Anna Wiggins

Anna WigginsShare

Sr. Director Product Marketing, Bluevine
Content
Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineMarch 23

There are a lot of messaging frameworks out there. If you are on the hunt for templates, check out the Product Marketing Alliance or April Dunford's website (Obviously Awesome is a must-read of Product Marketers).

In general, a messaging doc should be the single source of truth and act as the building block for any external-facing language used in your marketing. Also, it's likely that you won't always be there to walk folks through the document, so it should be as clear and self-explanatory as possible.

With that in mind, I like to include the following in a messaging document:
- Customer insights
- Product details
- Value proposition
- Key messaging idea
- Key benefits
- RTBs
- Dos and Don'ts (usually informed by your legal team)

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

It’s really important to understand your product’s team development process. How is the Product team structured and why? What and when are their sprint cycles. How do new tasks get on the backlog and how is the backlog prioritized. If possible, attend backlog prioritization meetings so you can understand what information PMs look at when making decisions.

This will help you be much more strategic in how, when, and why you add on the backlog. Also it’s key to develop a close relationship with a few PMs so they can champion for you during the prioritization process.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

I’m glad you are asking this question because this is exactly the right mindset you should have in a young Product Marketing org to avoid becoming solely a GTM service function.

The path to this is through a mixture of education and showing value to the Product team. Something you should find out is why the Product Marketing team was created and who was the driver behind the creation. If the momentum came from outside of the Product team, the PMs likely won’t know how to work with Product Marketing and this will be an opportunity for you to educate and bring the full scope of what you can do to the table.

If the momentum came from the Product team, you need to understand their definition and expectations for Product Marketing. If it doesn’t align with yours, understand where the gaps are and how you can work to close them over time.

One other thing to keep in mind - I hear a lot that the path to showing value to Product Managers is through customer insights. However keep in mind that most PMs are already gathering customer insights. Usually it’s on a much smaller and perhaps disjointed scale. For example, they’ll talk to five customers in-depth about a particular feature and the notes live somewhere in their drive vs. available for other PMs to consume. So a quick way to add value is to gather, centralize, and make searchable customer findings PMs have collected over time as well as to conduct customer research at scale that can eventually be benchmarked.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

Based on this question, I’m going to assume that your company doesn’t have a research function and that the account team holds the key to contacting customers.

My first piece of advice would be to work on establishing a research function within the Product Marketing team so that you have constant and direct access to customers. If there is resistance from the Account Team, work to understand their concerns and show them tangible deliverables you’ll provide like battlecards.

Second, automate as much data collection as possible so you have a steady stream of quantitative insights that you can benchmark against over time. This can be done through NPS programs that also collect comments or through simple trigger based surveys. However don’t forget to regularly collect qualitative feedback to bring color to the quantitative work - you can use major launches or sales cycle moments to anchor your calendar.

Also, allocate budget so you can experiment with incentives to increase response rates. If funds aren’t available, get creative in finding what your customers would find valuable -- perhaps in exchange for their feedback they can have access to a gated feature, an hour with somebody from the leadership team, or free tickets to one of your events.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

Since ManyChat is a younger company, we don’t yet have a lot of product lines that merit the traditional squad PM <> PMM structure. Today the Product Marketing team is structured based on target customer personas with each PMM also responsible for a functional area like research or competitive intelligence. As we grow, I could see us moving to the squad model.

Also we are a global company with diverse english language proficiencies and as a result product marketers ended up acting as copy editors for the team. The most strategic hires I’ve made so far is a roster of copywriters who have taken on the editing so the PMMs can maximize the value they bring to our customers and PMs.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineMarch 23

Positioning is an internal exercise during which you define the unique value proposition for your product, how the product is differentiated from the competition, and where it sits relative to the competition/alternatives in consumer’s minds. Positioning is a building block for messaging.

Messaging is customer-facing articulation of the product’s value proposition. Messaging is the building blocks of all customer-facing language whether it’s on your site, your pitch decks, or your ads.

In general, explaining this to stakeholders will be two separate conversations. First, you’ll want to align your stakeholders on positioning, which should be anchored in customer, competition, and industry landscape insights. Once the positioning is locked, you can build your messaging and this conversation should be easier since you’ve already aligned on the positioning building blocks with the group.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

This goes back to your goals for running the alpha/beta and what kind of information you want to gather.

In general I look for honest feedback on some of the following themes, but you’ll want to work closely with your PM partners to define specifics.

1. Does the product solve the right problem or in other words is this a problem the customer actually has?

2. Does the product actually solve the problem? If not, what would need to change.

3. Does the product meet customer’s expectations. If not, what did they expect and how should it be adjusted to meet them?

4. Does the customer enjoy using the product -- what are the pain points, what’s missing, what do they really like.

5. How would they describe what the product does and why they are using it.

You can gather this feedback through qualitative interviews or ideally through a UX study so you can work out any kinks in usability.

Usually participating in the alpha/beta tends to be a good incentive in itself since customers enjoy getting early access to tech. However you can also thank them with gift cards. If funds are an issue, you can get creative by offering access to a gated feature/plan, an hour with somebody from the leadership team, or free tickets to one of your events.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

I answer a similar question further on, but at a high level a great way to preview the roadmap is part of annual or quarterly account health checks.

In the past I’ve had a section in the sales deck. We’ve also recorded videos with our PMs covering high level plans because customers tend to really like hearing from the team that’s actually building the products they use and this gives the PMs an opportunity to celebrate their work. Some PMs also enjoy going on sales calls to directly experience customer reactions and this can be powerful in driving excitement.

And of course, if your company hosts events/conferences this is also a great place to preview what’s coming for you in the coming year.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

I would start by understanding why it’s not seen as a priority - does this feature align with your overall product strategy? Perhaps this is an area that the company has made a conscious choice not to enter.

However if this is simply a prioritization issue for the Product team, I suggest you quantify the impact. How many customers are asking for this and how many accounts or how much revenue are you losing by not having this option for your customers. Also, can you estimate if a customer adopting this feature would increase LTV?

Once you have this information I recommend getting your Leadership team involved so you can have extra support in the prioritization conversation.

Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineAugust 11

This will depend on the type of business you are in. Hardware? Enterprise? These have longer development and sales cycles so the teams have to plan much further ahead vs. a self service model where products tend to ship faster. Also the maturity of the company will make a difference because Product teams at younger companies tend to have shorter foresight themselves because they are potentially still experimenting with product market fit.

Taking into account the context of your world, apply a tiering system to the roadmap and estimate how long it takes for you to flawlessly execute a T1 launch - including localization if you are a global company. At a bare minimum, you need that much time. However ideally, you are meeting with your Product team each planning cycle to go over their plans, make your contributions and identify and align on key moments where you’ll really go big on marketing.

Credentials & Highlights
Sr. Director Product Marketing at BlueVine
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Lives In Los Angeles, California
Knows About Messaging, Influencing the Product Roadmap, Product Marketing vs Product Management, ...more