All related (56)
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Product Marketing, ITSM, AtlassianApril 8

If you had asked me this at the start of the pandemic I would have told you I have no idea what I'm doing. I had always worked in an office alongside my PMM co-workers and team. Going fully remote was a big shock. But now, having learned a lot and working for a company that is remote-first and having myself a distributed team (I have people in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Sidney...) I believe I can give you some tips and things to avoid.

The biggest challenge, of course, is not being present in the same location as your team and as the other teams you interact with (product, sales, support, etc.). The other challenge is the timezone differences that make it difficult to find good times to meet. On top of that, in a Zoom world sometimes things take longer to get done (you can't just walk down to a person's desk and breath down their neck until they look up at you and tell you where is the latest TPS report!).

For advantages, there are several. First, working remotely can give people a sense of autonomy. They can come in and go as they please without anyone looking at why they are leaving. It also gives people the flexibility to take care of personal stuff (pick up kids from school, buy groceries, take care of a family member) which might have been more difficult if they were in an office all day. Then, there's the productivity advantage. You can go from one Zoom meeting to the next in 20 seconds, while in the office it could take you over 10 minutes to leave the conference room, lookup the place for your next meeting, find that building/floor/meeting room and wait for the people inside to vacate. Sure, this is a blessing and a curse and leads to Zoom fatigue. But I digress.

From a pure product marketing perspective, you gotta find ways to improve remote collaboration across teams. During a product launch, making sure you have frequent check-ins with the team, that there's a Slack channel for the launch so you can all communicate, a page with the plans that everyone has access to, etc. becomes even more important. So as a PMM you will see yourself having to think through all of the ways that communication can break down and come up with a plan for making sure it doesn't happen. 

I have found that as PMMs we are in a unique position to ensure communication across teams, regardless of the project, communication is the Achilles heel of the work and in a remote setting it has become way more important to make it right.

Susan "Spark" Park
Head of Product Marketing, VR Work Experiences, Oculus, MetaMay 26

Challenges:
If you are away from your product and engineering team and conversations/changes on the product happen in hallways not in meetings. If this is happening to you, try and advocate that to change, but if it doesn’t, perhaps find a new role or specialty. If you don’t, your role may be changed to a project manager versus a product marketing manager and that’s not ideal.

Advantages:
You can drive the impartial customer voice without being swayed by the everyday interaction with the product and eng team. You can collect customer feedback much more quickly (I'm assuming you're in a market/timezone with the customers). For example, for complicated product alpha we staffed an PMM in the most competitive market to drive real-time intelligence and client feedback. There was no way we could have iterated as fast without this.

Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®February 11

I don’t think my team experiences specific advantages and challenges of remote work that other teams at Zapier would find different from their own experience.

I think what matters much more is how the company overall treats remote work. Let me provide two specific examples of things at the company level that matter a great deal:

  • Team vs. company-wide remote work: I firmly believe that remote only works — and especially so for PMMs who rely deeply on cross-functional relationships — if the entire company is remote. When the entire company is remote like Zapier is, every single team needs to come up with strategies for making the system work. The company thus adopts shared values, norms, and expectations (see below). When just you or your team are remote, on the other hand, you’re missing out on invaluable in-person interactions that arise from spontaneous or impromptu conversations with peers, onsite team-building events, etc.
  • Company culture and values: You need different rituals and ways of working if remote is going to help rather than hurt your people. I’m regularly amazed at how well Zapier has intentionally built a remote culture that works really, really well. Just a few of many examples: two companywide week long in-person retreats for fostering relationships and collaboration on the biggest questions facing the business; one function (e.g. Marketing) in-person week long retreat; extraordinary transparency and over-communication such that practically every piece of data, presentation, and deliverable are visible to anyone in the company; and a monthly budget to meet up with fellow Zapiens in-person.
Lisa Dziuba
Head of Product Marketing, LottieFiles | Formerly WeLoveNoCode (made $3.6M ARR), Abstract, Flawless App (sold)September 2

The biggest advantages of PMM remote work:

  • Greater flexibility and better work-life balance when organizing PMM workflow.
  • Ability to work with a very diverse team who brings different perspectives. Remote companies have better chances to hire great professionals from various locations. So you as PMM can have stronger PM, sales, and marketing partners.
  • Remote work requires more and better documentation + defined processes for PMM functions. It makes the product marketing function more robust.

The most common challenges of PMM remote work:

  • It's a bit harder for new PMMs who is joining the company to build relationships remotely with all cross-functional teams. It just takes more time.
  • Async work requires more communication to run everything smoothly (GTMs).
  • Feedback loops inside the team take more time because of timezone differences (for teams located across the globe).
  • More tooling for remote work, sometimes it gets too many messages in Slack, which can come 24/7. It doesn't mean you should reply to them but it adds a bit of pressure from the constant information flow (you have your Slack on the phone, so work is always with you :)
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Product Marketing, ITSM, Atlassian
In most B2B tech organizations (where I've spent most of my career) the PMM team owns the Go-To-Market. From a strategic perspective this means: - Who we should sell to and how - What should we sell and why - How we'll reach them and what we'll tell them - Knowing what works and course-correcting The challenge is that each of these elements is broken down into specific tactics, such as: - Who we should sell to and how: creating buyer personas, doing market segmentation, identifying sales channels - What should we sell and why: product-market fit, product launches, product positioni...
Priya Gill
Vice President, Product Marketing, Momentive
There are four areas where I believe that PMMs can add the most value, and that’s where I usually start my assessment to identify the lowest hanging fruit: * Product: Do we have product-market fit with our ideal buyer? Is our messaging differentiated and compelling? Is our pricing and packaging competitive? * Demand: Are we targeting the right personas, industries, categories? Where are we winning and are we doubling down effectively? Are there untapped markets worth pursuing? * Enablement: Are our win rates, average deal size and pipeline conversion strong? How does ARR / G...
Brianne Shally
Head of Product Marketing, Nextdoor
Sharing the product roadmap externally is a great way to share the company's vision, investment in innovation, and upcoming features to get prospects and customers excited about the potential. It can be a strong selling tool to get prospects on board and a resource to get current customers to invest more. What's important is that the roadmap isn't standing on it own, but partnered with an overall vision to show how product efforts later up to a great vision. This is where Product Marketing can play a strong role in storytelling and positioning to bring it all together. I've seen this execut...
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, Instacart
In my experience, the most powerful tool for influencing the Product Roadmap as a PMM is customer insights. If you can clearly demonstrate customer pain points and inspire empathy, that tees up the opportunity to be part of the discussion around how you might meet those needs through product solutions. From a timeline standpoint, I find aligning on prioritization to be the most effective lever. One way to approach this is to look at the roadmap, estimate the business impact of all key initiatives, and assess whether delivery dates should be re-stacked to address the most impactful projects ...
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®
It's all about doing great work that matters to the business, matters to your partner, and fits into the context of the relationship! The playbook below can help get the ball rolling. Sorry for the long answer, but it's a complex question with big implications for your ability to add value as a PMM. 1) It's essential to understand your business — the market you play in, the strengths/weaknesses of the competition, how customers feel about you, etc. — better than just about anyone else in the company. Your level of fluency (or lack thereof!) will be visible in how you show up: the insight...
Patrick Cuttica
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Square
I'm running out of time! See the answer above to the question "I wanna make the case to hire some more product marketers - we're a team of 2 for a company of 400. Whats the ratio where you are? Have you seen any external data on this?" -- I think I mostly covered this in that answer.  In short, we have a Go-to-Market team focused on the commercialization of our product straetgy and a Sales Readiness team focused on competitve/market intel, analyst relations and sales content developmenet. And our key partners are Solutions Engineers and Sales Enablement.