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Candice Sparks

Candice Sparks

Director of Product Marketing, Attentive

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Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingJuly 7
I use a tiered framework that defines the different tactics and strategies deployed for each type of launch. I first start off by defining the type of tier by whether its a: * new product/service (differentiator or evolving our narrative) * new feature (getting us to competitive parity) * updated feature * internal update Then based on the above I will outline the timing required for this type of launch. It could be anywhere from 8+ weeks to 1 week. Here's where you will include all your launch tactics and who the driver is (PM, PMM, Tech Writing, Sales Ops, etc) Next is to define who the intended target audience is. For a tier 1 product launch it may be new customers and existing customers vs. a tier 4 internal launch it'll be your internal teams (CSMs, solution engineers). Lastly you'll outline your desired outcomes or the KPIs you'll track against. For a tier 1 launch it could be new revenue and for a tier 4 internal launch it could be improving process inefficiencies. There are great examples of this and if you'd like my spreadsheet I use, please message me directly!
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Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingMarch 17
Any client-facing teams I believe should provide feedback on your messaging/positioning. For example, your client strategy/customer success teams get a ton of feedback from your customers who are actually using your product and have a great perspective on what resonates with your prospects and customer base. Secondly, a part of sales, but a key subset of your sales team are sales engineers. Sales engineers have a natural way of telling a great demo story and are boots on the ground hearing directly from prospects on what they're looking for, what key competitors have, why they're switching from their incumbent solution, etc. Partnering closely with the lead sales engineer on my product is a must for me! Finally, your marketing team. They have an invaluable perspective on how your messaging/positioning for specific products works with your overall corporate narrative. They should be a key decision maker when it comes to how you are positioning your products to the market and how you're differentiating.
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Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingMarch 17
There are a few things that I believe help PMMs to prioritize and manage expectations across the organization. 1. Creating quarterly and annual plans. These plans should include the top priorities for you and your team, your OKRs, and key projects. Once these plans are set I share them with my key stakeholders (product, marketing, sales, exec) to ensure there's visibility and alignment on what PMM is working on. As new projects or requests come in you can stack rank them against your currently planned projects and agreed OKRs you're focusing on. I like to review these plans on a quarterly basis in case new products or company initiatives have been introduced that may alter your current plan. 2. Top 3 - In my current role, the executive team does a great job of sharing what their top 3 initiatives or priorities they are working on. Making sure you and your team's top 3 align with what the execs believe to be most important at the time is also crucial to ensure you're prioritizing the right things. 3. On a personal note for my to-do list, I also like to implement the Eisenhower Matrix: This method involves dividing tasks into four categories: important and urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important. Prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance.
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667 Views
Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingJuly 7
For a new product or feature I always start out with a simple messaging framework (there are a ton of great ones out there for you to leverage)! At the very least, your product messaging framework should include your value proposition, target audience, and a statement about what differentiates you from the competition. To dive deeper into the differentiation, I always pick 3 market trends and 3 pain points our target buyer has and then describe how our product uniquely solves these pain points or addresses these trends. This can be a rather in-depth document that I'll use to help create our comms from content, PR, SDR outreach etc. I then also have a simplified exec version that provides a more high-level view of our messaging so a sales rep, executive, or anyone at the company wanted to quickly read our messaging they would have access to this presentation.
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650 Views
Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingMarch 17
Different meetings are needed at different stages of a company and products maturity but some meetings that I think are crucial at any stage are the following: Monthly product release meetings: PMM to present upcoming monthly releases to marketing, sales and CS teams. This allows them to ask questions, get a demo, and hear about upcoming releases and how they are being marketed. Bi-weekly product development meetings: Discuss in-flight products being worked on, their timeline and any roadblocks. This typically includes PMM, product, engineering, design and PMO. Bi-weekly GTM meetings: This includes leads from sales, PMM, product, and CS to discuss key metrics were tracking against, any major projects or releases and open discussion time.
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Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingMarch 17
One of the key challenges with communicating product marketing achievements is often times there are less concrete KPIs. For example, demand gen is looking at MQLs and sales is looking at quota attainment. For that reason, communicating PMM success can sometimes come off as "fluffy". I believe there are some organic ways to drive transparency and visibility into your team for example presenting at All Hands on recent releases, in sales team meetings on new collateral created or sales plays, and in training to your internal teams on recent product releases. This naturally builds visibility into your team and the impact they are having across the organization. I also like to do a monthly recap or roundup of all the progress made against your quarterly PMM plans. What I touched on in a prior question on building plans, you should be reporting on the progress made against these plans. For example, if it's to increase your demo pipeline - what are we doing to accomplish this on a monthly basis and how are we tracking against these key metrics? The great news is that PMM is a high-impact and visible role across the organization so naturally your team will be involved in a lot of large cross-functional initiatives.
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642 Views
Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingJuly 7
Impact means something different for every launch and these KPIs/success criteria should be defined in your product launch brief. For example, does impact mean customer adoption, customer satisfaction, press coverage, etc. At a high-level there are a few tactics you can deploy when planning for the greatest impact: * Bundling of features: Is there an opportunity to hold back a release of a product to bundle with several other new features that allows you create a bigger story and launch a more complete product? * Customer testimonials: Can you leverage customer case studies and quotes with quantifiable impact from your beta phase that you can use in your launch content? * Events: Can you time this release alongside other company events (user conferences) or major holidays. * Partnerships: Is there an opportunity to jointly announce something through a partner to double the exposure? * Product readiness: Ensure that your product is sufficiently developed and tested before the launch. Aim for a stable and polished version that meets the desired quality standards. Rushing a premature launch may lead to a negative user experience and hinder the potential impact. * Competitive landscape: Analyze your competitors' product release schedules to avoid launching too close to their major releases. Launching in a less cluttered environment, where your product can stand out, can increase its impact. However, consider the balance between competition avoidance and maintaining a sense of urgency to capture market attention. * Internal readiness: Ensure your organization is adequately prepared to support the launch. Coordinate with cross-functional teams, such as marketing, sales, customer support, and operations, to ensure seamless execution and a consistent customer experience.
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585 Views
Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingMarch 17
During the first 90 days of any new role, I like to go on a listening tour. Identify your counterparts you'll be working with across the spectrum of the organization (everyone from finance to product) and ask them the same 3 questions. What you'll start to understand is where the answers differ and where there is an opportunity for alignment. By going on this listening tour you are first understanding where the organization is at, and where there are challenges and opportunities before coming in and changing anything. The second thing I will do is to try and get a deep understanding of the numbers. For example, what does our sales funnel look like? How do we measure the adoption of features? What are the OKRs and how are we pacing? What are our customers saying? This enables you to have an informed and data-driven opinion. Finally, a huge part of trust is building great rapport and relationships. Scheduling virtual coffee meetings, lunch and learns (if you're in an office) or just simply slacking and asking how their weekend was, is important to start knowing your teammates on a personal level.
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Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingJuly 7
Here are some of the core steps I'll take leading up to a product launch. Depending on the type of launch these may be more intensive or unnecessary. 1. Create a pre-launch brief and set up weekly/bi-weekly meetings 2. Define your stakeholders using RAPID (Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, Decide) framework 3. Complete your messaging/positioning framework and get stakeholder feedback 1. Test your messaging with your beta customers or a customer advisory board 4. Outline your marketing program to support your launch and assign the deliverables (press release, webinar, email communications) 5. Set up sales enablement and training. Define the deliverables needed such as an update to your sales deck, a demo video, help center article, etc. 6. Create communication strategy for internal stakeholders (weekly exec program readouts, company all hands)
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Candice Sparks
Candice Sparks
Attentive Director of Product MarketingJuly 7
That is something I think every PMM team struggles with! From an internal perspective, one thing that has really helped with this is having a tiger team of cross-functional leaders (PMM, PM, PMO, Eng, Sales) that meets bi-weekly to discuss roadmap items and any GTM launch dependencies. We use Jira to track any date changes and can see how often we're missing dates. I always want to make sure that PMM is not the cause of missing a launch date so I will work to ensure our content and comms are ready to align with when PM is comfortable to launch so even if the product launch date gets pushed back we're ready to go. From an external perspective, its really important to not provide concrete dates to your customers if your organization has a tendency to move launch dates. Providing your customers a sneak peak into your roadmap and providing quarterly dates is a good way to hedge against any roadmap changes. If theres a specific launch a customer is really looking forward to, encourage your customers to participate in your betas as a way to get early access.
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Credentials & Highlights
Director of Product Marketing at Attentive
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Knows About Product Marketing Interviews, Product Marketing 30/60/90 Day Plan, Influencing the C-...more