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Product marketing questions week #30

Trending Questions | Product Marketing

With chats on everything from prospect versus active customer emails to the best way to implement account-based marketing (ABM), our Slack channel was running hot this week. Stay tuned for a summary of the most popular conversations.

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Q. Do you use different email solutions for prospect vs active customer email marketing? We have had some concerns with running everything from a single system (Pardot) so would love to hear how other companies tackle this.

A. It can be handy to access both prospects and clients through a single system, in this case Pardot, because PMMs can easily see and understand the full lifecycle and breadth of the customer’s engagement.

Sounds great, right? But the problem arises when prospects who weren’t part of the buying experience need to be entered into both the company CRM and Pardot, as this takes a lot of time and there can often be discrepancies in customer information between the systems. Using Salesforce as your CRM can help overcome this because you can set either Pardot or Salesforce as the single source of truth and have both records sync automatically, although some contacts will still need to be manually imported.

Having separate sets of data living in different systems can create data integrity issues really quickly, so when looking to adopt a new platform, it’s a good idea to ensure it's able to sync data with all the other platforms you work with automatically.

Q. Has anyone found any good (and fast!) tools or methods for testing campaign/launch messaging with potential buyers before it rolls out?

A. It seems the unanimous vote here went to Pollfish.com. It’s super fast, easy to set up, cheap, comes with detailed cohorting and you can get responses in as little as four hours. Better yet, it works for all groups of customers with demographic profile selection and there’s the capability to select employment status, income and organisational roles that you can then refine to target relevant business owners/profiles.

For more tried, tested and recommended PMM tools, check out our Product Marketing Tools of Choice Report.

Q. I’m looking for recommendations on swag management platforms. Ideally something that can handle printed collateral (business cards, trifolds, flyers, banners, etc.) as well as giveaways (stickers, tshirts, mugs) and support multiple logins/users.

A.  The consensus here was that swag can create a lot of work. Sendoso or Printfection are both great for use with giveaways, but don’t solve the collateral issues. One particular perk of Sendoso is that it integrates with SalesForce so you can set budgets for reps and they can manage the process themselves. Vistaprint is another option, but doesn’t solve all the issues in one go either.

Some other platforms being mentioned include Zorch, which promises ‘less steps, less cost, less risk, faster processing’ and has a super cool user interface, and SwagUp, which is great for easy swag storage and shipment. Big Up Marketing was also suggested to power up swag stores, this one’s pretty handy because sales reps can order their own stuff, leaving the PMMs out of it!

For more complex, full service solutions, Canary Marketing seems to be the company of choice. They’re well known for offering innovative and on-trend products - not just your usual coffee mugs.

Q. Does anyone do ABM as part of their marketing strategy? If so, what are some of the key tools you leverage to ensure you target the right accounts with the right content, at the right time? Also, how can we streamline the processes off the bat? And did you see ROI soon after implementing?

A. Remember this is highly-targeted outreach, and ‘going slow to go fast’ can be a good motto. Whatever approach you take, starting small means you'll get the personalization you need to make it truly account-based. An initial control group of 10-20 accounts may be a good starting position, and any ABM strategy has to be highly communicated and involved with sales to make sure expectations and follow-ups are in alignment.

One option here could be to leverage your website CMS and things like Marketo to build personalized landing pages for target accounts and include information like:

  • Personalized intro text,
  • A personalized intro message from the President,
  • A bio of the sales rep involved with a direct demo form/scheduler link,
  • Relevant product videos and content, and
  • Useful community links to build brand awareness.

A great way to support this is to then have the BDR team engage in targeted phone follow-ups along with direct mail to drive awareness of the content.

Depending on your budget, DemandBase is a great tool for aggregating intent data. You can leverage them to create personalized site experiences based on backend personas. It’s also great for personalization and tracking engagement across the customer journey, but you still need to stay in touch with the sales department for coordinated outreach. Personalized microsites for each target account work well, but make sure to work directly with sales to ensure they are following up directly with prospects and customers accordingly.

Terminus for account-based targeted ads can be hugely effective when targeting manufacturing and retail enterprises. But once again, a close relationship with sales is a must. It's important for them to understand they must actually complete specific steps in the ABM sequence.

Q. The debate still rages on the definition of the product marketing role, but is a PMM generally responsible for gathering intelligence about a competitor’s product or strategy?

A. Competitive intelligence and research usually - though not always - are the Product Marketer's responsibility. Larger companies tend to have dedicated research departments who either manage this outright, or work collaboratively with product marketing. Also, Product Managers are clearly a stakeholder here. They might own or work collaboratively with PMMs on competitive research and intel, and often own deeper dives into functional or technology comparisons.

It also depends on the product. For large enterprise solutions, it's hard to get information from the outside. At some organizations PMMs are responsible for competitive GTM info, while feature and function is pulled together by pre-sales because they spend more time in the field with partners and prospects.

For a deep dive into the role of a PMM, head over to our State of Product Marketing report.

Written by:

Richard King

Richard King

Founder, Product Marketing Alliance

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Product marketing questions week #30