We’re kicking off another week here at Product Marketing Alliance, hot on the heels of last week’s nomination launch for the Product Marketing Awards 2020! 🏆

With product marketers also giving us awesome feedback after getting stuck into our PMMC© course, we waltzed into the weekend with huge smiles on our faces! If you haven’t seen the course yet, take a look - you won’t be disappointed!

And, as usual, our trusty Slack community continued to fuel the product marketing fire with their amazing contributions.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights, shall we? ?

Are you a part of the Slack community? The channel is your golden opportunity to feast on 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: What’s everyone's definition of a differentiator? I think it varies depending on people and organizations, but it’s a source of debate at my company and it’d be great to get the views of others in the product marketing field?

A: Interesting question, here are a couple of takes on it...

“It’s an interesting question. It could be used in a business sense or a technical sense. Our technical ones are all about "direct access to legacy systems", and "not changing the mainframe when building interfaces to them". Business ones are tougher since everyone claims the same things, such as "Lowering TCO", etc.”

Martin Bakal, Product Marketing Director at OpenLegacy

“Focusing too much on the product is a typical pitfall. At a startup I worked for, we had important “soft” differentiators such as easy to work with, responsive, accessible, etc. and those were mentioned by our partners, particularly. If possible, interview company partners to gain their insight.”

Tobias Goebel, Product Marketing Director

Q: Does anyone have experience in or a survey template for testing how language resonates with a demographic before crafting the actual product positioning/messaging?

A: Yep, they sure do! Here’s Ester Lozano’s two cents’ worth, a Product Marketing Manager at Sematext:

“I’ve completed a survey for this in the past. The best way to start is with adjectives. Ask your audience or customers how they see you. For example, do they think you’re friendly, professional, or informal, etc.?
“This will give you an insight into how the target audience sees your brand, so with this information, the language will be easier to create. Once you have the language, survey them once again. If you offer a gift card, you'll get more responses, of course. To form a representative sample, you’ll need approximately 50-100 participants.”

Q: Do your roles sit under a Product & Engineering department or Sales & Marketing, and how does this impact your role as a product marketer?

A: A time-old question that always divides opinion!

“I worked for a SaaS company where product marketing was moved from Marketing to Product. It helped product marketers have more influence on the product roadmap, strategy, and launch components. However, it weakened our ability to get ideas moved quickly through the design/web on the existing marketing team.”

Melanie Grefsheim, Product Marketing Manager at RainFocus

Andrew Hatfield, Director of Product Marketing at Portworx, added his contribution:

“I’ve been in organizations where product marketing was under VP Product and PMM - very close to the product, and a deliberate closeness with marketing. Product marketing was then moved under Engineering, and the decision was sadly made to get rid of VP.

“At this point, product marketing was positioned under a Senior Vice President, who reported to the CEO; they remained close to marketing, but the link to Product was much harder.

“I’ve also experienced instances when product marketing has been positioned under the CMO. very close to marketing, and loose to product marketing.

“Always keep in mind, things are always personal, so be deliberate and remember Conway’s Law - you build products how you’re organized.”

Q: Does anyone have experience teasing out a B2B feature launch that would require a large product upgrade to implement? I'm worried teasing this feature would get clients excited just to have them let down with the realization of a 3+ month integration timeline. At the same time it could be the 'carrot' that helps them plan product graduation.

A: To position it positively, members of the Slack community suggested the company position the product as a new feature, rather than a significant product upgrade. Other product marketers have their views:

“Be upfront and set appropriate expectations. People are fine when they understand. If you aren’t clear with your audience and give mixed signals, then they’ll be annoyed.”

Andrew Hatfield, Director of Product Marketing at Portworx

“In my experience in B2B, 3 months isn’t that long of a period to wait for a few features. I.e., the time between preparing the customer for what’s coming, and training them on it, weaving the change into their processes, might not be much shorter than what it would take to implement it. However, this does depend on the nature of the feature.”

Tobias Goebel, Product Marketing Director

Q: I feel like one of the challenges for an up and coming vendor when it comes to marketing their solution is finding the balance between the words that describe what their product does with high precision or forward-thinking concepts, and the most intuitive/vague words prospects search for online when looking for a solution.

At what point in your content production or messaging have you decided you were going to either go all-in with words that represent a more precise need (more limited and mature audience, i.e. less but more qualified leads) or use words that don't define your product that well but would get you more leads, then do a Bait & Switch?

A: “It's a delicate balance. However, work with your team to include keywords in a way that is intelligent for SEO. Overloading your page will do nothing but confuse Google. Additionally, don't bait and switch. This creates a negative impression that the salesperson has to convert on the first interaction. Instead, figure out how your solution actually solves a client need and focus your content there while including relevant keywords that your demand gen team provides you, in the appropriate spaces.”

Steven Burg, Product Marketing Manager at Cyberbit

Q: What are the key metrics and KPIs a product marketer should be measured against? While there are obvious ones like user engagement/feature activations, win rates, NPS, I’m curious what others are considered important?

A: Spoiler alert, we have a whole module dedicated to this in our new Product Marketing Certification. 😉 Elsewhere in Slack though, PMMs said:

“I’d say it varies a lot, depending on which business you’re part of, and the definition of product marketing that the company has. That said, they should always be measurable and within their control and influence.”

Christos Apartoglou, VP of Product and Growth Marketing at Axios

“I’m less in favor of things like feature activations unless they relate to an item to promote. This doesn’t promote value-based marketing. Ultimately, overall pipeline growth is the main metric that matters even if the correlation isn’t as tight.”

Jam Khan, VP Product Marketing at Seismic

“We measure pipeline and revenue. Pipeline, because it's something that we can influence, and revenue so we have some skin in the game. Layering in retention could be valuable too, depending on your organization.”

Spencer Grover, Senior PMM at LevelJump