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AMA: Adobe Head of Product Marketing, Advertising Cloud Mary Sheehan on Product Launches
January 16 @ 10:00am PST

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Product Launches With Mary (Shirley) Sheehan , Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
Top Questions
When roadmaps and priorities are constantly changing, how do you take control and lead a product launch from a marketing perspective? Is that the role of product marketing or does that leadership come from product management -- or someone else?
There is a lack of alignment at my company and our teams act in silos. Consequently, my roadmap and goals seem to change on a weekly if not bi-weekly basis because marketing keeps getting pulled in different directions. There needs to be some sort of roadmap and role that aligns sales with product, but I'm not sure if that should come from product marketing or not. I want to initiate this conversation, but I don't know if it's overstepping my role or not. Advice here?
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
There are 2 major questions here - one has to do with priorities changing (e.g. no strategy) and the other is indirectly about out of control roadmap timelines - I'll answer both below!  Priorities changing Major Roadmap and priority changes are often a symptom of a weak strategy. It’s comm...more
Have you ever been part of a launch where the eng/product team brought in product marketers or customers after work has kicked off (but before launch) and influenced feature development? What was that like?
Sometimes when product kicks off work they have assumptions about how people think about certain features. Marketing, support, and even customers can come to the table with real stories that may invalidate the assumptions product had early on in the feature dev process.
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
Yes, definitely. Although it’s not ideal, it can happen and you can make an impact in terms of helping them understand product feature prioritization, since they probably already have some idea of what they're building, and (hopefully) who they are solving a problem for.  If there are a ton of...more
In your organization does the product marketing also work with a portfolio marketer?
In our organization we have Product Marketers assigned to audiences (customer segments) and products. It is difficult to align efforts and avoid duplication - have you seen a model like this work well and how?
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
Yes, we do. In fact, I think Adobe is probably the best example out there I've seen of Portfolio marketing. At a high level, they've divided the Adobe business into 3 business units:  - Creativity & Design - Documents such as PDFs and our Adobe Sign  - Marketing & Commerce - called Adobe Exp...more
Who do you typically obtain launch goals from within the organization, especially when matrixes. For example a GM of a business unit, the Product Manager for a Product and the Product Marketing Manager.
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
Ideally, it's a combination of the GM, product management and product marketing. The GM would set the overall business goals for the year or quarter including revenue. The PM often drives the product launch adoption and revenue goals for that product. PMM often builds the plan with the metrics to...more
A product marketer jobs starts way before the product launch. However, it is difficult situation when the product launch is delayed from eng side. How do we approach the launch plan that was pre-decided? What changes in approaches would you recommend
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
I'd recommend to play the "new person card" and ask a lot of questions: what market problems does this solve? How did they ID these market problems? What customers or products have they talked to? What are competitors or doing? If they can’t answer these questions, there is likely room for you ...more
How do you think about the scope or deliverables for various launches? Do you have a tiering system? What factors do you consider?
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
I definitely recommend tiering launches by the level of potential impact and therefore the level of activities. While starting the GTM plan, you need to decide how “big” you want to go. Time, resources, and budget all come into play here when you're thinking about the activities.  Here's an...more
What are the most common hurdles you encounter that prevent launches from achieving their goals? Conversely, are there challenges you prepare for that never really materialize?
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
Although I’ve managed over 250 launches, not a single one has gone perfectly. That may sound crazy, but know that most of the time when something goes wrong, only I or a small number of people internally catch it, and the customer is never the wiser. Also, as I mentioned in another post, once the...more
What are the different teams that come together for product launches at your company? as a % significance through the launches, how important is sales/field enablement?
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
At Adobe, it's been a pleasure so far to work with many cross-functional teams for a product launch. For my team, Adobe Advertising Cloud, which is on the B2B side, we work with the following teams:  - Product / eng - Program management (which is the organizational arm and keeps eng timelines...more
How do you get creative in your product launch, and not feel too templatized?
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
This is a great question! It's easy to get stuck with the same GTM checklist for every launch and feel like there's no creativity.  An easy fix is to push the boundaries of what you normally do with a new visual approach or new mediums. Never tried a video before? Try it out now! I always l...more
What strategies do you recommend for driving adoption of a new product, post-launch? What is the role of Product Marketing compared to other parts of the business in driving adoption?
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
Post-launch momentum, what I call "Rolling Thunder," is one of my favorite topics! I think a lot of times people throw in their hats when the launch moment is done, but this is really when it's just beginning. A good strategy is to take some of the "core" assets you've created for the launch (e.g...more
Work With Mary
Product Marketing Specialist/Mgr
San Francisco or San Jose, CA
Ask Mary About
  • How to time a launch for greatest impact
  • What people get wrong about product launches
  • How to measure your product launch results