What are good product marketing OKRs?
Product Marketing is about product and sales success so your OKRs should align with company, CMO and product OKRs. However, I think these 3 serve as a good
"PMM OKR template"
1. Build a POV and become the hub of market intelligence: Think of this as all PMM programs: Competitive intel, Voice of Customer, Analyst Relations,
2. Bridge the gap between product and sales: Product launches, sales enablement, technical and release marketing, Roadmaps, CABs
3. Win in your core market: Your ranking, Customer advocacy, SOV, Content hubs, Thought leadership, Pipegen, ACV, Website
In general, product marketing OKRs can become quite vague and hard to measure. However, the product marketing OKRs I’ve seen that are easier to measure are:
1) Successful and ontime product launches. This means the product launch was able to happen on time with all cross functional teams trained up prior to the product launch so there were no surprises.
2) Completed messaging maps/documents for a target segment or new feature.
3) Completed research around target customer segments and who to go after next.
4) Updated pricing model or structure for new features.
Tricky question! To be honest, OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) are HIGHLY context- and business-specific, so there isn't such thing as "good OKRs for Product Marketing" in the abstract. You should be aligning PMM OKRs to the OKRs at the company level. And keep in mind that they are all about business transformation, not keeping the lights on. So they will involve stretch goals and should intersect and overlap with the OKRs of other teams across the org, not be strictly unique.
On the other hand, there are plenty of good KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for PMM to track. For B2B and SaaS, my favorite PMM KPIs are:
- MQL-to-SAL conversion rate
- Sales win rate
- Contribution margin for newly targeted segments
- Adoption rate within the first 48 hours after launch
For B2C and marketplaces, my favorite PMM KPIs are:
- Adoption rate within the first 48 hours after launch
- User survey respondents' preference for your differentiated features
- Segment-specific retention rate
Product Marketing OKRs are really important to keeping teams focused on driving the most impact for the company. At a Product Marketing OKR level, it often depends on what the company goals are for that particular time period. If the company is going after a new market or focusing on customer retention, that's going to influence what a PMM's KR will be.
Second, I think it's importnt to set a KR that you have direct influence or impact on. Sometimes, PMMs at Lyft share KRs with PMs, but ideally, there is a sub-KR that indicates whether a PMM's investment of resources is succeeding at supporting the overall KR. Most notably, what a PMM can influence directly is product/feature adoption, sales enablement success (for B2B), and active user growth. I advise my team to use 'absolute' KRs sparingly and only if there is no other option. For example 'Launch new marketing website by Q3' would be an absolute KR. I would suggest to think about 'why' we're launching a new marketing website and what that will do for the product or company. You may revise the KR to say 'Launch a marketing website that results in a 10% increase in self-service signups by the end of Q4'. In this example, we've pushed out the measurement to Q4 and determined directly in the KR how this work will move the business forward.
The short answer is 'it depends'.....let me explain...
A product marketer, in my opinion, is like the CEO of a product. And just like a CEO, has to do whatever it takes to make the company (in this case product) successful. Hence, she/he should be measured on what is relevant for that specific year.
PMM OKRs depend on your answer to questions such as - what is the stage of the product lifecycle? Do you own all of product marketing or a specific PMM function? What are the business goals and objectives this year? etc.
Stage of product lifecycle
If you are working on an early stage product, then perhaps you are trying to determine product-market fit, understand market needs, or launch a product this year. If you are working on a mature product, then perhaps you are trying to beat competition, optimize pricing, and gain market share. The OKRs for both situations will clearly be very different.
Product marketing function
OKRs vary by PMM function - positioning and messaging, competitive intel, sales enablement, customer insights, etc.
Business goals and objectives
If the business objective this year is geographic expansion or establishing the partner channel org, then your OKRs should be tied to these initiatives, as you are obviously going to enable, drive and support them.
In the meantime, if you have a very traditional role and just want a list. Here is a great list by PMA to get started, but remember to adopt it and change it to what matters most to your org and PMM function.
If you are looking for key Product Marketing metrics to determine success, here are some ideas:
- For a mature product: new users, adoption (usage), active users, daily active users, monthly active users, retention, net retention, pipeline, revenue, deal size, win rate, close rate, velocity
- For a very immature product: # of early customers, # of customer demos, # of trial signups, adoption (usage)
- For going after a new buyer: # of new relevant titles added to the database, # of wins in a new vertical
The key is to determine what the objective is given where the product is in its lifecycle, and come up with the right metric accordingly.
Good Product Marketing OKRs really depend on the business and what the company is trying to achieve. For example, if there's no unified launch process, you may set an objective to develop a launch program. Or another example: you're starting to lose deals to a specific competitor. You may kick off a competitive program to mitigate losses on competitive deals. It really depends on the business.
For product launches:
- Did I reach my intended audience for this launch? How many people engaged with our launch materials? Read the blog post? Watched the video? Engaged with the landing page?
- How many existing customers adopted the new feature or product within a reasonable amount of time?
- Were we expecting a certain amount of leads or pipeline from the launch?
- Did we brief the analyst community properly?
- Is our sales team enabled on what's new and why customers should care?
- Content delivery
- Gated content downloads
- Webinar registrations and number of viewers
- Lead flow
For sales enablement:
- What % of reps are certified on the pitch and demo?
- What % of reps have gone through persona training?
I'll preface this w/ saying my own POV of PMM is very much GTM-oriented. And so in developing the O's for my team, everything should track back to pipe & revenue. It's what pays the bills ;).
Below are the 4 O's that I've put in place for my team. It's purposefully high level and general at my level, and as you cascade it down, the O's and KR's may be more specific depending on your team setup.
Craft compelling narratives: this is the foundation, which includes messaging docs, positioning statements, market research, everything you do to craft compelling positioning and messaging. To me this is the heart of Product Marketing -- translating product & tech into benefits & impact to help buyers understand why buy now.
Fuel the pipe gen machine: PMMs don't typically control marketing dollars, but we do a LOT of activities that support the growth/demand gen machine. This includes website work, marketing asset development, event support & speaking engagements. It even goes into release marketing or product adoption metrics -- the thought should be "how is what we're doing going to help drive future revenue??"
Arm sales to exceed revenue targets: this encompasses all the work we do in terms of building pitch decks, datasheets, CI, and everything that supports the sales motion. And this might be "net new sales", it might be "expansion sales", but the "O" is all about building and supporting these teams to hit and exceed targets. If you're GTM motion is PLG, might have to tweak a bit :).
Become the model marketing team: you can't forget about the team and the people who make it up. So ensuring people have growth opportunities, that you're building a great culture, and creating a safe space for people to do their best work... at the end of the day it all comes down to the team and people.
"Good OKRs" answer on the question of where Product Marketing can bring the most significant positive impact on the company's growth.
It really depends on the stage of your product’s life cycle. Is your product in the introduction (development, pre-MVP, validation), growth, or maturity stage?
If the startup is working on delivering the first Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then the main focus should be on defining Product-Market fit, value for target users, and launching the product itself. In this case, the company Objective could be “Launch MVP and receive meaningful learnings in quarter 1” with 3-4 Key Results for the PMM team. The good practice is to make Key Results measurable, for example:
- MVP launch with 5000+ signups at the end of the first quarter. Note: on-schedule MVP release will be owned by the Product Team, while MVP Go-to-Market launch by PMMs.
- 40% MVP adoption rate (new engaged users /all signups) via smooth onboarding and UX. Note: this can be shared KR between PM < > PMM teams.
- Validate 10 Product-Market fit hypotheses to learn if the MVP solves users’ needs. Note: PMM team can own hypotheses about user segments, problem domains, and value propositions. While the PM team can focus more on how current features solve needs or how usable they are (discoverability and usability hypothesis).
If the startup has passed the Product-Market fit stage, Product Marketing OKRs can be centered around building Competitive Intelligence programs to constantly stay ahead of the competition, both from positioning and product features perspectives. The positioning aspect can be owned by marketing leaders and features differentiation by Product Leads.
Another example of post-PMF Product Marketing OKRs could be bridging the gap between Product and sales which comes to various sales enablement projects. Let me give you a practical example here.