Robin Pam

Robin PamShare

Product Marketing Lead, Stripe
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Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeAugust 30

There’s no one typical product marketing career path. Product marketers are often utility players, and get into product marketing from a wide range of backgrounds like content, campaigns, sales engineering or enablement, or even product. Once you’re in a product marketing role, you can expect to put in your time as an individual contributor for several years. The next step might be to make the leap to leading a team of product marketers, then a broader team of marketers. 

Many VPs of Marketing and CMOs are starting to come from product marketing backgrounds because of the focus on strategy, messaging and positioning. Other product marketers transition into product management or strategy roles or strike out on their own as consultants.

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeAugust 30

In an enterprise B2B business, you’ll often be working closely with customer success and product management on driving adoption post-launch. Marketing can provide air cover in the form of email nurture programs, relevant content, regular product update communications, and internal trainings. But often customer success and product will need to take the lead in getting customers to successful usage of the product. 

 

The answer to the second part of your question depends on the business model, number of customers, and the way your company is set up. At Practice Fusion, a free product with many customers that depended on adoption for revenue, the PMM team was biased toward driving adoption of new features among signed up customers through marketing campaigns. At Optimizely, a product sold through an enterprise sales process, we’re much more focused on accelerating sales and market awareness. 

 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and it’s always going to be different depending on the needs of the business. Cross-sell sales plays and campaigns to the install base are often a part of product marketing, while simply driving product usage may be more in the domain of customer success or customer marketing. 

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeAugust 30

Apple is the gold standard in my book. They have a strong point of view and aesthetic, and every product has a story, launch, and campaign behind it. Square has emulated this model as well, and their website shines as a result.

 

In the SaaS category, Zendesk and Mailchimp are some of my favorite inspirations, and of course Salesforce. Zendesk has been very successful at leading a broader category of cloud customer service, and the product pages on their website are always smart and relevant. Mailchimp's voice and tone are so unique and appropriate to its brand, and carry through in everything they do. Salesforce does great customer content, and of course the Dreamforce event is industry standard! 

 

For developer products, Stripe and Twilio are great inspirations. Stripe has a clear message and value prop on its website, and they've been doing a great job recently of upleveling beyond developers to speak to broader business value. Twilio has a big challenge: communicating the value of a very abstract, technical product. They've done it elegantly, and I also appreciate the way they illustrate the value of the product with use cases and customers from different industires.

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeFebruary 26

Become an expert in a data set that's close to revenue. Knowing as much as you can about how market interest turns into revenue (i.e. your entire marketing & sales funnel) is the easiest way to make yourself indispensible to both product and company strategy. 

When you know more than anyone else in the company about how leads turn into pipeline turn into closed business for your product line or area of ownership, product will start to seek you out for your insights. 

Also, be a good editor. They will inevitably write a blog post or PRD or some kind of document that requires some critical feedback. Get good at editing and being a thought partner on external facing materials. 

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeAugust 30

Your list seems like a solid place to start. I'd categorize tools into a few areas:

  • Collaboration and communication: Writing and presenting is a huge part of the PMM role, so Google Drive and Powerpoint are key
  • Collaboration/planning: JIRA, Trello, Airtable, Asana, or any other tool (even Google Sheets!) for sharing priorities is the backbone of planning
  • Design collaboration: InvisionApp (for revving on design feedback), LucidPress (for creating scalable collateral systems), Creative Suite (for creating your own creative) -- whatever it is, make sure you are adequately equipped to collaborate with design
  • Reporting: Get good at using other teams' tools for reporting. Whether it's Salesforce, Marketo, Looker, Chartio, Brightfunnel -- know where your company's data lives and how to get at it.
  • Analytics: Ensure you are covered on both marketing and product analytics -- Google Analytics, Heap, Mixpanel, Amplitude, KissMetrics are some of the big tools in that space.
  • Sales enablement/knowledge management: I love Guru for storing our sales enablement knowledge. Way easier than the wiki we used to use. Larger sales teams may also have an email productivity tool that it can be helpful to understand to provide templates.
  • Experimentation: Coming from Optimizely, I have to advocate for building Testing into your core compentencies, both for your marketing and product team ;) Beyond optimizing conversion rates, you should be testing things like pricing and packaging, in-product onboarding, email nurtures, etc.

As a PMM, we are rarely purchasers of software, but more likely to be influencers or end users. 

 

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeAugust 30

As a product marketer, you’re often working across a business line, and a result you’re often responsible, on your own, for very few of the metrics that indicate the health of the business. That doesn’t mean you can’t track and influence them, though. In an early stage product or company, creating a complete picture of the business, from leads to pipeline to revenue, usage and retention, can be a way to create a lot of value as a PMM. Once you have set up this reporting, you can then help identify where the business needs to focus efforts to grow the business line.

For the individual areas you’ve identified, you may also want to report project-level metrics that indicate success or outcome of a particular project. These could range from the reach and engagement generated by a launch or piece of content, to creating a sales certification and tracking successful certifications, to pipeline influence of content and sales enablement materials. At the end of the day, though, your success is tied to the success of the product, so always ask yourself, how is what I’m doing helping us gain more awareness, close more business, or retain customers? And what KPIs do I need to report on to show how we're getting there as a team?

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeFebruary 26

Your product team is not unique! I've never heard of a product team that sticks to deadlines exactly. The best lesson I've learned on how to mitigate this in enterprise software is that you can launch a product many times. 

There are different ways to do this: pre-announce at your conference with a preview/waiting list, beta launch, general availability launch, internal re-launch with your sales team with new training and collateral, momentum launch with PR on usage and metrics...it goes on.

If you're in a communication lapse because it's been awhile since a new product was launched, think about how you can get more juice out of the old products, customer stories, new blog posts, support offerings, or other angles. 

There are lots of ways to communicate with customers and the market without relying on new product offerings. Stop thinking of product marketing as just launching new products, and start thinking about it as turning company strategy into revenue growth, and you will find many things to communicate. 

At the same time, put some pressure on your product team to deliver the goods. In person events are a great forcing function for this. Conferences, sales kickoffs, roadshows, keynotes, etc.

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeFebruary 26

I just finished reading Obviously Awesome by April Dunford, and really enjoyed it. She’s a good Twitter follow too. I get most of my info from Twitter these days instead of blogs/bloggers, and find good insights from product management experts as well. I like Marty Cagan (good blog posts too), Melissa Perri, Gibson Biddle, John Cutler, and our own CPO at Optimizely Claire Vo.

Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeFebruary 26

Our amazing product team maintains a public facing product roadmap. And by “public facing”, we mean a slide deck that is presented to customers and prospects only in 1:1 meetings by a salesperson or customer success manager. It gets a major overhaul once a year, and small updates 1-3x/quarter based on new information. The key is to set the expectation that priorities will likely change more than 3 months out, and stay relatively high level in the categories.

They currently present the roadmap in terms of:

  • Under consideration: Backlog items that may or may not happen, but will be updated once a month or so
  • In development: Features actively being worked on by engineers, could take up to 6 months to be generally available
  • Launched: Things that are new in the past 6-12 months to show velocity
Robin Pam
Robin Pam
Product Marketing Lead, StripeFebruary 26

We have a few processes for this at Optimizely. First, the sales team provides feedback directly, primarily through our sales engineering team who document feature requests and gaps in sales cycles within a Salesforce workflow that connects to Jira tickets. PMM isn’t too involved in this (we don’t have to be involved in everything! Hard lesson to learn).

Second, win/loss analysis is a powerful tool, whether you conduct it at a point in time, on a regular basis, with your reps internally or with your closed won/lost prospects. When you can connect feature gaps or priorities to actual revenue won or lost in a systematic way, you have a much better chance of influencing the priorities.

Credentials & Highlights
Product Marketing Lead at Stripe
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Lives In Wexford, Pennsylvania
Knows About Developer Product Marketing, Growth Product Marketing, Product Launches, Enterprise P...more