I think the two are very tightly correlated -- both are storytellers by nature, but telling stories at different parts of the funnel. A simple way to think about it is that brand is principally responsible for the "why" while product marketing owns the "who," "what," and the "how". Since people make buying decisions emotionally, brand is responsible for emotionally convicting the market and using the appropriate levers (in partnership with demand) to pull the newly converted into our audience and funnel. Product Marketing helps brand understand who the target audiences are and what they care about, positioning the product as the solution of record with appropriate messaging, and ultimately, partnering with sales to help extract commercial value from the business transaction.
I definitely appreciate this tension -- and in a perfect world you find the right mix of both on the team. Analytical skills will benefit our understanding of market sizing and opportunity, pricing and packaging decisions and so on. The "brand" or creative skillset would aid in storytelling around messaging, content efforts, etc.I think it depends on your role within the PMM org. A Head of PMM, ideally, would be able to balance both analytical and creative capability, and hire to his/her weaknesses.But an appreciation for the power of brand marketing is a superpower in product marketing or any GTM motion. Look no further than Simon Sinek's iconic TED Talk to break down why -- "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." A PMM that can connect the product (the what) to the brand promise (the why) will be a huge asset to any company.
I think anyone who discredits brand as a function of growth is living in an early 2000s era of B2B marketing that doesn't exist anymore. The truth is that behind every logo we are trying to sell to as vendors, is a human (crazy, I know). These humans have a job to do, and are trying to self-actualize in their careers by solving business problems, getting recognized, promoted, etc. Your products can help them accelerate up Maslow's funnel, but products aren't the only thing.You can measure brand in so many different ways. Content & conference marketing sourced (literally) 80%+ of ARR at Gainsight, and probably influenced all 100%. These were content programs and events that had nothing to do with our products, and everything to do with our category. At Front, we ran a PR campaign last week announcing our Series C that directly correlated to a 192% increase in web traffic (against our daily average) and more than 3x the number of trial signups. That's all real revenue, directly attributable to brand.In terms of priority -- tough to answer as I've seen it both ways. Gainsight had a story that resonated long before we found product market fit. Front has had the opposite experience. In general, and since they are both opposite sides of the same coin, I think prioritizing both brand and product marketing early is key to winning in the marketplace.
Interesting! I'll take a stab at it.My sense is that all of these fall under the parent bucket of messaging and positioning. Value Proposition is a subset of messaging that refers to the benefit of the feature or product or platform to the end user or economic buyer. What business impact can they expect by adopting the feature or product? Pitch (often referred to as an elevator pitch) is a :30 second or so description of the product that roughly tells the entire story. A pitch should captivate the audience enough that they want to learn more.Story is perhaps a superset of all of this, or at least, a creative skill set that benefit how messaging is developed and maintained.Again, just my take.
I think it depends on what sub-function of PMM you've excelled in (or are applying for). If more technically-oriented, I'd want to learn about a product launch that you've been a part of, walk through a set of messaging you've developed, and understand how you've worked closely with the product team. If more GTM-oriented, I'd love to see a deck you've built for the sales team, how you've thought about personas and market segmentation, and understand how you've supported the sales team in hitting their targets.
If you're applying for a Head of PMM role, perhaps a view into all of the above and how you've led through that. Also, if this is you, we are hiring at Front :)
It may be a controversial pov, but my perspective is that the analyst community is getting disrupted by DTC user review sites like G2, TrustRadius, and the others. Customer voice is just as powerful as it's ever been, but now, there are increasingly more and more ways to access that customer voice in context of making purchasing decisions.In 7 years of building Gainsight, I think the only value we had from working with analysts was sponsoring a thought leadership paper with Forrester. It was expensive (~$100K) but allowed us to leverage the brand equity of a trusted brand in the market to validate our category and messaging. I don't think spending the $50-$100k / year is very helpful for growing companies, but could be more important to prioritize later in a company's lifecycle -- or if you sell direct to CIOs or in regulated industries.Put that budget towards customer marketing instead.
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?
This is an important question that points to the relationship between brand and product marketing in context of competitive strategy.Short answer, I wouldn't optimize around the competition -- as there's not much you can do in this case to prevent them from copying your messaging. The thing though is that product messaging is easier to copy than a brand position that's validated by the market. A classic example of this is Intercom vs. Drift. Intercom was certainly the first mover in the chatbot space, and they took a position that was super focused on use cases for the product (support, marketing, sales, etc.). Drift took a different path and built their house on an entirely new category called Conversational Marketing. They created content, hosted events, and built other programs focused on serving their target buyer. As the community started validating Drift's market leadership, that became something that Intercom could never steal back.
Great question, and one that I’ve done some writing on (see link below).http://www.categorydev.com/category-branding/There are SEO, branding, PR/AR and many other implications to selecting a category name – so it’s important to get this right. I believe new categories and markets are created when a person / job title exists that is not being served in a meaningful way by an existing vendor. Categories that speak to that person, rather than the product, tend to better resonate. Analysts will suggest archaic category naming conventions that will undoubtedly result in an acronym – Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Recurring Revenue Management (RRM), etc. My POV is that there’s not a lot of conviction for a marketer (or customer) in those categories.Instead, look for clues in the customer job titles and anchor around a common problem. We were fortunate that a title existed in the marketplace called the “Customer Success Manager,” but no one was championing the profession in a meaningful way. Our answer was clear that the category should be called Customer Success.The last piece to consider is SEO and search volume. Is your category easily discoverable when a potential customer is searching for a solution to their pain points? Using Google Trends to help narrow down a short list of ideas is helpful.
Not critical. In fact, you may be better off launching a new category into an existing (and much larger TAM) than also taking the task of creating / expanding a smaller TAM. The work that Gong and Drift are doing within the sales and marketing community (respectively) is quite impressive.
The catch is that owning a niche can lead to some great business outcomes for the company on top.
When it comes to category creation, the idea is to position and evangelize a new problem that's observed in the marketplace for the very first time -- regardless of whether or not the title you're selling into is new or existing. More on that here.