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13 min read

Product Marketing Insider [podcast]: Madison Moyd


Full transcript:

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  0:03

Hi everyone, thanks for tuning in to the latest episode of the Product Marketing Insider podcast, which is brought to you by Product Marketing Alliance. My name's Lawrence Chapman and I'm a copywriter here at PMA.

This week's episode is brought to you by Product Marketing Off-Piste our 3-day virtual event celebrating innovative practice within Product Marketing. From December 8th to December 10th, we'll be joined by PMMs from companies such as Amazon, Uber Eats, IBM, and PayPal as we prepare to bring you 30+ hours of content from 30+ product marketing visionaries. Head to innovate.productmarketingalliance.com to secure your place, and prepare to end 2020 on a high.

Remember, if you're a PMA member, this event’s included as part of your subscription. To establish and elevate the role of product marketing, we're on a mission to speak to 50+ PMMs to pick their brains on everything from their journey into the industry, which teams they interact with the most, what skills they believe are critical for the role and a whole lot more.

And today, I'm delighted to be joined by Madison Moyd, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dropbox, a highly experienced PMM, Madison has over nine years of experience working globally, with small to medium-sized businesses, as well as large organizations. During her career so far, she's worked in a range of areas including product marketing, campaign strategy, ram marketing, growth marketing, demand generation, copywriting, and content strategy to name a few. Welcome to the show, Madison.

Madison Moyd  1:35

Thank you, Lawrence, thank you for having me on.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  1:38

Not a problem at all. So first and foremost, could you just let us know what it was that made you want to be a product marketer in the first place?

Madison Moyd  1:50

You know, I never had a goal of becoming a product marketer, because I didn't actually know that the role or title existed until I did. So early on in my career, I was doing more general marketing work and working as a graphic designer also. But I'd always had this urge to want to be in a position where I was responsible for more strategic decisions and output.

And so at the time becoming a marketing manager was the main goal, or main role goal, I should say, that people looked up to for strategic decisions. But even that didn't feel like it was influential enough for me. But I didn't know what would be, I didn't know what role I should have been seeking out at the time.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  2:34

Okay, awesome. So in terms of your journey, if you like, obviously, you're working at an awesome company at the minute in Dropbox. How did you get into product marketing? And what did your first job look like?

Madison Moyd  2:50

Yeah, so it was completely by accident. As I mentioned, I didn't know what it was. So my first exposure to the plethora of core product marketing competencies was via sales enablement. So I was working at a small financial conglomerate partnering closely with sales, to head up events, help them develop and nurture their leads, and ensure that they had a pulse on the market. And it was in that role that I had become a PMM without yet knowing at the time through my sales enablement work and responsibilities.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  3:24

Okay, and in terms of your actual career path from your initial insights into product marketing, obviously, you mentioned that you didn't want to be, or you weren't aware almost of product marketing, if you like, initially, but could you talk us through what your career path was like from that initial in, to where you are now at Dropbox?

Madison Moyd  3:53

Yeah, of course. So I spent about four years at this finance organization, working for the parent company of its five subsidiaries. So toward the end of my time there, I had built out a team of two consisting of a marketing specialist and a CRM manager who worked more on like our Salesforce at the time. At this point, I was sure that I wanted to continue on this path of strategic product marketing and again, at the time, it was mostly focused on sales enablement.

But I was seeing that the tech industry was a booming industry where I could continue to learn more about product marketing, and dig deeper into some of the other competencies that weren't just so focused on outbound sales. So that's when I made my way to LinkedIn, where I joined the global consumer product marketing team. And I spent my time there really diving into the full funnel of PMM competencies that I wasn't really exposed to in my last role that was focused on sales enablement.

So during my time at LinkedIn, I worked on everything from bringing insights to product via both qual and quant research to inform the roadmap prioritization, to testing alphas and betas, to building go-to-market plans, and naming and positioning for our launches. I did that for about two years and then after that, I decided to make the jump to Dropbox, which is where I currently am. And in my role at Dropbox, and during my time here, I've had the opportunity to work on both product-led growth initiatives as a product marketer, as well as kind of more the standardized launches as well.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  5:29

Oh, amazing. I know that we went through the previous areas where you have worked,  product marketing, campaign strategy, demand generation, and so forth - seems like a lot of strings to your bow, is there any one area of product marketing that you're particularly passionate about would you say?

Madison Moyd  6:00

I would say the customer research side of it, I find that whether it's looking for my next step in my career, or just focusing on my current organization on what I want to better help the business build, I tend to lean toward the customer research part of it. I really think that this is because almost everything that we do, not only as a product marketer but as a product team, I truly believe should be rooted in the customer and what the customer needs and the value that they're looking to get out of your product.

And so there have been oftentimes as a PMM, where I've worked with teams and found that we might be building things or shipping things without the actual underlying understanding of how it's going to bring value to the customer, or potentially, whether or not the customer would find value in it, to start. So I find that spending most of my time on the customer research side of things and working with market research and UX design, really not only excites me on a personal level, but also seems to be a great foundation for all of the other work that PMMs do.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  7:07

Okay, awesome. And in terms of the teams outside of marketing, like sales, product, operations, etc. which departments would you say that you interact with most at Dropbox? And what's your relationship with them like?

Madison Moyd  7:22

So I think this, of course, fluctuates depending on your role and stage of business growth. But today at Dropbox, and I would say in the last few roles that I've been in that have been B2C focussed, I have partnered most closely with my product team, my product manager, of course, product design, engineering, data science, customer support, or customer success, depending on how your org is oriented.

And, of course, both market research and UX research teams. I do think that there are many other teams that come into the mix, depending on the initiative that you're working on. But I would say that that's kind of my core set of partners that I meet with. I tend to have standing weeklies, to bi-weeklies, one-on-ones with my product manager, engineering team, or I should say engineering and leadership, product design, and data partners, as we're normally the core team that's shipping most often I need to really stay most consistently aligned on a day to day basis.

And then I normally meet with my UX research team, market research team, and customer experience partners a little bit less, maybe bi-monthly to monthly. But I'd say that this heavily depends on the stage of the product that we're working on and my priorities at the time. You know, if I'm working on a large research project, I may meet with my research partners weekly, it just depends on what we're focused on at the time.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  8:45

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, you need to be a little bit flexible, nothing's set in stone I guess. In an absolute dream world then, Madison, is there anything about those relationships that you'd change? Because kind of reading between the lines and listening to the answer that you've just given, it sounds like your relationships are pretty awesome with the people that you're working with, but is there anything that you would change at all?

Madison Moyd  9:13

In an absolute dream world, one thing I do think that I would love to see is a closer relationship between engineering teams and product marketing. So, as a product marketer, it is our job to understand the market and our customers so deeply that we can confidently recommend what the team should be building. And I find that those who are building the actual product are often not in the rooms where we're making those recommendations.

So there have been many moments in my career where I've conducted a research share out specifically for my engineering team and this is not just leadership but the actual ICs doing the work, or shared a customer story during engineering Friday happy hour demos, and there's something super impactful about ensuring that the people who wake up every day and build the very thing that you're going to market with have an understanding and a sense of empathy for what they're creating.

I don't feel like I tend to hear about close product marketing and engineering relationships when I talk to my peers, as well as when I start at new organizations and talk to engineering. So I definitely think that that's something that could change. One other partnership that I've found has consistently helped me to be crucial in my successes but I tend to also not see a close PMM relationship with my TPM or technical program manager. TPMs to me have one goal, and that is to get things done and get them done right.  

I find often that product marketers being so cross-functional can find a lot of value and work more closely with TPMs because they tend to be masters of outlining the criteria to get to your goal. And I feel like that's normally a large part of product marketing's job as well. So adding TPM to that core of other partners, I think, is something that could be great, as well as something that I honestly am currently actively working on, because as you heard, I didn't mention TPM in my core partner group.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  11:14

Okay, awesome. I mean, it's one of those things, isn't it, no matter how good things are, there's always room for improvement. And it's I image what's got you to where you are at the minute, in the role that you are, in the company that you are, so what would you say the top three skills are that have helped you to get you where you are today, for anyone who is considering entering product marketing, pursuing their own career?

Madison Moyd  11:50

I'd say the top and most important skill that I've found has been helpful is empathy. And I find I use this... we often hear about it being used toward customers, which I think is also obviously very important.

But I think also being able to use that empathy internally, again, the fact that we work so cross-functionally, our calendars are always very meeting heavy, because we have to stay in line with everyone, being able to use a natural empathy approach to everything that you do, I think has helped me be super successful. I think second would be relationship building, which I definitely think is rooted in leading with empathy. Obviously, everyone has a job to do, everyone has a running list of priorities and has too much work on their plate, especially during these times.

And so making sure that at the root of the actual work you're doing, you have a relationship with the person that you're working with, just to make sure that not only do they understand what you're trying to get out of the relationship and build, but also vice versa, what you might be able to provide for them to help them get closer to their goals. And then lastly, I think I would say influence or being influential. And to be completely honest, I think we could look at these three as an equation, I think really good and strong empathy plus that relationship building will help you get to that goal of influence.

But it's definitely something that I've had to work on in my career, starting out, it was not something that I was great at. But I think being able to work with different teams and different product managers to essentially just understand how to navigate the different partners that I have and ensure that I'm working toward their goals as well as mine. And so I kind of think that those are the three main skills that I see have been most successful in helping me get here today. But still, that's the same three skills that I focus on every day in my current career.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  13:53

Yeah, I love that analogy of an equation, and the skill of empathy it's funny you should bring that to the fore, because it's actually something that's cropped up in previous episodes, it seems to be an overriding theme amongst product marketers, the need to show empathy and to empathize to really kickstart what is an incredible journey. As I say, it's really interesting to see that consistency across so many product marketers. Would you say that there's a crossover between what you do and what a PM does at Dropbox, Madison?

Madison Moyd  14:38

Absolutely, yes, I tend to find that the biggest crossover between myself and my PM is when tackling strategic tasks. So things like translating market needs into potential features, building out user segmentation, defining go-to-market strategy - those really kind of seem to be the overarching areas where I feel like my PM and myself intersect and partner most.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  15:03

Okay, and again, going back to that perfect world many would say doesn't exist but for the sake of the question, we'll go for it. In a perfect world, where does the role of a PM and a PMM begin and end? And do you think there should be lines in terms of their responsibilities?

Madison Moyd  15:23

That's a good question. To be honest, I don't think that there is a perfect line between where our roles begin and end. And, honestly, I'm not sure that I feel there needs to be when it comes to the competencies that crossover. I feel like so much of what makes a great PM-PMM relationship stems from each person's background, and their interests, as well as their bandwidth and their product focus.

So for example, I've been in situations where I didn't have the capacity to run, let's say, a competitive analysis due to other high priority needs. And my PM drove the work while I played more of a consultative role because that's something that he was interested in at the time and needed to be done to again, meet his needs of what he was trying to accomplish.

And also, the vice versa has happened, there have been times where I've driven creating the foundations of a spec due to my PM not being able to get to it yet, but it's something being very high priority on both of our objectives. So at this point in my career, I think the most important part of sharing these responsibilities is ensuring that both you and your PM are clear on trusting each other, and understanding who holds the decision for certain responsibilities. What I've learned is that when you're clear on who owns that final decision on what, how you get there, can blur as you both need and as the business needs.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  16:52

Okay. The more product marketers I speak to the more I hear them say that they love it, it sounds like an awesome sphere to be a part of, but in your opinion, is there anything that needs to change about product marketing, to make it even better than it already is?

Madison Moyd  17:17

I would say... I can't think of anything off the top of my head that we need to change internally as product marketers. But I do think externally and looking at partnerships, bringing us in earlier is something that I've always spoken to in my career and still repeat every day to my teams that I'm joining. To your point, we are awesome, product marketing is cool and we're so useful, that I truly do feel like we need to be consistently brought in at the ideation stage of initiatives.

We are strategic partners, we have the ultimate understanding of the market, the business, and the customers. And so I feel like this idea of bringing this in earlier could apply on a project level, of course, and just being a part of the ideation stage of how to solve a problem. But it could also be on the business level. Oftentimes I'll talk to or see organizations that, let's say, seek to hire their first product marketer and already feel like they know exactly what that person should be working on yet no one in the organization fully understands product marketing.

And so I feel like a huge part of our role is actually coming into an organisation or a team and identifying the business and customer help, and where we could add the most immediate value. If I think back to what needs to change about product marketing, I feel like just bring us in earlier and trust us to assess and contribute to that ultimate goal that you have, because, again, as a product marketer, the product and business goals are our goals as well.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  18:58

Yeah, absolutely. It goes back to almost that theme of collaboration, I keep saying the more product marketers I speak to but they keep saying that there is this sense of collaboration that's almost intertwined into the psyche of a product marketer, and obviously, the sooner that can materialize the better.

Madison Moyd  19:26


Lawrence Chapman - PMA  19:28

To round off Madison, if there were any new or aspiring product marketers listening to the show, what would be your advice to them?

Madison Moyd  19:40

I think I'm gonna go with my tried and true that I tend to talk about all the time, which is when you don't know where to turn, turn to the customer. Obviously, the entire organization should be of the customer, but you are their voice. Sometimes the business won't agree with you, sometimes the data won't agree with you, but just remember who you're representing and how important they are to the work of the entire company and the work that you're doing every single day as a company.

You're here to do it for them so just keep in top of mind that the largest part of your role is to represent that customer. And so whenever you're kind of at a crossroads, prioritize the customer.

Lawrence Chapman - PMA  20:27

Great advice to end a great episode. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me Madison, it's been an absolute pleasure.

Madison Moyd  20:35

Yes, thank you so much, Lawrence.

Written by:

Lawrence Chapman

Lawrence Chapman

Lawrence is our Copywriter here at PMA who loves crafting content to keep readers informed, entertained, and enthralled. He's always open to feedback and would be thrilled to hear from you!

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Product Marketing Insider [podcast]: Madison Moyd