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30 min read

Product Marketing Insider [Podcast]: Garrett Denney

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Welcome to the Product marketing insider podcast, this is episode three brought to you by the Product Marketing alliance.

Behind the scenes, we’ve been talking to lots of product marketers from across the globe to get insider info about their journey into the world of product marketing.

In this episode we speak to Garrett Denney from Jamf


Full transcript below:

Bryony Pearce - PMA  0:01
So first off, if you could just start off by telling everyone a little bit about yourself, your name, location, the company you currently work for, and that type of thing.

Garret Denney - Jamf  0:09
Yeah, so first of all, thanks for having me. My name is Garrett. I work for a company called Jamf. So we're in b2b SaaS, like I think a lot of members of PMA are. And we serve basically any organisation globally that uses Apple products, we help organisations succeed with Apple, that's kind of been our core mission for about 17 years. And we build a couple of pieces of software that help companies manage Apple devices at scale. So that's really the core mission. We've been around a while, like I said, and we've been fortunate to grow. So it started as two people 17 years ago and today, it's about 1100 people in 13 offices.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  0:48
And how long have you been there for?

Garret Denney - Jamf  0:50
So I've been here two and a half years or so. I've known a lot of folks working here for boy 5, 6, 7, 8 years, a lot of my friends went to work for Jamf after college. So we stayed in touch, always heard about how great the culture was. And then when a role opened up on their product marketing team a couple of years ago, I couldn't say no.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  1:11
And where abouts in the country are you based?

Garret Denney - Jamf  1:14
So I'm dead centre in the US. Right in the upper Midwest, outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, we've got actually two offices separated by maybe 70 miles. So one of them right downtown, one of them outside just across the border in a more rural, smaller city. So it's kind of fun you get both experiences right, downtown Minneapolis, 15th biggest media market in the United States. And then our smaller office, which actually has almost the same number of employees, but just a smaller town, just across the border.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  1:44
I can just envision them crammed in like sardines there when you say that.

Garret Denney - Jamf  1:50
Exactly.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  1:52
And then going back to kind of the start of your product marketing career, what is it that made you want to become a product marketing manager in the first place?

Garret Denney - Jamf  2:00
Yes, so it's interesting, I think a lot of product marketers come in from traditional marketing backgrounds, which I certainly did from sales, sometimes from the product management or engineering side of things. I was strictly marketing prior to joining PMM. And so I've got this background in kind of broader marketing planning, tactical execution at a hardware company, we worked on fibre networking and data centres, so that was kind of my background prior to software. But I always knew I wanted to be in a in a software-centric company. So I was doing Product Marketing for that hardware firm and it was really different buy or a really different industry, right, Telecom, in general, and data centres in general, long buying cycles, very technical sale, a lot of compliance involved. On the software side, we still touch on compliance. We work with a lot of government agencies, financial firms, it has a similar feel in that buying cycle, but it's definitely a faster paced environment, and especially in a growth company, that role transitions from being something that's very, you know, kind of long form multi year plans to something that's very, very fast. So that's the biggest transition in kind of my background.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  3:14
And you mentioned you were in a kind of solely marketing focused role to start with, is that something you feel positioned you well going into this kind of role?

Garret Denney - Jamf  3:23
I think so yeah. I think Product Marketing, at least in our company, it lives under the CMO. So I still report to our chief marketing officer and that background certainly comes into play every day, we talk about marketing planning, we're in the middle of budget cycles right now, a lot of our efforts tie in with demand generation and the content team here as well. So yeah, those tactical and functional leaders and their teams, we still work very closely with them. I would also say, though, that you need a broad mind, right? And Product Marketing as a discipline is still growing and being defined. But day to day, I work really closely with product management, with engineering and with sales. They're kind of my key stakeholder group. So yes, I think you need that background for credibility, but I also think you need a growth mindset.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  4:09
Do you feel like when you were working in marketing, is anything the marketing department wasn't offering you that you get now from product marketing? Or is it like, what kind of propelled that transition into the two?

Garret Denney - Jamf  4:23
Yeah, well, I will say I, my dad is an engineer by training. So I've got that kind of piece of my background that's very curious about the technical side of product work. And my mom, she actually worked for Cray, which builds supercomputers, and still does. So just hearing those stories growing up, you know, you hear about building robotics building, working on some of the first supercomputers from my mom, it was always kind of in the back of my mind and Product Marketing really fuses that customer centric mindset, equipping the sales team to win with that more technical knowledge. So I love it, I think day to day I get to work with my left brain, my right brain, fuse those two things together. And I think ultimately, a lot of us in Product Marketing seem to be seeking the same thing, which is business impact, right. And this is something that sits at the intersection of different teams, different functional areas. But ultimately, we're driving toward the same goal. And it's really empowering sales, renewals, long-term wins for the company. So I love that, I get to really dive in like I did just before this call deep into the business. We're working on pricing and forecasting, but at the same time, you're still in marketing, you're still wearing that hat. So yeah, I love it.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  5:34
I guess there's just so much variety in product marketing isn't there, you're just so involved with different elements of the company, so you've already got always got your toe in different kind of pots.

Garret Denney - Jamf  5:45
Totally agree.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  5:47
And to go back to the start of your product marketing career, what did you first job look like? Who was that with? And what kind of activities were you doing there?

Garret Denney - Jamf  5:57
Yeah, so like I mentioned, it was on the hardware side of the tech industry, we were doing fibre optic networking, datacenter builds, it was still a technical role, but it was definitely more focused on just supporting existing business and customers, pretty far removed from prospects in the sales cycle. We just had a different organisational setup at that company. So yeah, I mean, there was an opportunity early on in that role to get out and visit with customers that was great. I really appreciated that face to face interaction. At the same time, those contracts are 5, 10, 20 year contracts, so it's a very different process to get to know the buyer, understanding your strategy on that side of the tech world than it is in software. So in software, you know, anyone listening that works, really in software in general, but b2b, b2c, there's a lot of crossover there. It's fast. And you need to be talking to customers, I think almost daily, you know, weekly, for sure, but really pushing for that daily touch. So on the software side, that's been the biggest transition, of understanding that buyers are changing, industries are changing, the need for our product is always evolving, and staying very close to those pain points, has just been critical in a way that it wasn't necessarily early on in my career. As software has continued to accelerate the rocket ship that it is, I think that's the biggest thing I've doubled down on.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  7:20
Sounds good. If there is such a thing, what does a standard day in your shoes kind of look like?

Garret Denney - Jamf  7:28
Yeah, fair question. That's a really good question. I'm sure if we asked all, you know, 3,000 people on the PMA Slack channel, we'd probably get 3,000 different answers. For us, it's very sales centric, and very product centric. So still within the marketing organisation, I'm responsible for supporting demand generation, working closely with content, a lot of my strategic focus is really on how do sales win more deals, and speed up sales velocity. And one of the key ways we influence that is with the product roadmap, right? So what product issues are we addressing? What new functionality are we looking to build going forward? So the director of our product team, I'm very close with him, we talk daily, and then on the sales side, working with the sales team leaders inside and in the field, just understanding their different buyers needs. That's just key, and really kind of what they're judged on the number they're trying to hit. that informs a lot of my day to day. So you know, some days, it might be product meetings, really technical. Some days, it's a lot more sales right along this, but it's usually kind of a nice balance between those two teams.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  8:32
And how do you feel like your relationship with those departments are, for example, is the sales department very receptive to the work you do, or do you get a bit of backlash from that kind of side of things?

Garret Denney - Jamf  8:41
Well, I'll say, I feel really fortunate. And, you know, this is probably unique company to company, but a Jamf, we're really collaborative. And this goes back to our two co-founders 17 plus years ago, but it's really a culture of we need to build a better business, the way that we do that is by relying on each other, right. And so I think a lot of companies talk about culture, but we're just kind of fortunate that it's played out this way. I don't have any secret sauce, but at Jamf people are just really open to working together. So yeah, I'm fortunate I work closely with sales. They're really receptive to product marketing, guidance, materials, collateral, training programmes, we have a stellar revenue enablement team, that's a separate team within the organisation. They focus more on kind of the tactical, how does sales do the sales motion, partnering closely there, man that has opened so many doors to be more effective, getting in deeper with the sales teams. So yeah, I feel very lucky. It's really a credit to those functional leaders, but we do a pretty good job of working across the lines.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  9:44
In previous companies you've worked for, have you had any kind of situations where you've not been so fortunate and you've been faced with those kind of difficulties?

Garret Denney - Jamf  9:52
Well, I will say, you know, from a high level, one of the most difficult things day to day in a product marketer's life, at least from my perspective, is focus. And so it is very easy to get pulled at the shiny object. Every day, we see this on our team, we see this in other teams, I've certainly seen this outside of Jamf as well. But there are a million and one things that you can do with your day. And I think it's very difficult in two different regards. So, one, it's exciting when we acquire a company or look at changing price, it's exciting to dive into something new. And I think one commonality you might see across product marketers, is that we really marry that left and that right brain, so it's really engaging, and it's an exciting day at the office to jump into something new. But the challenge there, kind of the flip side of that coin, is that we need to be consistent in setting expectations. So I'm really careful about this with our sales organisation, revenue enablement, product, that whatever we're talking about, we're tying it back to a quarterly goal or number or an annual strategy, right. And I just think this is one way that we can really level set with other teams and show our value consistently, is not jumping at every single project saying, what are we trying to accomplish? How do we get there? And does this tie in? And I think 80% of the time the answer can still be yes, you know, you're not saying no to a tonne of stuff. But it does help guide you and really, when you report up to a chief marketing officer or a Chief Product officer, depending on your org, that's really where you can show your value. You can say look for this quarter, or for this year, this is what we're driving at and the best way to get there is, you know, ABC,

Bryony Pearce - PMA  11:29
And when you've got these quarterly targets, is that something you put on your team, or some suddenly put a bit of the onus on the sales teams to put some of the responsibility onto them?

Garret Denney - Jamf  11:39
Yeah, I think it's both and it's certainly not something that I'm putting on anyone, we really try to be a partner. So Product Marketing at Jamf really tries to be a supportive team that comes in alongside of revenue enablement, comes in alongside of the sales teams, they've already got their overall number, their sales target, right, it varies by vertical by, you know, account type, we try to come in and say, what's the biggest thing that we can do to have a positive impact on that, and it's really winning deals that are competitive. So if we're in something against one or two or three competitors, we want to influence that deal. It's also sales velocity, so we can speed up that pipeline overall by compressing that sales cycle, or by making our reps or our sales engineers more effective at scale. That's where we look to allocate our time. So I think the biggest challenge with growth organisations is that you've got existing teams that are thrust into these new responsibilities. And that's kind of the good kind of growing pain, but it's still pain, right? And so every day, our sales engineering team, for example, there another organisation that could do a million different things with their work week right now, the question is, what is the most influential on that sales numbers? So we try to partner very closely with our SE team and I'm fortunate, their leader over there, Mike, he's just a great guy, he's easy to work with. And when we sit down and talk tactically at look, here's the sales goal, how do we get them there? They've just been a great partner and kind of kicking things back and forth and finding ways to work together, ultimately, to scale their team's impact. So I think that's one way to do it. Certainly something we're still learning.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  13:15
I guess that kind of thing it's always a work in progress, there's always going to be ways to kind of take it a step up but it sounds like you've got a really good setup on the go already. So next,  can you just tell us about your team, and kind of how many people are in your product marketing team, the types of personalities you've got in there?

Garret Denney - Jamf  13:34
Yeah, so we're right in the middle of growing actually, we're bringing on two more product marketers, we've got a portfolio of five core products. So our flagship product, Jamf Pro is still kind of the 800 pound gorilla, if you will, in the room, it's the thing we've had for 17 years, we've got four smaller products, but they're still significant as far as you know, revenue and logo contribution, retention, in competitive kind of stance in the markets. And that's Jamf Now, which is really built for some small and medium business, Jamf Connect, which is an identity solution and sits alongside of those other products. Jamf school, you can probably guess what Jamf school is for it's for educators. And then we recently acquired a company called digita security and they're coming in as the security products specifically built for Mac and Apple devices. So we're fortunate we do have a stack of solutions. But at the same time, you know, I talked about this a minute ago, on the flip side, when you're in a growth organisation, we built Jamf Now we acquired the other companies and we acquired them all within the last boy 10/11 months. That's a fast spree of growth, right? And I don't need to reiterate this to everybody that's listening. But if you've been in that growth environment, it's very positive. It's very exciting. Boy, does it stretch your existing teams. So I'm on Jamf Pro, our flagship product, but we've got another product marketer forJamf Now and Jamf Connect, two products under one person, that's a stretch, we just, I believe are bringing on somebody for Jamf School and then we're also going to be looking and we are, I think it's an open posting actually, for digita, for the security product. So growth is good, growth is also you know, it's also a challenge of its own.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  15:12
Yeah, it sounds stressful at the same time as exciting times though.

Garret Denney - Jamf  15:16
Lots of coffee.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  15:19
And then it sounds like you've got it pretty good already, but in an absolute dream world, is there anything about the relationships you've got within your company that you'd change with your, say, product team or your sales teams?

Garret Denney - Jamf  15:32
Well, I would agree, I think we're fortunate here that people genuinely embrace that culture of just being open to other teams, that is a very difficult thing to build if it doesn't exist already, right. So two co-founders, 17 years ago, they put us on a track to succeed. And fortunately for us, it's paying off, what I would say is one of the biggest benefits we've seen in the past six to 12 months is that we have a product marketing team. We also have a solutions marketing team. And the way we've divided those two teams is Product Marketing is product specific and we partner very closely on a technical level with product management. Now the solutions team, they are very focused on taking multiple products to a specific industry niche. What that has done is kind of twofold. One, it's taken some work off of our plate, which is awesome. Like I mentioned growth company, we've all got a lot to do. That's huge, but it also kind of contextualises the product portfolio, specifically by use case. And so when you look at things like persona creation, we've now got two different teams that can inform the same persona and say this buyer, you know, buyer A, they might be looking at a streamlined solution that they can get up and running very fast and they're within a vertical, now we've got more context for that buyer than before and more ways that we can equip the sales team and influence their end of quarter and end of year goals. So I feel fortunate there that's really worked for us, I hope to see that continue to evolve.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  17:00
In terms of that solutions marketing team, is that made up of people who are from a predominently product marketing background, or what's the kind of history of the roles there?

Garret Denney - Jamf  17:09
They're not, no, they're not surprisingly. They actually come from alliances. And this is, I think, really working in our favour right now. But then alliances background gave them all the tools and existing relationships, building that reach outside of the Jamf walls. So now that it's time to influence solutions from a portfolio standpoint, they're really well positioned to do that and so I can go to them and say look, you know, here's what's changing with Jamf Pro, we might have new feature X changing our architecture in this way, they're really well equipped to say, well, you know, this specific vertical will react in this way, they've been asking for something along these lines for a while, or the pain has existed and we can now solve that in a pretty powerful way. So I feel very fortunate, they've got a great background, not only with our products, but again, with third party partnerships, that does make that a pretty powerful team. So it does a lot for us today. Frankly, I'm just looking for more of that in the future. They're a great team and I think the more that we can work together, the better off we're going to be. That's that's kind of a unique strength of ours right now.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  18:13
Yep. And then in terms of your relationship with the product manager. So you said you speak on a daily basis, is that something you have booked in the diary every morning or is it just a kind of turn around and have a chat as and when you need to?

Garret Denney - Jamf  18:27
Yeah, it's both. It's both, you know, I think from just a very high level, it's important, at least from my perspective, to kind of be, you know, work colleagues, but also to get to know each other outside of the walls of work. So I've been fortunate, Michael is his name, that oversees the team of product managers for Jamf Pro, he's just a good human in general and he's someone that's easy to work with. So outside of our regular cadence of meetings, staying in touch, working on voice of customer calls together, things like that, that's formal, I also try to just kind of pick the guy's brain about industry free change, where he sees technology going, what he's thinking about for road mapping for 2020. That kind of conversation, you know, it's not strictly around a project or a product marketing objective, but it's a really good way for us to just stay in sync as two people working on the same product from different perspectives. And I think that's the biggest challenge. If you're facing the market, as a product marketer or facing the roadmap, as a product manager, you're really serving the same kind of buyer or person, just with different data sets, sometimes. So that's been a good way for us to kind of stay in sync.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  19:34
And then out of curiosity, in terms of where you all sit in the office, are you like sandwiched in between Product and Marketing, or how does that work at your company?

Garret Denney - Jamf  19:44
Yeah. And are you asking physical desk location?

Bryony Pearce - PMA  19:47
Yeah.

Garret Denney - Jamf  19:47
Yeah, yeah. So we've got product marketers and product managers spread out geographically. So product management, in general, at least in our headquarters office in Minneapolis, we'll sit closer to engineering and some of our other teams, kind of adjacent to engineering on one part of the office layout. And then Product Marketing does sit with the marketing team proper, you know, as we grow into a more global team, could that change? I think so. I'll also say, though, from a personal standpoint, that product management and product marketing in general, we're in so many meetings every day that the desk is kind of irrelevant, right? It's just in all of our imaginations I think. So wherever I sit, it doesn't really matter. I try to be intentional about meeting with product management, engineering and sales whenever I can.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  20:37
Yeah, sounds good. What would you say the top three skills are that have helped you get to where you are today? And can you share some examples of when these have come into practice?

Garret Denney - Jamf  20:50
Yeah, that's, that's a really good question, I'll fire a few things off the top of my head here. And what I'll say is, number one, the thing that comes to mind right away is being technically credible. So I think, wherever you sit in the organisation, if you report to a CPO on the product side or a CMO on the marketing side, you need to be somebody that even though you're facing the buyer, the sales team, working with the marketing team, you need to have credibility as a voice of technical roadmap and architecture. I see this a lot day to day, I'm fortunate to be invited to a lot of those conversations by the product team. So you know, hats off to our product organisation. They're very collaborative. But when you're in those meetings, you're in those meetings with senior product leaders, senior engineering leaders, cloud leaders, and you need to be a voice that not only is speaking from the perspective of a buyer, but of somebody that deeply understands the product. So I think that's number one. Number two is you need to be really collaborative across team lines within the marketing org. So there are a lot of projects that I'm taking on, that my colleagues are taking on that we're working on with product management, that touch a lot of different departments and I think one of the biggest things we can do is kind of be that hub that all of the spokes live off of. So if we're doing a project around, say, 2020 roadmap, that's not only impacting the product management team, which will filter that down to engineering, they want input from us, from a buyer standpoint, it's also deeply impacting demand generation, and deeply impacting the content team of what they need to be building now to get ready for quarter one of 2020. So how can we get them spun up faster, earlier on in that process? That's something we think about a lot at Jamf and we've done something that I call the go to market conference call. It's kind of a cheesy name, but really what this is, is every three weeks, we have a very short conference call. It's open to the entire product and marketing org, and we've got some people from engineering that join as well. The purpose there is really just to stay in sync. So I'll get on talk about Pro, what's coming, what's recently happened, is it succeeding? What do we do next? So, you know, as far as tactics go, that's one way we really try to kind of tie those teams closer together. I think the third thing is I'll go back to this statement that I had earlier, but you need to understand business impact. And so we get a lot of questions directly from our CMO, sometimes from our CEO, around what are we doing? What are we building to react to the markets? And these are things we answer in tandem with the product team, but you need to be ready to speak to that from a business standpoint. So I love Domo. Personally, I am a huge convert of Domo if you can get that purchased or if you have it in your org, take advantage. The more you can visualise data and show what's driving your ON decisions, I think the better.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  23:40
Is that something you've adopted throughout your entire product marketing career? Or is it just something that's in the company you're at right now?

Garret Denney - Jamf  23:47
Yeah, just the current company and hats off to the VP of our product, Nick, he really drove the adoption of that, kind of went out scoped a few things out and he brought it internal, started with a small team then grew it to the entire company. And I can't imagine stripping it out ofJamf at this point. We use it for so many different things from business operations to sales to us. It's it's really been a game changer.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  24:12
And then on the sort of flip side, are there any regrets you've had in your product marketing career that kind of stayed with you?

Garret Denney - Jamf  24:19
Yes, yeah, of course. I mean, you know, I think back to, to product launches where we have done enough to get it out the door, but we've been firefighters, right. And that, to me, is one of the worst versions or maybe not worst versions, but least efficient versions of Product Marketing, where you're fighting fires, you're trying to get everybody aligned. It's not necessarily anyone's fault, but you're at a place where the organisation is growing fast, maybe your team is young, or still getting its sea legs, at that point in your product marketing kind of lifecycle, you're most effective just by kind of being the status quo, and you're getting product to market, but maybe you're not tracking success as deeply as you could, you're launching things to the sales team, but maybe you're not following up with as deep of training or resourcing, as you could. So I think there's a layer of strategy here that a lot of teams grow into as their companies grow by necessity, and you become less of a firefighter and more of an intentional farmer, if you will. And you plan things very far in advance, typically, to that point earlier, in close collaboration with the product team.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  25:37
And how far in advance would you say you try and plan?

Garret Denney - Jamf  25:40
Boy, I'm pushing hard for for more and more time, I think the real limitation here for companies is how far in advance do you have something meaningful to talk about, and for some product orgs, you're always launching stuff, every day, if you're adopting a micro service model, and you're always updating that product because it's pure SaaS, it's purely in the cloud, and you're always clicking launch, you might talk, you know, a week or two weeks in advance about something small that you're going to build in the next seven business days. And that's fast and far in advance for your company. For us, we're trying to be, you know, at least a month and a half to two months in advance having tactical discussion, we try to have a roadmap that's about nine to 12 months, pretty serious nine to 12 months in advance. Now, does that change? Obviously, right? Every roadmap changes, but I think at that point, you at least can spin up other teams, and I'm thinking specifically of marketing, to a meaningful degree.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  26:36
And in terms of, so when you've got these roadmaps and things don't quite go to plan and you've got the curveballs, how do you go about communicating that with all the relevant departments in the company?

Garret Denney - Jamf  26:46
You know, at least at Jamf, we try to over communicate, I have never had somebody from sales or engineering or product ever once say that we communicate too much. And that just tells me the more that we can sync all of these teams around, here's what's going on, here's why, and here's when it's going to go to market or you know, impact customers, the better. So we really try to do that. We operate under this model internally of trying to be the face of the product, right. And so we're doing all company presentations, we're sending emails to the entire global organisation, just trying to keep this thing in sync around why we're building stuff and when it's going to market and why we're taking it to market. So I think the more you can do that, the better. You just need to get buy-in again and be a credible source for your product. But once you get that the world is kind of your oyster, you can really try to keep teams in better sync.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  27:41
Yep. Sounds good. And then would you say there's a lot of crossover between what you do and what a product manager does at your company?

Garret Denney - Jamf  27:50
We're fortunate that there's pretty clear, we have pretty clear lines. So product management, they're really focused on what are we building? How are we going to build that working with engineer to resource that project? They are much deeper in JIRA than we are if you use JIRA, you know, at your company whoever's listening in. So they're really the tactical of what do we build? What's the scope, and why? And we're involved in that why piece early on, especially for bigger stuff. But product managers are the day to day kind of steering that product ship. Now, when it's built, that's kind of the handoff points in our company, when it's almost leaving the dry dock, and going out to sale. That's where product manager or product marketing, excuse me, comes in and we kind of take over take it to market and equip sales with training, resourcing, and measuring that. So we're fortunate, I think, in that regard.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  28:41
So I guess, would you say as well, it's quite important to have those defined lines?

Garret Denney - Jamf  28:45
I think so, you know, I think you talk to some people and there's more crossover and collaboration because you're either smaller or just growing that fast. And that's fine, you see that with a lot of venture backed companies, a lot of startups, and if you can make it work, and you're in close proximity and collaboration with that person, that's great, at least for us we're at a scale, now where we really do need to be focused. And I think having those lines between Product Marketing and product management, frankly, just makes us more effective. Because when something comes to us, that's a PN question, we'll kick it over to them and the same thing in reverse.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  29:21
And then is your set-up as you were saying earlier, do you have a product marketing manager and a product manager for each of the pillars within Jamf?

Garret Denney - Jamf  29:31
Yeah, we do. So Jamf Pro, as an example, we have actually a team of product managers that take different parts of that product. So on a technical level, the architecture is broken out and we've got different owners of roadmap and kind of why it's being built, how it's being built, working with engineering, and cloud. And then I've got Jamf Pro as a go to market kind of lean. So we have one to one on the product marketing side and occasionally we'll have more than one to one on the product management side. That really varies by technical level and scale of the product.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  30:04
And then is there still a lot of cross collaboration between products within within both teams?

Garret Denney - Jamf  30:11
Yeah, there definitely is. And you think about other pieces that get involved like our solutions team, I think about corporate communications, as well. A lot of these messages that we're talking about on a product level, they're really across the company. So as an example, we we've got a brand new feature called user enrollment, this is adopting a new piece of technology that Apple builds that we're supporting, that's specifically within Jamf Pro, you think about user enrollment as this way to enrol an Apple device into corporate management, right. So that's the scope of the feature. But that's a message that goes across our product portfolio. And frankly, it even ties into the products that we offer that are not about managing devices. They're about security, identity, protecting your business. So those higher level strategies and campaigns, that's where we're tying stuff back to and even though I'm a Jamf Pro product marketer, there's still a lot of conversation around collaborating across product lines, around market messages, working with the content team on campaigns.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  31:12
And then what does the process of introducing and influencing new products or features look like?

Garret Denney - Jamf  31:19
Yeah, boy, that's a great question. And it's, it's a lot of work. Anyone else out there that's responsible for product launch, you know exactly how big of a deal it can be. And I think, especially when you've got a product, that again, I'm going to keep saying it, but it is growing quickly. You see how many teams this touches, because people want to know, what's going on? How does this change how I'm currently selling or talking about this product in the market? And what are you going to do to make that easier? And that's a real opportunity for us as product marketers, we have this massive door open to us in that situation, where we can kind of step forward with a concrete plan that we've embedded with key stakeholders and thinking of the product management team, the sales organisation, anyone that does renewals for us, that's a different team here at Jamf, once that's vetted, you can step forward as the voice of that product and say, this is good news, here's why, and it makes us a stronger company for these key reasons. So I think from a strategy level, that really opens the door to be a much more high level, strategic, credible voice in the organisation.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  32:25
And then how does the process you've got at Jamf compare to previous places you've worked at? Would you say it fairs better or worse or similar?

Garret Denney - Jamf  32:33
Well, I'll say it's faster. So again, on the hardware side, we're looking at much longer term evolution of that product. It's fibre optic cabling in the ground offering network services, for example, or a data centre, right. So you might open a new one, every five years, but it's very expensive, it's time intensive to do, compliance is very heavy. Now at Jamf, it's b2b SaaS, right. And anyone else out there working with a SaaS product, you know exactly how fast that can be. Jamf Pro, we launch on an increment of, I would say, like four to six weeks, we're doing significant updates to that product, Jamf Now, which is a purely cloud play, they're launching that every two weeks, and then Jamf school, that's a pure micro service architecture and they can launch that whenever they want, whenever there's value. So we've got kind of a spectrum that's compressing, of course, over time as more of our products adopt microservices, be able to ship faster and more frequently, but it is already much, much faster than previous employers.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  33:38
And in your opinion, what do you think needs to change about product marketing, if anything?

Garret Denney - Jamf  33:44
Well, I think there's an opportunity in front of all of us. And I think the opportunity is to be seen as just as valuable as the Strategy Team at a bigger corporate entity, or the product management team, at any size company, startup, all the way up to Fortune 500. You look at product management and that's something that is well defined, it's well understood, and people kind of get who they're supposed to work with, right? If you get hired for a PM role, it varies, and it varies from company to company. Obviously, the scope of that job can be can be pretty different, but there's a core of that responsibility that really lives in understanding the product and understanding where it needs to go. I think for product marketing, I want the same thing. I want that to mean something to CEOs and other C level execs that are not responsible for that function. So if I talked to a chief financial officer, a chief revenue officer, why should that CRO care about my team? The answer should be, we're accelerating that sales pipeline, giving it better sales velocity, and helping you compete more effectively against competition that's taking away business, right? If we can get that into the mind of every C level exec, from strategy to finance to revenue to customers, that is a really big deal and that's a big vision for the discipline. Now, that's probably a ways away, but that's where I'd like to see us go.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  35:09
And without wanting to put you on the spot, how do you think that could be achieved? Or what steps do you think need to be taken to kind of go in that direction?

Garret Denney - Jamf  35:19
Yeah, well, you know, I don't claim to have a silver bullet. What I will say is that at our organisation, one of the biggest things we've done is be a team of services to other teams. And so it's very tempting to have our own roadmap, to have our own objectives for the year, what I try to do is heavily filter that through particularly the sales team and the product team, and the closer you can get there, I think the more credible we become on an organisational scale. And so you think about, maybe the objective is we want more credibility in the C suite. Well, what does the C suite care about today? Let's start from their perspective and reverse engineer that. If you're in a startup, first of all, the C suite is probably pretty small, it probably means co-founder:co-founder, right? You might not have those C level titles figured out yet. But the goal is, stay alive, don't die, right? And how do you do that? You bring on customers, you retain those customers and you keep your expenses low. That's the objective, work backwards from there. In a bigger company, once you're medium size and above, the C suite is really well fleshed out for one, and their objectives are pretty granular. By the time you've hit, you know, I would say 500 employees and above, you've got a really detailed plan that you as a product marketer have an opportunity to tap into, to say we can influence the market. What are your goals? And how do we help you get there? So the closer we are tying our actions to strategy, I think the better. It's something we're certainly working on. Again, I don't have you know, any kind of magic potion on this, but we're making progress. I think the closer we can get to that dream of a future world, the better off we are.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  36:57
Yeah, and I guess with that kind of thing it's never going to be a quick fix is it, it's just kind of continually plugging away at the same objective and then over time you'll see those changes.

Garret Denney - Jamf  37:06
Yeah, I would agree. And I think you look back 15/20 years, the term growth team didn't mean anything, until companies like Facebook really embraced it and made it mean something. And now growth teams are super common. You see them in all kinds of organisations. Facebook still has it, but it's everywhere, right? I think we're at the beginning of a similar inflection point for product marketing, we you just need to be consistent on our value, and the C suite will catch up.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  37:34
Okay, last question. If there were any new or aspiring product marketers listening right now, what would your advice to them be?

Garret Denney - Jamf  37:43
Oh, boy, well, I would maybe say two things. Number one, you need to have a service mindset. And again, I'm very fortunate at this company, we just have teams that work well together. That's a lot of times the first hurdle or stumbling block that people hit. But if you can be a solution to other people, and their problems, their challenges, their objectives for the year, the more effective you'll ultimately be as a product marketer. The second thing I would say is, look, just try to get closer to that annual corporate strategy. Think about this in the terms not just have a marketing goal or a roadmap or a product goal or solving some pain points that's been a product issue, bundle that together, up-level it's and tie into your CEO's objectives, then you become a bigger voice that has more credibility on a bigger stage. I think, at least for us, that's what's working. Is it a silver bullet? Again, absolutely not. But from a humble company in the upper Midwest in the US, it seems to work pretty well.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  38:39
Okay, awesome. Well, thanks so much for taking some time out to speak to us today, Garret.

Garret Denney - Jamf  38:44
Well, thanks for having me. This was great.

Bryony Pearce - PMA  38:46
It's been a pleasure. Thanks again.

Written by:

Richard King

Richard King

Founder, Product Marketing Alliance

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Product Marketing Insider [Podcast]: Garrett Denney