How do you help product management understand the value of product marketing (beyond just "helping us launch things")?
Two approaches here, that may be used at the same time:
- Direct communication. If you have a strong framework for how you've seen PMM function strategically in other organizations, don't be afraid to share it widely. Be prepared to talk about how this structure can help teams drive greater, faster, better results.
- Consider launches as a starting point. Use the time and collaboration with Product, Dev, Design, and Business teams to develop relationships. Ask questions, share ideas, and take the opportunity to suggest/flex your broader PMM skills. Over time, your cross-functional colleagues will hopefully see the value you can add to upstream decision-making, so that when you do or join other activities, it's obvious why.
This is my number one problem that I run into with Product Teams when entering new companies or teams. Product Marketing is part of the Product Team, I had a great Product Manager that used to tell me that I was a capital "P" not a capital "M" meaning Product always comes first. So I have impacted this in a few ways, I started requiring Marketing Requirements documents to be attached to the Product Requirements or Epics my product teams were making. This ensured that the engineering team knew who we were building it for, how big the market was that we were going after with this feature or function and what the high level messaging we were testing with was. This allowed engineers to get a better sense of the impact these releases were going to make and how it was designed and built. I have even had some engineers and product teams require this at other organizations they went to. The other way you can show them the value is to lean into active usage and retention as a metric you care and hold yourself accountable for. These are the metrics product teams care most about, if no one is using and retaining then the product won't survive. Know these numbers, know how launches and messaging and the customer journey impacts these numbers and the Product Team will show you SOOO much respect and start looking at you than more than just a marketer!
Yes, launches are a big element of the PM-PMM equation, but this relationship is much more than helping us launch things. Done right, Product Managers and Product Marketers form a strategic team for the product area in an organization. This relationship typically guides the product development, adoption, marketing, and overall success of the Northstar metrics for the product.
The PMM team is key to developing the product's strategic messaging built off customer understanding. This strategic messaging is built on a combination of both in-bound PMM skills and outbound PMM skills that the PMs can tap into.
At Okta, on the Inbound side, PMMs help with:
Strategic Customer initiatives and problem statements
Market, gaps, and use-case development
Key Persona development
Market sizing and segment
Adoption feedback and roadblocks
Strategic product partnerships
On the outbound side
Demand generation patterns (Channels and methods)
Feature adoption programs
Win/Loss Deal analysis
Pricing and Packaging strategy
The PM-PMM team also partner up when doing QBRs for their respective spheres.
The way I see it - you can build the greatest product in the world but if it (1) people don't understand the value (2) people don't know it exists or (3) people can't sell it, your product will fail. So PMM addresses those critical needs. It's enough to convince to most people =)
Great list above. I also look at actual customer "bugs" as well sometimes to be on top of what possibly might create a "space" for competition to come in.
Other emerging areas for good product marketers to evolve especially in a startup/small company is
- solutions marketing by verticals.
- Ecosystem marketing with technology partners
- Channel partner content as well.
I view Product Marketing as the GM of the Product, and the role goes beyond product launch. Three areas I see Product Marketing can drive and add value in are Content, Sales enablement and Market Research/Analyst Relations.
PMM can work with PM to take use cases and create persona based content and tell the story effectively
PMM can work with deep technical content and translate them into sales plays that are actionable by the sales teams
Market and Analyst Research
PMM can feed PM with intelligence on what they are seeing and hearing from analysts. Data driven insights can help shape future product direction. Win/loss analysis can help with product roadmap decisions
In addition customer feedback from customer briefings can inform PM of competitive features and customer requests to include in the roadmap.
As the founder of Product School, I know that Product Marketing is difficult to define because it varies from company to company, and it can even vary between different products. However, it should be common knowledge that Product Marketing does much more than just “helping PMs launch things”.
Try to show how your work is essential and how, without marketing, you might have a different favorite brand of coffee, or be working for a completely different company than you are right now. But the most important thing you will want to highlight is that part of your job is gathering and processing customer feedback, which is essential for the PM team to develop a product.
In the end, you must remember that while your role and the PM’s do not always overlap, a PM and PMM will have to work together eventually and must communicate effectively to trust each other.
Be the expert on markets and buyers. Let product managers be the experts on users and products. Product marketing managers focus on achieving business goals for current products and preparing the organization and market for the next products.
Product managemement works with product marketing to introduce new products and after launch, turns their attention to future products.
Your question is timely. I recently wrote an article on this topic (and it comes up frequently) - https://www.brainkraft.com/breaking-down-the-barriers-between-product-marketing-and-product-management