Katie Levinson

Katie LevinsonShare

Head of Marketing
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Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing, | Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, HandshakeJanuary 28

First, stakeholders should be involved in your market research before it is even started. Get their buy-in on what the goal is, key learning objectives, and the questions you’ll be asking / data you’ll be uncovering. If you are doing any qualitative interviews, ask stakeholders to be notetakers or just listen in; I’ve found creating a google sign up sheet and then inviting people to the calendar invite has been pretty helpful.

Once your research is done, share it out and set up time to discuss it all together. It can also be helpful to give certain stakeholders a preview first to get a sense of implications from different teams. Encourage people to ask questions/make comments in any documents you produce.

Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing, | Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, HandshakeJanuary 28

Great question, and one we’ve been discussing at Handshake. It’s important to establish a strong collaborative partnership with UXR, ideally with shared goals. Every company is different, but at a startup with limited resources and a lot of work to do, we would outline our needs for the quarter, and figure out who was best to tackle the research needs. We would then share each other’s research briefs and ask for input on learning objectives as well as questions.

While both PMM and UXR work on foundational research, UXR also has some pretty specific skill sets that PMM generally does not, such as developing concept tests, creating questions/discussion guides that take users through a product flow, and a keen eye for how research impacts design. UXR typically partners closely with design and PM on research while PMM partners closely with PM and market research - if that function is up and running at a company.

PMM will generally also bring in the lens of the market and competitive landscape, as well as conduct quantitative research when there isn’t a market research team in place. A market research team can really help bring quantitative rigor to an organization.

Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing, | Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, HandshakeJanuary 28

First, it’s important to understand what the product team’s goals (and really the company level goals) are, to help you 1) focus in on the insights you need to gather and 2) package those up in a way that is meaningful to the organization. As a PMM, you would own any competitive landscape and market research, and foundational research with your target audience.

The main components that you’d want to present include:

  • Target audience(s) and opportunity size(s), including any qualitative data you might have
  • Problem that you’re trying to solve
  • Value propositions/differentiated solution, and why they matter to your audience
  • Use cases (bring to life how your solution will be used by your audience)
  • Business goals/outcomes that might be achieved through the launch
Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing, | Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, HandshakeJanuary 28

Sure do! I like to start with some qualitative research first to help get at any nuances in messaging, especially across different audience segments. Then, run a survey (max diff is a great technique) to understand what resonates most with your different segments. If you also have the budget and/or time, running your messaging by focus groups is another good option, so you can get a deeper understanding of their reactions and sentiment.

Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing, | Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, HandshakeJanuary 28

Any VoC insights/data should be shared internally, along with the “so what.” It’s not enough to just share results from a survey or what you’ve heard from your consumers - you have to package it up in a way for stakeholders to understand why it’s important, and what should be done with the information.

More practically, we use data like this to help inform strategic roadmap/planning decisions, in board decks to help bring company goals and results to life, and to develop positioning, messaging and go-to-market plans.

Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing, | Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, HandshakeJanuary 28

I’ve been there, a few times! Some tips:

  1. Prioritize with your key stakeholders. What is truly the #1 problem/question that your leadership team and/or product manager counterparts looking to understand/solve? Spend your time on the projects that benefit these stakeholders.
  2. Hone in on your target audience when conducting your research. This will help limit the scope/breadth of your efforts, and allow you to go deeper with your consumer target that matters most.
  3. See if your company subscribes to newsletters/publications/etc, and get those logins. You’d be surprised what you might already have access to at the corporate level.
  4. Get scrappy with your primary research. Conduct ~10-15 interviews with your target, and make it clear that this is a priority project. You can compensate people easily with a gift card and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. You can use whatever video platform your company uses (i.e., no need to buy user research software).
  5. Use google forms or survey monkey to conduct surveys, which are often free. Personally I like Qualtrics, but you may have to have an enterprise license for it.
Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing, | Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, HandshakeJanuary 28

It seems like there aren’t that many entry level PMM jobs, outside of established associate PMM programs at larger tech companies. If you don’t get one of those (or another PMM role), try looking for other marketing roles that put you in a highly cross-functional position. This could be a program manager, marketing manager, or even brand manager; if there are opportunities for you to do research and run a go-to-market campaign in these roles, do it! From a B2B lens, I’ve seen many people make a successful jump from customer success to PMM, because both involve a lot of customer empathy and communication.

Katie Levinson
Katie Levinson
Head of Marketing,
Credentials & Highlights
Head of Marketing
Formerly LinkedIn, Credit Karma, Handshake
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, California
Knows About Consumer Product Marketing, Growth Product Marketing, Product Launches, Go-To-Market ...more