Sam Duboff

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Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, Spotify
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Sam Duboff
Sam Duboff
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, Spotify
Sam Duboff
Sam Duboff
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, SpotifyJanuary 28

Can really vary product to product — but I'd separately track product metrics you're able to drive and marketing channel performance. If you have the tech stack for it, ideally you can measure how much product adoption was driven your marketing efforts to keep yourself accountability and prove incrementality. For your marketing channels, you'll want to maintain a rigorous internal dashboard of engagement rates, open rates, performance metrics, etc. for all your launches, so you can develop accurate benchmarks.

Sam Duboff
Sam Duboff
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, SpotifyJanuary 28

That sounds really challenging, but exciting to work on a product that iterates so quickly.

First, I'd work with your product team and try to show the impact of bundling a few small updates at a time, rather than piecemeal. It's tough to break through if all the updates are small and are so frequent — users start to zone them out. You can better help reach product goals with bigger launch moments that can pack more of a punch — which will help the product team reach their goals, too. Can you get them to test holding updates from one sprint to the next once or twice? Then you can show them how much more attention and adoption you were able to drive.

If that isn't possible, I'd think through your marketing channels and set up forums where you can get updates out there in a clear and steady framework. Can you set up a Twitter thread that you add to every time a small update fits in that theme? Can you build habit around a biweekly or monthly newsletter to all users that bundle up all the recent updates? Can you build an in-product notification system that lets you share quick fixes in real time?

Sam Duboff
Sam Duboff
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, SpotifyJanuary 28

Answered a question about how I think about tiering framworkers. I think the core ingredients of a successful launch really depend on your business — size, B2B vs. B2C, business model, stage, etc. — so it's hard to say. I'd say in general, I've found the most important quality is planning a launch as a PMM is having a point of view. A successful launch is opinionated, inspires people to use the feature in a specific way, and educates users not only about that feature, but about your whole product suite. If your launches feel functional not emotional, like a one-off and not connected, and don't last beyond launch day, you're probably not as successful as you could have been.

Channel development is really critical here too — launch to launch, you'll want to develop a robust playbook of marketing channels that can meet users in different parts of the lifecycle.

Sam Duboff
Sam Duboff
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, SpotifyJanuary 28

Navigating a long beta period can be tough for a marketer. At worst, it can lead to you losing the opportunity to shape perception of the product and taking the wind out of your sails. When you launch the "beta," it can be hard to drive excitement given limited availability. Then by the time you "launch," it's no longer news.

Usually the beta period is required for some really strong technical reasons. In those cases, I've seen some smart ways of turning a beta period into strategic part of a GTM strategy, rather than just something to overcome. First, understand what types of users will help the product team achieve the needed learning from the beta. Then, without those parameters, think creatively: Is there a group of users who have long been underserved that you could offer the beta to first? Is there a group of influencers in your userbase who can model how to use the beta effectively for the rest of your community? Is there a way you can capture helpful marketing content from the beta users to inspire everyone else when you expand availability?

When product changes significantly, I always think it's best to be candid in your marketing about what led to the changing. Usually the evolution is because of really smart and sharp user feedback and increased clarity internally of what the product feature is designed to achieve. By explaining the rationale, it can help land your value prop with your users with more precision.

Sam Duboff
Sam Duboff
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, SpotifyJanuary 28

Yes, templates can be helpful, as long as they don't limit your creativity and thinking. Sometime you can get into a "rinse and repeat" rhythm with product launches and miss bigger opportunities — and a really rigid launch template can create that dynamic.

One resource I've found to be effective to help other teams know how/when to plug in is a "Teams We Work With" document. Organized in phases (discovery, development, strategy building, GTM rollout), it details each of the teams that PMM engages with and 3-4 sentences about how we work with them. It helps create transparency about who's involved, awareness of just how many teams are involved, and clarity on when stakeholders should expect to jump in.

GTM brief templates can be helpful, too, with the right flexibility — with ample space to share target audiences, goals & KPIs, risks, timeline, GTM channels, creative assets needed, FAQ, etc.

Sam Duboff
Sam Duboff
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing, SpotifyJanuary 28

Having a documented tiering system across your full PMM organization is really important for a few reasons — it helps create consistency across marketers who might be working on different areas of your business; it creates efficiency to PMMs don't have to re-invent the wheel for each GTM; it helps set realistic expectations with product teams to know what to expect from a launch; it creates a useful internal shorthand to talk about how "big" GTM moments are; and it helps with benchmarking, so you can easily compare launches with the right comps.

I usually find four tiers to be the most helpful. If you have too many, they can quickly become semantic or meaningless. Your first tier is your biggest moments of the year where you light up all your channels with custom campaign work; your second tier is big, strategically important launches that you're going to activate most of your marketing channels for; your third tier is more routine updates that you might lightly market (a newsletter mention or tweet) and update customer documentation for; and your fourth tier is smaller updates you just want to internal comms on and maybe a Help Center tweak. To help build that internal short hand, you can give each tier a fun name that relates to your business — at Spotify, our four tiers are named after music terms from "Headliner" through "Backstage."

For each tier, you'll want clear guidance on what that means in terms of project timeline (how early will you start your marketing planning), scale of marketing work, stakeholders who get involved, and marketing channels that will usually be leveraged.

Credentials & Highlights
Director, Head of Creator Brand & Product Marketing at Spotify
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In New York, NY
Knows About Product Launches