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Product marketing questions week #39

Trending Questions

Phew! It’s been a busy ol’ week here at PMA, (what, with the launch of Product Marketing Core, and all...) but while we kept ourselves even busier than usual ahead of Wednesday's exciting event, it’s been business as usual in the Slack community, with a whole host of awesome insights into all things PMM, from customer intelligence to market plan proposals.

Not seen our PMMC© course yet? Check out all the features, perks, and how you can get certified here. In the meantime, let’s catch up on events from the past week, shall we?

Are you a part of the Slack community? The channel’s a great chance to indulge in all things PMM, alongside 1,000s of product marketers, prompting the million-dollar question: What’s not to love? Check out what you’re missing here.

Q. I'm in the process of building out my role leading Global Customer Marketing and I wanted to learn about how this is structured at your various companies? This would include where the function sits, scope of work, team structure, etc.


“I'm on customer marketing, which sits on our PMM team, and we have roles for advocacy, adoption, and communications. Personally, I work closely with our product strategy team to track and implement CSAT and NPS metrics, as well as track feature adoption (B2B SaaS).
“It is still a relatively new role at the company, and we are still working to make inroads cross-functionally.”

Jessica Armstrong, Customer Adoption at Seismic

Q. What customer intelligence do you find the most useful/applicable for marketing teams and how have you put those insights into action? I’d love to hear some of your experiences. I’ve uncovered very quickly that my focus may have been too much on supporting sales, but I’m quickly realizing there are opportunities to improve my marketing efforts as well.

A: Here’s what Tom Heys, Head of Marketing & Growth at Fincura, had to say:

"Depending on the structure of your team, I'd try to capture competitors':

Campaigns – seeing what's new says a lot about strategic direction, seeing what they're doubling down on tells you what's paying off.

PR/news – this one is important to follow but rarely delivers much more than a general direction and has a lot of messaging fluff/veneer that you have to peel back.

SEO/keywords – seeing how these shifts can help in tactical ad purchases.

Events – understanding what external and internal events they are investing in helps (often with next year, but still).

Content – build up the swipe file and help identify white space for your team's content strategy, help identify ways to differentiate thought leadership, and target your best audiences.

Social Media - can help with understanding cadences, penetration, investment, effectiveness, etc."

And here are a few more bits of advice that were put forward:

“I think careers need to be taken into consideration. For example, who are they looking for, what do they offer, how do they describe the company culture. Personally, I feel this is often an underestimated source of CI.”

Donato Mangialardo, Chief Marketing Officer, Giunti Psychometrics

"I’d say the following have the potential to inform impactful win/back campaigns, positioning, and campaign differentiation:

Acquisitions (these can infer repositioning, growth strategy, new segments they want to look to).

Review site quotes, as these can help with positioning, especially ones that mention your product).

Feedback from customers that come to you from a competition. For instance, interviews can be a great aid to Marketing.

Partnerships/ co-marketing. For example, these can provide guidance on where should you invest, and similarly, where you should steer away from.

Pricing is an important factor, as this can influence the pricing of your product if set by PMM/Marketing, and also influence campaigns, seasonal campaigns, discounting best practices, etc.

I think crowdsourcing and sharing CI company-wide has benefits (namely consistency in optics, improved awareness, and better alignment in decision making if reactive to competition, etc.) so all info, to an extent, is useful info."

Fiona Finn, Senior PMM at Clio

Q. How do you all present your go-to-market plan proposal? I have many templates for organizing the actual launch but I’m trying to decide what the most succinct way to present my plan to leadership is – deck vs. one-pager?

A: An effective go-to-market proposal is vital when planning a launch, and decks and one-pagers both have their benefits. Here's the thoughts of the Slack community:

“Initially, I used a deck, which worked out great until I kept getting more ideas and it kept growing, and growing. I realized that not everyone had the time, so I used it as a reference link and decided to share a one-pager.”

Ishara Naotunna, Product Marketing Manager, WSO2 Identity Server

“I would have both options available. Have a one-page summary that links out to the relevant information in a larger deck.
“If you have a PMA membership, I highly recommend this presentation from Chris O'Hara at Salesforce.”

Sapphire Reels, PMA SoCal Ambassador, Sr Product Marketing Manager, Pluralsight

Q. We're about to publish a white paper co-authored by an external expert in our industry. Has anyone managed a campaign like this before and interested in sharing insights/tactics? We're wondering the best approach to officially publish and release the content as there is a bigger hook than usual given the expert's involvement.  (Lead gate vs. instant download, publish on blog vs. press release, etc.)

A: A question that prompted much discussion! Here's a selection of the responses posted:

“Lead gate vs instant mostly comes down to your company's philosophy and tracking methods since you can track visits without a lead gate but it takes extra effort and sometimes doesn't work. My company prefers any expert content to have a lead gate although my preference is none for better SEO.

“I prefer blogs, in this case, to press releases since I don't know what a press release really would say. The expert isn't partnering with you. I assume you are paying for a white paper  For that I like to explain something from the whitepaper on a blog and link to it."

Martin Bakal, Product Marketing Director, OpenLegacy

“White paper campaigns depend on the type of WP. What I can understand from the description provided is, this is thought leadership content.

“In such cases, press releases/PR distribution can greatly help, with a back-link CTA for download/lead generation. Also, try guest posts, newsletters, social media advertising, and banner ads.

“Also, with such content I would not only suggest focusing only on leads, thought leadership has long term effects. Give some good insights through blogs/PR pieces/guest posts, readers will come back and download if the content is interesting.”

Manwendre Mishra, Product Marketing and Research at Radware

“I’d say that this is dependent on whether it’s a one-off thought leadership campaign, or whether it’ll turn into an influencer campaign. We did a training video series with an external expert and did a full campaign around it (press release, social, bylines, etc.) The videos aren’t gated, but the downloadable content is.”

LaRel Rogers, Vertical Marketing Manager, Detection at FLIR Systems

Q. I’ve recently launched a new product and it’s scaling much faster than I’d expected, organically, and we need to race to launch a paid version before we cannibalize our opportunity for revenue. Typical businesses like ours charge monthly subscriptions either by usage or by access to premium features, or a hybrid of both.

Does anyone have any resources or guidance on how to decide how to structure our paid models?

Any advice on the GTM strategy for paid subscription for this type of product when your existing users have no idea you're about to charge them?

A: Sanna Lutsoja and Sapphire Reels gave their views:

“I’d write an email to your potential clients/beta-testing group and ask them what they would prefer. Your users will tell you the answer because they will make the buying decision.

“In the beginning it is important to acquire new customers. It is sad if the pricing model is an obstacle for people to try out your product. It may lead you to the wrong way - “people do not like our product, but actually they did not like the pricing model.”

“You may let people choose themselves as well by implementing 2 different parallel pricing models. The time will show you the answer.”

Sanna Lutsoja, CPO/CMO & Partner at Travis Reise & Utlegg

“I'd recommend looking through the ProfitWell blog. Patrick Campbell (CEO) is a pricing pro.”

Sapphire Reels, PMA SoCal Ambassador, Sr Product Marketing Manager @ Pluralsight

This question was also raised by another member of the Slack community, who needed help with their GTM strategy for pricing changes...

Q. Does anyone have experience of executing a GTM strategy for Pricing changes? Based on customer feedback, we’ve arrived at a new pricing model and the changes are due to be made shortly. I have to design a GTM strategy as part of this initiative. It’d be great to get insights from anyone who has done a similar task for their organization, or anyone in general who could share thoughts.

A: Saad Asad, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Utmost, gave his views:

“I’d suggest that you allow people to maintain legacy pricing, but also incentivize those on legacy plans to encourage them to upgrade.

"Preferably, roll out the pricing changes with new features, or something so it doesn’t look like it was purely a pricing exercise for the firm to increase revenue.

"As far as communication is concerned, one form of communication isn’t enough, so if you have a specialist team, I'd have them reach out to your customers via a range of marketing communications.

"Also, be sure to make a note on the website pricing page that your pricing is due to increase.”

The question prompted further responses from other PMMs, who were keen to offer their input:

“Make sure to give the ‘why’ behind the change, and not just a notification. I.e. What is the value increase attached to the price increase?
Also, give ample time for people to get the message, and be sure you are notifying customers well in advance. It’s also important to notify the right users. Not every end-user needs the info, but the admins and buyers certainly do.
If you have a specific account contact, direct outreach is best, and they can help you deliver the value behind the change.”

Andrew Krimstock, Head of Product Marketing & Business Development at Glidr

“If maintaining legacy pricing, start to create the upgrade space by freezing both pricing and features, so new features will go to new plans and create that whitespace to upgrade.

"Ensure visibility from a feedback and tracking perspective pre-launch, especially for any front line/CS teams (can agents quickly identify whose pricing is changing, if so to what are the retention of customer satisfaction tools they can have in their back pocket.)

"There is no such thing as over-enablement for internal teams with changes of this scale, down to refined, canned responses for top questions.

"If adding new features, put as much effort into showcasing new value as communicating change. This can often be secondary and detrimental to the success of the project. (If possible, give people a taste of these features for a limited time/discounted price to create a higher perceived sense of value, create stickiness, and lessen the blow of any pricing changes if mandated price change is needed.)

"Make sure internally you're tracking pricing changes on accounts to help navigate conversations in the future.”

Fiona Finn, Senior PMM at Clio

Q. I have a question about reducing friction for customer migrations. Especially when it comes to APIs, or other SaaS products, there’s some friction making the move over from one provider to the next.  We do get customers that are interested, but then don't want to put in the effort - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of mentality. We do have a tutorial, but it doesn't seem quite enough. What tactics can I use to reduce the friction and facilitate the move from a competitor?

A: PMMs gave awesome answers to this question, here's a few that caught the eye:

“I’ve seen this as well on most large technical efforts; even if they buy, sometimes they won’t implement it if it’s too hard.

"If it’s a similar type of engagement each time, you could try putting together a step by step guide (which it sounds like you already have) and also attach a timeline to it, and keep reminding the benefits (you do this, and you get X). Another thing we’ve done in the past is to just schedule a couple of hours and do it with them, hold their hand.

"If it’s more of a frictionless SaaS experience where the customer doesn’t really interact with sales, a steady cadence of automated emails outlining the one next step they should do could help. A company that did this really well for me was Autopilot, when I moved to them from HubSpot at a startup I was at, they got on a call with me to lay down the groundwork in real time, and then sent me emails like “Great, now do this ONE thing”. Little by little I moved everything over.”

Ron Harnik, Product Marketing Team Lead at Palo Alto

“A psychological tactic I read about in a book on pricing stated that one should try not to throw the full package of features in one go. You need to offer the primary feature, throw in the pricing for that, and then layer one feature after another, over the core feature, to create a psychological sense of offering multiple things at the price of one. This way your product can seem more attractive than the competitor.

"A second more tangible way to reduce friction is time to go-live. And this comes from my first-hand experience talking to sales reps. In B2B SaaS, the time it'd take for implementation of the new service is often a very huge consideration. So you need to emphasize on the fact that your team can help the client get up and running with your new application in very less time. And if possible, also mention about the increased implementation time your competitor takes.”

Anand Vatsya, Product & Content at WebEngage

“The goal is to convince them that the cost of migration is totally worth the investment as it sets them up to acquire massive upsides in the future.

The best approach is to use an omni-channel attack. Realize there are multiple people in the hierarchy with their own set of fears and ambitions:

1. Write up a custom comparison data sheet comparing what benefits they are missing out on and will gain after porting. How much time will that save or cost it will reduce. Sketch out a 6 month, 1 year and 3 year projection. This is for leadership. Also, focus heavily on what kind of unique reporting your tool will give them access to. If you can find out a pain point during the discovery call, zoom in on those areas.

2. Have a 90 second video to walk through the process for migrating from popular competitors showing that the switch isn't as complicated as it seems. Visualize it for them.

3. Have a glossary mapping doc. For example, opportunities in CRM x is called Deals in Hubspot.

4. Have a tech doc ready to tackle IT's barrage of questions regarding security, data privacy, backups and uptime etc.

5. Remember it's not just a technical migration. Users at all levels fear learning a new system all over again. Open up a beta access with a few sample records and let them test the waters. If they achieve aha-moments often and quick, you've already overcome their psychological barriers.

A combination of these usually helps in breaking down the exit barrier. It's not easy but you need to pepper shots hard. You can't go in lukewarm for competitor steals.”

Aatir Abdul Rauf, Director of Product Management & Marketing (B2B) at Bayt.com

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 questions week #39