All related (28)
Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe
Quick answer: Data. Bring them snippets of real customer conversations or data points that they haven't seen from customer interviews, surveys, CSAT, NPS, customer service feedback - you name it. This will show the value of talking to customers, and will leave them wanting more.   To be even more influential, if your product or design team isn’t listening  - make sure your exec team is. Get an executive sponsor who wants to champion the “voice of the customer” - and leverage their position to promote the customer insights you’re finding.   It’s really dangerous when a product / eng team...more
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
It is important for all functions across the company to build empathy for users. Regardless of your segment, small advisory boards are helpful for this, and can be set up to feature 10-20 key customers who meet quarterly (or more or less often) to review roadmaps and provide feedback on either new initiatives or existing products. The key here is getting leadership buy-in across the exec team, as they will likely be the main headlines to actually get key customers to attend these sessions. Depending on the level of budget you have, getting teams together to go onsite with customers and a...more
Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Group Manager, Engagement & Retention Campaigns at Adobe

I answered this in a similar post - see it here:

Agustina Sacerdote
Global Head of PMM and Content Marketing, TIDAL at Square
To me, it's about creating a customer-centric culture, not just a "market research" culture. "Market research" is a bit of a stigmatized term - most of it is considered not valuable, not actionable, and an expensive "nice-to-have". I'd encourage you to re-orient around building a habit of listening and talking to customers - often. What I try to do, very tactically is:  1/ help make the case for "discovery" in roadmaps as an official line item. Make sure formal product development time accounts for talking to relevant audiences before anything is built or designed.  2/ i invite product, d...more
Eileen Buenviaje Reyes
VP, Product and Growth Marketing at 1Password | Formerly Dropbox, SurveyMonkey, LinkedIn
Market research is the most powerful tool for influencing product. I recommend applying your marketing skills to your internal stakeholders in the same way you use them for your externally-facing initiatives. If you have some great market insights in hand, consider these steps: 1. Understand your internal target audience: Why does product and design consider themselves as the consumer? Where are the largest differences between our internal teams and the actual customer? How do internal teams best consume information? 2. Create a messaging strategy for your insights: What are the key takeaw...more
Katie Levinson
Head of Product Marketing at Handshake

Sure do! I like to start with some qualitative research first to help get at any nuances in messaging, especially across different audience segments. Then, run a survey (max diff is a great technique) to understand what resonates most with your different segments. If you also have the budget and/or time, running your messaging by focus groups is another good option, so you can get a deeper understanding of their reactions and sentiment.

Daniel Waas
VP Product Marketing at AppFolio
I'd say lead the way. Use a traditional PMM responsibility like refreshing your buyer personas as a reason to kick off a joint research project and pull in your partners from the product and design team. Set up customer interviews. Get outdoors and do a workshop. Have some fun with it. Bribe them with candy and fizzy drinks :o) If you can't get buy-in for that, go talk to customers yourself and present a read-out of what you learned.  Get with the sales and client services team and use them as a proxy for the customers if there is too much red tape around direct customer interaction.  Co...more
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach
This is concerning to hear. Unless you have the next Henry Ford on your design team, this mentality will ultimately lead to a poor product-market fit. That’s not saying that your design team should not have a voice at all – they may have a solid product vision and if they are market experts, then they will have an equally strong understanding of the market’s needs. But that understanding doesn’t just randomly come to them. It is carefully honed by having a close pulse on the customer. For instance, there is one particular product leader at my current company who understands our customers b...more
Agustina Sacerdote
Global Head of PMM and Content Marketing, TIDAL at Square

I would start with getting information from Sales first. At Square, I rely very strongly on Account Managers to get a sense for the needs and attitudes of larger merchants. I'll talk to them directly first and then will try to partner up with them on specific conversations to close very specific knowledge gaps. Try to coordinate with your Sales / AM counterparts to make the 30 - 45 minute call with customers productive for everyone. 

Marie Francis
Senior Director Product Marketing at Skedulo
While I agree with Mary's answer ("data") and the other great points that have been added here, I would caution against taking the exact same approach you would to influencing product as you would to influencing culture. If data were sufficient to change culture, the world would look dramatically different.  Culture is theoretically owned in people, HR, operations, and exec leadership. It's an intangible and can be attached to personality. That's a different audience and perspective than a group of product managers and engineers. Put your marketing hat on and adjust your approach accordi...more
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing at Oyster®
One thing I'd add to Mary's response is what I think is the hardest part of your question: identifying the questions that matter most to the business. Getting and using data is critical, but it will fall on deaf ears and undermine your credibility if you aren't getting the right data at the right time for the right decision-makers. How do you identify what data to go get? Look for one of the following: * Internal disagreements: Are members of the Product team regularly having a philosophical argument that impacts the direction of the roadmap? For example, does one camp think user...more
Sonia Moaiery
Product Marketing at Intercom | Formerly Glassdoor, Prophet, Kraft
I always start with positioning ideas as hypotheses (a fancy term for your hunches). This approach is helpful to show stakeholders that you’re open to their input/feedback, and potentially being wrong. When you have hypotheses, you come to the conversation saying “here’s something I have a hunch about, but I don’t have enough data yet to tell me this is a good idea or the right thing, I’d love to hear your thoughts or help me poke holes in this” I think about building consensus in three stages to bring stakeholders along the journey with you so none of your ideas feel like a surprise by th...more
Dave Daniels
Founder at BrainKraft

I agree with Mary. Data. How you package that data, though, really matters. Some people are swayed by facts, some are swayed by process/method, and some are swayed by stories. Know your audience and package your facts accordingly. 

Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach
Measuring effectiveness around anything, including personas, starts with knowing what the goal is. Why are you building personas in the first place? Some common uses for personas tend to be for message development, sales training, product design or campaign creation. But there are plenty of other reasons as well. Knowing what the goal is leads to measuring effectiveness, which usually has a process component and an outcomes component. The former can be somewhat qualitative but the latter almost always requires some type of data-driven A/B testing. For example: • in product development, did...more
John Hurley
Vice President Product Marketing at Amplitude
What I love about product design teams is how differently they think and create. They tend to be really amazing at information design. PMM can create strong foundations – let's say user personas – and UX researchers and designers might totally reimagine how to display personas relative to their own projects. That can open up a new world of thinking for PMM – and more practically become an asset used by PMM for a variety of work (onboarding new hires, design new creative takes on messaging, channels and campaigns).  Those nuanced new panes of perspective can help PMM explore new ideas, ke...more