Question Page

What do you use or do to get people to buy into your positioning plans and consistently using them?

The product marketers job typically revolves around positioning a product. Sometimes, it can be difficult to align sales, marketing, and product teams around your positioning.
10 Answers
Marcus Andrews
Marcus Andrews
Pendo Sr. Director of Product MarketingJune 26

Product marketing is often defined as the people who position the products, but I think it's as equally important (especially as you grow bigger) that Product Marketing is also the most cross functional role in marketing. Creating alignment, securing buy-in, and building momentum around a launch is just as important (if not more) as any positioning work you've done. After all what good is a great narrative if no-one put it to use? If you want to ace this there are two things you need to do really well.

1) Leadership buy-in - You need product and marketing and sales leadership to be pretty aligned and give the project the top down support it needs. The best way to do this is to build some sort of prioritization device, that helps select the one or two biggest priorities a quarter.

2) A great roadshow. I love to build a strong narrative and get in front of people and pitching it. The key to getting buy in is usually sharing lots of information and the resources other teams need to execute easy. It also helps if you get them really excited about the launch. I do this by building and perfecting my pitch deck and then going to team meetings across marketing and sales.

4406 Views
Scott Schwarzhoff
Scott Schwarzhoff
Unusual Ventures Operating PartnerFebruary 7

Ah, a tricky one! There are a few things that you can do, starting with a core team that you trust to participate in the fluidity that is message development. Typically, this is a small group that can speak to all the core concepts that you need to discuss in detail. At Okta, this was our product management and product marketing team plus a couple of ‘super AE/SEs’ to provide field input.

Once a baseline message has been developed, then it’s best to iterate quickly via testing. For example, we use PulseQA quite a bit to get IT/security feedback on our messaging. Or 1:1 interviews of key reps and customers. You need a couple dozen data points to ensure you’re identifying all the core themes of feedback.

THEN, you’re ready to socialize with the other stakeholders. But you’re coming armed to that conversation with customer/field infused data vs. your opinion.

1132 Views
Alissa Lydon
Alissa Lydon
Dovetail Head of Product MarketingApril 27

Two words: customer stories! Product Marketers need to make sure that everyone is united in telling the same story about our product and its value. I always think of it like internal selling. And just like in the field, one of the most compelling ways to convince people is to use customer proof points to validate your position. Whenever I am enabling teams on positioning, I try to incorporate a customer story that revoleves around a few key points:

  • What challenges was the customer trying to solve?
  • Why did they choose our solution over competitors?
  • What quantifiable benefits have they seen after using our product?

That last bit is the most important. When you can use numbers to help validate product positioning, you give people something to get behind. It can be a talking point for sales, or the basis of a great marketing campaign. Let the customers and data tell the story, and alignment will follow.

560 Views
Sarah Din
Sarah Din
Quickbase VP of Product MarketingAugust 13
  1. Get your executive team aligned and bought in first - because you need them to champion this to the rest of the org, and to set the precedence by using your messaging regularly as they talk about the company.
  2. When you create new messaging - make sure you do internal activation in the form of training or some sort of a rollout. Make it fun, gamify it and do it over time so it sticks.
  3. Create Quizzes, give away prizes.
  4. Create content in different formats - docs, videos, intranet content, printed materials, etc.
  5. Also make sure it’s easy to find documentation, Centralize it and share it over and over again.
  6. Get HR involved and make sure it's part of onboarding for all new employees.

There is, unfortunately, no shortcut to this. It will simply take some time, especially if this is a complete new overhaul of your messaging

430 Views
Ambika Aggarwal
Ambika Aggarwal
Tremendous Head of Product and Corporate MarketingSeptember 24

The key to getting adoption is to make sure you first get executive alignment along with bringing those teams (sales, marketing, product) along for the journey . As you're creating your positioning and messaging make sure you're getting sales, product, and marketing feedback. That way when you roll it out they will feel much more compelled to use it since they were part of the process. 

Some other ideas:

1. Do an official " internal roadshow" where you roll this out to each team. Join team meetings and present the process, the positioning and messaging and make sure everyone knows where to find the positioning docs (via a central hub). 

2. For sales, if the timing aligns you can use an event like SKO to really make a big splash or award prizes for sales teams that are adopting the new positioning and tagging those calls in Gong. 

3. For marketing, you should already be part of campaign planning so whenever your DG teams are kicking off planning make sure you're part of those conversations and point to your positioning as you come up with campaign themes. 

4. Work with HR/ Onboarding teams to bake it into onboarding for all new employees

430 Views
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Cisco Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Campus Network ExperiencesApril 14

This is the job within the job. You're always balancing two macro audiences: External (prospects and customers) and Internal (well, all your coworkers). 

I'll reiterate what I've said elsewhere today. This is all about repetition, repetition, repetition. Put your messaging and positioning frameworks in a very visible place and refer to them constantly. Have a single slide that reinforces the pillars whenever you talk to other teams.

One of my favorites - for a launch brief and planning kickoff, make the positioning framework the first and primary gating asset. Drive it, get feedback on it, and don't move forward until everyone understands. Then, use it as a rubric to assess the downstream content. 

459 Views
Jeffrey Vocell
Jeffrey Vocell
Panorama Education Head of Product MarketingAugust 4

This is arguably the hardest part of positioning. In my experience, it has to start before you really start drafting positioning and as you're doing research. 

First, talk with a few folks from your sales and CS teams and get a sense of any pain points they're hearing in the market. Gaining early buy-in from Sales will pave the path to making adoption a whole lot easier once positing is written.

Next, once you have positioning drafted get feedback from the same group of individuals from Sales and CS. Ideally you can start to have one or two people even start to test early messaging in calls -- and if you have a technology like Gong or Chorus then you can get direct feedback.

As you go through the positioning approval process there should be executives involved, and there should be buy-in from them to help push adoption.

Lastly, you can drive accountability by rolling out new positioning and enablement assets with a quiz. Getting all leaders bought-in ahead of time will mean they can help make it a priority across their teams, which will ultimately drive adoption.

I know that sounds like a lot, but believe me, it's way easier to start with cross-functional involvement early versus trying to get everyone on-board late in the process and you're up against a deadline.

331 Views
Katharine Gregorio
Katharine Gregorio
Adobe Sr Director of Product Marketing, Creative CloudNovember 22

The way to get people bought into positioning is to make sure that positioning is a cross functional exercise in the beginning. Positioning is not just a marketing or product marketing activity and when it is the output often fails.

1666 Views
Savita Kini
Savita Kini
Cisco Director of Product Management, Speech and Video AIAugust 7

Product positioning is really a complex thoughtful approach, requiring perspectives on brand, pricing and packaging coming together. I believe strongly that its starts day-one when you build the product, define product features, who and where you want to compete with especially the type of customer segment. I find the exercise of positioning when done later as a PMM task gets muddled with "messaging". Because "messaging" can only do so much, if we don't get the first part of "why this product" is right for this "customer". 

If I am a small startup, going after large enterprise customers -- the question I would start with is -- is anyone else solving this problem, why would my solution be different, are there complementary solutions in the market, how do I want to price it -- premium or low cost, or fast access. Doing this exercise early in the product development cycle will not only help in clarifying positioning but also help in figuring out / predicting sales velocity as well. Messaging then becomes an easier exercise. Product marketing can then work towards bringing alignment on messaging. 

I often see content marketers focusing on messaging and positioning as "positioning statement".... I find that exercise becoming a futile exercise in "word smithing" . 

1133 Views
Daniel Palay
Daniel Palay
KPI Sense Chief Executive OfficerMarch 12

Of course it's difficult: Don't be fooled, just because you all work for the same company doesn't mean you're all responding to the same incentives. Start by asking what each of the three is trying to accomplish, and what success looks like for them. Then, as objectively as possible, consider if/how your positioning plan, as presented, corresponds with that. It probably doesn't, and there are probably some gaps that you, as the PMM, have mentally filled in automatically, but are still present for everybody else. Find those gaps. Build the right bridges across them. Present each internal stakeholder with a version of the positioning that also aligns with what they are trying to accomplish right now.

555 Views
Market Research that Unlocks Growth
Thursday, June 13 • 12PM PT
Market Research that Unlocks Growth
Virtual Event
Carmelo Abate
Emmanuela Tijani, CWCA
Bárbara Manarelli Vieira
+32
attendees
Top Product Marketing Mentors
Christy Roach
Christy Roach
AssemblyAI VP of Marketing
Claudia Michon
Claudia Michon
Automation Anywhere Senior Vice President, Product & Solutions Marketing
Julie Towns
Julie Towns
Pinterest VP, Product Marketing & Product Operations
Jenna Crane
Jenna Crane
Klaviyo Head of Product Marketing
Kevin Garcia
Kevin Garcia
Anthropic Product Marketing Leader
Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Enable VP of Product Marketing
Kelly Kipkalov
Kelly Kipkalov
BILL Sr Director, Product Marketing
Pulkit Agrawal
Pulkit Agrawal
Chameleon Co-founder & CEO
Ashley Faus
Ashley Faus
Atlassian Head of Lifecycle Marketing, Portfolio
Beth McGrath
Beth McGrath
Coda Head of Product Marketing