All related (8)
Krithika Muthukumar
Head of Marketing, RetoolDecember 19

These terms are used so interchangeably these days—some may argue it’s not even worth separating them out. However, the challenges for each are slightly different and a nuanced approach can change the type of impact PMM and your company can have. Here’s how I think about these:

  • Suite, portfolio: These are companies that offer a set of products that help solve problems in related areas, but aren’t necessarily interoperable or meant to be used together. Examples include the now-defunct iLife (i.e. GarageBand and iMovie both help you do creative things, but you aren’t meant to specifically use them together) or even Microsoft Office. The big product marketing challenges are that users for a single product may not need the functionality offered by other products in the suite, so cross-sell or company-wide licensing is a big focus.
  • Platform: A set of products that are interoperable and which build on top of a shared, interconnected layer. These products are typically composable and share at least a common database. Examples include Atlassian (i.e. JIRA and Confluence can be used separately, but work better together and can share data), AWS, or Stripe. The big product marketing challenge is getting customers to buy into the promise of what the unified system can offer over piecing together a solution.
  • Ecosystem: An open platform or API is extensible by third parties and an ecosystem is the collection of tools, plugins, and products that work with the platform. Examples include Salesforce’s AppExchange or the Slack platform. Ecosystems can really help “lock in” customers since they use multiple tools that are deeply integrated with your product. The marketing challenge is attracting developers and other companies to build integrations and then driving awareness and adoption of those tools. If you want more, Ceci Stallsmith gave an eloquent talk about this challenge.
Vishal Naik
Developer Marketing Lead, Google Assistant, Google | Formerly DocuSignJanuary 18

I'm big on analogies (perhaps annoyingly so), so equate it to a concert: The Portfolio or Suite is like the band. It's the grouping of the products that you sell/come to see. The Ecosystem is like TicketMaster or StubHub. It's how you gain access to see the band/use the product if you're not walking up to the theater box office to buy a ticket. The Platform is like the stage, where the band is performing, it's connected into the sound system and lighting, and because of it, all attendees are enabled to see and enjoy.

In a business setting, I do often hear the term Platform used synonymously with Suite, which technically isn't wrong--because your Suite can be the thing that allows a customer to do more things. Though that somewhat implies that you're the only one in that space. Whether or not you have direct competitors, there is always going to be some other vendor out there trying to get the same budget from your customer, so I tend to try to not use the terms "platform" and "suite" interchangeably. As customer's are getting more and more technical, I see the term Platform being used to explain something different than the Suite. The Suite is the grouping, the Platform is the connective tissue that makes it all work together, and then there is the Ecosystem which is the path you can take to tap into that Suite.

Div Manickam
Mentor | Author | Product Marketing Influencer, Inspire. Influence. Impact. | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 5

Today, portfolio, platform, ecosystem and suite are used interchangeably depending on the use case or scenario. Every technology company wants to be a platform today that encompasses multiple products/services/offerings. 

  • Portfolio is a collection of products, industries, solutions, and services that focus on the buyer persona needs within a target segment. 
  • Platform is a group of products/services that builds the foundation or acts as the technology backbone and have synergies for customers to leverage capabilities across the platform.
  • Ecosystem is much broader and includes the business and every other entity that has a role in the customers’ industry landscape. 
  • Suite is a package of entities that meet a specific use case. eg: sales cloud
Danny Sack
Director Product Marketing, SAP
Every time I join a new organization, I ask for the same things: * List of key contacts in the sales, marketing, and product teams * Key buyer/user personas * Existing product materials * KPIs for the team From there I construct a 30-60-90 day plan to meet people, learn the products, and craft a strategy for the products that will lead to measurable success.
Div Manickam
Mentor | Author | Product Marketing Influencer, Inspire. Influence. Impact. | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodData
Our messaging and positioning starts with this framework below. We combined messaging and positioning into one document and have it built out for each product, solution, and industry. We engage with product management to start and confirm the value proposition, key personas and their pain points based on current learnings from customers. Then we validate our messaging with sales, presales to gain insights into prospect conversations.  This has become the guide for the content/editorial team and the other teams in marketing to help articulate business value. undefined [https://i.imgur.c...
Krithika Muthukumar
Head of Marketing, Retool
We now offer upwards of a dozen products on the Stripe platform that go way beyond payments processing—from products for incorporation and billing management to fraud prevention and managing corporate spending. To manage the growing complexity, we introduced the concept of Anchor Tenants at Stripe this year. (This term comes from American malls, where there may be a large store that draws customers and traffic for the smaller stores.) For us, those are our core products: Payments (payments acceptance), Connect (marketplaces and platforms), and Billing (recurring revenue and invoicing). The...
Francisco M. T. Bram
Vice President of Marketing, Albertsons Companies
The best way for a product marketer to get promoted is by demonstrating the impact of their work. To do this, I incentivize all my PMMs to befriend data and tie their deliverables to key business and customer metrics.  To me, the two most important categories of metrics are: 1) Customer insights a. Number of actionable insights that helped drive product development b. Number of actionable insights that informed a business strategy/service 2) Customer engagement a. Product adoption: This is the % of customers that adopted a new service or product launched by PMM. b. Customer lifet...
Vishal Naik
Developer Marketing Lead, Google Assistant, Google | Formerly DocuSign
Market research is a pretty valuable data point in terms of prioritizing verticals (or any other segmentation slice), but so too is your product ownership point of view and your internal usage data. So you don't need to lean on external research, but it can certainly augment your other efforts. I think there's value in looking at 1p, 2p and 3p input sources in coordination with each other. Where we have used external research towards our segmentation processes is when we do message testing measured across different user groups and then review any consideration or preference gains we see ac...