Lauren Barraco

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VP, Marketing, Inscribe
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Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeDecember 14

First and foremost: practice, practice, practice. 

But at the end of the day, the key to product marketing is storytelling, right? You should think of your career in the same way. Run through your resume and build a storyboard to help you articulate why you made each move and what you were trying to accomplish at the time. Treat yourself as the protagonist in this story - what challenges were you facing, what situations did you overcome, what activities led to you becoming the hero? You know the answers to these questions better than anyone else... So, start running through it - maybe you left your last company after less than a year - why did you leave? Was there an opportunity to learn something new in another area or aspect of your career that you hadn't done yet? Once you build your career story, then start practicing - tell your story to a friend, roommate, significant other and have them ask you questions throughout. This can help you prepare for potential questions you may have along the way. 

Also as a best practice, I always have a running log of my key wins in each role I've had... There is so much that happens in the course of a few months or years that you tend to forget how much you've done and how much you've grown. Keep this list along with some work samples that you can use when asked. 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeNovember 19

Start building the foundational materials - product positioning, the pitch deck, messaging guides, launch processes, etc. and get alignment on these early! It's critical to get these pieces done first so that you can scale effectively. As a team of 1, you are going to need to rely on the other people in your org to help you get your product (and message) to market. By having these core materials created and getting buy-in from your execs and cross-functional teams in your first few months, you'll be enabling your team to be more self-sufficient and get some of those critical pieces done without having to wait on you for content or approvals.

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeDecember 14

Oh my gosh - the possibilities are endless! The skills required for PMM are transferrable in so many ways. Like you mentioned, there's the product route that you can build on and either lead a PM or PMM team (or both!). The other obvious one is in the CMO direction - for this, you'd definitely need to expand your marketing lens into other areas of the marketing org (DG, ABM, field marketing, etc.) - you could start by trying out corporate/brand marketing or content marketing as an easy transition there. Other routes I've seen: enablement, product evangelist, go-to-market strategist, etc. Also, if you like the startup world, another less common but interesting route could be VC - a lot of times they look for people with product/pmm backgrounds at the associate level. 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeDecember 14

I'll start by saying that there are two major variables on this one: 1) what the organization needs - this can be very different depending on size of the company, stage of growth, etc. and 2) the reporting structure of the PMM team - do you report to the CTO or CPO? Or do you report to the CMO? Depending on the answers to the questions above, your top 3-5 areas may vary. But in general, I think it's safe to say that your top list should include some form of the following: 

  1. Messaging / positioning / storytelling
  2. GTM strategy 
  3. Product launches
  4. Enablement 
  5. User persona / use case / best practices
  6. Voice of customer

(yes, I know that's more than 3-5 but it was tough to narrow it down!!) 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeDecember 14

It sounds like you already have a lot of the relevant experiences to make your first jump into product marketing. We actually have someone on the product marketing team who started in the same way - partner marketing. She leveraged her experience on the partner side to build on product marketing. From launches, to building go-to-market materials with joint value props, etc. But at the end of the day, it's all about the team your interviewing with - what gaps do they have on the PMM team right now? Do you have experience in those areas that you can help them fill? I would start by focusing there and seeing what transferrable skills you have that match. 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeDecember 14

100% agree - there are so many areas that you get pulled into as a product marketer. If you think PMM is the path for you, I'd recommend you start with the age-old question... What are YOU passionate about? What gets you up in the morning and drives you? Focus on that first. Like you said, PMM is multifaceted and can take you in a lot of different directions, but you will be the most successful if you're doubling down in the areas that you enjoy :) Do you like the strategy? The writing and content? The positioning? Start honing those skills and become an expert there. 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeNovember 19

We actually just implemented Klue for competitive intel. It basically gives you a single source for all competitive intel and then allows you to build real-time battlecards based on that data. The product marketing team has been really happy with it so far.. and more importantly, our go-to-market teams are loving it too. During our buying process we also looked at Crayon, but ultimately went with Klue. 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeDecember 14

I would start by focusing your research internally - although the PMM team might not know what headcount they have yet, I can guarantee that they know where their gaps are / what areas they're struggling to keep up... How's their partner go-to-market strategy? Do they feel they have strong joint value props and plans? What about product launches - are they well coordinated and do they feel like they're executing at the level they want to be? How about sales enablement? 

Once you find out where the gaps are, I'd focus your next stage of research on those areas. Find articles, podcasts, webinars, etc. that cover those topics - PMA, Pragmatic Marketing, Product School are all great places to start! 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeNovember 17

Oh I love this question! For me, my background is in both PMM and PM... and I believe that my future will be too. As you continue in your product career, you'll find that every organization has their own "classification" of these two roles and that a lot of the responsibilities really blend across the two teams. Sometimes PMM is responsible for pricing, sometimes PM is. Sometimes PMM is responsible for competitive intel, sometimes PM is. So, it's really about what you like about your PMM role and finding an organization that aligns to that. 

Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
VP, Marketing, InscribeNovember 17

I think it's important to start with your business goals... In general, the goal of a freemium model is to grow your user base and then engage those users to upgrade to a paid version of your product. But before you even get started down that road, you need to have clear understanding of the value of your paid product and each of the features for your core personas (what do my customers care about, what problems do we solve, what additional value do we deliver that makes them feel like a superhero at work, etc.). 

I would always prioritize your paid product messaging and positioning first - get that to a place where it's really strong and clearly articulates the value. Then start building your freemium messaging as an offshoot of that core messaging. With freemium, you have 3 major goals - 1) making sure that the value is clear so that people will want to take the time to try it, 2) making sure you have clear differentiation between the free and paid versions of your product and 3) having a clear upgrade path between the two products. Depending on your business model, that journey may be a couple months or as short as 14-30 days. Either way, it's important that you have a consistent brand experience (and messaging!) from freemium sign-up to paid renewal. 

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VP, Marketing at Inscribe
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, CA
Knows About Category Creation, Product Marketing Interviews, Pricing and Packaging, Influencing t...more