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Product marketing questions week #41

Trending Questions | Product Marketing

Last week, we were excited to launch PMMfixx, yet another awesome service, allowing product marketers to stream specialist PMM content on-demand, with fresh content posted every Thursday.

Our appetite for delivering content knows no-limits, and with the State of Product Marketing report underway, we can’t wait to unleash our latest findings.

Though we’re writing and refining the report, it’s still very much a case of business as usual, with the Slack community continuing to pose questions day in, day out.

Let’s delve into a selection of what last week had to offer… 🕵️‍♀️

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: I’m looking for the best tactics to reach a target audience of CMO, CTO, IT, but my marketing budget is limited. Other than executive breakfasts or seminars, what else would you recommend?

A: A useful question, and one that generated several responses. Here are a few views courtesy of product marketers in the community…

“Pre-COVID, I'd say high touch events like chef's table dinners, etc. However, given the circumstances, physical gifts (Sendoso, etc.) are also effective ways to reach out. I’d also suggest highlighting what you have to offer in terms of data-driven thought leadership? Answer the following: What can you give them that will really up their intelligence and situational awareness for their job.”

Alex H-I, VP Marketing/VP Product Marketing for B2B IT SaaS

“This depends on how limited your budget is. We use a BrightTalk channel and produce short consumable videos, and attract CTOs and CPOs. Our content is pretty technical and not targeted at CMOs or marketing at all, so I’d say it all depends on your content. It also depends on what size companies you are targeting. For instance, a CMO at a Fortune 100 company has very different requirements than one at a startup.”

Martin Bakal, Product Marketing Director and Evangelist at OpenLegacy

Q: What are some of the techniques you use to help you when experiencing signs of Imposter Syndrome?

A: With more than 70% of workers experiencing Imposter Syndrome at some point in their career, this is what the community had to say about the important subject:

“Matt Kobach (Director of Social Media at the NYSE) once told me that if you have imposter syndrome, you’re comparing yourself at too high of a level. We’re exactly where we need to be. Being a little uncomfortable just means there’s room to grow.”

Arielle Kimbarovsky, Marketing, and Social Media Strategist at M1 Finance: Smart Money Management

“I have just recently overcome my Imposter Syndrome. I tend to want to speak up and prove my value in the room, but I have had a greater impact by not always having the right answer but asking the right questions. As PMMs, we must help our stakeholders keep the customer at the center by asking questions that help them think this way.”

Louisa Rogers, Product Marketing Manager at Criteo

“Something so simple as looking back at my CV or LinkedIn can help sometimes, to sit back and think 'oh yes, I have come a long way'. Also if I ever speak to any previous colleagues about my doubts, they always sing my praises!”

Amanda Rogerson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Duo Security at Cisco

Q: How is your product marketing team structured, by-product, or segment?

A: With teams favoring different approaches, there’s no definitive way to structure a product marketing team. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see how companies structure their PMMs.

Maureen West, Director of Product Marketing at 6Sense gave her view:

“My team covers the entire platform as we are still small. I’ve worked in several companies where it was a by-product, and I also considered segments. I eventually decided it wasn’t right for us because the products were complex and it wouldn’t be easy for the team to become experts across the board. I can see where this approach would make sense if the product is fairly similar in base features and then has differentiators based on user/segment.”

Jesse Choo, Product Marketing Manager at Webfleet Solutions provided his opinion:

“At my company, we structure our Product Marketing team by-product AND segment. The PMM team does both.

“For example, one PMM is the lead for three products and also the segment expert in one area. We try our best to have each PMM own products that are more related to their segments. This is something new we’ve been doing for the past 8 months and it’s working well so far. This was well received and is supported by the other teams in Marketing and across the Sales organization.”

Q: What metrics should Product Marketing be held accountable to? I was asked this by my CFO, and I found it tricky to give a definitive answer. Initially, I rolled out a deck that was a functional overview of PMM at my company, and within that deck, I stated that we don't necessarily own a metric, but we look to impact a wider array of metrics across the funnel/business through strategic investment in understanding the customer and building effective messaging frameworks. Nonetheless, it’d be good to receive the perspective of other PMMs.

A: Accountability is essential across many roles, including product marketing, where it’s not unusual for metrics to fall under the microscope. Here’s what folks from the Slack community had to say.

“It is an interesting and tough question to answer especially since PMM has so many roles from being part of the top of the funnel thought leadership through as sales support. My initial thought was our main focus should be in the middle of the funnel - the technical hook that converts prospects into opportunities. Although it’s worth noting this certainly isn't the only thing, it is a major part.”

Martin Bakal, Product Marketing Director and Evangelist at OpenLegacy

“I usually tailor this answer to the culture of the company. If the organization has three OKRs annually, then explain how PMM can support those OKRs with various measurable key results. Then, offer some examples to stimulate their mind.

For example, say one company objective is to increase revenue by 20% using an unannounced XYZ new product in 2020, you could say you’ll:

Shepherd the launch of XYZ product in quarter three, and work cross-functionally *with a shared OKR* with demand gen to drive 500 new sales accepted leads within 2020.

Train the sales team on XYZ new product before launch (and after) with a Lessonly score of 70% or greater (or whatever makes sense)

Conduct pricing and packaging research with existing customers and non-customers for the XYZ product ahead of launch to help ensure that you're pricing the product in a way that will help achieve the company objective (without misreading the market's willingness to pay). (This will be more of a binary answer - did you complete the research or not, and did the exec team accept the work).

Once you give these examples, get the CFO's feedback. Also, be sure to ask how he saw Product Marketing measured in past companies (or how his friends have). Generally, these folks already have a bias, or when they reach out to friends they'll build a bias.”

Jeff Hardison, Head of Product Marketing at Clearbit

Q: I have a product onboarding set as a forthcoming objective I’m aiming to address. The product I work for is very complex and involves customer-facing activities for setup. Apart from onboarding emails, what are some other ways I could educate my sign up users about my product and make them start using my product from the get-go?

A: It’s pivotal for users who are signing up to use a product to be well-informed about your services. Any sense of uncertainty could see them divert their attention to a competitor.

“I’d recommend setting up some interviews with people who fully converted, as well as others who dropped off. This will allow you to compare and contrast their responses and see if you can identify some common patterns.”

Janessa Lantz, Head of Marketing at Fishtown Analytics

“Have you thought about using in-app messaging (e.g., Appcues, Braze) to complement the emails? At InVision, we had lots of daily free signups and I found the in-app messages performed better in terms of both engagement and achieving outcomes in onboarding.
“Also, consider different educational media, such as video demos, documentation, a weekly/monthly q/a webinar for different learning styles. You can test driving to these assets hosted on a single landing page (e.g., a knowledge article about a certain feature where customers often get stuck) and see which approaches receive the most engagement and with which persona.”

Jeff Hardison, Head of Product Marketing at Clearbit

“It would also be useful to look at the data of your onboarding funnel. This might help you understand the critical challenges users face and address them with a combination of UI design changes, copy changes, and/or additional support messaging and resources.”

Christos Apartoglou, VP of Product and Growth Marketing at Axios

Q: What is the difference between a PMM versus a technical PMM? I thought all PMMs had to be product experts?

A: This question is often raised within the product marketing community. Kelly Emo, Senior Director of Technology Product Marketing at Workday gave her two-cents:

“In my experience, I’ve seen “technical PMMs” represented by two different roles. “Tech Marketing” usually covers two primary areas:

1) Demo creation (both interactive and recorded/Camtasia style) to support marketing messaging and POVs, and

2) Content creation for pre-sales including helping with RFPs, writing technical best-practice content - white papers, guides, and Competitive Intelligence.

Sometimes a technical PMM is also leading the developer persona and doing developer marketing, and may even create code-related content.”

Elisabeth Michaud, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Highspot also offered her view:

“I’ve seen PMM divided into things like core (heavy focus on messaging and positioning, use cases, personas, etc.), audience (by segment, industry, etc.), technical (closest to the ins and outs of product features.
“While other PMMs are also very familiar with product functionality, they may not be as deep on how the features have been built, specific technical limitations of capabilities, etc. I also see this type of role building demo environment, helping draft demo scripts, etc. Technical PMMs may also (but not necessarily) be closer to things like roadmap details, monetization, and product planning, and work super closely with product management.”

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 #41