All related (54)
Anthony Kennada
Chief Marketing Officer, HopinJanuary 28

The brand story ought to be the true north for the product strategy. There are so many competing priorities when it comes to setting the roadmap -- getting to feature parity with the competition, executing on customer requests, bug fixes, etc. -- the brand can serve as a useful filter and framework by which you can make decisions and set the appropriate priority.

At Gainsight, our purpose was to be living proof that you can win in business while being human first. Human first became our true north from a product strategy perspective -- how did each proposed feature or enhancement on the roadmap help us take on step closer to the ideal we were chasing?

Elain Szu
VP Marketing, SentryApril 8

Your brand story is often rooted in how your company's core mission solves a critical customer problem. So in order to tell a unique and compelling narrative, you want to look at the company's core product DNA, tell an excellent story about how that landscape for that problem has evolved and continues to evolve, and link it to your audience's core need. 

  • Why do you exist - what's the core problem or issue
  • For whom is your product roadmap built - often times it's one of your founders in tech
  • How is your product vision going to deliver this uniquely and consistently - easier said than done

I said "core" several times here because often times, marketers and product leaders get wrapped up in the quarterly product roadmap or monthly Marketing plan. But brand story is about the larger vision, which requires you to zoom out and articulate for the world the landscape for your customers' problems, how it has evolved, and how your product direction is addressing the need. From a planning perspective, you need to have this foundation established in order to influence product roadmap prioritization -- which is the super power that I'm always looking for within great product marketers. 

Without this zoom out, it's often easy to get lost in a battle over semantics or feature commitment timelines -- none of which are helpful for customers to understand why they should believe your business and team are worthwhile partners past this quarter's roadmap (especially in SaaS). And, are also not going to give you long term differentiators to tell that unique and compelling brand story. Roadmap planning itself is really an output of the foundations above.

Andrew Stinger
Head Of Marketing, UniverseDecember 17

If things are going right, these should almost feel one-in-the-same: The product direction reinforces the story and brand promise, and the brand messages easily and thoroughly communicate the value of the product.

But, this isn’t always the case, as timelines, teams and strategic visions shift. And that’s okay! Especially at nimble, early companies! If one or the other falls out of alignment, just be sure you make the time cross-functionally to identify and discuss why, re-articulate whichever strategy needs some changes, and make some commitments (ideally with a time bound ー e.g., we’ll make these changes and aim to keep them for at least 6 months).

So, how do you work with this in reality? The answer, at least in my current experience at Coda, is iteratively and with the assumption of positive intent across product and go-to-market teams. We’ve refined our approach to a point that feels really good going into 2021, which gives us a chance to aim high, exercise tactical proficiency, and tell great stories along the way.

Said differently, be open to testing & iterating upon the cadence at which product and brand story reinforce each other.

Twice per year, we engage in a company-wide planning cycle, setting our highest order goals.

Once per week, our product managers and product marketing team meet to discuss tactical updates on our productsーhow are launch timelines looking, has anything changed from a design or outreach strategy perspective, etc.

But what about the space in between “this is product xyz and what it does” and “this is the story of our company if we do what we intend to do?” For that, we’ve begun meeting with the PM + PMM team quarterly to think through: “What is the story of our product for the next few months?” “What are the headlines of what we ship?”

We’re continually testing & iterating upon this rhythm ourselves. With over 100 customer-facing launches this year, our PMM team can sometimes get caught up in the tactical and operational elements of our work. Thankfully, our broader marketing teamーincluding brand, copy, design, solutions, press & commsーkeeps us accountable throughout the week for imbuing our product with our brand promise. This bears out in everything from in-product UI strings and designs, to collaborative content marketing that highlights recent launches.

Kristen Ribero
Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Handshake
This will depend on what your product/service/platform does and who the target audience is. For instance, in one of my previous roles, we had one product for one audience. Of course the platform was extensible, had different feature sets, but the value was easy to articulate to one audience. On the other hand, in my current role at Handshake, we have a three-sided talent marketplace with very different products and audiences. We tackle this by having one company value prop and then tailor specific messaging to each side of the business. Remember that messaging should not be a feature list....
Sarah Lambert
SVP, Marketing, Buckzy Payments
This really depends on the channel: For websites and demand gen, you can always use A/B testing to determine what works, but for messaging further down in the funnel, tracking interactivity with different content on your website is helpful and then even further down the funnel are customer presentations and demo scripts. Here it's helpful to have a good relationship with Sales to ask for constant feedback on what is resonating with customers and what isn't. Keeping track of win loss rates can also help track the effectiveness here. Lastly, for new features or products by current customer...
Diana Smith
Director of Brand and Product Marketing,, Twilio
These are all interrelated. Messaging: Includes value propositions, your story, and pitch. Also includes things like naming, alternatives, and taglines. Value Proposition: These are the top benefits you want to focus on for your product based on customer and competitive unput Pitch & Story: These should be the same. Your pitch about the world before your product, the current approach, why it’s bad, the business consequences, and the new world with your product should tell a story. This story should hit on your main messaging points and value propositions. Hope that helps!
Derek Frome
Vice President Marketing,
To me, a solution is a prescriptive collection of products and features that solve a well-defined problem for your customer. A product is anything you could conceivably sell on its own, but a product can also be a collection of other products. A feature is a component piece of a product that adds to its value but cannot be sold on its own.    Products, features, and solutions tend to get different levels of attention from PMMs. Products will naturally get the most, solutions are really just collections of products and are therefore more an exercise in packaging and pricing. Features get a...
Priya Gill
Vice President, Product Marketing, Momentive
As counterintuitive as this may sound, simple messaging isn’t always the way to go. It really comes down to your target buyer(s) and the set of messages that resonate with them, which may need to be simple for a line of business buyer like Marketing or HR or more complex/technical for an IT/Developer buyer. But it always comes back to understanding your target audience and their pain points, and ensuring you're tailoring your messaging for them. Also, depending on the channel/medium where your messaging is shared, it may necessitate varying altitudes. For example, Social Media is a clear c...
Matt Hodges
Head of Product Marketing Craft, Atlassian
Great question–tough to answer without getting too specific about Intercom and what works for us based on our own situation and approach in general. But, here goes. :)   For us, a product is a container for a set of mutually exclusive features that enable specific workflows to be completed. For example, our Engage product has a set of core features (available on Engage Lite) that make it possible to send targeted messages to leads and customers. Some of these features are audience targeting, auto messages (email, in-app, and push), and smart campaigns to name a few. There is an optional a...