How is your PMM team structured? Are some PMMs focused on B2B and others on B2C or the same product line or does one PMM work on both?
Highlighted this one in another question, so will point you there, but overall, yes - we break PMM responsibilities down by audience. Some PMMs will work only on Consumer and some only on Restaurant for example. In a three-sided marketplace, there is naturally a ton of organic collaboration across the edges, so though there's usually only one focus area, there's a lot of collaboration across the audiences.
- It’s most valuable to align the PMM team to the Product team structure to drive stronger alignment and integration. Back in the day, when we worked in person, we strived to have Product Marketers sit directly with their product teams. In some cases, this has meant that I’m in a different building than my manager and some of my team members, but I find this integration extremely valuable.
- Nextdoor is structured by the following Pillars: Member Experience (Consumer), Neighborhood Vitality (Trust, Safety, & Groups), Business Solutions (free to paid products for businesses), and Agency (government and organizations).
- As a result, Product Marketers are focused on B2B or B2C and integrated within a pillar team. That said, it is important they have a holistic perspective across both, especially in marketplace platforms. For instance, when we launched Business Postings for SMBs, the PMMs also had to take into consideration the implications to members seeing Business Postings and partner with the Member Experience PMM to coordinate the go to market efforts.
I've been in PMM roles at mostly large companies and PMM has typically focused on either the consumer or the business side of things. However, for smaller companies with smaller teams, it's not uncommon for PMM to lean into both, depending on the needs of the organization. Regardless of how the team is structured, close partnership across PMM whether your focus is B2B or B2C is critical. PMM is often positioned to oversee what's happening holistically across the org and can help provide visibility across B2B and B2C to ensure the broader team is coordinated and thinking more holistically about the user experience. Coordination across B2B and B2C is also essential in ensuring we are teling a cohesive story and aren't bring products to market in a silo.
Among the places I’ve worked, this answer has varied considerably. It’s varied company by company, and it’s even varied within a given company at different stages. For instance, when I was at Lyft, early on there were products that consumer-focused PMMs helped do the sales enablement for because it was the fastest way to get it done. As the company grew, by the time I left, there was a large B2B product marketing team.
A number of things could impact what the right answer is for your company at a given point in time.
- Relative importance: How important is B2B or B2C marketing relative to the other? Are they equally important modes of distribution for the product? If so, it likely makes sense to have dedicated PMMs on each to get the full impact out of them. If your company is largely B2C with occasional or opportunistic B2B work, it probably makes more sense to have PMMs own a product or category end-to-end and take on the periodic B2B work that comes up.
- Team capacity: Oftentimes the pragmatic side of things has to play a role in deciding this. Do you have headcount to expand this, or can it wait until there is headcount on the team and reamped up? Or do you need to make do with what you have. If the latter, you probably can’t dedicate PMMs to one or the other but have to share that work within a product focus.
- Cost of context switching: How expensive is it to the team to switch back and forth between B2C and B2B audiences and marketing activities? If there’s a decent amount of overlap in the messaging and strategies, the cost of shifting gears throughout the day and weak to get in the audience mindset may be pretty low and sustainable. If they’re very different though, it could be worth carving out dedicated scope for B2C and B2B. I’ve seen many PMMs report increased inefficiency in their work and the impact they’re able to have as they have to juggle too many audiences and workstreams.
Ultimately, to summarize the above, solve for the needs of the business at the given time, understand the tradeoffs of different approaches to decide, and be open to it needing to change in the future.
There is no one-size-fits-all to team building. Everything should focus on business needs and impact.
For example, early-stage startups likely don't need an entire role dedicated to competitive intelligence. But a late-stage scaling company would benefit from that role, esp as they move up-market.
For an early-stage B2B company, 1-2 full-stack product marketers are great to start with. They should focus where it makes sense in the business (product or sales focused). For B2C early-stage companies, you'll likely need more of a generalist marketer rather than a specialist role.
As you scale, product marketing can expand into customer advocacy, competitive intelligence, segmentation, and more. Some companies require more growth-oriented PMMs that focus on holistic customer journeys, while other companies might have growth teams for this and need product marketing to focus more on driving impact within the sales organization.
TLDR it depends!