead generation 
  • Work with the performance marketing team to A/B test the new messaging in market to determine how it performs
Charlotte Norman
Charlotte Norman
Head Of Product Marketing, CanvaMay 19

I believe there are three crucial things that need to be outlined in order for a successful launch: 

  • Why are we doing the launch: what are the key metrics, objectives and customer benefits of doing it
  • Who's the core team working on the launch
  • How are we measuring success post-launch? 

Why are we doing the launch?
If you don’t have a clear understanding of why you’re doing the launch and how you’ll measure success, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. A launch without core objectives and metrics is seemingly pointless. So it’s worthwhile spending time upfront to align on: 

  • Why you're doing the launch 
  • What you hope to achieve from the launch 
  • How you would measure success 
  • How the launch is solving problems or adding value to the user

Who's the core team working on the launch?
This sounds simple but often is actually one of the hardest things to articulate, especially when you’re in a growing company. Setting up a RASCI matrix and agreeing to the roles of everyone in the core team will help align on project delegation from the start. 

Explicitly map out your GTM team's operating rhythm, collaboration processes, and approval processes at the start of the project so everyone has a clear understanding of what’s expected of them in the project. Setting this up from the start ensures that everyone is accountable for the level of ownership they bought into in the project and helps streamline the ongoing project management process.

How are we measuring success post-launch?
It’s one thing to launch a product, but if you don't market the product again after the launch and don’t drive and users to use it, then what’s the point in building it? Adoption and engagement metrics post-launch are key to the ongoing success of the product. Having these adoption metrics built in from the start of your launch and having processes to monitor, checking and optimize the performance is crucial to the product's ongoing success.  

Charlotte Norman
Charlotte Norman
Head Of Product Marketing, CanvaMay 19

Good question and I’m sure everyone has a slightly different take on this. From my perspective: 

Positioning = How you solve customers needs and sit in relation to the wider competitive market 

Messaging = How you bring your positioning to life in market 

I like to think of messaging as the tactical way that your positioning comes to life. Your positioning is your foundation and the messaging is the particular angle you’ll take when launching a campaign. Messaging will be used to creatively bring your product's position in market to life. 

Charlotte Norman
Charlotte Norman
Head Of Product Marketing, CanvaMay 19

I do believe in having a north star to help guide all your messaging. Having a clear brand and positioning DNA which is the overarching narrative for your entire company, will help ensure there’s consistent messaging across the entire business and that all positioning is helping tell your company's bigger purpose and mission. Your company’s messaging DNA should be the foundation from which you build your product positioning.

You can use your brand DNA foundation as a north star to guide your feature or product-based messaging. A strong brand DNA foundation will include the following:

  • A vision
  • A mission statement
  • Your core USP
  • Your category
  • What problems you solve 
  • Your brand belief 
  • Who you’re targeting

    Once you have this foundation for your entire company you can build your product positioning off the back of this. The brand DNA is something that you should always refer back to ensure you’re aligned with the bigger picture and your individual product positioning helps ladder up to the north start messaging.
Charlotte Norman
Charlotte Norman
Head Of Product Marketing, Canva
Credentials & Highlights
Head Of Product Marketing at Canva
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In Sydney
Knows About Competitive Positioning, Messaging, Product Marketing 30/60/90 Day Plan, Product Mark...more