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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain

Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain

Director of Product Marketing, Virta Health

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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingAugust 3
I strongly believe that every GTM strategy should start with researching and understanding the market, competitive, and buyer/prospect needs. Above, I mentioned more details about what types of data might be interesting to look at for verticle prioritization, but this list can also apply here. Combining market and more internal business data together helps inform your business case, which ideally happens and comes together before a decision is made to prioritize an offering onto the roadmap. If for whatever reason the business case step was skipped early on or not fully completed, you can still complete it. Better surface potential risks/opportunities before launch than wait and learn after the fact. Beyond starting with research, I recommend spending some time establishing a structure and plan to set yourself, your team, and your company up for a successful launch. This probably includes: * Identifying your key stakeholders and hosting a kickoff * Aligning on a framework/process with clear stage-gates * Decide how you want to communicate and share updates, will you meet weekly, bi-weekly? Is there a slack channel or will you use email? * Set goals and decide how you will track progress as a team * Align on who is the final decision maker on key decisions, who is responsible for each GTM task, who is contributing and pitching in, and who needs to stay informed. Often times the "informed" group may be executives so consider how you will share updates with your executive team. 
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingAugust 4
There are different motivations for launching products. For example, beyond solving a buyer problem a company could launch a product to expand TAM, retain customers, or differentiate from competitors. Based on this business objective you should determine specific goals and KPIs to ensure you are tracking towards success. This may look slightly different whether you are B2B, B2C, or B2B2C. That being said, there are some go-to KPIs that most product marketing care about. As PMMs, a key part of our role is finding product market fit and then communicating value to the market. When it comes to launching new products, this is when we get to find out if all the time spent on research and testing is time well spent. Will buyers/users purchase and engaging with the product? Key metrics to consider 1. Buyer Adoption - did your buyers purchase the product? Or, if it doesn't carry an additional cost, did they adopt the new offering? Depending on the launch, you may want to segment your buyers by persona, industry, or new vs. existing customer. 2. Engagement - is the end user utilizing the product? This one is simple, are users utilizing the product as expected and are they satisfied? 3. Market Engagement - press release engagement and corporate comms engagement (press release, social campaign, blog post etc.). 4. Win/Loss - If the product you are launching is differentiating or intended to compete with a specific competitor, consider setting a specific win/loss goal Once you have your end goals set, I recommend setting some leading indicators to help you understand throughout the launch if you are on track to hit your end goals. A few examples here include email engagement on launch emails, webinar attendance for upsells, or website landing page engagement. 
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingAugust 4
Across B2B and B2C companies, one of the biggest influencers in a buying decision is a happy customer. Think about it, when you go to buy something that matters to you, how often do you ask a friend who's used the product how they like it, or look for peer reviews online from trusted sources? Peer feedback, case studies, and references can make or break a purchase decision . Buyers want to know that they can trust you as a company and that your product will deliver what you say you will provide. Without having an existing customer or user base, the challenge of setting up a successful launch becomes much more daunting and risky. Instead of having customer testimonials, you'll have to get creative to find ways to build that trust: * Offer a free trial or free beta program * Include a respected industry influencer in your launch process or as an advisor as you build your product and GTM motion * Find ways to include key personas and potential customers in your research process and make sure your buyers know that their voices were included in the process * Consider if there are other companies your buyers trust that might be open to partnering on a webinar or another channel activity * Spend time making sure you test your messaging and positioning with you key personas so it immediately resonates * If you're in the B2B space, offer to include a key prospective customer as part of your roadmap development (but be sure to set clear guardrails) and make sure they feel heard
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingNovember 30
Top questions depend a bit on the role since I always try to make sure each question is evaluating a specific competency tied to that job. (More on this below). That being said - here are a few questions I find useful a lot of time when hiring PMMs. * What can product marketing contribute to an organization? of What's the role of product marketing? Tells me about how they view product marketing's role and value and their general understanding of the role. I'm listening to see if them talk about GTM strategy, roadmap, and storytelling. This is particularly helpful for candidates that might be newer to the PMM role. * If I asked you to put together Messaging and Positioning for a new product today, what would your process look like? Messaging and positioning is a core PMM function. I can generally learn more about their level of experience, how structured or unstructured they are, and how data and research-oriented they tend to be based on their answer. * What kind of teams and managers enable you to do your best work and can you share an example? I want to make sure that the candidate we choose is going to thrive, so understanding what type of teams and managers enable them to be successful is important to me. * I tend to look for candidates that have a learning mindset and can self-reflect. To evaluate this, I might actually ask them to reflect on how the interview went or a how the presentation went towards the end of the interview time block. This way I can see if they are aware of certain gaps and how they "show their cards", which is a company value. In my opinion, the most useful and "top" questions are the ones that not only tell you more about the candidate but also whether or not they have the skills required for the particular role you are hiring. In order to do this, you need to have a clear idea of what the most important competencies are and where there is room for the candidate to learn on the job. I recommend putting together a matrix on what is required or nice to have for the role. Then define what "good" looks like so you are consistent, and identify a question that will help you evaluate that element. It sounds like extra work, but it's pretty quick, will probably save you time later, and will help enable a more consistent candidate experience.
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingNovember 30
If you don't have the opportunity to manage an entire new product launch, you'll have to get creative. See if there is an opportunity to own a specific piece of a launch someone else is managing or even manage a smaller feature launch. I'd also look for opportunities work with the product team, even if it's not on a specific launch. Big bonus points if you work with the product team on research or roadmap prioritization elements. Let's say none of those opportunities are available - you can still focus your time on cultivating the skills that make a great product launch PMM. Beyond the tactics, the skills and experience I look for when hiring product launch PMMs include the following and I think you can work on these in a variety of different projects: * Someone that really knows how to work with product teams and understands how they work * Can manage a broad range of stakeholders * Strong and bold storyteller * Project management skills
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingAugust 4
Market research is near and dear to my heart and at the core of any strong product and go-to-market plan. I have many examples of how you can use research to inform vertical strategy, but my first tip is to just get started. If you are on a small but mighty PMM team (or perhaps you're the only PMM), any data is better than none. Verticals might mean prioritizing based on industry, company size, persona (or often a combination). I recommend trying to define what an early adopter looks like in your industry and prioritizing them early. My experience is primarily in B2B, but much of this can be generalized. Market research - Review trends in your industry, new legislation that may drive new consumer/buyer behaviors, join all the relevant newsletters etc. Industry - Often times certain industries have more of an urgent need for your product than others, I've utilized tons of third party reports put our by industry groups to understand broadly which industries to do a deeper dive into. Consumer groups or industry groups are great and they host events, conferences, and trade-shows. engagement with certain industries in the past and if so, how did they convert? Customer - To get insights on customers I've run focus groups, hosted 1:1 research calls, conducted surveys and worked with customer advocacy marketing teams to get feedback from customer councils. You can also take a look at your CRM system to mine for data based on past customer activities, feedback, and purchasing decisions. And of course, if all else fails (or is not an option) you can talk to your customer success team members, who talk to customers every day. Prospects - Yes, users/buyers who have not purchased with you before may have a different perspective than your current customers, so it's important to understand their perspective. Joining sales calls, attending tradeshow/conferences, and trying to talk to as many prospects is important. If you have a tool like Gong, this is gold for learning about prospect needs and interest. Competitive - Check out what your competitors are focused on from a vertical perspective. You can often tell based on their messaging, case studies, ads, landing pages, and content they are producing. Depending on your strategy (and the other data you collect), you may want to go after a different segment or choose to compete. Once you've collected all your research, you need to synthesize it. One way to do this is to create a score-card and then prioritize each potential verticals into tiers based on most attractive to least attractive.
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingAugust 3
Almost every launch has something unexpected arise not matter how much you plan. To me, the riskiest items are the ones that might be harder to change or adjust post-launch. 1. Making sure there is product market fit is make or break. By that I mean, the buyer you've identified has a clear pain point and the product that was build addresses that pain point. I've seen launches across different companies struggle because a product was built before fully understanding the buyer need. 2. Lack of alignment on decision makers can derail a launch plan. If decisions makers and decisions that have been made aren't clearly communicated, you could accidentally move forward with the wrong GTM plan without even knowing. I've used the RACI matrix structure to define rolls as well as RAPID. It's not a very sexy topic, but can be highly effective. 3. Pricing is another risky item. If you don't properly research and test your pricing, your product could be underpriced (losing you money), overpriced (causing adoption issues), or could even have the wrong pricing model.
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingNovember 30
Congrats on growing the team! In a two person team, you have to look at the top priorities, where you can have the biggest impact (where you are uniquely needed the most), and where each of you are strong and excited to grow. You are in the fortunate position to consider what elements of PMM you enjoy most and which ones you would be happy to delegate so don't forget it. If you're really not sure, try doing a quick exercise of listing out all the PMM functions you support today, new functions you may need to support in the coming months/year, and rate them by size, impact, priority, and list out internal stakeholders/collaborators. From here you can start to see patterns and how it might make sense to break up work. 
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingAugust 4
The framework itself for a global product launch doesn't differ from the standard, but the strategy for rollout will very much depend on what you are selling and how your buyer likes to buy. Many companies choose to do phased rollouts or more officially break a global launch down into a collection of smaller launches. This helps de-risk the launch and gives companies a chance to test things out. Here are some factor to keep in mind for a global rollout strategy: * Consider how your buyer makes purchases today and how they want to make them in the future. For example, I've worked on products where historically buyers made purchasing decisions either from a regional perspective, or even at the individual country level, but the trend was to make more decisions at the global level. * Factor in where your existing customers are located globally and if there are any potential pilot or beta partners. It's always nice to have a friendly partner when launching globally so consider if this approach might work for you. * Every country around the world has different language preferences, cultural norms, privacy and security regulations, health systems, and other considerations that are critical to fully understand before launching a global product. You might group launches by countries with similar privacy and security considerations for operational and technical reasons or you could group countries by another factor that's important to your buyer such as language. 
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Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Arianna Schatzki-Mcclain
Virta Health Director of Product MarketingAugust 4
The product launch cycle and how PMM collaborates with others throughout this process can look different at every organization. In my experience, PMM is involved early when the roadmap is being created to provide insight on market opportunity, build business cases to inform prioritization, and represent the customer's voice in roadmap decisions. Once a product has been prioritized to the roadmap, PMM is involved on a regular basis to help test early prototypes with customers, build out the GTM strategy including pricing/packaging, and put together messaging and positioning. When it comes time to launch, PMM is taking the lead on market rollout strategy and will stay involved post-launch to evaluate success and future plans. If stakeholders don't reach out to involve you, consider how you might be able to provide value to their process and build trust. No stakeholder likes to feel like you are inserting yourself, but they might need some help understanding where you could fit in. Offering research and following through is a good place to start. I absolutely recommend utilizing a framework for product launch, this gives everyone within the organization transparency into the launch process and shared language to help with communication. You can use a formal framework such as Serious Decisions or Pragmatic Institute and then customize it to your org. so it sticks. Frameworks are most useful when everyone across the entire organization uses the same one. Having an executive champion involved in your framework decision making and rollout is critical. 
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Credentials & Highlights
Director of Product Marketing at Virta Health
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Lives In San Francisco, California
Knows About Product Marketing Career Path, Go-To-Market Strategy, Product Launches, Building a Pr...more