All related (69)
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeFebruary 26

Focus on what your team can deliver on with your current staffing, and be very clear about what’s not possible to cover. It may be doing your team a favor to have these other teams taking some responsibility, since it frees you to focus. Now the challenge is to define the areas you want to have an impact, so that you can ultimately make the case for stronger leadership and more resources.

To make that case, you need to drive results, and show the strategic importance of product marketing to generating revenue. You’ll be more successful if you can do a few things really well instead of trying to cover more surface area.

One example of this might be with the product launches you mention: How many product launches do you need to run each year, and how much time could you free up by not launching everything? We made the switch a few years ago at Optimizely to only putting PMMs on major launches and letting a number of smaller feature updates go unannounced. This enabled us to focus on driving other strategic projects, like broader marketing campaigns that drive demand and revenue, new company messaging and positioning, and enablement initiatives independent of launches.

Alexa Schirtzinger
VP Product Marketing, BoxJuly 22

This is a tough one! I'd probably start with a simple start/stop/continue. So for exmaple:

  • STOP: One thing you might want to do is try to get the team out of “keep the lights on” mode. When product marketing is relegated to pushing launch after launch out the door and doesn’t have time to step back and think about the big-picture story and strategy, it ends up doing a disservice to the customer and the whole company. Even if you don’t have the buy-in or resources to do more, but you can always do less. Try shifting to a model where PMM takes responsibility for bundling and tiering all of those feature releases and only “launching” a few big things each quarter. This can help customers better understand what’s going on while also rebalancing the power dynamic (so you’re not just responding to features that ship, but inserting some creative judgment on what gets prioritized and launched to the market).
  • START: In addition to reducing your investment in shipping features, identify one area you (as a team) really want to own and excel at. I frequently tell my team that it’s better to do one thing well than many things sort of well -- especially when you’re trying to get the organization to recognize your value. To identify what you want to prioritize, I’d consider:
    • the skills on your team: what do you do best?
    • the things your organization values: where can you have the greatest impact?
    • the road to success: is it feasible? can you deliver meaningful results in 3-6 months? (fwiw, that’s my sweet spot for big wins -- not exactly quick wins, but not projects that take so long that people start to wonder what you’re doing over there :))

Ultimately, it might also be worth trying to get teams out of the “ownership” mindset. This can depend a lot on organizational culture and can take a really long time, but the more you can get your team and your collaborators to align on the outcomes you want together, and then allocate the work as needed, the less time you’ll have to spend drawing and enforcing boundaries.

Sunny Manivannan
Vice President & GM, Global SMB, BrazeJune 17

Taking the question at face value, there are only two things you can really do:

(1) Make the case to your CEO that all of these different functions picking off pieces and working in silos is not the best answer to the company, and present your plan for what it would look like if Product Marketing acted as the central nervous system within the company for all these activities and projects, and clearly list the benefits (product marketing needs to 'product market' itself too sometimes...). Either push for recruiting a seasoned product marketing leader or if you're up for the job yourself, ask for the responsibility.

(2) Find another job. There are many companies whose leadership has seen the value of a strong product marketing function and whose CEOs and CMOs want to invest in this area. Most publicly traded SaaS companies have strong, appropriately-resourced product marketing teams. There's a reason for that.

While I could make an argument for why you should fight the good fight and slowly prove your value over time at your current company, the truth is that you won't learn anything when you're this under-resourced and having to watch your back to ensure nothing else gets taken away from your already-limited purview.

In addition, one of two things is happening at your company - (1) either these other departments that are taking major projects and core PMM responsibilities are actually better at doing those things than your PMM team is - in which case perhaps they should keep doing those things because it's leading to the best outcome for the company overall (but it's not good for you personally - because you're not learning as much as you could), or (2) your company simply has a land-grabbing, zero-sum culture, which may not be your cultural preference, in which case, finding a new job might be the right move. 

Grace Kuo
Product Marketing, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative | Formerly UdemyMarch 6

Great question. Because your resources are limited, you have to focus on the high priority items and bring visibility into what you do! 

1. Classify your launches: We use the classification of A, B, C, and X. A's and B's require PMM attention 100%! Work on high priority launches

2. Evangelize PMM: Do a roadshow of what Product Marketing does and its impact for key teams within your organization (i.e. product meetings, sales meetings, CS, leadership etc.) This presentation should include:

- GTM strategy

- Objectives/Goals 

- Outcomes you acheive when you bring PMM into the picture

3. Focus: Because we work so cross-functionally, we are inundated with a lot of requests and have to focus on quite a few initiatives. It's important to focus on the things you can get to, set stakeholder expectations in terms of what you will accomplish, get it done (show results) and then move on to the next. This way you are making impact one step at a time and not trying to do everything (because you wont get to it and if that happens, ppl will lose trust in the team.) 

Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®September 28

It sounds like the first issue that needs to be resolved at your company is the amount of resourcing on the PMM team. If you're barely staying on top of product launches, you have no capacity for the major projects and responsibilities that you see going to other teams -- leadership every time will care more about the work getting done than where the work gets done (and if that "where" has the right philosophical justification of ownership). 

Your options are to either scope down the volume of product launches by bundling features together or defining marketing launches as only being appropriate for "large/tier 1" releases, or to make the case for more people on the team. You'll also need to be able to make the case that the PMM team has the required skills to take ownership of the major projects in question if you were to get the extra bandwidth via either of the previous options -- if you think PMM should own buyer segmentation but your team doesn't have any experience doing that while another team like Product or BizOps has it in spades, leadership may not be excited to give you that project. 

If these paths end up being total dead ends, though, it may be that your organization or key senior leaders just don't value or understand the product marketing discipline. If that's the case, you may want to consider exploring opportunities at other companies. PMMs are in high demand!