We have a strong community in the dbt Slack channel, but it's not inclusive of all dbt practioners. So we use four main channels to get in front of our target audience:
1. The dbt Slack community, when announcements are highly relevant to their work
2. Quarterly product launch events targeting existing users that want to go deeper on new releases
3. A "how to" write-up for our DevBlog paired with a "why we did it" blog for our Corporate Blog
4. A monthly product newsletter that might include an invitation to participate in the beta, or quotes from early users.
Bonus 5. I think we'll start bringing back product team office hours to make ourselves more available as a resource for digging deep in new functionality.
I'm sure it's different for everyone but here's roughly what it might look like if you have a paid product you want developers to convert to:
Classic funnel: Website, search, or paid ad > Content/event/sales engagement that shows intent > purchase > expansion/upsell
Developer journey: Free trial > noteworthy event (API call, project launch, program publish, etc) > conversion to paid > evangelize (write/present/talk about your solution in communities)
I wish it wasn't different, to be honest. If I say what people normally say here, like, "it's more honest, it's straight-forward, it gets right to the meat of it," I'm left thinking... Why don't we market that way to everyone? Why don't we create tiered experiences that let you get right to the details if you want, or float up high in the "business value."
But, to be actually helpful here, I think developer marketing typically happens in a company with product-led-growth, which means you need to optimize for just trying the thing. Hook them on an understanding of why this thing will meaningfully improve their day-to-day, and then give them the narratives they need to sell it up the stack, if needed, later. Don't let anything get in the way of that trial experience, and that includes making onboarding too complex, introducing too many use cases, or not being clear about how to immediately share value.
Curiosity and a desire to be understood. These two qualities over nearly everything else. You can easily learn the frameworks--steps for a successful launch, format for a battle card, considerations for pricing... you can also improve your writing to align with brand and write high impact choppy copy. But it's not easy to teach someone how to be curious about how a user ACTUALLY feels about your product. How to dig into data to find which features aren't being touched. How to keep iterating on sales enablement until they REALLY get it. How to ship surveys to test messaging because you really care about connecting with your target audience. These qualities are worth their weight in gold when you find them in a PMM candidate.
I've heard before that product marketing KPIs can be squishy—that it's hard to quantify the value of what we do. I don't agree! I have a few KPIs that are unique to PMM, and a few that are tackled with PM, just from a different angle. I'll focus mostly on the shared KPIs:
Feature adoption. Self-serve or Sales-led/assisted
- PM would be responsible for continuous feature use over the lifecycle of an account (is the thing we built actually useful and intuitively designed?)
- PMM is responsible for adoption within the first ~30 days (did we get the right message in front of the right audience as soon as possible?)
Competitive win rate. Self-serve or Sales-led/assisted
- PM influences by delivering net new or incremental improvements to feautures where we have a key competitive advantage
- PMM influences by getting hyperspecific on how these features are positioned and messaged on the website, in app, and through sales enablement
User Acuqisition and Conversion rates. Self-serve.
- A growth PM can influence how intuitive a self-serve trial experience is for new users, and how quickly they get to the 'ah-ha' moment, increasing rate and speed of acquisition and conversion.
- A PMM influences rate of acquisition and conversion early in the buyer journey, through supporting materials like demo videos and guides that help align product expectations with the reality of product experience.
New market penetration. Self-serve or Sales-led/assisted
- PMM influences by tuning messaging to amplify existing product features and use cases that matter most to users in new markets
I think everything new in the product is launched to some degree, but we do use a launch tiering system— Tier 1 to Tier 3. I've seen this model at other organizations and it works well to align on a standard set of actions for each launch depending on the goal. Major product initaitives that will materially impact your brand, audience, or bottom line? Tier 1—press release, sales enablement, videos, one-pagers, website landing page, paid promotion, blogs, guides, social posts, etc.
Adjustment to your product's UI that will change or open a new workflow? At the very least you need to ensure you 1) write up a messaging house everyone can align on when talking about it (from support to sales), 2) Ensure the support team knows it's coming and is equipped with the most common questions they'll likely get 3) Create a beacon in your product that alerts folks to the change.
You could also add it to a "Recently improved" category in your monthly product newsletter, or save several of these smaller launches for a larger "momentum" annoucnement that shows that you're really working hard to improve user experience.
As noted in a similar question above—DATA. But I don't think the word "influence" is quite right. I really don't think PMMs should have an agenda when it comes to roadmapping. I think our role is to represent the needs of users, and bring data to PMs to help them navigate that decision making process.
We can provide:
Set up a plan with your PMs to deliver updates to some or all of the above on a quarterly basis. Make clear what they can expect from you and when, and you'll be solidifying your place in their workflow.
Detailed use case stories.
Not just case studies--not "customer in healthcare vertical uses us to ensure data is correct" but the nitty gritty details--"Customer in healthcare with a distributed data team uses our product to keep payroll shipping on time every week." The more detailed, including which teams and roles are involved in the use case, the easier it is for them to connect with prospects facing the same problem.
Normal caveat of "it depends."
But generally, if you're hiring your first PMM, focus them on becoming your audience expert. I think a lot of folks tend to focus too severely on ensuring PMMs are product experts in the first 90. "HOW CAN THEY TALK COMPETENTLY ABOUT THE PRODUCT IF THEY DON'T KNOW HOW IT WORKS?!"
Personally, I don't care how someone who isn't my target audience experiences the product. I don't care what a PMM thinks about onboarding. I don't care if they know how to demo it. At least not in the first 90, becuase I have other people who can do that right now, in engineering, sales, and product teams, and honestly do a better job of it.
What's more valuable, and a gap you likely haven't filled through those other teams, is expertise in your audience—who you've reached today, and who you want to reach tomorrow. Put your new PMM on customer calls, have them send out surveys, talk to analysts, talk to partners. Have them write case studies.
And THEN have them use those insights, directly from the mouths of customers, to improve how the product is messaged, demoed, and eventually—built.
Yes depending on the type of feedback sought we have different owners, but we are trynig to move to a place where the Customer PMM owns tracking of outreach (we don't want to ping the same account 7 times across different deparments).
In-product NPS is owned by customer success, but interviews off the back of low or high scores are often handled jointly by CS and PMM.
Beta feedback is owned by the product team, but PMM might often tag along for interviews so we can see from a customer's perspective how they would describe the value they receive.
Product UX feedback is owned by design (sits in product). Website feedback is owned by Acquisition Marketing.
Testimonials and case studies are owned by Customer PMM
Value-fit and pricing interviews are owned by PMM