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Margueritte Harlow
Head of Product Marketing, Square Banking at Square August 30

I’m sure the answer to this question varies dramatically depending on where product marketing sits within the organization - is it within product? marketing? elsewhere?

At Square, product marketing sits within product teams, which operate as small interdisciplinary sprint teams composed of product management, product marketing, engineering, design, data science, research, and creative. While this is the ideal state and it’s not always practical or possible to mirror that team composition across every product, there is a recognition that including those diverse perspectives is valuable and improves outcomes for customers.

When you have a culture that values interdisciplinary expertise for product development, functions contribute to roadmap discussions as early as possible by design. When there isn’t an expectation of shared ownership, there is a lot of pressure put on one function, usually product managers. Product managers may play an outsized role in roadmap development, but in an embedded sprint team model, they rely on thought partners to provide functional expertise and diverse perspectives.

If you’re not operating in a sprint team environment with product marketing embedded in product orgs, I would recommend developing a close relationship with your product counterparts, aligning on customer needs and business goals, and creating feedback loops and cadences that create opportunities for integrating cross functional input into product development planning.

Sophia (Fox) Le
Product Marketing at Glassdoor May 11
  • Build relationships. Show up to add value; ask, remind, repeat.
  • Bring the voice of the customer to the table. Leverage customer interviews, NPS verbatims, third-party research findings, competitive intel. Bring data to validate and strengthen your recommendations with the customer wants, needs/unmet, and motivations at the center of said suggestions.
  • Bring your marketing calendar with you. Create shared aspirations to get as much exposure and adoption of products set to release while opening discussions on what else can be invaluable product additions to the overarching brand story your marketing team will be pushing out. Time and again, we are finding at Glassdoor that when we are able to anchor or couple product releases with marketing campaigns, it is stronger in every sense.
  • Bring your GTM launch proposals to get feedback. Involve your product counterparts in the sausage-making. How might your team help move these products off the shelf? How might your team help arm product with data to help with prioritization, especially in high growth orgs where ruthlessly prioritizing is the name of the game?
Steve Johnson
Chief Executive Officer at ProductGrowthLeaders | Formerly Under10 Consulting, Pragmatic MarketingSeptember 8

Experienced product managers know that we need to start planning launch as soon as we start planning a release. Alas, many inexperienced product managers (and most product owners) assume that BUILDING is all that matters. (Sigh). They're the ones who think release and launch are the same thing. 

That said, more than one marketing person has said, "We need to know what's shipping a year in advance!" Which is impossible. We know what we know when we know it. 

Release is the end of a development project; Launch is the beginning of a marketing project. Both parallel projects need an understanding of the roadmap, the problems being solved, the personas being served, and the priorities.