As the product marketing function continues to gain momentum – and companies increasingly recognize its significance – it's become more and more important for PMMs to weave the articulation of their value into the very fabric of their being. By effectively conveying the value, and return on investment (ROI), PMMs can better gain support and buy-in from key stakeholders, including executives, product teams, and sales teams.

In this article, we'll look at a series of approaches that will help you continually prove the return on investment in the product marketing function. Specifically, I'll be focusing on:

  • Why showcasing product marketing ROI is important
  • Tailoring key metrics to your company's success
  • Setting measurable goals to track progress and evaluate effectiveness
  • Key tactics to demonstrate PMM ROI
  • Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs)
  • Product Marketing Readouts
  • Monthly check-ins with cross-functional leadership
  • Harnessing the power of storytelling to effectively frame and communicate results

Let’s get started…

The importance of showcasing product marketing ROI

Demonstrating product marketing ROI is crucial for establishing credibility and trust with stakeholders and decision-makers. It provides tangible evidence of the value and impact generated, instilling confidence in the product marketing team's strategic direction.

This credibility strengthens relationships and promotes collaboration and enables leadership to be more inclined to align their objectives with the team's strategies, leading to overall success.

Showcasing marketing ROI also supports strategic planning and resource allocation for future product marketing campaigns. With a clear understanding of the impact of product marketing efforts, organizations can optimize marketing spend and align resources in a way that maximizes the potential for success.

Lastly, quantifying financial results – such as increased revenue, customer acquisition/retention rates, and higher average order value – uncovers the direct correlation between product marketing initiatives and business outcomes. This visibility fortifies the value of product marketing as a critical driver of the company's financial success.

How to align marketing metrics with company objectives

The first crucial step in showcasing the value of product marketing is identifying and leveraging key marketing metrics that align with your company's objectives.

While there are fundamental metrics that every product marketing professional should track, unique factors, such as company type, customer base, product offerings, and growth phase, all influence which metrics hold significance at different stages of the company's journey.

  • Company type: Different industries and sectors have distinct priorities and goals. For example, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company may prioritize metrics such as monthly recurring revenue (MRR), customer churn rate, and customer lifetime value (CLTV). On the other hand, a consumer goods company might focus on metrics like market share, brand awareness, and customer satisfaction.
  • Customer base: If your company caters to a niche market, metrics such as customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer retention rate become crucial indicators of success. Conversely, for companies with a broader customer base, metrics like conversion rate, customer engagement, and net promoter score (NPS) may carry more weight.
  • Product: If your company offers a freemium model, metrics related to user activation, conversion from free to paid users, and upselling become key indicators of product marketing success. On the other hand, if your company has a high-priced, enterprise-level product, metrics such as average deal size and sales velocity become more significant.
  • Growth phase of your company: Early-stage startups may focus on metrics related to user acquisition, product adoption, and revenue growth. As the company matures, metrics related to market share, customer loyalty, and profitability take center stage.

Setting measurable goals to track progress and evaluate effectiveness

Once you've identified the key metrics aligned with your company's objectives, establishing clear, specific, and quantifiable objectives and key results (OKRs) becomes essential.

These objectives serve as a framework for assessing the success of product marketing initiatives and provide a foundation for tracking progress and measuring results.

It's also worth noting that goal setting and measurement are iterative processes. As you gather data and evaluate your product marketing initiatives, be prepared to adjust goals and metrics to remain relevant and aligned with your company's evolving needs. Regularly reviewing and refining goals and metrics allows for agility and responsiveness in a dynamic business environment.

Key tactics for demonstrating product marketing ROI

These three key strategies have proven to work wonders in showcasing the value of PMM to leadership, cross-functional teams, and the entire company:

  1. Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs)
  2. Product Marketing Readouts
  3. Monthly check-ins with Cross-functional Leadership

Let’s unpack each of them:

Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs)

A Quarterly Business Review (QBR) allows stakeholders to comprehensively evaluate performance, align teams, make data-driven decisions, and plan strategically. As key drivers of product success, PMMs bring a unique perspective to QBRs, making them instrumental in presenting a holistic view of the company's performance and fostering cross-functional collaboration for continued success.

What to include:

  • Win/loss rates, churn, and retention: By identifying patterns and factors contributing to success or failure, the product marketing team can showcase their impact on revenue generation, customer acquisition, and retention. This analysis helps stakeholders understand how product marketing strategies and messaging directly influence customer decision-making and contribute to overall business outcomes.
  • Competitive intelligence, market trends, and customer insights: Sharing up-to-date market trends and insights about industry dynamics, customer preferences, and competition provides valuable information to the core groups as well as demonstrates PMMs role in shaping strategic decision-making, identifying new market opportunities, and staying ahead of the competition.
  • Feedback loop with customers and sales: It's important to share the wealth of information PMMs gather by establishing feedback loops with customers and the sales teams such as specific customer pain points or new feature requests, or customer sentiments. This proactive approach demonstrates PMMs' commitment to product improvement and driving customer-centric strategies, ensuring the organization remains responsive to customer needs and expectations.
  • Achievements, challenges & strategy: To underscore the value of the product marketing team, it's essential to highlight their accomplishments, challenges, and strategies for the quarter. Showcasing tangible results like successful product launches, increased market share, or improved customer engagement demonstrates their impactful contributions. Additionally, addressing the challenges faced during the quarter and outlining strategic approaches to overcome them showcases the team's adaptability and strategic thinking. This reinforces the vital role of product marketing in driving innovation, addressing market dynamics, and actively contributing to the achievement of company goals.

Product Marketing Readouts

Readouts are a valuable and efficient communication tool for sharing critical information, ensuring that all employees are well-informed about the latest product developments, positioning strategies, and collaboration opportunities. These readouts can be delivered in various formats, such as concise newsletters or monthly company-wide update calls, providing flexibility in catering to different communication preferences.

What to include:

  • New product updates: Highlight any latest features, enhancements, or releases, and how to position these updates to maximize their impact in the market. By providing this information, PMMs ensure that everyone in the organization is well-informed about the product's latest capabilities and offerings.
  • Sales Enablement: Providing sales teams with collateral, such as sales decks, battlecards, or case studies, to effectively communicate the value proposition and competitive advantages of the product. Furthermore, the readouts may include documentation that helps employees across different departments understand the technical functionality of the product. This empowers teams to have more informed discussions with customers and prospects, ensuring a consistent and accurate representation of the product's features and benefits.
  • Thought leadership: Highlight any upcoming webinars or training sessions. These events offer opportunities for the broader team to deepen their understanding of the product and its value proposition, as well as to gain insights on market trends and customer preferences. PMMs can use the readouts to encourage participation and provide details on how to register or access these educational sessions.
  • Collaboration: These readouts can also serve as a channel for clarifying how other teams can work effectively with the product marketing function and request assistance. This could involve outlining the process for collaboration, providing guidelines for submitting requests or seeking help, and highlighting the areas where the product marketing team can offer support and expertise. It allows to foster clear lines of communication and collaboration, and contribute to improved cross-functional alignment and facilitate a smooth working relationship between different teams.

Monthly check-ins with cross-functional leadership

Engaging in regular check-ins with cross-functional leadership facilitates ongoing communication, feedback, and alignment. These meetings provide a platform to discuss upcoming initiatives, address challenges, and demonstrate the value PMM brings to different teams. It enables cross-functional collaboration and ensures that the product marketing function is closely integrated into the overall strategic planning and execution.

What to include:

  • Upcoming initiatives: Provide updates on upcoming projects, campaigns, or product launches to align efforts and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • PMM’s Impact: Showcase how the team effectively tackled significant challenges, highlighting positive outcomes and value generated for their team.
  • Addressing challenges: Identify and address any challenges faced by their team to find solutions and ensure smooth execution.
  • Collaboration and feedback: Encourage open dialogue, collaboration, and feedback between teams to gather insights and ensure alignment with goals and priorities.
  • Integration into strategic planning: Emphasise the integration of product marketing into strategic planning and execution to align strategies with broader business objectives.

Harness the power of storytelling to effectively frame and communicate results

It's not enough to simply present numbers; PMMs should dive deeper and provide the context behind the results. By delving into the reasons behind a competitor's success or analyzing the factors contributing to a dip in net new sales or upsell opportunities, PMMs can showcase their comprehensive understanding of the bigger picture.

This approach allows them to demonstrate how they grasp the entire story and how their insights and strategies help the business deliver the desired outcomes. By weaving together data, insights, and narrative, product marketers can captivate their audience, foster understanding, and emphasize the value they bring to the organization's success.

In conclusion, effectively showcasing the value of product marketing is paramount for its success within organizations. This involves not only quantifying the product marketing ROI and identifying key metrics but also setting measurable goals, implementing key strategies, and harnessing storytelling techniques. By conveying both the numbers and the narrative behind the results, product marketing professionals can demonstrate the profound impact they have on the organization.

Continually highlighting the value of product marketing unlocks its full potential and establishes a path for sustained growth and success.

Stuti Dutt, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Compass Digital

With over 7 years in the field, Stuti is currently leading the product marketing function for Compass DIgital. Her expertise includes product roadmaps, strategy, positioning, customer segmentation, and GTM strategies with a human-centric approach.