At our company, demand gen is a much bigger function than product marketing so they drive all of the campaigns with our input, but I came from an organization where we lead the campaign strategy a bit more since we had more numbers. Anyone have a good solid process they use with their demand gen team?
12 answers
All related (45)
Akshay Kerkar
Head of Marketing, Cloud Enterprise & Platform, AtlassianDecember 22

Great question! Demand Gen team tend to be bigger than PMM teams, and also have access to a lot more budget :) Modern PMM teams should consider pipeline (and ultimately revenue) to be their primary success metric. If PMM teams are led based on this approach, it drives perfect alignment with our DG partners since DGF is typically on the hook to generate sufficient pipeline for Sales every quarter.

In my experience, the best way to work w/ DG is to consider them to be true partners. PMMs are experts on the “who” (i.e. target personas) and “why” (messaging for these personas) while DG is the expert on the “how” (channels/tactics to reach these personas). If the two teams take a collaborative approach on everything from brainstorming campaign themes to execution and performance tracking, it usually leads to great outcomes and a shared purpose.

Imo, the wrong approach is for PMM to play a very tactical content-creation role when it comes to campaigns.

April Rassa
Former Vice President of Product Marketing, HackerOne | Formerly Adobe, Box, GoogleJanuary 19

Addressed a similar question related to Campaign teams earlier. Please refer to that response. 

In short, Product marketing is the vital work of developing a customer lifecycle journey, pricing, sales support materials, analyst relations, and press. Demand generation consumes the outputs from product marketing and injects them into marketing machinery that delivers content to prospects at scale consistently.

Jeff Hardison
Head of Product Marketing, CalendlyAugust 10

First, I try real hard to let go of my ego and temporarily forget about the past (e.g., how I worked with demand gen in another company). Every company’s marketing department is structured differently, and it’s important to quickly adapt.

Then, I try to be human and have a conversation with each demand gen person, asking how can we help them achieve their goals. Sign up for some activities to help them with some shared KPIs. Once you get some shared wins, other departments tend to start trusting you more. Then, they might allow you to weigh in on their strategy too. 

Kevin Au
Senior Director, Product Marketing, Bill.comFebruary 20

At Bill.com, we work extremely close to our growth marketing teams. They are a critical partner as we launch and scale-up our growth. Both groups have their strengths. For the PMM, we have the deep knowledge about the customer needs to clearly articulate the value prop that will resonate most with this segment. For the growth marketers, they have the expertise on how to reach this segment and what is the best way to do so. It is a 50/50 partnership with co-owned KPIs and regardless of who "owns" the campaign, it requires tight partnership to be successful. I'd suggest developing a plan together to ensure alignment and leveraging the strengths of both teams.

Kacy Boone
Head of Growth Marketing, ClockwiseMay 22

This is such a great example about how you can’t necessarily take a standard playbook and apply it to every company. The dynamics of team size, resourcing, stage of company, all factor in to how you approach defining the role of your team.

To answer your question, it starts with finding ways to align your quarterly (or ideally bi-annual & annual) goals and getting clear on the unique value each team brings to the table. The last thing you want is to have competing time and resources, so you want both teams to be really proactive about sharing goals, priorities, and roadmaps in order to ensure you’re not duplicating efforts nor have competing priorities.

Secondly, I think it’s important that there’s a shared understanding of the unique value each team brings to the table. In growth marketing, you’re going to have experts on channel strategy, performance, and distribution. In product marketing, you’re going to have experts on positioning, voice of customer, competitive differentiation. Get clear on that as a team.

One last super tactical idea for you, I love a shared team brainstorm ahead of mapping goals and programs for the quarter. On the product marketing side, you could compile some research on customers, share the product roadmap, or do a competitive deep-dive to inform that brainstorm and help set up your teams to be aligned from the start. Hope this helps!

Natalie Louie
Head of Marketing, MobileCoinMay 5

As a PMM I’ve always had a close relationship with demand gen, from startups to public companies.

Here’s what we do together and what we each own separately:
Together we discuss themes and ideas 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 the tactics.  


Product Marketing: we are the experts in our product, personas, competitors, solutions and verticals so we own messaging, positioning, direction of content, hypothese and angle. We own the strategy.

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.

Elizabeth Brigham
Director, The Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Davidson CollegeJanuary 30

Hi everyone! Great to be here with you today! Thanks for sending me so many thoughtful questions...digging in now!

This is a tricky one as I've seen 3 different models in my recent career history:

  • Mid-sized tech company where product marketing and demand gen were separate groups, yet connected at the hip
  • Small start up where I ran all marketing functions and thus we were one :)
  • Morningstar, where my team has both product marketing and demand generation responsibilities, although we do share pipeline goals with others across marketing and of course sales.

Regardless of how you choose to organize the teams, I would say the key to success is a maniacal focus on a business goal. For example, do you need to close xxx new deals in a time period? Or do you have aggressive regression rate goals? If product marketing, demand gen, sales, products and support are all aligned to this goal, it doesn't really matter the size of the team as long as everyone knows what he/she is responsible for. Everyone is bought into success.

From a tactical perspective, my team uses a framework influenced by the Crossing the Chasm, Pragmatic Marketing, SiriusDecisions and CEB models (we've all gone through them all and have picked the pieces we like most) to develop the go-to-market plan in conjunction with our product partners. Once that's locked - what's the business opportunity, total addressable/saleable market size, value prop, pricing, positioning, packaging, competition, etc. - then we host a larger kick-off meeting with our executional partners across marketing. From there, we host several workshops, leveraging best practices from human-centered design, to develop our content strategy and major themes. After that, we will generally meet in smaller groups (product marketing, products, demand gen/marketing) to develop larger campaigns and tactics to support the GTM and content strategies. We work in an agile format, so eventually these plans will get turned into epics and individual tickets in Jira.

Happy to provide more detail on any of the above where needed, but the thing to keep in mind is: Bring the cross-functional team together quickly and get focused on a shared business goal. Then, determine how/when/where you're going to execute and clearly outline responsibilities. You don't have to be as formal as a RACI chart, but everyone benefits from knowing where they can be the most effective in helping the team achieve their goals.

Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 17

In my experience, product marketing is the nucleus of the marketing team - driving and informing strategy for demand generation, sales enablement, and other channel owners (field, content, etc).

 

Good Product Marketers first need to know what is coming down the pipeline (on the product side) and be able to translate that into why it matters (for the sales team). That’s why great relationships with the product and sales teams in this role are critical. Once the strategy is set from that alignment between sales and product, then bringing along the demand gen team is where marketing can action on high-impact pieces of the go-to-market strategy.

 

At Narvar, demand generation and product marketing are on the same team. It helps us closely align on priorities, collaborate on campaign plans, establish goals, get the sales enablement efforts in motion, etc. This alignment is critical because when campaigns start generating demand, we need to ensure our sales team is prepared to efficiently convert the lead into a customer. In other words, making sure that if demand gen is pitching, sales is there to catch.

Savita Kini
Director of Product Management, Speech and Video AI, CiscoFebruary 4

Love your above answer. 

Even campaign plans have to be defined together because demand gen team will need guidance on 

- who to target 

- type of customers - segments, size, revenue, etc 

- what type of campaign - lead gen, awareness, account-based marketing campaign, nurturing existing customer contacts in the database etc 

- Messaging and positioning briefs so demand gen can creative derivative pieces of content (infographics, banners, social media teasers etc). 

On the campaign front as well - PMMs can and should have a view on campaign strategy because a lot core content they have generate/ create. 

Feng Hong
Global Product Marketing Manager, TikTokJuly 18

Always an interesting question.

  1. What's the leadership structure of the marketing team?
  2. Is there a director of product marketing
  3. and what does the demand gen team expect from the PMM team?


To me, those sorts of things dictate the relationship between the two. Also, if a company is more transactional with its products, then it tends to lean more demand gen focused strategies, vs a company with a challenge in educating (e.g., for a more technical product or a longer sales cycle company). Basically, it matters what a company/marketing team thinks it's getting right and needs more of.

Chris Glanzman
Director of Product Marketing & Demand Generation, ESO | Formerly FortiveAugust 5

At smaller companies, DG/Growth and Product Marketing are typically the same team (or person!), and the two functions should try to work just as closely together as companies grow. The hub of this collaboration is campaign ideation and design. As the teams formulate their GTM hypotheses ("campaigns"), both functions contribute their knowledge and information. Who brings what information is typically where the delineation happens:

  • In a past life as a Demand Marketer, we were experts on in-channel performance and pipeline metrics. We also added qualitative insight from our execution channels like social post comments, email replies, etc. Generally we were also more familiar with what spend levels and allocations might be required.
  • As a Product Marketer we contribute very different information. Generally, our Product Marketers have a higher level view of financial performance for different product and vertical segments. Product Marketers bring with them deeper knowledge of our offerings, what makes them different from competitors, and why a target audience should care.

One peculiarity that keeps this motion from being a truly linear handoff is the need for feedback loops. Again, at its core, a campaign is really a GTM hypothesis, so we constantly measure and adjust. The delineation of responsibilities here typically depends on the source of that feedback. Similar to campaign planning, DG/Growth will bring feedback from the GTM channels. Product Marketing is more likely to own Win/Loss Interviews (potentially in collaboration with Product).

Tracy Montour
Head of Product Marketing, HiredScoreAugust 2

A solid DACI will create the R+R boundaries you need for your organization. No matter what R+R you align on, a close relationship beween demand gen and PMM is essential for growth. 

I recommend aligning around common goals. For example: are you both responsible for driving revenue?

Traditionally as a PMM, you should be guiding the demand gen campaigns with the positioning & messaging and allowing Demand Gen to run the channel strategy,

Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, Narvar
At Narvar, demand generation is under the product marketing umbrella. It helps us closely align on priorities, collaborate on campaign plans, establish goals, and measure revenue impact. This alignment is critical because we want to enact campaigns to generate demand where the business needs it most.   That said, make every effort to treat channel initiatives like campaigns. For example, if we have an event coming up, we want to ensure it fits into a broader campaign strategy. For example, have we have identified the audience for this event? Do we want to engage customers or prospects? Se...
Loren Elia
Head Of Product Marketing, Xero
You need to truly understand your partner's motivations and processes. I don't think you need to have been an AE or a PM to be able to do great PMM work but you do need to have very open and very frequent communication with your cross-functional partners. Don't be affraid to ask detailed questions - people love to talk about what they do. Err on the side of over-communicating.
Roopal Shah
Head (VP) of Global Enablement, Benchling
So I use sprint planning for business. When it works well and we're compliant, it works beautifully. Here, we break our work into two week sprints and continously prune backlogs and review ad hoc requests. We also try to allocate 'white space" within the two week sprints for things that may pop up as needed. And we also have things like V2MOMs at Salesforce along with strategy / alignment decks that ensure we are marching towards the big uber goals. 
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®
Communication: You simply must be a good communicator to be a stellar product marketer. So much of our discipline requires strong communication in order to provide clarity (both externally and internally) and develop and exercise influence. Strong communication to me spans written skills, presentation creation skills, public speaking skills, and executive presence.  Adaptability: The potential list of things you might work on as a product marketer is so incredibly long and diverse! Someone who is excited by the chance to parachute into new situations and create new deliverables they've nev...
Elizabeth Brigham
Director, The Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Davidson College
I find the root cause of this problem is a lack of trust. Everyone wants to get involved because either they don't feel like their voice will be heard otherwise or because they don't trust what has been delivered in the past. This is a tricky problem, but here's how I'd break it down: 1. Product Marketing has a responsibility to clearly articulate and hold themselves accountable to delivering on their promise to the organization, full stop.  2. Spending time with, listening to (really listening to), and developing relationships with all key stakeholders first will lead to f...
Akshay Kerkar
Head of Marketing, Cloud Enterprise & Platform, Atlassian
I must admit that design disagreements have been rare in my experience. The best way to ensure alignment is to really think of your design partner as a true partner (vs. just a service role), bring them in early and upfront, provide them with context (e.g. maybe even have them be part of planning sessions), and take a collaborative vs. directive approach. While there may always be one-off disagreements on individual efforts, overall a collaborative approach should lead to a much better working relationship and end result since you’ll now be aligned on goals and desired outcomes.
Angela Zhang
Director, Product Marketing, DocuSign
That’s always a challenge in a resource-constrained world! My goal is to spend 80% of time on 1-2 big strategic projects, routine launches, process improvements, and leave 10%-20% of time for ad-hoc requests which I’ll prioritize based on some combination of interest in problem, development opportunity, and relationship-building.  During planning, I'll involve my key stakeholders (PM, design, and sales) into the process and walk them through how much PMM support they can expect. Things will invariably come up through the quarter, so I keep in mind and communicate what are must-do's, and ...
Jeff Beckham
Sr. Director and Head of Product Marketing, Gem
It’s a good question, but also a loaded one! Product management needs to prove their value to the company too, right? The dynamic you’re describing is common though, unfortunately. I’ve lived it many times. The best working relationship comes when both sides have shared goals. If that’s not reality, one thing I’ve advised PMMs on my team to do is figure out what the PMs they work with care about and are goaled on. What are their OKRs or objectives? Assuming it’s not something crazy and counterproductive for the business, get a quick win and help them improve the thing they’re measured on ...