How do you break down responsibilities and KPI's for product launches between demand generation and product marketing?
Upfront, I just want to call out something that you all likely already know - PMM’s strategic and interconnected role makes it difficult to pinpoint and measure impact. Strategic, foundational work is hard to measure. And being so interconnected means that there are heaps of dependencies and variables. Shared goals and metrics are part of the job, so get comfortable with that. Build communicative, productive partnerships with the teams that have shared goals and align on the approach. Celebrate successes and failures together, do post-mortems, and learn and improve hand-in-hand.
Now, onto the question.
PMM should be responsible for all activities related to customer and market knowledge (market research, competitive research and differentiation, target audience definition, etc), messaging & positioning, and teeing up the launch by providing briefs and foundational materials that enable channels (web and marketing assets, sales readiness and enablement, PR, demand gen, etc).
Demand Gen should be responsible for all activities related to the performance of the campaign (SEO optimization, SEM, promotions, direct advertising strategy, email marketing, and paid ads).
Because demand gen will rely on product marketing to support campaigns by defining what products/features/experiences to highlight, for which audiences, and what language to use, the work is inevitably linked. It is clear why KPIs like CAC (customer acquisition cost), LTV (lifetime value), win rate, marketing/sales cycle length, campaign metrics, etc. are often used by both demand gen and product marketing -- they span the work of these two teams and many more.
Imagine you have a goal of making a delicious cake. To do so, you need high quality ingredients (PMM) and a skilled baker (demand gen). If the cake doesn’t come out well, it will be impossible for the person eating the cake to understand what went wrong -- but, you can input tests along the way to get signal. Test messaging using surveys or a customer advisory board. Run small experiments before investing a lot into demand gen to understand messaging’s impact on conversion. This can be an indicator of whether you’ve got quality ingredients.
A simple answer to this is that as a PMM, you are responsible for product launches and the GTM strategy around those launches. So, you will ultimately own all launch metrics. However, things like Pipegen, ACV/Revenue, Traffic, SOV etc are shared with your demand gen and content stakeholders.
In addition, some metrics you could focus on as a PMM are -
New product/feature mentions in sales calls: Tools like Gong help you search keywords and add filters. It's not hard to see how many times your sales team talked about your product launch. This is a good indicator of how well the sales team was enabled. This works really well especially for product launches that are either Tier 1 (new market creation launches) or features/products that are competition neutralizers (Track how often your competitor and this new launch was mentioned in the same call). I have also used this when a new corporate pitch is launched. It's a great forcing function for GTM teams to use latest messaging.
Adoption: I think this should be a mandatory metric for every product launch. Start to think about a good adoption metric for your launch. It could be - frequency of use from certain types of users? depth of engagement? usage by certain personas in the target company? Purchases made? CLTV? If you are not sure, start with something and keep evolving that metric.
Sales success: The straightforward way to measure this is ACV. However, was your launch catered towards a specific industry? If so, how many net new customers did you land with? The ACV might be small but if the goal was new logos, then you should focus on that. Was your win rate with a particular competitor trending down? then, post-launch did the trend change? Also, renewals - was your launch focused on reducing churn? if so, that should be a good way to measure success. So, before you use ACV as the only indicator of sales success, think back about the goal of your product launch.
I have written a blog on Product Launches titled "5 Truths of Building a Product Launch Strategy". You can find it here: https://sharebird.com/profile/suyog-deshpande
As the driver of the overall success of a launch, typically the PMM is responsible for the overall metrics around a launch. These can drill down into KPI categories like: Sales (ARR), Product (adoption or engagement), PR/Comms (coverage), Social (likes, new followers, engagement), Web (traffic, demo requests, form submits), Sales Enablement (asset views/downloads) and Demand Gen (will detail below) KPIs. At a more mature company where there are members of the marketing team specialized in these areas, those teams would be responsible for their respective KPIs. Of the above categories, PMM would typically squarely be responsible for the sales enablement KPIs (at a B2B company).
Demand Gen KPIs would typically include:
SQLs and/or SALs
Influenced or generated pipeline
In terms of responsibilities, this can obviously depend on the size of your organization, but if you have a dedicated demand gen team, PMM would be responsible for:
- the product/feature messaging and positioning and target audience definition (buyer personas)
- content that is used in demand gen activities (email nurtures, webinar decks, ebooks, web copy, etc.)
- sales enablement assets (decks, one pagers, customer evidence)
Demand gen would typically be responsible for developing programs to amplify a launch and PMM content would feed into those programs.
We have partnered with our integrated campaigns team to formalize roles and responsibilites and then we actually aim to share KPIs. I think it makes us stronger to feel like we are succeeding and failing together vs being able to say Product Marketing "succeeded" in a quarter where we didn't hit our pipeline target if that makes sense.
Great question. I would first caveat that this is something we're always working on, so if you haven't figured it out yet, don't worry, goal setting, responsibilities, and KPIs are always a work in progress!
I think it's rare that in larger organizations and with significant cross-functional work there's one person or one function who owns one clear KPI. I try to think of it as a Venn Diagram. On the left is Product goals or responsibilities - overly simplifying here, but defining the product, buiding the product, measuring the product impact on the business...then on the right side is demand gen + marketing. How many downloads of a product do you get, what about awareness, consideration, intent. At what cost and efficiency do you generate those trials?
The PMM is in the middle of the Venn Diagram. We ultimately own the outcome on the marketing end, but we will not be successful if we don't have the right demand gen programs and if we haven't built the product the right way.
At two previous companies I worked at (Zuora and Hired) we have OKRs and each group creates their own and works with each other to define theirs. We can also view everyone's OKRs in our Workboard tool. Alignment begins before any project begins. Each quarter we all get better at aligning our OKRs. And, with each project we improve on how we report back on how we acheived our OKRs together. We also focus on shared frameworks and process we all agree and align on. During and after each project we keep iterating and improving our frameworks and share learnings with other members of our teams.
With OKRs and agreed up frameworks, this helps us run and execute integrated marketing campaigns and product launches as smooth as possible.
(Below is a similar answer to a prior question.)
For demand gen and PMM, here’s what we do together and what we each own separately:
Together we discuss themes but demand gen owns the tactics and PMM owns the strategy. We both own the results.
Demand Gen: focuses on launching and driving campaigns, optimizing them to drive pipeline, working with SDRs and AE’s, managing large budgets for paid media, seo, organic. They own and run the tactics.
Product Marketing: we are the experts in our product, personas, competitors, solutions and verticals so we own messaging, positioning, hypothesis and angle. We own the strategy and direction of content.
Demand gen will own a calendar and kick off a template or framework on how they want to run a digital campaign. I’ll populate it with all the relevant information and messaging. If I have a product launch, message or position we want to own, I’ll weave it into the campaigns. Demand gen will activate the campaign, run the campaign and if it's a webinar I will help build the content or be the moderator/speaker on it. We set target results together and demand gen will track actual results -- then we all review results together and iterate.
I believe that the person ultimately responsible for the results, will most incentivized to succeed. So it comes down to ensuring incentives are aligned and expectations and responsibilities are clear.
For every product or feature launch, I create a go-to-market checklist that includes timelines, deliverables, dependencies, owner, and KPI. Some projects (like building out a message map) require input from both the PM and PMM, so I spell out specifically what pieces should come from which owner.
Same goes with demand gen and product marketing. I will work with the demand gen team in brainstorming what KPIs would make sense for them, given the broader goals of the launch. For example, can demand gen set more aggressive targets for this launch, compared to other previous launches? What does PMM need to do to enable that?
To summarize, if objectives are aligned between product, product marketing, demand generation, and sales at the onset of a go-to-market launch... then magic can happen.
This is really two questions with very different answers:
Especially for KPI's, drawing a solid line between Product Marketing and Demand Gen is unnecessary; it could even cause harm to collaboration between the two functions. Both teams are working to drive new sign-ups, adoption, or revenue related to the product/feature being launched. Both teams should carry goals toward that outcome to make sure all incentives are aligned. Choosing the ones that makes the most sense will depend on your customer acquisition mechanism.
Responsibilities are a bit easier to separate between the two functions as they're traditionally defined. Product marketing will typically be accountable for buyer persona definition, identifying the ideal customer profile, competitive intelligence, and positioning. Many Product Marketers will also own messaging, but I have a lot of success co-developing messaging with Demand Generation, especially if the product or feature being launched isn't a new category for the company.
In that responsibility breakdown, Demand Generation will be accountable for promotional execution. My expectation is that Demand Marketers will know which channels to activate to reach target buyers and how to allocate budget across those channels.
My answer is predicated on product marketing owning the launch and deman gen having a component of the launch. Product marketing provides the target buyers, the target market segments, the value proposition, and translates launch goals into lead gen objectives. Lead gen has what they need to plan and execute.