PMM ultimately shares adoption goals with Product. There's two sides to adoption though: awareness and usage. PMMs focus is primarily in driving awareness and education (how and why you should use the feature), and Product's focus is usabilty (building a feature that solves a real problem). Because PMMs shares adoption goals with Product, it's important that PMM share back to Product user insights and barriers to adoption. To do this, you need to track performance of each channel involved in the product launch, track awareness levels, and identify if users are not adopting a feature even if they're aware of it. If that's the case, you need to do user research to understand what's not working and share those insights with product. It's important to keep supporting features even after launch in order to sustain levels of adoption, especially as new users join your platform.
I like to use a 5 question messaging framework:
Who am I?
Who am I for?
Why am I good for you?
Why should you buy me here and now?
I start by answering these questions. I do user research to really get the insights to answer to "who am I for" and "why am I good for you", and I do competitive analysis to understand what differentiates us from other companies and create urgency. The answers to "who am I" and "what am I" revolve around branding and also being able to describe the escence of the feature in just a few word.With these answers I create a positioning statement, and the two together inform messaging and creative execution.
I share the framework with stakeholders in a meeting and use plenty of customer quotes to help me them visualize and relate to the user. I repeat this again when traing CSAs and AEs.
Product Marketing should be hub and glue that brings all teams together. I usually create a brief for each product launch (see messaging framework question below to see what goes into the brief) and I think through what channels should push the feature. I use another framework for this, which clasifies features into "likely to attract new customers" vs "delights current users" and "innovating" vs "catching up". This creates 4 quadrants. Then I choose channels accordingly. I created a table where I outline for each type of feature, what channel support it gets (happy to share this table as well if people are interested). I made sure to socialize this framework thoroughly and get marketing and product's input. Having done this early on, means it's a lot easier for me to explain why and when channels get involved. PMM owns messaging and creative execution but channels owns the channel strategy, so they tell PMM how they plan on supporting the feature. They have full freedom here and PMM's role there is just to make sure it's on message and there's cross-channel collaboration to amplify each other's work.
1. User research. Know what questions need to be answered and either work with a research partner or do the research yourself.
2. Leadership. PMM is the glue that brings multiple functions together and you need to be able to motivate and inspire everyone. You also need to be able to keep people on track with projects
3. Strategic thinking. Best way to influence cross-functional partners
I think that depends on your company goals. At HoneyBook we've identified a specific segment that has the best product-market fit, so we're solely focusing on that segment. Therefore it makes more sense for us to split the work by feature (product line) and by user lifecycle stage. But I think that what's most important is to understand what are your company's priorities and organize your team in a way that supports those priorities. If you work for a startup, these may change year over year, so you have to stay flexible.
This is challenging indeed and something I've had to deal with at every company I've worked for. What I've fund helps keep me and the business teams sain is to plan to launch features 14 days after the official planned released date. This makes product nervous most of the time, but most of the time they're also delayed so it all works out in the end.
I have found that what works really well is looping in both product and sales throughout the whole go-to-market planning process. I keep both teams (and customer success) updated with what we're learning from users and what we're thinking in terms of channel execution and get their input often. This allows me to take decisions and how we bring the feature to market and also get their buy-in. This also helps with making the launch more effective because everyone knows what's going to happen ahead of time.
At HoneyBook we have established a product feedback process between Sales/CS/Product. We meet every 6 weeks and share customer feedback. We prioritize feedback based on number of requests, which we track in Salesforce and with an internal system. But what has really made a difference is that instead of sharing 20 feature request, we dive deep into 3 of them. We tie the request back to our key value props, so product understands how it's affecting the user experience. We bring lots of quotes and examples, we show workarounds that we see our users doing, and we classify issues into "incomplete feature", "missing feature" or "lacking education". Going deep into few issues has help product understand the pain and features eventually make it into the roadmap. It's important to manage Sales and CS expectations too, so I make sure to always close the loop and tell them what is going to get worked on and what's not. I also make sure to highlight features that get develop thanks to our feedback so that CS and Sales feel heard.
Ah, that's the million dollar question. At the beginning of each half we align with the leadership team which features and projects we're going to work on. This helps set expectations. Then I socialize with PMs what PMM is working on, which usually includes other projects besides feature launches. It's important for them to know what else you're working on to set expectations. Having said that, there's always adhoc requests and we either say no, and explain why we don't think supporting that request makes sense strategically, or provide some ammount of support.
You need to truly understand your partner's motivations and processes. I don't think you need to have been an AE or a PM to be able to do great PMM work but you do need to have very open and very frequent communication with your cross-functional partners. Don't be affraid to ask detailed questions - people love to talk about what they do. Err on the side of over-communicating.