Jack Wei

Jack WeiShare

Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird
General management skillset with focus on product and brand marketing | Ex-Founder | Marketing leader at venture backed start-ups
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Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

I go back to ensuring that the team structure is aligned to business objectives and associated KPIs. My company does have aggressive sales, customer satisfaction, and product adoption metrics (spans across the board) so I like to structure the team accordingly. 

I'll use a buyer journey framework to illustrate my ideal state team structure given these objectives (moving from top to bottom of funnel):

  1. Content Marketer: Focuses on creating top of funnel assets to drive demand & support category creation
  2. Technical PMM: Partners with our platform and alliances team to create mid-funnel assets and target a new persona, drive new business
  3. PMM - Core and Launches: Subject matter expert of our main product, focusing on quarterly and ongoing product releases, drive activation
  4. PMM - Add-ons: Subject matter expert of a group of add-on products, drive attach rate and category creation
  5. Product Marketing associate/analyst: Support across to gain experience/ownership, build data-driven muscle

Other roles not technically PMM, but on team:

  • Customer marketer
  • Lifecycle marketer
  • Advocacy & community manager
  • Marketing designer 1
  • Marketing designer 2
Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

There are dfinitely many directions to take. I'll try to distill down to two metrics across external & internal GTM KPIs:

External

  • Leads, or Revenue within X days of launch
  • Activation/adoption within X days of launch

Internal

  • Stakeholder satisfaction (survey)
  • GTM on time delivery, asset readiness

The X in days depends on the type of business you're in. For B2C you'll focus on MRR and shorter conversion cycles, likely within the first 15-30 days. For B2B align it with your avg sales cycle for prospects and 75% of the time for customer add-ons.

Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

This ties back to business objectives (corporate level KPIs), and how your team / individual role & responsibility is structured against those objectives.

You'll often see that, depending on the company stage and maturity, PMM will skew towards alignment with either Product OR Sales. But it's rarely perfectly positioned in the middle. 

  • Let's say your business has an aggressive product growth target... well then you're likely to staff a PMM that'll specialize in launches, or maybe even a lifecycle marketer (the next hottest role after PMM in marketing, I might add). In that case the metric to hold this particular PMM accountable to is: Activation, adoption, or engagement rate within the first 5, 10, 30 days post-launch -- something to that effect.
  • On the other hand, if there is a clear sales target, then you could have the PMM aligned to: Revenue, win rate, close rate, ASP, etc.

I recommend to stick with 1 metric wherever possible to not muddy the water. And again, enure alignment with the business objective and take advantage of the fact that most PMM teams get a comprehensive view of the business and can position against critical initiatives (and associated metrics).

Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

My answer spans the top hard + soft skills:

  • Hard: Well-rounded across words and numbers. You often hear that PMMs have to be strong storytellers (framing, positioning, mesaging, writing), but the highest-performing and highest-potential PMMs I've worked with are also very analytical and comfortable with some number crunching. In the B2B space, in particular, backing up any story with inspiring message, facts, and data will do wonders. 
  • Soft: Empathy and stakeholder management. Someone who can put others first and put him/herself in another's shoes. You often hear that PMMs must act as the voice of the customer, and that is 100% true. Add to that the ability to get other people and teams on the same page (the case for most PMM projects) will go a long way.

To the people who asked this question, I'm curious -- What do the best product marketing leaders have in common?

Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

Having consulted for PMM teams, and built/run one from scratch, it's safe to say the areas of responsibility for any PMM is on an ever-evolving continuum. However, I see a difference between a junior PMM vs a first PMM hire... in that the first PMM hire should NOT be junior.

That's not a knock on the junior role. In fact, I'm urging early stage Founders/CEOs/VP Marketing to have some semblance of a career path for PMM if your natural inclination is to maximize value from a high performing yet low cost junior PMM unicorn. It's possible, but unless that individual is truly exceptional the situation will quickly erode into lack of equity and anxiety. Why? Because it's easy to staff a PMM on any (and many) projects and not everyone can handle the load without prior exposure.

To actually answer your question -- my advice to a junior PMM and first marketing hire: It was nice knowing you? Godspeed? Jokes aside, have an honest and mature conversation with your manager on the expectations if you see the mound of projects transform into a mountain overnight. A critical skill to becoming a successful PMM is stakholder management, so it ought to start early in your career whether it's with your manager, his/her boss, or your peers. Finally, don't hesitate to ask for help to prioritize when you're overwhelmed 

Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

Ultimately, the change in win rate against that particular competitor before vs. after your CI project. 

There are sub goals and metrics to unpack here: 

  • QoQ change in the competitor features & functions, and messaging
  • The pace at which your product team is able to ship against new intel
  • PM survey results on the usefulness of your CI program

This may be a controversial statement, but after seeing CI programs run out of Product, PMM, and Ops at different companies, I think the actual research work belongs in Product -- they're the true owners of what's being scoped and built, and should be invested in delivering a better product. PMM can stil own the pricing/packaging/messaging piece.

Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 25

I must ask back: in what context? Because PMM can flex its priorities and alignment towards Product vs. Sales vs. Customer Success (or even Marketing demand gen/comms, I go back do ensuring that whatever KPI is set supports a top 3 corporate objective that the C-Suite cares about.

If you forced me to point to a specific KPI, I'd pick #leads or $pipeline generated. You see this especially at smaller, early stage companies where the Marketing team is just getting built out and the team is trying to distill down to 1 KPI a few team members can get behind -- you can map the success of a new product launch... or the ability to feed sales... to top-of-funnel interest. 

However, I'd work backwards and instead set the KPIs to the ultimate objective vs. something in the interim. E.g., If you set the KPI as X% activation or adoption you would need signups (leads) to get there anyway. If you set the KPI as X$ revenue you would need pipe to get there anyway, etc. And this isn't a knock on the demandgen or customer marketing teams. Leads and pipe are important metrics, just not for PMM.

My runner-up unimportant KPIs for PMM: # views of a particular piece of asset, followed by aggregate NPS (unless you have a very mature and built out team that can consistently cover all personas and a ton of ground).

Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteMarch 3

Welcome to the fun world of Enablement! And there are internal + external aspects of this.

  • External
    • Message x Value & benefits: What's in it for your users? Migration is a pain in the ass. Before you get to the logistics, you have to sell them on the why
    • Transition plan: What's the step-by-step guide? Is it one size fits all, or does it require different approaches for different types of users? These need to be documented and clearly laid out. 
    • Timing & cadence: Give your customers enough time to make the changes. I'll leave the communications format, channels, and cadence up to you (but this is never a one-and-done exercise). For example, don't expect one email to the entire database to yield good results or high customer satisfaction.
  • Internal
    • Is an Enablement team in place at your company? If so, great! Loop them in early on customer enablement plans and they'll be able to position that for your internal folks. If not...
    • Message x Value & benefits: Why is this change important to communicate and will it help your team sell more & better? Sell the change internally.
    • Transition plan: Leverage what's built for customers and share it widely internally so that every customer-facing team is aware. Roadshow it in team meetings, mention it at all hands, set up office hours to give your colleagues the opportunity to ask questions and poke holes.
    • Timing & cadenece: Keep internal teams updated on the customer comms plan. In B2B sales, give your CSM team the opportunity to send 1:1 messages while marking takes care of the 1:many.
Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

Internal newsletters, revenue org all-hands, relevant slack channels, and team-specific meetings.

Of course, not every activity is shared through every channel. Depending on the "size" of the project or deliverable, we choose which channels to broadcast through. Thankfully we have a well-organized enablement team that manages these channel logistics, so we're able to efficiently streamline internal comms.

On a personal level, it's critical that I provide key executives and other team leads with visibility of what's coming, so that they get their teams' attention and start a network effect for PMMs. Frankly, communicating across & up is something that I (and any leader) can be better about. Ultimately, you can broadcast every which way, but ensuring that recipients are attentively listening is the bigger challenge.

Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteMarch 10

I'll answer this in two parts. Part 1: You've likely arrived at launching a bunch of small features to begin with because the product vision and strategy is fuzzy. Or that the strategy is to build what customers request and your release cadence is fluid. You wouldn't have asked this question if PM+PMM planned product strategy together and looked at the roadmap earlier on to develop and align on launch themes mapped to business objectives. You're asking this question because things currently work as a hand-off process, and PMM tries to "work with whatever's been given." This is not an ideal long term setup, so that has to improve.

Part 2: There must be some sort of overlapping value when these small feature enhancements are evaluated side-by-side. Applying the following framework might help:

  • Why was this feature enhancement built? (There will be an internal and external motivation, steer towards the external)
  • Who was it built for; what are their perceived value vs. benefits?
  • When and in which situations will the value be realized?
  • Where in the marchitecture or product suite is impacted by each feature enhancement?

Once you can answer the above for each feature, is there an overlap or commonality anywhere? If so, great. Go deeper in that area. If not... be prepared to live with less than impressive launch results and improve the upfront strategy for the future.

Credentials & Highlights
Head of Product Marketing at Sendbird
Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, Deloitte
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Lives In San Francisco, CA
Knows About SMB Product Marketing, Competitive Positioning, Product Marketing KPI's, Product Laun...more