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How would you recommend Product Marketing Managers improve their messaging skills?

14 Answers
April Rassa
April Rassa
Aventi Group Product Marketing ConsultantSeptember 28

Messaging is the ability to communicate pains and solutions for a specific persona using the written word. PMM writing is unique because it’s all about distilling a message down to it’s essence and packaging words in a way that will be accepted by a specific group of people. A PMM should write with very little fat.

Practice writing. Test your messages with your sales team, SDRs, A/B test marketing campaigns. Listen to how your sales team pitches. Listen to how your customers talk. 

1463 Views
Sarah Lambert
Sarah Lambert
Symphony Talent Head of Product MarketingOctober 20

I would suggest practicing by creating your own messaging frameworks for some of your favorite products or companies be they B2C or B2B. This should help you to start to think through the different proof points and differentiators because you’ll already be aware of the competitive landscape and how they’re message. 


Another approach is to try to reverse engineer the messaging for a company you’re already following. Take their current messaging and put it into your messaging framework to see 1) if you think it works well and 2) if they’re missing any key components. This can always be used in conversations during interviews as well 😉

2234 Views
Robert McGrath
Robert McGrath
Deel Head of Global Marketing + ExpansionMay 11

Research, and come with a growth mindset! Look and listen to what competitors in your market are doing. How does their messaging make you feel, how does it relate to your own organisation's. Why do customer go with them versus you? 

Also, and something that often goes overlooked; we're all consumers. So, what brand do you admire, what messaging makes you stop and think about the product/solution/service.

Messaging can only resonate when you have the right alignment of the customer, knowing their challenge/need and the best product/solution/service to solve for that. Answering these is key to effective messaging, especially if you're operating in smaller regions and/or markets with different cultures and languages. 

1762 Views
Jenna Crane
Jenna Crane
Klaviyo Head of Product MarketingJuly 15

Practice, practice, practice! Get as many reps in as you can, and have a marketer you admire give you very candid feedback. Bonus points if you can do a working session with someone who’s skilled in messaging — build a messaging framework together, live, so you can get a front-row seat to watch how they think and how they approach it in a real-life situation.

601 Views
Frances Liu
Frances Liu
Instawork Head of MarketingAugust 31

As others have mentioned, practice. It's hard to find the extra time, so here are some ideas:

  • Try different frameworks to refresh on basics
  • Find reasons to tag-team a refresh. I've used it as part of onboarding new marketing folks
  • Compare with PMMs at other companies. I'm grateful to have coworkers and friends to talk shop (plus kudos to Sharebird!)
  • Read fiction. Sounds corny, but it non-work related way to tap that empathy muscle
504 Views
Alex Gutow
Alex Gutow
Snowflake Senior Director of Product MarketingNovember 4

2 pieces of advice here:

1) Take a look at the messaging from other companies (even outside of your market or industry). Who is really nailing it and what do you like about it? And who are the players that you still can't figure out what they do? See if you can start to incorporate some of the aspects you like into your message, or prune out some of what you didn't like. One thing I love doing here is seeing if there are ways to be more colloquial in your messaging. Especially if you work in B2B, see if you can incorporate some of the fun, down to earth messaging that B2C tends to do more of.

2) Don't be afraid to have your work torn apart. It can be hard getting feedback, especially for something you've spent a lot of time and energy on. But try not to get defensive or tune out what you don't agreement with. Go get feedback from the hardest critics. And don't be afraid to ask them follow up questions (ie "Do you agree with this point directionally or you don't think it's a main value at all?" "Do you have suggestions for alternative wordings?" etc)

1749 Views
Julia Szatar
Julia Szatar
Tavus Head of MarketingDecember 2

This is mostly just practice, start writing, and keep writing. However, some specific things you could do include:

  • Actively consume other marketing content. For example subscribe to your favorite brand's emails, competitor emais. Read the content and think about why it is effective/not effective. 
  • Before you start writing anything work with product to really understand why you are building a product or feature. Understand the audience and the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Get involved in user research. This is the most powerful shortcut to good messaging. Sometimes it feels like cheating, but your customers often use words in user interviews, that you can take and put into your messaging. 
  • Build strong relationships with frontline teams: support, sales, CSMs. They speak with your users the most and often have the best insights. 
695 Views
Eric Chang
Eric Chang
1Password Director, Product MarketingJanuary 20

I'd recommend making sure to spend enough time on the planning and information gathering phase that is necessary prior to creating messaging. The most common issue I've seen with messaging is PMMs jumping straight into creating a framework before they truly take the time to understand their target audience's pain points, and how the product solves those pain points. As a result, the messaging turns into that individual's view of why they think the product is great. In an ideal world you would be able to find lots of customer research/insights, create a persona, a clear set of problems, establish positioning, understand the product, and then dive into messaging. The reality is you often don't have the time/resources to do all this. In these situations, I recommend you create a simple brief that lays out very clearly your audience pain points, positioning, and key product info. If you have those 3 items the messaging exercise is much more straight forward and they serve as a good reminder of the foundation you're using to build your messaging.

Next, make sure to get feedback (ideally from your target audience, but teammates are great as well). Repetitions and practice are important, but getting feedback will help you better understand if messaging is resonating before you push it live. The feedback will help you course correct and deliver more effective in-market messaging, plus it will help you identify how you can improve.

From a structured learning perspective, a public speaking or writing class could also be helpful. Effective public speaking requires you to understand an idea and communicate it clearly, which are both helpful and complementary to improving messaging skills. I myself haven't taken a writing class before, but I have known many PMMs (especially those in more content heavy roles) who have and would recommend it.

2014 Views
Valerie Angelkos
Valerie Angelkos
Howl VP of Product MarketingMay 24

Messaging for me is both an art and a science. I've seen very good narrative building frameworks and courses around that can you help you nail basic concepts (e.g how to structure a well written value prop) but it needs constant practice and iteration.

As an immigrant whose first language is not English, I have also found general writing courses and workshops very helpful.

713 Views
Jane Reynolds
Jane Reynolds
Archer Director of Product MarketingMarch 22

Messaging is so important, not only when conveying new features, updates, and opportunities to your customers, but also when getting internal buy-in and gathering resources for a go-to-market plan.

Start by putting together your message, focusing most importantly on the value, as well as the must-knows and how-tos. What are you providing to the user (or colleague), or trying to get them to do, and why does it benefit them? And see how other companies approach similar topics. Just because a competitor is doing something, it doesn’t mean to do the same—it could mean to do the exact opposite! But it’s helpful to have some context on what else is out there.

Then, seek out feedback. Trust me, people love to give feedback on messaging ;) Get as much feedback as possible and note the trends—were there changes most recommended you make? Were there certain pieces that really resonated?

And finally, test and test again. At OkCupid, we’re constantly AB testing our messaging in the app and our CRM to make sure we’re speaking clearly and thoughtfully to our users. If the goal of a new feature is adoption, test out different CTAs and see which ones drive the most click-throughs and use of the feature. Also be sure to note that different demos may respond differently, too. For example, you may find that millennials respond better to Test A whereas Gen Z responds better to Test B. The more targeted you can be, the better.

565 Views
Kelly Kipkalov
Kelly Kipkalov
BILL Sr Director, Product MarketingDecember 19

Great messaging isn't as easy as people think!

Two things come to mind.

First, learn the art of writing a single minded proposition, aka "SMP." If you aren't crystal clear on the benefit you're selling and why a customer should believe in the benefit (RTB or reason to believe) your messaging just won't make sense. CPG marketers have been doing this for years; it requires you to be disciplined and to make tradeoffs otherwise your message will be muddy.

Second, remember that less is always more, and too much is just messy, particularly in messaging. Challenge yourself to keep things short and sweet. If the words aren't in service of paying off your SMP, then delete delete delete!

374 Views
Morgan (Molnar) Lehmann
Morgan (Molnar) Lehmann
SurveyMonkey Senior Director, Head of Product & Solutions MarketingMarch 19

Messaging is a skill that takes time and effort to improve. And not everyone intuitively "gets it" when it comes to crafting great messaging.

Here are 8 ways I'd recommend PMMs improve their messaging skills:

  1. Talk to your customers: Get their lingo down. Talk to them in the same way they talk about themselves & their needs. The more you talk to customers, the more you'll be able to echo them in your messaging.

  2. Consult the competition: competitive websites can be a great place to understand how other companies in your industry position themselves & convey that positioning in concise, customer-facing messaging.

  3. Get advice from your peers: Is there someone on your team that's really strong in messaging? Pair up & start learning. Ask them to join you in a working session or messaging brainstorm.

  4. Receive coaching from your manager: Sometimes it's great to just dig in & learn from someone who's done it for longer.

  5. Create time-saving templates: If you find something that works & helps to service all of the teams internally that use your messaging, rinse and repeat! I know Sharebird has several messaging templates you can download & try.

  6. Take trusted courses: Find a messaging certification or course from a well-known association like PMA, CXL or Pragmatic Institute.

  7. Test & learn: We're lucky at SurveyMonkey because we have message testing tools built into our own product, but there are several ways to do this: surveys, user research, and in-market A/B testing.

  8. Practice, practice, practice! With anything else, messaging takes practice to become good at it. So treat every launch, campaign, or program as an opportunity to refine your messaging skills.

722 Views
Talia Moyal
Talia Moyal
Gitpod Head of Product MarketingMarch 22

Always always always bring it back to the perspective of the prospect / customer.

Your super power as a PMM is reading people to understand what's most important to them. One of my favourite ways to get good at this is tons of research calls. Here's my most successful way to do this:

  • if accessible, obtain a list of your target accounts -- these are now your target companies

  • find the title within these companies that you want to learn more about -- this will usually be the buyer vs. end user if you're at a company with an enterprise motion. For PLG, it's most likely the end-user

  • craft a message introducing yourself, and saying that you are researching a specific topic

    • make sure to pick your topic in advance and have it be a question you really need an answer to

    • i'd recommend only picking one thing, and have having other topics be 'extras' if you have time to get to them as often, you'll only have 15 minutes

    • make sure this message fits within 300 characters of LinkedIn allotment :)

    • make extra clear that this is NOT a sales call and really respect that

  • find these people on LinkedIn and send them a connection!

More often not, I get people accepting my requests! It's just important to really respect that these people are not people you then put in a funnel.

178 Views
Jeff Rezabek
Jeff Rezabek
IRONSCALES Director of Product MarketingJanuary 20

The skills that I believe is most crucial for developing good messaging is asking good questions and then listening. Get in front of as many customers as you can and listen to what challenges they were experiencing and how your solution or service solved those challenges and provided value. You can also listen to sales calls through tools like gong.

After listening to enough calls, you start to see patterns emerge, this will become the foundation of your message.

330 Views
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