If you’ve ever had a look around our Slack community, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across some stellar advice, or just marvelled at the sheer expertise and knowledge on display, we certainly have!

How would you like to be on par with some of our regular posters and level up your PMM prowess in 2021? Well, we’ve just dropped next year’s dates for the first quarter, for Product Marketing Core Live + Online, so you can start the year off PMM Certified!

Before you head over to get signed up 😉 let’s get stuck into this week’s talking points!

If you're not in Slack already, get in on the action (for free!) here.

Q: I’m starting my first official PMM job at a new company in the next couple of weeks. If you could do 1 (or 2) things in your first couple of days to set yourself up for success, what would you do?

A: “Lawrence Chapman wrote an article on the PMA blog that could help with this…

Making your mark in your first 30 days as a product marketer
Make your mark in your first 30 days as a product marketer, and leave an initial impression so good, it’ll be impossible to ignore.

We also cover this in PMM Hired.

Richard King, Founder of Product Marketing Alliance

“I wouldn't 'do' anything, I would learn, about the product, market, competition, value prop etc. If you get that down, I would consider building a GTM/marketing playbook that everything you do will align with.”

Yitzy Tannenbaum, Product Marketing Manager at AlgoSec

Q: I'm currently carrying out competitive analysis and would love to ask some of our lost customers (who have gone with these competitors) how their experience is going so far. Does anyone have experience with this?

A: "Here is what we have designed. Hope it helps.

PHASE 1A | - sent from President’s email alias:

  • Trigger 2-3 questions to send once deal is moved by sales to Closed Lost

Sample questions:

  1. If leadership were reading these responses, what’s the main reason you did not move forward with X product/service?
  2. For us to have partnered together, what would you have needed to happen?
  3. If you chose to go with a competitor, can you candidly share why you chose to move forward with them?
  4. What did you like (or didn’t you like) about our sales process?

PHASE 1B | Conduct thorough closed lost deals/in-depth post mortem interviews - possible number of interviews - 20?

  • Create email template correspondence and possible incentives for interviews
  • Create list of questions with client collaboration to help close the loop of deals lost
  • Compile summary of interviews into easily digestible report (identify trends and Closed Lost reasons - could simply be not qualified)
  • Provide client with full recordings and transcripts of conducted via Zoom
  • Client to provide list to reach out to for interviews

Q: It is the roadmap time of the year again! I was wondering if anyone has any insights or templates on sharing business cases/requests with the product team? I have been using google docs and include information as problem space, user segment, use case, success metrics , does anyone have a more robust approach?

A: “I’ve seen this done in a few different ways and it depends on the size of your organization and the size of the product team. Creating Jira tickets is a good route to help PMs get visibility into requests and prioritize them. But for overall analysis and brainstorming a Google Sheet could do the trick as you add the information you outlined and also add columns for priority or scoring where people can later sort and identify top items.”

Q: I'm very curious to see what your thoughts are on the importance or usefulness of a data analyst background for PMM work. I've been trying to wrap my head around the role of data in PMM, especially with a view to the future. Is data analysis work experience seen as a strong plus, or is it  ‘nice to have’ when put side-by-side to the other PMM areas of focus: positioning, messaging, competitor analysis, etc? Is it better to focus on the latter areas, before data analysis?

Is it generally enough to have strong SQL, Excel and some Python or R skills, or is a more concrete analytics background—say, in marketing analytics doing customer journey mapping or other analysis—more useful?

A:I wouldn't necessarily expect a product marketer to have data science in their background or skill set. That's what we have data scientists and analysts for after all! However, I would certainly be interested in a product marketer who can run some rudimentary data analysis in a spreadsheet, but more importantly, be able to determine insight from that analysis. A good product marketer is able to take the "what" of the data and turn it into the "so what?" For example, it's one thing to do some analysis on different pricing options, but can they then create insight from that to make strategic and optimization decisions?”

Ali Hanyaloglu, Head of Global Product Marketing at Akeneo

A: “If you have a strong data analysis background and hands-on experience with SQL, Python, R, etc. you would probably be a great PMM at data science and data analytics companies. Having worked at Snowflake I can attest to that. Now, for any other company/industry this level of expertise with data analytics is typically not required and would not add much in terms of ability to execute core product marketing tasks. A good product marketer can do data analysis and also go a step further to take the ‘what’ and turn it into the ‘so what’.”

Q: Do any of your products serve as underlying software technology to power a downstream solution? My example is a speech recognition engine (speech to text) - customers are understandably cagey about sharing 'powered by xyz' very broadly but are comfortable with us mentioning this. How have you handled this from a marketing/brand perspective? Ask for forgiveness? Focus on case studies/webinars?

A: “We’re an embedded analytics provider for SaaS companies, so similar idea. We do NOT brand our embedded product, customers in general don’t want to have to haggle over logo. If it’s a low priced product, you might be able to get away with it, but as you move upstream, they don’t want your brand competing with theirs.That would make case studies the ideal approach to answer your last question.”

Brian Dreyer, Head of Product Marketing at Qrvey