Jennifer Ottovegio

Jennifer OttovegioShare

Director of Product Marketing, Narvar
Running product marketing and demand generation at Narvar. We make products that help brands and retailers increase retention and customer satisfaction post-purchase. https://corp.narvar.com/
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Jennifer Ottovegio
Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 18

I believe that the person ultimately responsible for the results, will most incentivized to succeed. So it comes down to ensuring incentives are aligned and expectations and responsibilities are clear.

 

For every product or feature launch, I create a go-to-market checklist that includes timelines, deliverables, dependencies, owner, and KPI. Some projects (like building out a message map) require input from both the PM and PMM, so I spell out specifically what pieces should come from which owner.

 

Same goes with demand gen and product marketing. I will work with the demand gen team in brainstorming what KPIs would make sense for them, given the broader goals of the launch. For example, can demand gen set more aggressive targets for this launch, compared to other previous launches? What does PMM need to do to enable that?

 

To summarize, if objectives are aligned between product, product marketing, demand generation, and sales at the onset of a go-to-market launch... then magic can happen.

Jennifer Ottovegio
Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 18

 

To put it simply, ABM is a more targeted approach to storytelling and demand generation. Instead of telling 1 or 2 broad stories to large groups of prospects and/or leads, ABM forces the PMM team to narrow in on our top target accounts (both customers and prospects) and identify what story will resonate with that account… and sometimes more specifically, that department, or that person. While sales and marketing alignment is always important, ABM requires even stronger ties with sales or account management in order to be effective. One thing that has really stood out to me during the process of building out ABM playbooks is that marketers have to think of these leads as people… even more so than before. It requires personalization to be effective.

Jennifer Ottovegio
Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 18

At Narvar, demand generation is under the product marketing umbrella. It helps us closely align on priorities, collaborate on campaign plans, establish goals, and measure revenue impact. This alignment is critical because we want to enact campaigns to generate demand where the business needs it most.

 

That said, make every effort to treat channel initiatives like campaigns. For example, if we have an event coming up, we want to ensure it fits into a broader campaign strategy. For example, have we have identified the audience for this event? Do we want to engage customers or prospects? Senior buyers or influencers? As we communicate with this audience pre, during, and post event - what is the CTA and desired outcome? How does this event fit into our account-based-marketing (ABM) playbooks or other campaigns?

 

To summarize, if your channel owners (in this example it’s the event marketer) is accountable for their discrete channel, that allows your Campaign Manager or PMM lead to roll up those efforts across channels into broader strategy for pipeline generation and influence.

Jennifer Ottovegio
Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 18

In my experience, product marketing is the nucleus of the marketing team - driving and informing strategy for demand generation, sales enablement, and other channel owners (field, content, etc).

 

Good Product Marketers first need to know what is coming down the pipeline (on the product side) and be able to translate that into why it matters (for the sales team). That’s why great relationships with the product and sales teams in this role are critical. Once the strategy is set from that alignment between sales and product, then bringing along the demand gen team is where marketing can action on high-impact pieces of the go-to-market strategy.

 

At Narvar, demand generation and product marketing are on the same team. It helps us closely align on priorities, collaborate on campaign plans, establish goals, get the sales enablement efforts in motion, etc. This alignment is critical because when campaigns start generating demand, we need to ensure our sales team is prepared to efficiently convert the lead into a customer. In other words, making sure that if demand gen is pitching, sales is there to catch.

Jennifer Ottovegio
Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 18

I’ve not personally sat on a product team (so I’m admittedly biased.) But I would vote for it to live in marketing. Here’s why - the essential functions of these teams are different:

  • Product Team - exists to build great products 
  • Marketing Team - exists to communicate the value of the product to market and drive adoption

 

Narvar is a smaller (sub 200 employees) B2B SaaS company. This division of responsibility has been organic and feels pretty obvious.

 

With larger companies, it can get more nuanced. I’m intimately familiar with a large (13,000+ employees) B2C company here in silicon valley that will remain unnamed. Their structure is different. PMMs live under the Product team, and Campaign Strategy is under Marketing. What I’ve seen is they work together but often overlap and tension arises. PMMs are expected to set the strategy, craft the message, and execute the message via marketing channels to get revenue results. If the PMM is completely under Product, you don’t have the closeness needed to access those marketing channels and control your destiny. Plus, you are one step further removed from revenue, which is another argument to keeping PMM in Marketing.


Product Management should be able to clearly articulate what we are building and make it happen. Product Marketing Management should be able to clearly articulate why we have built this product and for whom. PMMs at smaller companies or Media Planners at larger companies (particularly in B2C) focus on “how” to sell it. Campaign and/or Channel Managers execute the “how”.

Jennifer Ottovegio
Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 18

I hope the details and features of the product change and improve often… but hopefully the overarching story of what you do and why does not often change. If you keep the “canned demo” focused on the vision and benefits of your product or solution (rather than features and specific functionality) it should stand the test of time. If you need to include more specifics on “how it works” you could always at the end of the video or webinar point to a more detailed “how it works” page where you dive deeper into features. It’s easier to update as things evolve, and is another good indicator (if you’re using lead scoring, etc) that the lead or prospect is highly engaged. 

 

If your product is self-serve you may lead with the benefits narrative, and also make it super clear that the “must have” features are available. 

 

If your product is not self-serve (ie if the prospect needs to speak to a salesperson to experience the product), you may want to end with a teaser on specific features, but encourage the prospect to get more information (or a consultation or a demo) from a sales rep to see how it works. Sometimes sharing every detail of every feature before talking to sales doesn’t help.

Jennifer Ottovegio
Jennifer Ottovegio
Director of Product Marketing, NarvarOctober 18

Every PMM should answer this question based on 2 factors -- the needs of the business and the strength of the funnel.

 

(1) Org & Biz Needs - If you have a strong sales team established with sky-high close rates, the strongest need might be in widening the funnel (demand gen). If you have a green sales team that is drowning in leads, but not effectively closing, then focusing your efforts on sales enablement or nurturing might make more sense.

 

(2) Funnel Strength - It’s like running a relay race… if you don't have anyone to pass the baton to, that baton is going to drop. So it’s important to get a baseline to start. I would try not to over index on any one stage until you at least have all stages covered at a basic level.

 

To be more specific -- If you can get a basic demand gen program up (even if it’s not world-class) it will start gathering some data and get you moving forward. Next comes engagement (often called nurturing) - it doesn’t take much to send a followup email after a prospect downloads a piece of content, for example. Once these nurtured leads become “sales qualified” it’s important that your sales team has the basic info needed to convert the prospect into a customer. Here, basic sales enablement materials are established. If your product is self-serve, ensure your website, free trial, etc has the information needed to convert this one-time user into a loyal user. Lastly, get a minimum-viable retention program established. Or at least a way to capture feedback so if there is churn, you can understand why. 

 

Once you have these basics established, I’d go back to your CRM or BI tool of record and focus your calories on (1) where the needs to the business are and (2) where your funnel is weakest.

 

It was said in another answer that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, and that can tell you which market segment to focus on. It's sper valuable and important in prioritizing your audience (but doesn’t necessarily inform whether to focus on acquisition or retention, for example).

 

Credentials & Highlights
Director of Product Marketing at Narvar
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Knows About Growth Product Marketing, Consumer Product Marketing, Building a Product Marketing Te...more