Mary (Shirley) Sheehan

Mary (Shirley) Sheehan Share

Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, Adobe
Product marketing is my jam. Happy to dork out with you any day! Currently Head of Product Marketing for Adobe AdCloud. Former Xoogler and AdRoller. Founder of PMM consultancy YourGoToMarketer.com....more
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Women in Product Marketing
Women in Product Marketing
We explore the world of Product Marketing through the lens of the women who run it at some of the fastest growing technology companies in the world. Each week we sit down with Product Marketing leaders to hear their journey, lessons learned, trade secrets, and more. Hosted by Mary Sheehan, a Product Marketing leader at Adobe. Mary is passionate about instilling confidence in women who are either thinking about pursuing a career in Product Marketing or are simply looking for tangible frameworks and takeaways in their current role. Mary knows first hand and acknowledges that as a woman in leadership, it can get lonely at the top. This show will help you navigate your career and unlock your full potential in a male dominated space. Women in Product Marketing is proudly brought to you by Klue, the competitive enablement platform for all product marketers, and produced by Sharebird, the product marketing mentoring platform.
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Video: The Essential Go-To-Market with Mary Sheehan, Director of Product Marketing at Adobe Ad Cloud
Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, Adobe
Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, Adobe
Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, AdobeJanuary 17

Although I’ve managed over 250 launches, not a single one has gone perfectly. That may sound crazy, but know that most of the time when something goes wrong, only I or a small number of people internally catch it, and the customer is never the wiser. Also, as I mentioned in another post, once the launch is done, it's not over. There are plenty of ways for you to reach your launch goals with a "Rolling Thunder" technique of content momentum.

Here are some common things that can go wrong with launches and how to prevent them:

A team (or person) internally didn’t know the launch was happening, they’re furious.
Prevent it: Build the RACI, have it approved, and constantly ask others if anyone is missing.

Salvage it: Check to see if they were on the communications and point them to it. If not, explain your process and how you may have missed them. Apologize, but don’t grovel.

Some marketing materials aren’t ready on time
Prevent it: Manage the GTM checklist and hold collaborators and vendors accountable.

Salvage it: Send out a list of what is finalized with all of the links to assets. Give deadlines you can hit on the remaining pieces of collateral. Understand how critical the late materials are, what is necessary to salvage, what can be cut, and what can wait until after launch.

The website updates didn’t launch at the right time
Prevent it: Micro-manage the day of launch checklist - make sure everyone knows exactly what they’re doing at exactly what time.

Salvage it: What can I say, it happens! Try to get it up as soon as possible, find out what went wrong, and communicate a post-mortem.

The press team flubbed - there's a typo, or something worse
Prevent it: Make sure they are buttoned up on timing and messaging well before the launch. Make sure there is one point of contact.

Salvage it: It really depends on how big of a flub. There are some things that are out of your control. If your external press team really dropped the ball somehow it may be time to look elsewhere.

You sent the wrong email or direct mail
Prevent it: All I can say is check everything twice - and before you “press send” on a large client or internal communication, make sure that someone who isn’t sleep-deprived from launch planning checks all your links, addresses, grammar, and other pertinent details.

Salvage it: When I was at AdRoll, We once sent the wrong physical package to a group of clients in a sequence - it was a “welcome” box to a group of prospective clients, not new clients as intended. We sent a “we flubbed” email, and got a ton of great responses, and a high conversion rate on the campaign! Maybe it was a good idea after all ;)

Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, AdobeJanuary 17

This is a great question! It's easy to get stuck with the same GTM checklist for every launch and feel like there's no creativity. 

An easy fix is to push the boundaries of what you normally do with a new visual approach or new mediums. Never tried a video before? Try it out now!

I always love a good brainstorm session with people outside of those I normally work with on product launches. Grab your content marketer, the creative lead that you don't usually work with, and anyone else you like working with, and have a session on what you could do with a launch. I actually did this yesterday for a launch we're planning, and had everyone listen to a podcast from 99 Percent Invisible before we met. The podcast wasn't about our industry at all but really got us primed on the ways that we could be creative with our rollout. 

I'd also recommend looking at AdWeek and AdAge and seeing what the big brands are up to - this is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.  

Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, AdobeJanuary 17

There are 2 major questions here - one has to do with priorities changing (e.g. no strategy) and the other is indirectly about out of control roadmap timelines - I'll answer both below! 

Priorities changing

Major Roadmap and priority changes are often a symptom of a weak strategy. It’s common for roadmap dates to slip, especially if they’re more than 3 mos out, but if you’re seeing wild changes with dates and it seems like there is no North Star, there is probably a lack of strategy.

Start with the product team, ask what your strategy is - start with questions like: is this for new customers or existing? Are we improving on our existing product or building our new lines? If the answer is “all of the above” see if they can define this or point you to the pillars that are driving their product decisions.

If you get major pushback or discover these just don’t exist, it might be time to go up the ladder to other execs to understand the strategy.

Getting control of the roadmap timelines

This is definitely a little art and science and requires some major relationship building on your part. I highly recommend setting up a bi-weekly GTM meeting with all your PMs, or if you're at a big company, the product leads, to get everyone on the same page. 

Develop your source of truth - create a visual roadmap on a spreadsheet that helps you understand what is coming and when. On the Y-axis, add in every feature with the owner that you know of. On the X-axis, create columns that reflect every week for the next 12-16 weeks. Fill in what you know, and then ask the PMs to populate. Check in on this at least every other week and update it in real-time. Ask questions like "how confident are you this date will hit? What are the risks?" 

This internal roadmap will help you first understand what is happening, which PMs are most likely to miss their deadlines, and also serve as a foundation to create any more visual roadmaps for sales and external use. 

Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, AdobeJanuary 17

Post-launch momentum, what I call "Rolling Thunder," is one of my favorite topics! I think a lot of times people throw in their hats when the launch moment is done, but this is really when it's just beginning. A good strategy is to take some of the "core" assets you've created for the launch (e.g. a case study, presentation with new stats, a blog post) and to chop them up and use them in many ways. A good way to frame it is: How can you reuse and improve the content over and over again to hit your launch goals?

For example, take your "stump" deck and use it at speaking events, and webinars. Take your launch blog series and turn it into a gated whitepaper or ebook. Take those great customer case study stats and quotes and share them across your company's social channels. 

As far as owners, I see Product Marketers as the Driver (See the DACI model) but not necessarily the person building each individual piece of content. Hopefully, you have partnerships with the marketing team or external vendors. But as a PMM, you are responsible for the goals at the end of the day, so make sure you're driving that plan along! 

Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, AdobeJanuary 17

Ideally, it's a combination of the GM, product management and product marketing. The GM would set the overall business goals for the year or quarter including revenue. The PM often drives the product launch adoption and revenue goals for that product. PMM often builds the plan with the metrics to help back into those goals. 

The important thing is that if you see a gap, make sure that someone is owning all of these goals, otherwise, it will be meaningless to have launch metrics. 

Credentials & Highlights
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing at Adobe
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Rafael, CA
Knows About Product Launches, Product Marketing vs Product Management, Market Research, Customer ...more