How is your Product Marketing team structured?
Great question! I think about this one a lot...First off, it’s important to callout that there is no perfect org structure :)
In general, you have to identify what you’re optimizing towards and what structure will give you the highest chance to get there. For Eats PMM, we’ve always kept a fairly tight PMM to PM relationship, so we map PMMs directly to their Product counterparts.
Product is broken down by audience - ie., Consumer, Restaurant, Delivery Person so we have leads within each audience and typically, sub-groups within that focus on either Growth (getting users from 0 → 1 trip), “Experience” (Ordering + Receiving Food) or Engagement + Loyalty.
In general, PMM roles at Intercom are more of the 'full stack' variety - i.e we cover the whole journey from feeding into the roadmap to launch, including competitive research, buyer/persona/market research, GTM strategy, positioning and messaging, enablement, launch planning etc.
Our team sits in marketing and reports into a Senior Director of PMM. Our team structure has shifted several times in the time I've been here, based on changes to the company strategy, product team structure and where we most need to focus resources,. Currently, we're split into 3 'groups' based primarily around product areas and segment:
Solutions (a Group PMM + 3 PMMs): Each PMM is focused on one of (or part of) the 3 solutions/audiences we position Intercom for specific solution. Each PMM owns positioning, messaging and GTM for their solutions, and partner with the relevant product managers for their solutions and product areas.
Platform and Core (that's my group - me plus 3 PMMs) - we look after overarching/high level positioning and messaging, and cross-solution features such as the Messenger, data platform, and our partner ecosystem (incl. apps and integrations). We often partner with solution PMMs on things like launches for platform features. We also partner closely with the platform group in R&D, as well as the Business Development team on partnerships.
- Pricing and packaging (a principal PMM) - fairly self explanatory, owns pricing and packaging strategy/decisions, as well as buyer personas and research
The structure of the PMM team is usually a function of the size of the company and it’s GTM model. The “typical” SaaS PMM team has a set of Core PMMs that are focused on product, and usually a sister PMM team in the form of Industry/Solutions Marketing that is focused on solutions for specific verticals or segments.
At Atlassian, since we have a flywheel model, PMMs have a lot more focus on activities that deal with acquisition (self-serve), cross-sell, and upsell. So while our PMM teams are organized by product (e.g. Jira, Confluence, etc.) individual PMMs on a product team can focus on core product vs. monetization vs. enablement vs. upsell to drive the overall KPIs for the business.
Our team is structured by audience type and discipline. We have one part of the team focused on our end users and prospects, another part of the team is focused on our partners, and a third on market research and market strategy. That said, I strongly believe it's important for PMM teams at hypergrowth companies to be nimble in terms of their structure and be willing to redefine roles and responsibilities as company strategy and the needs of the business shift over time.
At DocuSign, there are product marketers across our main product categories, as well as industry and audience teams. Every company I've ever worked at has grouped their teams differently, so I tend to consider new roles based on mapping skills to company needs. If the largest TAM is in a vertical that is specialized, perhaps you'll need an industry PMM. If the biggest gap in company need is relative to product launch materials, maybe you need someone focused on building a great bill of materials. Etc.
I've done it in so many different ways! Few quick pointers:
- The most important thing is to ensure every team member has a good swim lane and growth path.
- Take your revenue goal and slice that evenly across the team to see what makes the most sense — product line, segment, or objective.
- If you have a big product organization, try aligning your team with leaders. This will help you ensure PM-PMM alignment for a stronger product strategy.
- If you have several SKUs/product lines, it might be worthwhile to have a person or a team dedicated to overall messaging and narrative to ensure consistency.
- Depending on how PMMs are defined in your organization, you can create teams for every aspect of the customer journey.
Sendbird is an in-app conversations platform, where we help improve customer retention and conversion through chat, voice, video, and livestream APIs. Our team is structured as follows:
- GTM excellence
- Market intelligence
- Customer marketing
Within GTM, there are 3 solutions and a PMM owns each of the solutions. Each solution may include up to 3 products or major areas of functionality. Each solution also has a key performance indicator (KPI) or customer metric it's meant to drive.
I think PMM orgs go through phases. When I started in this role we were strictly by product, but our portfolio quickly became too complicated. We moved to more of a segment or sub-portfolio model. At the same time, the rest of the organizations' PMM teams were sub-dividing by objective. In order to match with the rest of that org we had 'ambassadors' to the objective-based teams.
Given that PMM stakeholders are typically PM and Sales, I think the best approach is to best align your PMMs with the stakeholder objectives. In most organizations that's by product line or segment.
This all comes down to how is the rest of the business organized. If you're organizing in a way that's incongrous to everyone else in the org, you will not be setup for success. With smaller nimble teams it's likely just based on bandwith and who has room to take things on. With larger teams, or as a team is being built out, it's best to align with your core cross-functional partners such as Product. There is usually overlap with PMMs working with 2-3 PMs. I've organized teams by product area in the past which aligned well to how Product was organized.
The PMM team structure depends on the size of the company, how technical the product is, and the GTM model.
- Company Size: As the company grows and scales, PMM tends to fall under the Marketing org and they may segmented by Core Product PMMs where they focus on the overall messaging and positioning, Industry/Solution PMMs that focus use cases for those specific industries ,and solution areas, and there may be PMMs that will focus solely on sales enablement, competitive intelligence, or pricing. For smaller companies, PMM teams will play a more 'full stack' PMM role. For example, AWS has different PMM roles (Adoption, Engagement, Advocacy) to adopt net-new customers, increase usage within existing customers, and increase customer proofpoints.
- Product Technicality: PMM may roll into PM org if the product is very technical and PMMs may serve as front-end PMs but still work very closely with the Marketing team. In my past experience, this doesn't change the role but gives the PMM team better insight and knowledge on the product to enable the marketing and sales teams.
- GTM Model: This point correlates to the size of the company. If you are in a larger company where there are multiple product lines or portfolio of products, the PMM team may focus on a set of products or a specific portfolio. This will cover breadth but not depth into the product so you'd rely more on the PMs. However, it helps with messaging and positioning of a core set of products rather than specific products. For example, at one point IBM had PMM roles as Portfolio Marketing Managers that focus on specific messaging, positioning and GTM for specific portfolio of products.