For a team member newer to the discipline, how do you train messaging and positioning?
There are a host of good training options out there. Sharebird is a good place to start and you can google alternatives as well. I mentioned a few books earlier on as well - Al Ries and Jack Trout and it's called "Positioning: The Battle for your Mind" and "Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It" by April Dunford.
Other than that it really comes down to experience. Just do it and get better and better at it as time goes on.
Almost everything I learned about messaging I learned by watching other companies who do it really well. These can be similar players in your space (even competitors), or even products/brands you really admire. What are the things that they talk about that help them stand out, and how can you apply it to your own product/industry?
I've also read a few good books on messaging, which I address in another question below!
There are a host of good training options out there:
1. Sharebird - a great place to start. Here you can get real industry expertise and resources from folks in the field
2. PMM Alliance - They have a comprehensive set of courses, content and how to guides that I have found extremely useful
3. Podcasts - Women in Product Marketing by Mary Sheehan (Sharebird Podcast), Product Marketing Insider are a couple of my favorites.
4. Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It" by April Dunford.
5. Another best practice I like to follow is actually spending time on other brand sites (example B2B sites like- Gong, Airtable, Monday.com, Snowflake, Zendesk, Drift, Quickbooks.com etc.) to understand how they position their products, how they showcase their value prop, jobs to be done etc.
6. Also, Linkedin is a great resource. There are some incredible marketers and product marketers that focus on covering messaging, positioning, super worthwhile to follow.
For one, I set the expectation that it takes time to get better at messaging & positioning and to truly understand it involves applying it a few times.
There are a few resources I recommend early-stage PMMs to read to understand the topic more:
- Emma Stratton's Punchy newsletter. She breaks down the difference between messaging & copy really well. This is an element I find early PMMs get confused about. https://punchy.co/newsletter/ Eg. copy is the words you use to bring messaging to life.
- Andy Raskin has helped me understand storytelling & positioning by absorbing his Linkedin posts over several years. Much more effective than any book in my opinion. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andyraskin/
- Looking at other websites for inspiration. I personally like https://saaslandingpage.com/ - it allows me to quickly scan a variety of SaaS websites and explore how they've arranged their messaging.
- I'll also go through and do some positioning "tear downs" with the PMM, where we guess what a particular company's positioning could be. It's fast, fun, effective and opens up a good discussion without needing to have customer context or product knowledge.
- Something I've done recently is visually mapping out the positioning changes within the company I work at (this only works if you've been there for some time and have repositioned). I've mapped this out in Figma and walked the PMM through the changes, and what data was involved in this decision.