Sarah Khogyani

Sarah KhogyaniShare

Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase
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Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

Product Marketing OKRs are really important to keeping teams focused on driving the most impact for the company. At a Product Marketing OKR level, it often depends on what the company goals are for that particular time period. If the company is going after a new market or focusing on customer retention, that's going to influence what a PMM's KR will be.

Second, I think it's importnt to set a KR that you have direct influence or impact on. Sometimes, PMMs at Lyft share KRs with PMs, but ideally, there is a sub-KR that indicates whether a PMM's investment of resources is succeeding at supporting the overall KR. Most notably, what a PMM can influence directly is product/feature adoption, sales enablement success (for B2B), and active user growth. I advise my team to use 'absolute' KRs sparingly and only if there is no other option. For example 'Launch new marketing website by Q3' would be an absolute KR. I would suggest to think about 'why' we're launching a new marketing website and what that will do for the product or company. You may revise the KR to say 'Launch a marketing website that results in a 10% increase in self-service signups by the end of Q4'. In this example, we've pushed out the measurement to Q4 and determined directly in the KR how this work will move the business forward.

Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

First, I listen. It's important to understand in depth why these needs/deliverables are being asked of Product Marketing. What is the underlying problem? How can Product Marketing solve this? 

Then, I assess company goals and revenue by product. The Product Marketing function is meant to support the company goals and I find that using this as a guidepost for prioritization is key. Assessing revenue by product helps as another factor in prioritization, but isn't the only factor as some companies may prioritize growth of a new product rather than optimizing their existing successful one.

From there, it's an exercise of documenting the asks and prioritizing what will make the most impact in terms of supporting company goals and return on investment. Alignment with leadership and communicating these priorities internally is a great way to keep your team focused on the most impactful work.

Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

As a strategic partner on the product team, I believe PMMs should be involved throughout the product development lifecycle. 

For larger initiatives at Lyft, PMMs create 'Market Requirement Documents' or MRDs that are meant to serve as input to the PRD. This helps gain alignment on market insights, opportunity, key use-cases, audiences, and value prop before the PM starts work on the project. 

This helps provide product teams with market and customer insights to inform product development, resulting in higher quality products and programs that meet customer and market needs.

After that, PMMs are consulted on the PRD. If UX research is conducted, PMMs often have input into the research questionnaire and sometimes sit in on sessions. Throughout the product design and UX writing process, PMMs are part of the review loop, providing feedback and input as the voice of the customer. 

As product designs get finalized, PMMs start work on GTM plans. If the MRD was written prior, the GTM plan is simply a continuation of that upfront work with more detail around the rollout and communication strategy.

To close the loop, PMMs provide GTM performance recap learnings back to the product teams. This may be new feedback from customers, or learnings on how to improve adoption.

Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

There are a few reasons I typically observe for why PMMs engage in Marketing before the product is ready for GA (general availability). If there's an alpha/beta stage, PMMs are working on tailored communication to drive success and learnings from those early customers. If the sales/deal cycle are longer for this product, PMMs may start enabling sales to start the pre-sell motion before the product is GA.

Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

I view the role of PMM as a strategic partners to product management, and it's important to have this frame of mine when approaching product teams with learnings. Product Marketers are the voice and champion of the customer throughout the product development process. The best way I've found to do this throughout my career is owning customer and market insights. I've done this in a few different ways:

  • Build a sales or customer feedback channel: Whether you purchase a feedback tool or create your own workflow via existing tools, it's important that product feedback from customers is captured. My advice to PMMs would be to identify if this channel exists, and if not, create this system within your organization. Feedback from sales or customers directly can then be used as an input into product planning and roadmap prioritization.
  • Conduct customer insights research: Set a research and learning roadmap for each customer segment you have throughout the year and continuously share learnings with cross-functional product partners.
  • Market Requirements Docs (MRDs): As mentioned in another question, MRDs provide product teams with market and customer insights to inform product development, resulting in higher quality products and programs that meet customer and market needs. This helps gain alignment on audience, value prop and market/customer needs before product projects even begin.
  • Invest in analyst relationships and reports: Keeping up with the latest market trends and insights is part of the role of a strategic PMM. I recommend advocating for budget to stay up-to-date with analyst reports in your segments.
Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

I mentioned the MRD in previous answers, which I think is great at informing individual projects or initiatives. At a higher strategic level, I find that Product Vision docs are valuable at helping PMMs, PMs and other cross-functional partners align on the multi-year vision for the product. Having alignment on where you want to be in the next 3, 5, and 10 years is really important when navigating the day-to-day of customer feedback and product roadmap prioritization. 

Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

Communicating customer and market learnings to product teams is something that happens throughout the product development lifecycle. In terms of medium/format, it really depends on your team's work style. I suggest adapting to the product team's style, so if they prefer docs and silent reading, then that is probably going to be the most effective way to communicate the information to this audience.

I think it's important to assume that the product team wants to hear learnings from PMM, whether it's customer insights survey results, your GTM strategy, market analysis, or a performance recap. I advise my team to arrange the meetings, own the agenda, and present their work or learnings to their product teams and other cross-functional partners.

Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

The answer here is investing in the relationship. A PM is a PMM's primary strategic partner in most cases. I advise my team to prioritize the weekly 1:1s or coffee chats. It's important connect at the human level, by being curious about personal and non-work parts of their life. A healthy working relationship is founded on mutual respect and empathy.

Sarah Khogyani
Sarah Khogyani
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud, Coinbase | Formerly Lyft, AtlassianMay 25

My advice would be to build this into your regular team processes. If your company has an OKR setting process, this would be the right time to cross-functionally align with product partners on shared KRs or KPIs at a high level.

Beyond that, I would suggest gaining this alignment at the PRD and GTM plan stages of the product lifecycle. In an ideal world, PMs, PMMs and Tech Leads collaborate on launch objectives (financial, product, marketing, risk), which make up the shared launch KPIs. Data Science or Analytics partners can use this as a guide to creating measurement and reporting plans. That way, you're aligned on key metrics early so that you can measure results as soon as you launch.

Credentials & Highlights
Head of Product Marketing, Cloud at Coinbase
Formerly Lyft, Atlassian
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, California
Knows About Consumer Product Marketing, Product Launches, Enterprise Product Marketing, Influenci...more