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AMA: Zendesk Product Marketing Director, Abhiroop Basu on Influencing the Product Roadmap
January 12 @ 10:00am PST

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Product Marketing With 👋 Abhiroop Basu (he/him/his), Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
Top Questions
In terms of empowering your sales and success teams to get customers and prospects excited about upcoming features, how do you help them present the roadmap? Does product marketing create a roadmap deck that then gets shared out to the team?
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
In almost all cases you want to have Product Marketing creating the roadmap deck and delivering it, rather than Product. There are two main reasons for this. First, some PMs (please don't hate me) tend to focus more on describing the feature rather than articulating the value and benefit. Of cou...more
How can you influence the immediate product roadmap if the pre-launch customer research revealed to you that the MVP would not add significant value to your customers?
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
This happens a lot more than you might think. The Product team looks at the market and decides to build a feature. The feature is rolled out as an early alpha and customers are disappointed. What do you do? This is actually one of the easier scenarios in which to influence the roadmap. A few yea...more
Career question: As a product marketer, how do you know if you're personally a better fit to be a product manager?
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
It comes down to which aspects of the role excite you the most. Depending on the company you are working at, Product Marketing and Product Management can have a lot of overlap. I’ll first discuss some of the similarities and differences in the roles before summarizing how you should think about m...more
How does your customers' (or the market) willingness to pay influence your product roadmap?
Do you prioritize features based on their revenue potential?
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
The mistake some Product Marketers make is to only think about net new revenue potential. For example, let’s say you are deciding between two features that will take equal amounts of development time. Do you build the feature that will help you attract new customers or one that will retain your e...more
Did you ever consider attributing publicly damaging negative reviews a somewhat higher weight, within any kind of equation that connects user feedback/requests with product roadmap decisions?
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
This is a really interesting question. Leadership typically look at a number of factors when determining what goes in the roadmap. For example, at Zendesk we look at industry trends, innovative use cases, new market expansion, our competitors, partners, and of course customer feedback. For custo...more
As a product marketer, when and how do you communicate your product roadmap to both active and prospective customers?
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
Discussing the roadmap with customers is a critical step in product development because it helps validate and clarify your strategy. It’s tough to give a one-size fits all rule for when to share the product roadmap as it depends on the industry, customer maturity, segment, and numerous other fac...more
How does the product marketing team's placement in the org chart (under marketing, product, etc.) effect your ability to influence the roadmap?
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
You would assume that being in the product organization would allow a PMM more influence. However, I’ve actually found the opposite to be the case.  For a brief period of time at Zendesk, Product Marketing reported into the product org. This let us foster very close relationships with our prod...more
Should product marketers be "influencers" or "partners" in product roadmap decisions?
As an influencer you might just share market and customer research, competitive intel, etc. as another input for PM to consider in their own decision making; whereas if you're a true partner, you're discussing and debating with them, as equals, what product roadmap decisions should be and why, where PMs and PMMs bring different inputs and value to the table as equals. Thoughts on being an "influencer" vs. being a "partner" in guiding the product roadmap? Thank you.
Product Marketing Director at Zendesk
You’ve done an admirable job of describing the differences, however the reality can be a lot more nuanced. There are many situations in which I have felt strongly about adding something to the roadmap and have argued with PMs to get it built. In other instances I’ve played a more supporting role ...more