Laura Jones

Laura JonesShare

Chief Marketing Officer, Instacart
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Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

In my experience, the most powerful tool for influencing the Product Roadmap as a PMM is customer insights. If you can clearly demonstrate customer pain points and inspire empathy, that tees up the opportunity to be part of the discussion around how you might meet those needs through product solutions. From a timeline standpoint, I find aligning on prioritization to be the most effective lever. One way to approach this is to look at the roadmap, estimate the business impact of all key initiatives, and assess whether delivery dates should be re-stacked to address the most impactful projects soonest.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

 

I start by developing a Go-To-Market strategy that identifies the business objective of the launch campaign and articulates the in-focus audience. Once I know what I need to accomplish and who I'm talking to, then I can think about the best channels to land that message. The channels should be tailored to the behavior of your users, so that you can meet them in the right place, at the right moment, with the right message. If you are unsure of which channels are most appropriate, Journey Mapping can be a helpful tool to identify those key moments and media. Once you have a proposed strategy, it is helpful to vet it with channel owners to make sure they are aligned and to get any additional insights they have to offer around how to most effectively leverage their channel.

 

 

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

I map our PMM team to the PM team so that one PMM is embedded in each program team and can serve as the cross-functional lead for that area. Each PMM works with their PM and XFN team to establish team OKRs at the start of the quarter, and the PMM takes on full or shared ownership over a subset of the OKRs - typically we take full ownership of adoption/growth OKRs and shared ownership over launch OKRs. The PMM sets their day-to-day priorities to align with those OKRs and my role as a manager is to empower/unblock them while also working with them to develop their craft as a Product Marketer. For direct reports, I meet weekly for a 1:1 and use a structured template to make sure we maximize our time together. I also like to do regular skip levels with all team members to review progress vis-a-vis goals and to talk through Personal Development Plans to ensure that their work is laddering up to their long-term goals.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

As you establish a relationship with your Product Manager, it is important to align on expectations. You should understand their needs and pain points and share with them your vision for how PMM can add value to the team. From there, it is often helpful to draft a set of goals that reflect the output of that conversation and get your PM's buy-in. Once you have established those goals, they can help in your day-to-day prioritization of work, and enable you to prove impact against those benchmarks over time.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

This will depend on the Go-To-Market strategy and which channels you plan to leverage. In my experience, once the roadmap is defined and you have developed your v0 GTM, that is a good time to start meeting with channel owners to seek feedback on the proposed plan and align around the channel strategy. Once your plan is vetted, then I like to partner with a program manager to develop a work back plan that will inform the right time to engage each channel owner. If your org doesn't have a program management team, you can work with the channel managers directly to understand their timelines.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

 

To establish credibility with a new team, the first step is understanding the team's need, laying out a vision for how you can best add value, and aligning around expectations. It is important to know the user, the market, and the product so that you can engage with the cross-functional team in a meaningful way from day one. With a clear set of objectives and foundational understanding of the space, you can quickly begin to make an impact on the team.

 

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

Once you've established deep expertise and credibility in the field, the transition to leading a Product Marketing team will depend largely on finding the right opportunity. This can happen with your current org if there are internal transitions or scope expansions that open up leadership roles, or may require seeking out a role at another company. Often times earlier stage companies that are looking to hire their first PMM may provide a great on-ramp to functional leadership. If you can come in, define the function, prove it's value and make the case for growing the team, you will have earned the leadership role as the team expands.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

In establishing segments, it is critical to get cross-org alignment so that all functions are working off of the same definitions. Methodologies for defining segments can vary depending on how you plan to use them, so I would recommend investing heavily in the upfront phase of gathering requirements from all internal customers, establishing a shared understanding of how your segmentation will be used and getting buy-in on the methodology.

 

From there, research on the needs of those segments can take various forms depending on the type of question you are seeking to answer. I always start with learning objectives and then tailor the approach accordingly. Once you have findings, you can leverage those insights to influence the product roadmap by sharing those insights with the cross-functional product team and asking "how might we" begin to address these needs. Rather than just handing off a report, I like to unpack insights in the context of a Design Sprint or through interactive workshops where a cross-functional group can seek to understand and design around key user needs.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, InstacartDecember 8

One way I have approached this is to bring the cross-functional team together for a Design Sprint. Sprints are one of the most effective ways to quickly align a team around key insights and develop a customer-centric product solution. Having PMMs participate in or even lead these sprints is a great way to make sure all functions have a voice in shaping the product. Jake Knapp's book "Sprint" is a great resource for learning how to lead or participate effectively in a sprint. Companies like Google, Facebook, AirBnB, and of course Uber leverage sprints as a tool for product design.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Chief Marketing Officer, Instacart
Credentials & Highlights
Chief Marketing Officer at Instacart
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, California
Knows About Consumer Product Marketing, Go-To-Market Strategy, Influencing the Product Roadmap, P...more