Candace Marshall

AMA: Zendesk Senior Director, Product Marketing, Candace Marshall on Product Launches

November 22 @ 10:00AM PST
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Zendesk Senior Director, Product Marketing, Candace Marshall on Product Launches
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Candace Marshall
Candace Marshall
Zendesk Senior Director of AI Product MarketingNovember 23
Excellent question. To answer your first question, as product marketers, we get requests for all types of content. One tip is to align on a bill of materials, segmented by launch tier. That way, every time you launch a new product, you know exactly what resources you will develop. Ensure you align and set expectations on this bill of materials with your cross-functional partners, like sales, enablement, and marketing. This will help streamline your launch efforts because any time there’s a launch, everyone is on the same page about what to expect and by when. Also, yes - you should absolutely consider bundling smaller releases together. It not only helps streamline launch efforts, but it’s better for your customers! By weaving these smaller releases into a larger narrative and use cases, you can tell a more compelling story versus doing feature marketing.
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Candace Marshall
Candace Marshall
Zendesk Senior Director of AI Product MarketingNovember 23
Going from single to multi-product is an exciting time. To build a cohesive narrative, it's important to begin with the foundation of product-market fit. Start asking and aligning on fundamental questions like are you targeting the same core audience as your current product, or are you expanding to reach a broader audience? Are you moving upmarket or venturing into adjacent markets, potentially with a different buyer persona? Understanding and aligning on these core questions will help you craft the right narrative. Typically, I've seen companies introduce a new product to the same core buyer - in this case, you want to build a narrative that showcases the value of each product individually while also illustrating the synergy/enhanced benefits of using them together.
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Candace Marshall
Candace Marshall
Zendesk Senior Director of AI Product MarketingNovember 23
First, start with gaining a deep understanding of your target audience - what they love, what they struggle with, and how your product solves their problems uniquely. This will help you create clear and compelling positioning, messaging, and launch narrative. Secondly, establish clear comms and coordination with your teams - even without dedicated PMMs, cross-functional collaboration is key. Tag-team who is going to work with Product on launch/GA (general availability) timelines, drive marketing efforts (given limited bandwidth, pick the most impactful tactics), and sales enablement (if you have sales teams). Good luck, you got this!
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Candace Marshall
Candace Marshall
Zendesk Senior Director of AI Product MarketingNovember 23
It's critical for PMM to be in lock-step with Product. In fact, the two teams should be joined at the hip. There are many ways to integrate with the PM team but here are some tips: 1) establish PM to PMM mapping to ensure you have coverage across your product portfolio 2) have weekly 1-1s with your PMs 3) join PM's sprint & product planning and daily stands-up when needed (especially as you get closer to GA), Decisions on what features to focus on in each launch are usually a joint effort between the two teams. And it'll depend on many different factors including customer feedback/needs, your business broader goals/strategy, and market trends (e.g. when AI became the "it" thing, no company wanted to be left behind, causing many companies to shift their prioritization towards AI). Here at Zendesk, we have a "Market Requirement Doc" or MRD that helps PMM with launch planning. It includes product specifications, user stories, competitive analysis, market research, and more - all to help PMM with crafting messaging, GTM strategy and launch planning. All of these details are populated and aligned on between PM & PMM.
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Candace Marshall
Candace Marshall
Zendesk Senior Director of AI Product MarketingNovember 23
After launch, you want to immediately start gauging the success of your product launch. An easy way to track success is by funnel stage: 1. Awareness & engagement (metrics like people reached) 2. Pipeline & bookings (how many people are interested in your new product and actually buy it 3. Product Adoption (how many customers start using your products after purchasing) In my experience, it's important to align on success metrics way before launch (in fact, this should be during your launch planning) and set up the dashboards/data required to track this data (which I know can be tricky - do what you can). Typically for a major product launch (like a Tier 1), you report out on your success metrics at the end of day 1 (more focused on the awareness/engagement metrics), at the end of week 1, at the end of month 1. After that, it's good to track these metrics regularly, and every company has a difference cadence. One final thing to keep in mind: please, set up a way to get regular customer feedback post-launch. It's important to listen to your customers and reiterate (on the product, your messaging, and more!)
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Candace Marshall
Candace Marshall
Zendesk Senior Director of AI Product MarketingNovember 23
I love this question because you're right - your job is not done the day after launch :) It's critical to maintain momentum to continue driving pipeline, bookings, AND adoption (usage of your product/feature) post-launch. Here are a few ideas to maintain that momentum: * Post-Launch marketing: Continue marketing efforts after the launch, leveraging the channels that resonate most with your target audience. This helps keep your product or feature top-of-mind for potential customers (another tip: make sure you focus on use case/value vs. feature-marketing) * Focus on customer education: Develop and launch resources like tutorials, how-to guides, webinars, and FAQs to help customers understand and use the new product or feature. * Engage with Customers: Regularly engage with customers through various channels. Ask for feedback, answer questions, and show how you're incorporating their suggestions into your product. * Get involved with user communities: this is such an underrated strategy/tactic - it's so important to help users learn from each other and feel more connected to your product. This investment will pay for itself when your users turn into advocates! * Case Studies and Testimonials: Share case studies and testimonials from early users. Success stories can encourage others to try the new product or feature.
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