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April Rassa
Former Vice President of Product Marketing, HackerOne | Formerly Adobe, Box, GoogleApril 2

Captain obvious here but customers and data. Framing stories and pain points mapped to personas helps, partnering with your Product team so you're locked in the customer journey is also super helpful, so the teams recognize where the shifts muct be made.

Customer retention is the holy grail of business, and don’t you ever forget it! Without customers, you don’t have a product or business, so if you want to keep them (happy), it’s in your best interest to serve their needs.

Your customers should be the “why” behind your product vision and at the end of the day there shouldn’t be anything that goes on your roadmap that doesn’t help soothe customer pain and solve their problems. Maintaining customer focus within your roadmap also means not wasting your team’s valuable time and resources on features that will have no impact. Investing time into meticulously prioritizing your customer’s needs and coming up with real solutions to real problems is the best possible way to keep the product roadmap relevant.

Monty Wolper
Senior Director of Product Marketing, VimeoFebruary 8

The first step here is often the most easily overlooked: understand the product team’s goals, so you can figure out how to position and prioritize your projects in a mutually beneficial way. Secondly, you’ll want to level set on the company strategy before honing in on the product roadmap in a particular area. Once you’ve done that, you can start outlining the market opportunity, identifying the target audience, developing solution-level GTM strategies, and helping partner teams understand how to uniquely position the company to meet market demands in a differentiated way. This empowers you with a clear framework you can reference when making a business case for new product initiatives. Just like you, your PMs will be more motivated when they understand how their work drives broader company goals.

From a more tactical standpoint, you’ll be able to influence much more effectively if you lean on both quantitative and qualitative data. Without this, you’re just advocating for subjective beliefs as opposed to objective facts. Represent the voice of the customer by leveraging sales feedback, support requests, and interviews. Paint a picture of the market, mapping out the competitive landscape to highlight trends and identify user needs. Product Managers are problem solvers — demonstrate that there is a real problem to be solved by tapping into the vast amounts of user data at your disposal. 

Even if you do all of the above to make a strong business case, you never know how your hypothesis will play out once you go to market. I always recommend working with PMs to outline a validation plan, implementing milestones that present learning opportunities along the way, so you can adjust the trajectory accordingly. In doing so, you’ll build strong habits around influencing the roadmap regularly, rather than viewing it as a one off event.

Aaron Brennan
Head Of Product Marketing, RedoxApril 6

First off, Hey everyone! Nice to be doing this AMA with everyon and we will kick it off here with How do you influence the Product Roadmap and a PMM. So this is a great question and I build and strategically place my teams with the Product Management teams in order to make sure that we have this communcation structure in place to impact the roadmap. In order to influence a product roadmap the best course of action is to build out your initial go to market strategy, build out a TAM so that you know what the total addressable market is. From there as the roadmap is being built certain features and functions should be able to directly address the markets and persona's that you are going to market with. So when a feature is built you can run a quantitative and qualitative analysis with the persona's you created and figure out if this will make a critical impact. Product teams always want to build for scale, building for one offs is difficult and expensive and doesn't scale. So do the research on how big is this market and does this make sense to build from a Profit and Loss and your product teams will start to bring you into the fold more.

Priya Gill
Vice President, Product Marketing, Momentive
Funny enough, this was completely a Marketing led rebrand. Product roadmap didn't play a role in guiding the process because we already had the right set of products, we just didn't have the right message or name in the market. An important part of this repositioning was strongly signaling to the market that we are no longer just a surveys company. This has actually been true for a while, but even our own customers had little awareness of some of the other products in our portfolio. But it’s hard to convince the outside world that we’re more than a surveys company with a name like SurveyMon...
Brianne Shally
Head of Product Marketing, Nextdoor
Sharing the product roadmap externally is a great way to share the company's vision, investment in innovation, and upcoming features to get prospects and customers excited about the potential. It can be a strong selling tool to get prospects on board and a resource to get current customers to invest more. What's important is that the roadmap isn't standing on it own, but partnered with an overall vision to show how product efforts later up to a great vision. This is where Product Marketing can play a strong role in storytelling and positioning to bring it all together. I've seen this execut...
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, Instacart
In my experience, the most powerful tool for influencing the Product Roadmap as a PMM is customer insights. If you can clearly demonstrate customer pain points and inspire empathy, that tees up the opportunity to be part of the discussion around how you might meet those needs through product solutions. From a timeline standpoint, I find aligning on prioritization to be the most effective lever. One way to approach this is to look at the roadmap, estimate the business impact of all key initiatives, and assess whether delivery dates should be re-stacked to address the most impactful projects ...
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®
It's all about doing great work that matters to the business, matters to your partner, and fits into the context of the relationship! The playbook below can help get the ball rolling. Sorry for the long answer, but it's a complex question with big implications for your ability to add value as a PMM. 1) It's essential to understand your business — the market you play in, the strengths/weaknesses of the competition, how customers feel about you, etc. — better than just about anyone else in the company. Your level of fluency (or lack thereof!) will be visible in how you show up: the insight...
Jeffrey Vocell
Head of Product Marketing, Narvar | Formerly Iterable, HubSpot, IBM
Great question! A lot of collaboration can come from shared KPIs, so it's great to align where possible. I'll divide this into two groups, on-going and launches. On-going KPIs: * These should largely be goals you can both impact over time. Things like adoption, revenue (particularly if there's a freemium, or PLG motion at your company), retention, NPS.  * For example, with adoption there are product changes that can likely be made as well as dedicated marketing done to drive success. At Iterable, we were working to drive adoption of one of our AI products and did just this...
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, Stripe
* Be objective: Use customers' exact words and quotes as much as possible. Be the notetaker, the objective observer, and people will start to trust your observations. * Be concise: Once you've listened, sat in on meetings, taken good notes, get good at synthesizing them into short summaries. Most people don't read long emails or sit through long meetings, so it's important to be brief. I got into product marketing with a liberal arts background, and synthesizing customer research and insights is a great way to put your writing skills to work. * Be consistent: The mos...