How do you break down responsibilities and KPIs for product launches between product management and marketing?
Oooohhhh, this is a good one and something I spend a lot of time balancing.
Product owns the product and at the end of the day both gets unearned credit and unearned blame. It is your neck on the line for the end to end experience. Thinking through the experience that users get both in product and out of product (traditionally the domain of marketing) is well within Product's scope.
That being said, as you expand your career and scope you'll find more and more that you don't scale. Not just in terms of time but in terms of expertise. Figuring out a structure that lets you contribute to marketing efforts without owning them is your best bet for the future.
The final thought here is be generious with credit. There's no limit to the number of disciplines that can get credit for accomplishments. Give Marketing unearned credit for things mostly drive by Product and what you'll get back is much more willingness to get your guidance and willingness to collaborate.
- Just like Shared KPI's between Engineering and Product Management, a similar shared KPI framework between Product Management and Marketing is a great way to build high quality products that bring customer delight and high ROI. This also builds camaraderie and encourages teamwork towards a common goal between these teams.
- Generally PM's would own Company, Business, Acquisition, User Engagement and User Satisfaction KPI's. Examples are: MRR, Churn rate, Number of users, DAU/WAU/MAU, Number of sessions, Session duration, Churn rate, NPS or CSAT etc.
- While Marketing may own Leads generated, Leads conversion to customer, CAC, LTV, Ad spend and Conversion for various channels being used.
- Although the KPI's would be distinct, certain KPI's like LTV, conversion to customer, user onboarding, retention rate and NPS/CSAT can be shared between the 2 functions. It really depends on the case and business needs
- As for launch metrics, they could be pre-launch sign-ups, K-factor, social media engagement, user signups/conversion, revenue and retention. In my opinion, the last 3 signups/conversion, revenue and retention can be shared while others can be owned by marketing. This is in addition to the business and engagement metrics that are probably solely owned by PM's
The partnership with Product Marketing is one of the most important functions when it comes to rolling out a successful product. Don’t read too much into the last part of that statement though, a Product Marketing Manager (PMM) is a crucial teammate to include from the start, not just at launch time. If I know who I will be working with in advance, I tag them in Product Requirements Documents or other important materials. Sharing context from the beginning is so important!
As far as the KPIs go, we are really talking about how you measure the success of a product, and Product Management and Product Marketing should be aligned on this. If you're the Product Manager, you’re ideally setting the big picture targets and KPIs for the initiative, and working with a cross functional team, such as PMM, Engineering, and Product Ops, to make sure these are shared targets. Part of the product rollout might include working with PMM on a webinar to drive awareness, and the PMM will likely have their own targets for things like webinar attendance, and all of these items build on each other. Ideally the webinar drives awareness, which in turn helps drives adoption.
I think this is one of my favorite ways of categorizing different kinds of product managers - based off of the KPI’s that they are being optimized for. Product managers who are focused on building products, fast, and shipping them to market are going to be measured a little bit differently than product managers who are about getting sales, reaching a particular enterprise market or even a product lead growth. For example, when you think about KPIs of one who is focused on marketing activities versus focusing on product management activities, I would split the PIs down the middle from the business metrics which are revenue versus leads. The product managers, who are focused on marketing activities should be responsible for what are the opportunities that are generated from the product whether that’s product lead people coming from the website, conferences, or just customer interviews. Product managers who are focused on shipping products fast and getting things to market, should be measured on that exact thing. So I typically look at the cycle time of features. How long does it take a product feature from ideation all the way through product delivery and then of course product usage at the end of it all. Both product managers are going to be held accountable for the product usage of their portfolio. These PIs are typically the secondary indicators to be focused on how well they’re accomplishing those monthly active users targets whether it’s by generating to have new usage or focusing on enhancing the product suite.
I generally think in terms of OKRs rather than KPIs, so here let's agree that we are talking about some shared measure of success!
On our teams, Product Marketing is responsible for all communication about the product or feature to people outside the Product-Eng-Design org. They're our liaison to the outside world! That includes:
- Creating campaigns and collateral for customers
- Developing positioning documents
- Developing and rolling out enablement materials for go-to-market teams
- Implementing campaigns and marketing events (eg, webinars, content marketing, etc)
In terms of shared goals, product and product marketing have their own metrics that they use to track success. Where we need to get aligned is around higher-level organizational goals. For instance, I once worked with a team who launched a highly requested feature designed to increase conversions by existing users. After launch, the conversion metric didn't increase as expected. However, the team also noticed that surprisingly few customers were trying the new feature. The PMM on the team immediately kicked off a piece of work to rethink enablement and customer messaging around the feature, while the Product team dug into whether the feature wasn't solving the problem as intended. As the two disciplines tackled the problem from different angles, they were able to create more insights into what incremental improvements could be made, and drive more value for customers.
I love this question because it's something I'm currently involved with at CookUnity. At a B2C company the marketing team is a Product Manager's best friend, especially in the early startup days. You can build the greatest product in the world but there are only so many Field of Dreams "if you build it they will come" success stories. You need someone out there telling your product's story and building awareness, hence the PM's need for a great relationship with the Marketing organization.
Launching a new product, a new major feature release, or even a rebrand requires a collaborative dance with many different functions - especially Marketing and Engineering. Host a workshop with your marketing partners, make sure to draw lines in the sand with launch responsibilities and align on the timeline of events. A product launch can be thought of as a project, so you should treat it like one. Map out the technical and creative deliverables, document dependencies, assign owners to each, align on the timelines and get a thumbs up from everyone in the room before moving forward. Communication throughout is key! A product launch is supposed to be fun, exciting and many times the first touchpoint you have with new users - it's gotta be a smooth and memorable first experience. Product Launch KPIs should obviously be success oriented, it's about gaining reach: usage, new registrations, reactivations, engagement, etc. The marketing team may have their own metrics to reach eyeballs or ears (from my Spotify days), but if the eyeballs don't turn into new users and increased engagement then the mark was likely missed.
While there are different specific metrics that marketing and product teams track for product launches, what's critical is the alignment between the two and agreement on the metrics to track prior to the launch.
Some examples of metrics tracked by each team:
- Product team: Satisfaction, usage by users and individual accounts, full funnel from a user trying the feature to actually using it
- Marketing team: % of reps enabled on the new product, leads generated, competitive win rate changes
- Metrics that require deep partnership: Number of customer stories/references for the capability