Shabih Syed

Shabih SyedShare

Director, Product Marketing, Datadog
Over 10 years of experience with product marketing and product management of cloud-based application monitoring, integration and data management platforms. Currently leading DEM and Log Management ...more
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Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

In all product marketing teams I have worked for we came up with product launch treatments for the types of product launch. The types of launch can be "New SKUs", "New Features", "Minor Features" and so on. It's best to have a product launch playbook template designed for each type with consensus from all functions that can include product management, marketing, enablement and customer success. Make sure that product marketing project manages each launch and is ultimately responsible for the success of it.

In my opinion this is the best and most efficient way to get buy-in from all teams if product marketing champions the process and is on the hook for making it successful.

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

In my opinion the effectiveness of sales enablement should be measured by reducing the customer acquisition costs over time and reducing the time it takes to close a deal. Having these in-process KPIs that you can track month over month will help you demonstrate how your enablement activities are helping sellers meet their quotas. 

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

The best way to establish credibility is to demonstrate to them what is your process for launching products and where do you need their help and how you will help them. Think of product marketing as delivering a set of services to the product managers. These services can include market research, competitor analysis, value proposition messaging for a feature etc. Be clear about documenting these services and the SLAs behind them..

Ideally, product marketing can be a function within the product team. That’s how you keep yourself truly embedded with the product managers and liaison with the marketing team as needed.

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

I see the product marketing function as a mix of strategic and tactical work streams. Strategic work streams are harder to improve on and naturally have a significant impact. Tactical work streams are easier to improve on.

The strategic work streams may include developing GTM messaging, pricing methodology and sales playbooks which require cross-functional alignment. To lead these projects you need to gather opinions from multiple stakeholders and be able to drive consensus. You can only achieve this if you design and follow a strategic framework. Depending on the project your framework might change. I usually have found this HBR article a good place to start to discover potential strategic frameworks: https://hbr.org/2015/06/navigating-the-dozens-of-different-strategy-options

On the tactical side you need to develop better writing skills if you want to contribute content, be a great project manager if you want to launch products and be able to create and deliver effective visual presentations to communicate messaging and value propositions.

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

The biggest mistake I see candidates making is that they do not spend time learning about the product and the space it operates in. 


My recommendation is that you spend time on the website and learn some basics about the product and it's practitioners (personas), identify the newest features released, and find out if the product operates in a category that Gartner or Forrester tracks to see where it stands in the market.


Doing this research will help you develop context for the space the product operates in, show that you are proactive in learning about new things and establish a POV for how “you” can help this product scale.

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

Ultimately, the ROI for product marketing is revenue growth. But there are some in-process KPIs that you can set to measure the impact of product marketing. For example:

  1. Content contribution can be measured with number of MQLs converted to SQLs from digital channels. Also, with increased website traffic within a time frame due to SEO/SEM initiatives.
  2. Sales enablement contribution can be measured by reduction in the average time it takes to close a deal
  3. Product launches can be measured by adoption of new features within a time frame
  4. GTM messaging can be measured with reduction in customer acquisition costs
Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

Thank you for your question. It's true that sometimes hiring managers look for the steretoypical background markers such as years of experience when evaluating candidates for product marketing. But in my experience I don't find those to be strong indicators of how well you are going to perform as a product marketer. My own career curve is a testament to that where i was a developer then a product manager and finally a product marketer.

You have already demonstrated that you have gained experience in some areas of product marketing. If you want to enter the tech industry my suggestion would be to shore up your technical skills. Take a few courses online to learn basic coding principles or how JSON data models work or get yourself familiar with modern data platforms such as Kinesis, Kafka, and Snowflake.

In terms of what type of companies you should target. My suggestion would be to look for start-ups that need help with a particular aspect of product marketing where you can lend your expertise based on your experience. 

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

It's difficult to generalize here. You need to first establish the need for product marketing because not every company needs a product marketing function. In my opinion:

Small companies or start-ups (<20M ARR) can delay hiring product marketers if the founders or early marketing employees can perform the job. Once you have happy customers and start seeing competition in your sales cycle then it's time to bring in a product marketer to develop competitive positioning and fine tune the GTM messaging.

As revenue increases you can add experts within the product marketing function based on business need. As you set up a sales function you will need PMM to develop sales enablement material or create thought leadership content (blogs, e-books, whitepapers) to drive brand awareness.

Finally, as revenue approaches 50-100M ARR you will need dedicated resources in product marketing to handle GTM messaging, pricing, sales playbooks, campaign management, content development, analyst relations, product launches and customer advocacy programs such as advisory board or content for user conferences.

In established enterprise companies you see large product marketing teams with multiple people performing the same product marketing function but are distributed by regions. 

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

I personally don't see product marketing to be of different types. However, as you setup a product marketing function you need to develop work streams that are led by experts. 

These foundational work streams can include: 

  1. Developing GTM messaging
  2. Coming up with pricing methodology
  3. Developing sales playbooks
  4. Managing product launches
  5. Churning out content with a regular cadence
  6. Developing competitive outtakes
  7. Managing relationships with industry analysts 

I don't see one person being an expert at all of this. As a product marketer, you need to align yourself with certain foundational components of product marketing and try to become an expert in it.

Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 7

I believe that product marketing's core mission is to maximize value realization and conversion rates across all key user personas which in turn helps the business achieve revenue targets. Solution marketing is a component of product marketing that demonstrates value by outlining an end-to-end technical solution to a problem.

If you think about platforms that become core infrastructrue (examples include customer data platforms (CDPs), database-as-a-service (DbaaS) and integration-platforms-as-a-service (iPaaS)) then it's not enough to just tout the features of the platform. You have to show and tell how your platform fits into the technolgy stack that an organization is leaning towards or already has. 

An example of solution marketing is a use case blog that provides details on how an organization can evolve from batch to real-time customer data analytics with mParticle and Amazon Kinesis or a use case blog that shows how to use Redis with Kitura, a server-side Swift web framework. 

Credentials & Highlights
Director, Product Marketing at Datadog
Formerly Mparticle
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Studied at Cornell MBA
Lives In New York
Knows About Enterprise Product Marketing, Growth Product Marketing, Industry Product Marketing, S...more