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Also, how to actually show its success, as this is something that may take awhile before seeing a growth trend and can you directly actually attribute a particular success metric on messaging?
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Ajit Ghuman
Director of Product Management - Pricing & Packaging, CXP at Twilio | Formerly Narvar, Medallia, Helpshift, Feedzai, Reputation.comNovember 9

The success is positioning is about proving that your work made your employer known for something in the market. 

One of the most common ways PMMs do this is by showing how they get the company a top quadrant or wave leader spot with Gartner of Forrester respectively. Nowadays, G2 reviews and or even reviews by influential developers can help - as long as they buttress your product's differentiators. 

You can also demonstrate by showing how your work let do growth in a certain business segment. For example, did your repositioning help the company move from a nice tool to more of a platform unlocking new use cases and thereby winning bigger deals? OR did your work help the company create an attractive offer against ankle-biting competitions and win much greater market share? 

Quantification based on deal sizes, deal velocity, win-rates is going to be really helpful. 

Downfunnel impact will be more easily attributable, so new messaging in a sales pitch deck can be more easily measured. Start there. Unless you had another big change downfunnel, you generally can attribute changes to a big change in messaging since it overshadows any other smaller tactic and has a multiplier effect because your entire sales team essentially has to shift to new messaging and as a consequence so does their performance.

Jenna Crane
Head of Product Marketing at Klaviyo | Formerly Drift, Dropbox, UpworkNovember 17

Make sure you talk about the process! That includes: 

  • What was the existing state when you started (i.e. messaging didn't exist, it did exist but it was falling flat / was outdated, etc.)? 
  • How did you go about developing the messaging (i.e. what inputs did you use)? 
  • How did you test and/or validate it with customers / prospects?
  • How did you socialize it and get buy-in internally? How did you roll it out? 
  • How was it received in the market? (Can be anecdotal if needed, but of course ideal to have actual quantified impact) 
  • What was the most difficult aspect of it, and how did you overcome it? (For example, the market was super crowded and differentiation was hard to come by, internal stakeholders had lots of strong and divergent opinions, etc.) 

The actual messaging output itself is important, but I also care deeply about how you got there, because that's what gives me confidence that you can do it again successfully. 

Sahil Sethi
Senior Vice President, Product Marketing at BetterUp | Formerly Klaviyo, Qualtrics, Microsoft, MckInseyNovember 18

This is such a good question

There are many ways to demonstrate success of messaging/positioning work

  1. Talk through the process - Explain your approach to developing messaging and positioning. Talk about the customer interviews you did, the drafts you wrote, the messaging pillars you discarded and why, the frameworks you followed, the internal sales validation you did, the product deep dives you sat through, the brainstorming sessions and workshops you led, the customer testing you observed and the internal roadshows you led. Talk about how your brought stakeholders together, how you helped gain alignment and consensus and how you helped drive a sense of urgency and impact
  2. Talk through the storytelling - Good messaging relies on good storytelling. Good stories involve a problem (customer pain point), a solution (your messaging - what, why, how your product solves the problem), and the outcome (value points, reasons to believe). A simple way to show your work on messaging is to talk about the elevator pitch (~50 words) before your work, and after your work. That demonstrates that you know your work, and command and confidence in your message. I always ask this question “How would you describe your product to me?” in any PMM interview, particularly if I am interested in knowing more about the candidate’s messaging skills
  3. Talk through the deliverables - I understand the question is about not showing documented work but i believe that is the best way to show messaging and you should be ready to share any deliverables here. It could be a pitch deck, a one pager, a blog post, a thought paper, a webinar abstract, a web page, a recorded demo - anything where elements of your messaging are showing up - even if your name is not against the deliverables. Hiring managers understand that most PMMs are not copywriters but it is always good to demonstrate the ‘substance’ of your messaging work show up in different places

To talk about the success of messaging, it is important to understand which aspect of customer journey is it impacting. Sometimes messaging is used in acquisition channels (ads, website, webinars, SDR emails etc.) and it is driving more leads/MQLs/pipeline. More commonly, a lot of PMM messaging shows up in conversion channels (pitch decks, demos etc.) where it impacts win-rates, deal velocity, avg deal size etc. It can also impact adoption/retention/expansion metrics where you can talk about upsell/cross-sell rates, churn rates, product adoption etc. Being clear on the metrics is first step to explaining the impact on messaging

If your work is recent and the impact numbers aren’t ready, then it is important to talk about the process outcomes. What was the reception to the new pitch deck when you led the trainings ? How many downloads did you get ? How did the early set of customers react to the message when you presented to them ? Did your website see any lift in conversion rates when your A/B tested the new headline ? Even basic things like measuring CSAT from internal trainings can be an example of impact

Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki at Cisco Meraki | Formerly Tellme Networks, Microsoft, Box, Vera, Scout RFP, and Sisu Data, to name a few.April 13

This is a great one! It's also something few people do well in an interview setting. It's a bit challenging to do verbally, but if you think it through in advance, you can be prepared when the opportunity presents itself.

The first thing - the success of your positioning in an interview setting is best shown through anecdotes and specific details. Just like in real life, it's very hard to say "my positioning increased our pipeline by 15%." That's a complex calculus, and not easily justifiable. Instead, tie it to a story. For example, "we made this adjustment to the message for this audience, and it really helped these kinds of deals move forward."

My favorite example to talk about (related to another answer here) is about the competitive positioning framework we built for a sales boot camp. It lived for years after I left that role and left a lasting impact on the field there. That's impact that resonates in an interview.

Back the the interview, though. At the core of every PMM interview, every person you meet with in a PM or PMM function really wants to know how you break down a value prop and translate it into scalable positioning. So, use bridging techniques. 

One of the most common intro questions you'll get (or you should get, if the interview is well designed) is, "Tell me about your current product or solution." Repeat after me: THIS IS NOT A QUESTION ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT. This is a question about your POSITIONING. Talking about the product, features, capabilities is how you fail this question.

Instead: talk about who the product is for, what problem it solves for them, and how you do it uniquely. Then talk through each of the core pillars you created. Bonus points: relate it to a time when you had to dial up or dial down the focus on one of those pillars for an audience or in response to a market shift. If you do that, particularly with a hiring manager, you will ace that conversation. 

The second chance you have to showcase messaging and positioning is in the launch scenario. "Tell me about your most recent product launch." Again, DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE PRODUCT. Talk about the goal of the launch, who you were trying to reach, how the launch reinforced or changed your messaging... and then bridge to the positioning you put together and why it was effective/different/compelling. 

Jiong Liu
Senior Director of Product Marketing at Wiz August 3

There is a process to messaging and I think many folks are overly focused on the last step which is the final translation to words. I actually think this piece is the simplest of all the steps so I don't spend a lot of time looking at documented work when I interview product marketers. What's really important to me is understanding how a candidate thinks about and navigates the process itself. How does someone internalize the needs of the customer and market dynamics. In many ways, this is more about understanding how someone synthesizes data (both qualitative and quantitative) and builds empathy for their customer. I also look for candidates that can tell a cohesive narrative about their own career choices to date. After all, if you can't tell me a compelling message about yourself, you're going to struggle when it comes to B2B.

For success metrics, I primarily look at usage in the field. How many downloads and views is your messaging getting? If you have landing pages or blogs with the message, how do those metrics compare to others on your website? Lastly, I take a lot of qualitative feedback from customers and our field on messaging. This is more difficult to show leadership but is the best internal measure for if it's working or not.

Alissa Lydon
Head of Marketing at LEVEE | Formerly Mezmo, Sauce LabsApril 27

When I am looking for messaging and positioning validation from outside the org, I find that people engage more with a story than with a static framework. And as far as stories go, everyone much prefers pictures to reading dense Powerpoint slides!

To that end, putting together a solid "marketecture" is a great place to start. This allows you to paint the picture of not just your product, features and functions, but you can also start assigning value and differentiated messaging to each of them. I find this especially helpful with current users/customers. They know the technical details (i.e. architecture) of your product, but might have a different opinion on the value. Showing them that overlay in a visual is a great way to start a conversation, and get some really rich insights.

While Product Marketing should own the messaging/positioning framework, its success hould be measured by everyone in the marketing org (again, this is all a team sport!). A successful messaging strategy affects every stage of the funnel - from awareness to advocacy and beyond. Therefore, I believe there are plenty of opportunities to measure its success. For me, the real question I want to answer is, "Am I enabling everyone on my team on this message, and do they feel empowered to deliver it in market?" That requires close collaboration with various stakeholders, deciding on shared objectives and results, and committing to continual improvement.

Jeffrey Vocell
VP of Product Marketing at | Formerly Narvar, Iterable, HubSpot, IBMDecember 10

I think it’s hard to showcase messaging in an interview unless you’re specifically bringing up documented work. At HubSpot, we like to give candidates an exercise before an interview that typically ties into positioning and messaging. Oftentimes this exercise will tie back to a recently released product or feature, and we’ll ask the candidate how they would position the product and bring that positioning to life through a launch campaign. This approach has actually worked really well and taught us some new ways of approaching messaging that we hadn’t considered before. Once a new PMM comes on-board, we have standard templates for positioning we use and will share them with product marketers so they can see how a particular product came to life and what the process was like. In an interview, I think there are numerous questions you can ask to understand the adeptness of creating positioning or messaging, but from what I’ve seen it’s ideal to have an exercise and actually put those skills to the test.

Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach at June 7

Love this question! 

Obviously, always protect your employer’s confidential information. However, if you have done your work correctly, your messaging will inform all of the material and content you’ve developed. It would be reflected on your website, on your datasheets, on other public-facing content (press releases, blogs, etc.)

But far more important than showing what you have produced is proving the impact that it had. Showing success metrics for messaging is one of the most difficult challenges for product marketers. One problem is that messaging success depends on the collective action of all of your sales and marketing efforts - from your website to your content, campaigns to SDRs to sales reps, and much more. It requires everyone to work in unison, which does not always happen.

But to truly answer the question, we first need to understand the goal. What are you trying to achieve with your messaging? It could be more revenue, winning a larger share of opportunities, gaining greater market share, reducing churn, managing a PR debacle, differentiating from competitors, repositioning your brand, product or functionality adoption, etc.

Without knowing that, I’m afraid I can’t give you a solid answer. So go back to what it was that you were trying to achieve and then think about what the relevant success metrics are. A couple of examples: 

  • if your goal was to win a higher percentage of open opportunities, then measure this in terms of whether there was an uptick in won opportunities compared to the old messaging. 
  • if your goal was functionality adoption in your install base, start with a relatively small but representative subset of customers to educate them, then see if adoption has increased relative to the control group. (It might take some time to get results, depending on the complexity of the customer and your product...)

One final thing, it's rare that you would try to achieve your goal only through adjusting messaging. It's usually a cross-set of activities and stakeholders that drive impact.