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Product marketing questions week #50

Trending Questions | Product Marketing

It was very much a case of ‘business as usual’, last week, as we continued to mind map an Avante-Garde approach for the ever-growing legion of product marketers in the world.

We’d say we served up a PMM buffet to leave any practitioner salivating.

In the latest episode of Product Marketing Insider, Bryony Pearce spoke with Associate Product Marketing Manager at Qu POS, and founding 500 members and ambassadorssociate at PMA, Farhan Manjiyani., Elsewhere,while we also focused on the role of product marketing at startups, the importance of analysis, and sales enablement sessions, to name a few.

As always, PMMs in our Slack community wereas also chomping at the bit to bring their invaluable nuggets of experience to the fore.

Wanna see what they had to say? 👀

Not in Slack already? Not a problem. Get in on the action (for free!) here.

Q: For this quarter I am working on a process regarding release notes; not only for our users but also internally for our squads and management. It is getting to the point where our Product/Tech team is too big and way too many emails are being sent, so nobody knows/gets what is being released/launched at a high level.

I’m thinking of creating a site focused on release info and then maybe sharing the highlights in our internal comms tool, as another newsletter would not help the problem. My idea is to pilot the new process with 3 squads and slowly add more. Has anyone worked on a similar problem or process in the past? Any recommendations about the process/tool/how-tos?

A: Communication is essential for PMMs, so much so, 79.8% cited it as the most important skill in our State of Product Marketing Report 2020. Here’s how PMMs suggested refining comms in this particular instance:

“I am experiencing a similar situation. After every release, our Product team sends a very technical email to everyone internally, and then my team follows-up to only the Revenue team with talking points, explainer videos, and details on how we're going to spread external awareness (blog post, user and buyer emails, newsletters, TV/webinar episodes, etc).

“Despite our efforts, the feedback has been that people want more advance notice on the updates. I just hired an agency to help us build a product hub/microsite where internal and external people can view details on our roadmap, an executive summary of past releases, and dedicated pages for each product with updated information.”

Gwendolyn Smith, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Litera

“Unfortunately my experience is that these issues are more of a signal of an unmotivated team and excuse culture than a true lack of information.

“If you are a victim of the second then a mix of read-only slack channels, or micro-sites, or daily stands can solve a lot, but you can never make someone read all the updates unless the proper motivating org leadership is in place.”

Jenkin Lee, Chief Product Officer at Baze

“I have faced the same scenario and the solution was to build an intrasite page on our internal company website to centralize release information.

“If nothing else, this provides you with one place to capture information and links to more details that you can send people to when they need it. Even if someone can't keep up with their inbox, they can bookmark this page to come back to when they need release notes.”

Leia Schultz, Product Marketer at JumpCloud

Q: What would you consider best practice on raising prices, given the current economy? What are your thoughts and learnings from previous experiences?

A: COVID-19 has led people to think twice about changing their pricing, in some instances. Dekker Fraser, Product Marketing Consultant, gave his opinion:

“In my experience changing prices at several companies, you can alter them all you want for new customers without getting any reaction from current customers.

“Often people are grandfathered into old plans, and your customer success team can help transition them to the newer plans.”

Our view? We’d say it’s dependent on circumstantial factors, such as state of the market and brand equity. However, it’s worth noting responses to price changes will vary, depending on how your personas are segmented and how you introduce the changes to structures.

Q: I'm looking to build a product advisory council to have a regular set of customers to solicit feedback from on product, GTM, and strategic roadmap. Have others done something similar? Any thoughts on format, content covered, size, and frequency?

A: Product advisory councils can be beneficial in getting feedback on your product, and can offer great insights. Jenkin Lee, Chief Product Officer at Baze gave his two-cents on the topic:

“Great idea, my biggest concern is to remember that you would be building a community of sorts and that the expectation if communication frequency and involvement is set from the beginning and ongoing.

“Often people see this as an ad-hoc solution to answer some questions and then it dies...like a product, it (and its members) need maintenance.”

“Product advisory boards require senior-level buy-in that feedback will be listened to. It’s important to strike up partnerships with customer success, product management, engineering to ensure there are enough people to take ownership of set goals, agendas, etc.”

Q: What are some of your favorite tactics for regularly communicating customer intel across your businesses? Do you customize the communications based on the role or department?

A: There’s no underestimating the importance of customer intel; you need to understand your target audience to product offerings that’ll create a buzz and swot your competition.

“In terms of evergreen resources (battle cards, dashboards), we customize to the audience, both in terms of content and delivery channel.

“As far as major competitive updates are concerned, that tends to be uniform for the entire org to get everyone on the same page.

“However, we also have customized alerts for each audience based on what’s most relevant to them (e.g. product team cares more about the customer and product details, while sales will care more about messaging, campaigns, etc.)”

Ellie Mirman, Chief Marketing Officer at Crayon

“We build competitive intelligence into the DNA of our business practices and communication channels. It is always mentioned in monthly sales connection points with Product Marketing. We also do a review of competitive intelligence with Product Management as preparation for our quarterly planning cycle.”

Brooke Grimes, Senior Product Marketing Manager at PayScale, Inc.

“We write/talk differently for tech people vs sales. I come from software (IBM/HCL) and it is like 2 different languages sometimes.

“I would do a back to back presentation usually first for sales, so anything I need to pass along to the techs would be known. Rare that the tech side had info to pass to sales due to language/terminology.”

Keith Brooks, Product Evangelist, and B2B Mentor

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 #50