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How does a Product Marketer become better at crafting effective messaging?

3 Answers
Vivek Asija
Vivek Asija
Heap Sr. Director, Product MarketingJune 9

Writing, writing, and more writing. Be willing to throw away some copy -- even if you love it -- until you have the write story come to life. This is an organic process. Test it on customers and go on sales calls to see what resonates. Also make sure that you and your peers are reviewing one another's writing. Being an editor also helps improve your writing skills over time.

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Connie Woo
Connie Woo
OpenTable Director of Product MarketingJanuary 5

Messaging will really differ based on the target audience you are messaging for, so developing empathy for your target customer is key. When I joined OpenTable, I spent a lot of time with account execs and account managers, I shadowed local customer meetings, I subscribed to every industry trade, went to industry events and I even did a "stage shift" at a restaurant nearby. It's so important to understand what your audience's key pain points are, how they speak, what they actually care about (even if it's not related to the area your product delivers in).

From a more professional development standpoint, I believe it's crucial for product marketers to know how to message in a way that is clear, memorable and succinct. One of the questions I often ask in an interview is to explain a product they've marketed to a 7th grader. Product marketers, particularly in tech, need to be able to translate technical, complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand messages that resonate with their target audience. So when I'm listening to answers to this question, I look for whether they've stripped the internal jargon out, if they've demonstrated understanding/empathy for the 7th grader (e.g., maybe an example that'd resonate with the 7th grader), and if I could easily reexplain that product to a family member a day later. I really encourage you to practice, practice, practice. For every product you work on and every project you do (even if it's just internal), practice giving your one-liner exec-level, elevator pitch to your cross-functional stakeholders. Also practice cutting, cutting and more cutting down. Most poor messaging I've seen is overly verbose, and I oftentimes find that less is more. Practice breaking down the pitch to truly one line so you know what your main point is, then make sure that main point is undeniably clear.

Once you build your comfort level and confidence with breaking down a product, project or offering into it's component parts, and then practice repackaging into clear, memorable and succinct messaging, you'll be in a much better place to message like a pro!

504 Views
Catlyn Origitano
Catlyn Origitano
Fivetran VP Product & Portfolio MarketingApril 14

Generally speaking, the way we've gone about it at Fivetran is with a few key gates. First, we have a messaging doc template that we use. It contains things like business pain points, personas, messaging in 10 words, 25 words, glossary of terms, etc. This is usually developed with the lead PM on the group. 

We listen to customer calls or do our own to better understand why customers want the thing we are building or bringing to market. If it is a bigger launch, we've vetted our messaging with analysts like Gartner before we go to market - and if it is with a partner, we've vetted it with their internal teams too. 

I think find it very helpful to take that longer doc and put it in a single one sheet or a short pitch deck. This helps ensure that what we have translates. We provide these materials for our teams when something is in private preview and beta and have a slack channel to get feedback on how the pitch went - and we try to sit in or listen to it. We use that feedback loop to edit it again. 

Once something is out, we use a lot of different tools to get a sense of how things are going. For example, when we first did a bit of our pricing change, we saw on our twitter some questions and negative feedback. We adjusted our messaging to be more direct and less fluffy, and when we went bigger with the pricing launch, there was no twitter threads about it. A few weeks later, folks started talking about how easier the pricing was! 

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