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Elizabeth Grossenbacher
Principal Product Marketing Manager, IoT at Twilio January 19

First I try to understand why it isn’t a priority. I’ve seen this happen a lot. Many times, it’s because our brilliant product managers are trying to build a better way to “do it.” Other times, it’s because the feature doesn’t really make sense for the market, and it’s just a marketing ploy. For example, imagine that your company offers cellular connectivity to non-phone devices (think, a water meter in middle-America). In the telecom world, 5G is a really hot topic. And it’s a great technology for smartphones. But, for most of the low-data-use connected devices (like a water meter in middle-America), it’s completely overkill. Low-data devices like this are by far the bulk of connected devices in the world. Thus, 5G would only be a more expensive technology – both to build and for the customer to use. It simply doesn't make sense to put it on the product roadmap given the current market landscape. Yet, other vendors are claiming to offer it and some customers are asking about it. In scenarios like this, you have to be prepared with a thoughtful response to the customer that illustrates your expertise in the market.

Still, you should have a discussion with your PM to determine why a certain feature isn’t a priority. Here are some tips that worked for me when I have conversations with PM:

  • Always bring it back to the customer and what the customer is trying to do.
  • Make sure that the competitor feature isn’t just market hype or marketing jargon.
  • Have a conversation with the PM about whether the feature will soon become obsolete as the product advances.
  • Ask the question, “Under what circumstances would this feature be a priority in your opinion?”
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, Insights, Copy & Content at Bluevine August 12

I would start by understanding why it’s not seen as a priority - does this feature align with your overall product strategy? Perhaps this is an area that the company has made a conscious choice not to enter.

However if this is simply a prioritization issue for the Product team, I suggest you quantify the impact. How many customers are asking for this and how many accounts or how much revenue are you losing by not having this option for your customers. Also, can you estimate if a customer adopting this feature would increase LTV?

Once you have this information I recommend getting your Leadership team involved so you can have extra support in the prioritization conversation.

Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, SalesforceDecember 8

A critical piece of information is missing from this question: why isn't it seen as a priority internally?

There are several valid reasons not to launch something even if your competitor has it and customers want it - the main one that comes to mind is that it takes you too far out of your core audience and core use case which would then require a significant investment not only in product to maintain that new line, but also in GTM to spin up a motion to build that new funnel. It could be a simple cost benefit analysis of the direction that investment would take the company, versus other possible investments for the product. 

This is a theme that will come up in a lot of my answers - but "influencing the roadmap" shouldn't be about getting a particular feature on the roadmap. It should be about getting a seat at the table where the strategy and direction are being set. It should be about building a relationship with product that goes beyond dates and deliverables and into the why behind the decisions. 

If PMM and Product are aligned on the direction of the company (the audience, the use cases, the priorities for the business) then you'll have a lot more alignment on the roadmap itself as well. 

Jessica Webb Kennedy
Head Of Marketing at Tailscale | Formerly Atlassian (Trello), HubSpot, LyftDecember 9

This is always tough, for Trello this was, it's something we had thought about doing for a long time but we didn't want to be overly prescriptive about how people should use our product. That being said, we got a lot of inquiries about templates - and a LOT of other tools provided templates - so it became something that felt like we should consider adding. Like I've said in a few other answers, I think the best way to convince internal stakeholders that something should be a priority is with data. 

Again, this can be a combo of showing that a feature is table-stakes amongst the area your product plays in, but something even more impactful is collecting feedback from support tickets, data you've gleaned from analyzing user behavior, tests you've run by sharing certain types of content our blog or through your email program that have led to higher engagement. Anything you have that can be an indicator of why a feature you may be advocating for could benefit your users and the company. 

The other piece of this is figuring out how your product can do it differently. For Trello, when we decided to add templates we knew we needed to do it in a way that would be helpful for our users and also highlight the uniqueness of Trello use cases. That's why we decided to build a community-focused platform that would allow users to submit templates and highlight their stories in an easily digestible format. We wanted our templates to be less about highlighting our product and more about highlighting how the Trello community finds interesting, unique, and helpful ways to get things done - and share that back with the community at large. 

Timing is also an essential consideration, part of why templates made sense to launch when they did was about what else we could build to serve our users' needs at the time. We bundled the gallery with the actual ability for users to create their own template boards internally for team usage, along with card templates, updates to automation, and more. The importance of timing cannot be overstated enough. Just because a feature isn't a priority at the moment doesn't mean it never will be - stay on it and collect evidence to build your case!