Gregg Miller

Gregg MillerShare

VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®
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Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®October 7

30 days: Balance being an absolute sponge and learning by doing. Be a sponge by reading every doc you can get your hands on (enablement materials, case studies, team quarterly/annual plans, research studies, etc.), talking to as many prospects and customers as possible, and scheduling 1:1s with both stakeholders and company leadership. Learn by doing by getting involved in low-risk, low-hanging fruit activities where a PMM touch is needed but perhaps don’t require a ton of context.

60 days: Hopefully you’ve gained enough context by 30 days to start to get an idea of what the big challenges and opportunities are at the company. My goal is to have identified a couple of “base hits” that I can deliver by days 60-90 that can demonstrate tangible results against things that a key stakeholder cares about like the CMO, a Sales VP, or a product manager/leader who is a respected influencer within the product org. Identifying and delivering these base hits gives you an early platform within the organization of visible results and relationships that can open doors and give you the room you need to set an ambitious vision and plan for the function.

90 days: Delivering a POV on both the role you want to carve out for the PMM function (see my answer on surprises about moving to a smaller organization) and the initiatives you hope to tackle in the coming quarter. If you’ve done the homework of gaining context as a sponge, delivering one or two meaningful base hits, and winning the trust and endorsement of a couple influential stakeholders, you’re much more likely to get buy-in on your plan/POV and the latitude to actually start getting to work on building the PMM function as opposed to just executing on stuff people throw your way.

Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®October 7

There’s two main drivers I think about with respect to org structure. Important caveat on the below being I primarily have worked at smaller organizations where org structures across the company are often highly nimble.

  1. How established the function is - When the PMM function is new, oftentimes you might be the only Product Marketer or have just one report. In that scenario I think it’s important to keep yourself and your report as generalists and prioritize the most important projects across the business as opposed to specializing by product/persona/etc. This enables you to learn the business much faster and build a lot of credibility by adding value on the most pressing opportunities — both essential precursors to being able to figure out the longer-term org structure and advocate for growing your team since you know where the need is. As the function becomes more established, I like to add in a Market/Customer Insights function within PMM and start aligning the rest of the team around business strategy.
  2. Business strategy - Org structure should reflect the direction the business is going, not the other way around (this is true outside of PMM, too!). Sometimes that means I’ll have one PMM staffed to each core product, other times it might be audience focused (e.g. SMB vs. ENT; partners vs. customers), and still other times it might be based on a strategic priority like expanding into a new self-serve transaction GTM channel. I’ll also be clear with my team or candidates I’m interviewing how the competencies required differ based on which part of the business strategy they align against where there might be more or less focus on things like upstream market opportunity validation vs. messaging and launches vs. growth marketing.
Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®October 7

At Zapier I approached this by starting with a mission statement to describe why our team exists and the work we aim to uniquely do for the company: “PMM exists to maximize Zapier’s market opportunities by (1) clarifying where we win and (2) driving GTM strategy for product success.” I then defined responsibilities that align to (1) like TAM, market segmentation, personas, positioning, competitive analysis, etc. and separately to (2) like working with Product validate market opportunities, designing and executing betas that ensure product/market fit, and of course planning and executing launches. Lastly, I made sure to socialize this charter around the org to ensure awareness and buy-in that this was the direction we were heading as a team.

This is a very different scope from what PMM was doing when I joined — I often talk about it as charting a course from PMM 1.0 to PMM 2.0 with the expectation that getting to the full potential of PMM 2.0 will take quarters if not years. Thus when it comes to prioritization, I’m always asking myself “where do I see a combination of ripe business context, willing partners/stakeholders, and PMM team capacity for us to tackle an initiative that will take us more in the direction of PMM 2.0?” This requires hard prioritization conversations with stakeholder teams where we say no to some requests that come in in order to create the space for the bigger, more strategic efforts that pay long-term dividends. But without those tough conversations, the team wouldn’t ever get to PMM 2.0.

Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®May 15

This will vary depending on how important a given product is as well as its degree of complexity, but for a decently robust feature/product I think you'd want some of the following as a minimum.

[Internal] Product one-pager: Succinct asset that explains what customer pain points we're solving for, what the product does/how it solves them, the value prop and top benefits of the product, how it's different from what competitors have, the pricing and packaging guidelines, and any other product-specific reference information your sales team would find helpful.

Proof points and testimonials: Your prospects want to feel confident that this product works and works for people solving the same problem. If you have any data on the efficacy or ROI of the product, make sure your reps know it! Same goes for customer testimonials -- see if you can get some great soundbytes from participants in the pre-launch product beta that can help de-risk this product for an uncertain prospect.

Collateral: Your reps need a visual asset that helps them speak to the product and helps the prospect have a reference asset that they can use to refresh their memeory on the value/how it works after the sales conversation is over. This is doubly important if the prospect needs to champion your product to other internal decision-makers. Help them tell the story.

Product demo: Either a recorded asset or a talk track. This should really focus on the pain points, value prop, and how the product works to deliver that value prop. It's important to keep the "how this works" part as focused as you can on the value prop and ideally the overall demo on the shorter side so that you don't lose people's attention/they get lost in features instead of what value the solution delivers. 

FAQ/objection handling: Use a beta to understand what types of questions, concerns, and objections come up from someone being introduced to the product for the first time. Then create a simple reference resource that preemptively addresses them; make sure to continue updating this after the launch as you continue to get more feedback from the market.

Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®October 7

One of the biggest surprises is that the vast majority of people at smaller companies have little idea of what product marketing is. Your new colleagues may have never worked directly — or even indirectly — with product marketers before. This means that you as the new head of PMM have a much bigger leadership challenge ahead of you than when working at a larger company that likely has had a fairly defined PMM function for years. Further complicating the challenge is that product marketing looks so different at so many different organizations. It’s super important to meet this challenge head on by proactively answering questions like:

  • What value do I think product marketing should contribute to this company? Why do we matter?
  • What is the appropriate balance of tactical vs. strategic and short-term vs. long-term work for my team?
  • How should we prioritize and manage the myriad projects PMM could potentially lead (i.e. sales enablement vs. market segmentation vs. market opportunity exploration/validation vs...)
  • What tools, frameworks, and processes can help my team work successfully cross-functionally?
  • How should all of the above evolve as both the team and the organization grow?

    It’s tempting to just dive into the work, but I’ve found it to be super helpful to explicitly define these types of questions and get the buy-in of both leadership and cross-functional leaders on my team’s scope. Given how fluid/undefined PMM can be, taking these steps gives you a better shot of being able to sit firmly in the driver’s seat and steer your team’s destiny.
Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®October 7

I’m assuming this question is about moving from a focus on the “last mile” of the go-to-market process entailing sales enablement and product launches to more “upstream” go-to-market strategy activities like identifying market opportunities, defining target segments in the market, partnering with product earlier in the development process, etc. There are many ways to navigate this transition, but a fairly common thread I’ve seen enabling those various paths is insights — insights on customers, competitors, or the market. Your task as a PMM leader is to “earn the right” to participate in those “upstream” activities by demonstrating your team can add value and be a thought leader in those conversations.

Start small with things like win/loss analysis, customers interviews, or mystery shopper exercises with your competitors. You can take things a step further by launching a customer advisory board, especially if you’re in enterprise SaaS where it’s challenging to generate quant insights given the small audience of buyers you’re targeting so qual insights from a council of customers can be game-changing for getting feedback on your company’s product roadmap, messaging, or other forward-looking plans. And if you want to be really ambitious, you can formally establish an insights function within your team so that you have the resources to constantly produce a steady stream of insights that give your team a really strong seat at the table as the voice of market/voice of the customer. This last route of an insights function could take numerous forms with two potential examples being dedicating 50% of one PMM's time toward insights exploration or hiring a dedicated Market Researcher.

Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®February 11

It's all about doing great work that matters to the business, matters to your partner, and fits into the context of the relationship! The playbook below can help get the ball rolling. Sorry for the long answer, but it's a complex question with big implications for your ability to add value as a PMM.

1) It's essential to understand your business — the market you play in, the strengths/weaknesses of the competition, how customers feel about you, etc. — better than just about anyone else in the company. Your level of fluency (or lack thereof!) will be visible in how you show up: the insight you’re able to share live in meetings, the feedback you leave in Google Docs/Slides comments, the deliverables you create, and so on. Showing you really know what you’re talking about means people will see you as someone who’s opinion matters and should not only be considered when you provide it, but that they should proactively seek you out in the future.

2) It's similarly important to understand how the product marketing team has typically partnered with your product counterparts in the past. If you’re at an organization where product marketing has typically played a role laser focused on launch communications, you may inadvertently erode your credibility by regularly sharing your feature pitches with the product team. That’s not to say your ideas aren’t going to be valuable, just instead that it’s helpful to recognize the starting point of your reputation and strive to be highly credible within that frame of reference before progressively branching out into other areas.


3) Ask your product counterpart(s) what matters to them individually: where do they see the greatest PMM need, where could the existing way of doing things be improved, and what are some of the biggest risks/uncertainties they have around their existing roadmap?

4) Go out and get some quick wins in service of THEIR agenda — do some customer interviews or quick market research that might be helpful. It's best not to try and make a big ask of them or a product proposal right off the bat. Instead, nurture the fragile sapling of your reputation and credibility -- the stronger they are, the bigger a seat at the table you earn, the more influential you've earned the right to be at your organization.

There are a lot of great resources out there that talk about establishing credibility agnostic of your function — it’s generally the same set of rules regardless of whether you’re in product or operations or marketing or somewhere else. There’s a short book out there called “The First 90 Days” that I’d highly recommend if you’re looking to learn more.

Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®May 15

Man, I love this question! As PMMs so much of our work only has impact if it has engagement from others, and the only way to get that engagement is by having credibility in the organization.

This won't be a perfect list or exhaustive, but some things that come to mind are:

  • Take the time to understand their world: Get out in the field with them, get to know them over drinks, learn what customers are saying about how the product is/isn't meeting their needs, see how our assets do in the wild, etc. There's so many steps we can take to demonstrate we care, that we recognize that it's hard, that we empathize with what it takes to chip away at their quota. If we don't understand their world, we risk coming across as tone deaf which will immediately crater trust and credibility.
  • Seek out their opinion and listen to them: Given where we sit in the organization and the amount of visibility and strategic insight we have across the business and the market, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking we know the answer of what will work and why. It's important to remember, though, that there's so much that happens on the front line that we just aren't the experts on: our sales, client success, and support teams are the masters there. Demonstrate that you recognize they know more than you in certain areas and you value their opinion. Bring them into your process when you're developing pitches, playbooks, collateral, messaging, whatever it may be. Engage them as advocates for the work you're trying to land in the field or in the organization. 
  • Be selfless: Try and maintain a mindset of "my job is about making other people successful." It can be tempting to get caught up in trying to drive a certain impact or agenda and lose sight of how the best impact we can make is when we uplevel the strategic decision-making and in-market execution of the entire organization. When you are really trying hard to engage with people from a place of "how can I help make you and your team successful," people can interpersonally pick up on that and it makes a big difference for earning credibility.
  • Do high quality work: Be a fantastic project manager (provide lots of visibility and opportunity for others to shar einput at the appropriate times; manage toward timelines; etc.) and hold yourself to a very high standard for your deliverables. 
  • Learn to say no: As a PMM you need to be ruthless in how you prioritize your work. There simply aren't enough PMMs or time under the sun to do all of the things that might be worth doing. Make sure you're focusing on doing a few of the most important things extremely well; avoid at all costs feeling like you have to execute on every ask that comes your way.

Credibility is about playing the long-game. Your reputation takes time to build and it won't happen overnight. And you can't take your eye off the ball when you've earned hard won credibility because at the end of the day this is about relationships and consistency is key.

Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®May 15

I'll try and answer each of these three questions separately.

  • My philosophy is short and sweet. If you're making battlecards longer than one page or using size 5 font it's going to be impossible for your sales reps to get the high impact at a glance insight they need. Battle cards work best when they are reference docs a rep can use to find what they're looking for in <30 seconds. If they get lost in the amount of detail you provided, they will not use the battle card after the first attempt.
  • If you don't know the technical components and there's no way for you to learn them via kicking off a project to do so, the best thing you can do is shift the story. PMM's value to the business is about being able to find the most compelling story possible within the limitations of available information and the market situation. What do I mean by shift the story? Don't compete with your competitor on their terms. Figure out where you do better -- a certain type of customer, a specific use case, a level of service you provide, a brand identity that resonates with the market you're targeting, etc.
  • You ALWAYS have enough to guide sales in some manner. Per my answer to (2) above, PMMs are masters of the story. Sometimes your story will be stronger than others, but some story is better than no story. Work with sales to set expectations on what is realistic given whatever limitations you're facing and test your early drafts with top reps and managers to get feedback on how to improve.
Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller
VP of Product Marketing, Oyster®October 7

There’s definitely core management competencies you have to focus on that are true of any role which I won’t go into (e.g. developing your people, advocating for them and backing them up, etc.). But I think something we as product marketing leaders need to focus on is making the job exciting and fulfilling. Oftentimes at meetups or conferences — back when those were a thing — you’ll hear a lot of familiar questions:

  • How do I influence the product roadmap?
  • How do I get out of a reactive position where I’m just constantly launching features all the time?
  • How do I get our customers to care about our launches?

As function leaders, it’s our job to make sure our team doesn’t get so focused on “doing the work, and doing it well” that we don’t make sure that we’re working on the right things and with the right prioritization — including saying no to some things so there’s time/resources for the important stuff! It’s important for us to stay maniacally focused on actually answering those questions above when they pop up rather than viewing them as out of our control or as important but something we don’t have time for. Product marketing is honestly such a magical specialty when you’re able to create the space to do it in a more strategic and meaningful way; if we can unlock that magic for our teams, it’s much easier to keep good people.

Credentials & Highlights
VP of Product Marketing at Oyster®
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Lives In Los Angeles, California
Knows About Product Launches, Product Marketing Career Path, Stakeholder Management, Sales Enable...more