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Product Marketing Questions Week #1

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We see lots of great queries in our #pmm-questions and #pmm-resources channels in our product marketing slack community and in our PMM Questions platform, so, starting from now, each week we’ll be picking and answering a handful for any Product Marketing Alliance members who just need a speedy solution to their problem.

In this first edition 🥇 we’ll be covering everything from win/loss strategies and product launch checklists to communicating new product features and announcing price increases.

So, grab a brew ☕️, put up your feet, and soak up some quick-fire product knowledge.

1, Does anyone have any best practices or suggestions for win/loss?

First off, make sure you collect a good mix of won and lost situations to create an accurate picture of all your opportunities - so that means a good range of geographics, demographics, and business type, size, and sectors, etc.

Secondly, speak to the people on your front line, like your sales reps and BDMs. See if they have any insights as to why a deal was lost and if they don’t already, get them to record this type of intel for each lead they interact with - it’ll streamline future audits.

If you can see if you can take it one step further by getting feedback from prospects and customers too. What made them choose you? What was the deciding factor in turning you down? Why did they choose your competitor? What do they think you could do to improve?

It’s also a good idea to look at the marketing interactions you’ve had with won or lost business. What was their first point of contact with you? Did they download any of your resources? Did they subscribe to your newsletter? Once you’ve got this information at your fingertips, see if there are any patterns in which methods are most effective.

And finally, remember to gather a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. The former will help really get under the skin of potential problems and the latter is useful in spotting trends, but both will drive change.

Quick link: here's an A to Z guide on how to conduct win-loss interviews.

2, Is it better to go the product route or marketing route if you’re trying to build towards being a PMM?

This is a tricky one to answer because every business will differ. Some will demand product experience while others will be happy with the transferrable skills a marketing background brings.

Ideally, aim for a bit of both, but if it’s a case of one or the other it’s probably best to focus on the product route.

3, Does anyone have launch checklists they’d be open to sharing?

Here’s an incredibly condensed version of ours:

  • Conduct some thorough research to make sure you’re targeting the right people in a way they want to be marketed to.
  • Answer key questions, like what does the product do? How does it differ from what’s already out there? What will it be called? What are its key features? And the list goes on and on.
  • Create a clear and concise internal document to adopt buy-in, ensure everyone’s on the same page, and prevent the product or service from being over or under-sold.
  • Produce all relevant promotional content - web copy, landing pages, blogs, tutorials, emails, social posts, product descriptions, etc.
  • Document a timeline for what activity will happen and when. I.e. what day will the product go live on your site? When will your email campaign start? When will follow-up emails go out? When can your sales team start calling leads? How long will your social ads run for? Etc., etc.
  • Prepare your teams so everyone’s familiar with the ins and outs of the product, knows what their role is, and any questions or glitches are ironed out.
  • Ready, set, launch!

4, How do people handle communicating features that are only available to some sub-sets of clients? Do you communicate all features in general release notes to everyone, regardless of what pricing tier they're in? Or only communicate certain features to certain clients?

We’d recommend two different emails; one to clients who’ll have access to the feature on their current plan and another to all clients (regardless of their pricing tier) who won’t automatically be able to use it.

The first should be more of an educational email letting people know what the feature is, how it works, and where they can go for extra support - if needed.

The second, however, should be used as a promotional email to incentivise people to upgrade to a higher-tiered pricing plan that’ll give them access to this feature. In this email though, you’ll need to sell the entire package, as well as the new feature, so people can see the benefits of parting with more money.

Although both emails will be centred around the same feature, it’s important they’re worded differently to avoid confusion and offer an element of personalisation.

5. Has anyone here seen any good examples or best practices on how to announce a price increase to existing customers?

Great question, we’ll cover it in more detail in a dedicated article. In the meantime though, here are a few things to consider:

  • Give plenty of notice - especially if it’s a fairly substantial increase. If you turn around on Tuesday letting people know it’ll come into force on Wednesday there’s a good chance you’ll ruffle a few feathers. Notice periods will also give you time to smooth out any pushback.
  • Create a timeline for your communication. For example, you might want to send out an announcement email a couple of months before the change and then a reminder email a couple of weeks out.
  • Be transparent. Don’t just say your increasing prices, let your customers know how much by and how it’ll affect what they pay.
  • Take your price increase as an opportunity to remind people of the benefits they get from your product or service so they don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
  • Give your customers a choice. This one will depend on your business model, but, for example, if your price hike equates to a few hundred pounds and you’re working with people who don’t have big budgets, try and offer a phased payment plan.

Join either our PMM Q&A platform or our slack community to ask your questions to the community:

Product Marketing Q&A Platform - https://questions.productmarketingalliance.com/

Product Marketing Slack Community - https://productmarketingalliance.com/join-slack/

Written by:

Richard King

Richard King

Founder, Product Marketing Alliance

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Product Marketing Questions Week #1