Esther Yoon

Esther YoonShare

VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentral
Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 20

Every company has a different PMM philosophy so it's really important to dig deep into this whenever you're interviewing. 

On my team, where I run core product marketing for RingCentral's flagship, I view product marketing's role as the nucleus for messaging strategy. Here are the 4 areas of where I ask my PMMs to spend their time and energy on. Everything outside of this falls as either a favor, gap, or distraction.

Research (PMM is owner)
These are activities that are designed to generate insights around positioning and messaging. Examples:

  • User surveys
  • Message testing
  • Metrics/analytics review

Tame the Roadmap Chaos (PMM is owner)
This includes tying features to our brand & product themes to tell compelling & consistent narratives.

  • Craft messaging
  • Capture marketing angle
  • Align to key narratives
  • Recommend mic drop moment per quarter

Dissemination (PMM is owner)

Communicate research and messaging work to appropriate team members. “Train the trainer.”

  • Enable Enablement
  • Enable Marketing Org
  • Share research insights with PM

PMMs work with respective team members to ensure the integrity of positioning and messaging is preserved through manifestations. (e.g. assets, sales playbooks, digital ads, web copy, etc.)

Ah-ha moment: Favors, distractions, and gaps are the reality. I challenged myself to communicate these recurring needs and find resourcing so that I can focus more time and energy on strategic messaging and consult teams for rock-solid execution. This is a growth opportunity and IMO, what helps identify who is going to be put on a leadership track. 

Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 20

Adding this question to highlight open roles on my team.

Sr Product Marketing Manager, Analytics
Sr Product Marketing Manager, App Experience

More to come in 2022 as well. If you're interested, reach out to me on LinkedIn and lets chat.

My promise:
- I'll be your champion
- You will have a seat and voice at the table
- You will have ownership of high visibility initiatives
- You will be given opportunities to grow
- You will have the autonomy to create your own success
- You will be a part of creating the team culture

Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 19

I only have one that I can think of that holds true for all types of products:

Write a mock PR to have a clear understanding of the message you (and your team) want to land.

Ah-ha moment: Your mock PR can be over the top! Do a kick-off and readout your PR with superlatives galore. Shoot for the stars! Write something that legal will DEFINITELY not approve - the best this, the most amazingest that. Use the PR to get your GTM squad excited... the review cycle will water it down, but at least you'll get your team pumped. Just give your PR team a heads up so they don't have a heart attack. 

Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 19

Audience. Know your audience. It's cliche. I'm still going to say it again - KNOW your audience. What/who influences them? Where do they get their information? What does the buying journey look like? 

Prioritization comes down to your goals and any testing you've already done. This is more of an integrated marketing / campaign question, but an awareness play is very different from a mid to bottom funnel play. 

Ah-ha moment: Sometimes, the reality is, the budget dictates the channels. That's okay too. Shoot for shareability!  

Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 19

I'm going to break this out into two questions:

How do you tier launches?
Launches are tiered based on business impact (yes, I know, very "captain obvious.") My whole point here is that I make a judgment call based on data, company goals, competitive landscape, market opportunity. 

For example, is this a feature/product/capability that is going to move the needle for your brand, competitive positioning, sales revenue, PR coverage, analysts? 

I like to tier based on business impact, but another way to tier (if you haven't converged them) is to tier based on GTM resources that are going to be needed to support the launch.

I suggest not using an hard and fast rule for tiering. What's more important is aligning with your GTM stakeholders, your PM counterparts, and your business units. If you're unsure, send out a quick survey with a line asking why someone tiered it that way.

What KPIs do you assign each tier?
I'm going to answer this, without answering this. KPIs should be thoughtful and bespoke. Product marketing KPIs are typically qualitatitive so a good measure of success is always your GTM team's success.

PR pickup, analyst response, pitch deck downloads, blog traffic, time on site, CTR, pipeline generated... In areas for launch motions aren't mature (c'mon, we've all been there), I always ask team members for areas of improvement and track against them.

Ah-ha moment: If your GTM teams are successful, PMM is successful. Ask your GTM teams how to help them be successful and include those as PMM KPIs.

Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 13

For iterative releases, I spend the most time around developing and optimizing the operational rhythm. It's about effectively managing velocity and continuously refining workflows.

For launches, I spend most of my time on the positioning, messaging, and hero assets to make sure it's steering the company in the right direction.

Ah-ha moment: Using iteratitive release cycles do refine operations pays massive dividends for bigger launches. It's like going to the gym and working out... Use iteratitive release cycles to work out operational kinks rather than having to go through a full launch motion AND having to work out operational kinks.

Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 13

I like to have the flexibility to do both. But, if you see it as this or that, the latter ("Faster search is here") is designed to be a delightful surprise, the former (monthly cadence) is more of a type of predictable FYI. These decisions should be driven by lots of different aspects such as your org's overall email / customer comms strategy, feature implementation needs (will the large enterprise admin need 2 months to deploy this feature across their global org?), velocity of features/releases.

In the world of UCaaS, many admins appreciate the heads up around product change communications, especially around things that require implementation.

Ah-ha moment: Most customers (let alone internal employees) cannot keep track of the sheer velocity of updates that come from all the SaaS companies. Think about multi-channel ways to update your customer (without spamming them). In-product messaging & walk-throughs, admin emails, marketing emails, social tips and tricks. We sometime assume that because we sent them an email, customers are now up to date with our latest news. That could not be more wrong in today's world of digital noise. 

Esther Yoon
Esther Yoon
VP of Industry and Product Marketing, RingCentralOctober 13

Hands-down, Zoom Hardware as a Service. The messaging and positioning were quite simple, definitely the easiest part... the hard part was steering a purely SaaS company to launch hardware solutions in just over a quarter. I come from a hardware background, so it wasn't necessarily attributed to lack of experience. It was the new operations, sales infrastructure, accounting framework, and things of that nature that made it the hardest product launch I've done to date. 

Calculating how you account for software vs hardware is extremely different. There are so many vendors involved from manufacture to product in hand. International shipping and regulations are complex. Returns are expensive and resource intensive. Training a SaaS sales force how to sell hardware (in this case, also much more expensive and with many new sales dependencies and limitations). And that's just to name a few.

Honestly, it was so fun though. There was absolutely no fat on the tiger team. Everyone who represented their function, whether they were from the C-suite or a manager all played critical strategic and tactical roles.

Ah-ha moment: Every meeting I forced multiple micro next-steps for all the key players in the tiger team. Not a regular 'next-step' but an immediate one right after this meeting. (e.g. "Mike: Send Mel an email and ask her when she needs pricing by for the next pricing committee meeting.). Micro next steps helped create a sense of progress (and actual progress).

Credentials & Highlights
VP of Industry and Product Marketing at RingCentral
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In Santa Cruz, CA
Knows About Influencing the Product Roadmap, Go-To-Market Strategy, Product Launches