Product Marketing and Customer Marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly! I just love to see the two teams working side by side, regardless of who they report into.
Product Marketing should be the expert on the "target market" - by this I mean the core markets, customer segments and personas the company is focused on. In order to be effective at this, PMM will need to spend time looking inwards (at existing customers and users) and outwards (at prospects, competitors and new markets).
I view Customer Marketing as the deep dive into that inward focus component. A strategic Customer Marketing team (or Lifecycle team, as it's sometimes called), should be the expert on the customer. Their focus is on deeply understanding the customer, driving product adoption, and influencing lifecycle behaviours. They can then surface their insights and learnings to the PMM team to use as they identify how to go to market to find more of their best customers.
Additionally, Customer Marketing often acts as the conduit to the customer base for things like product launch. As the owners of customer channels (think email, community, etc), Customer Marketing will play a huge role in the PMM team's launch strategy.
I would argue that the definition of product marketing remains the same regardless of go-to-market motion. At it's core, product marketing is about identifying the right customer and markets that find your product valuable, positioning and packaging that value in a compelling way, and then driving go-to-market strategy to capture that market.
What changes across go-to-market motions are channel strategies and areas of focus.
For example, if you're at a company with a sales-led go-to-market motion - ie. you have an outbound sales team that drives the majority of purchases - then your role as a PMM team will be more focused on sales enablement. This will involve heavy focus on activities like competitive intelligence and sales collateral. One piece of feedback from a high value account may carry a lot of weight, and you'll focus a lot on qualitative research.
But, if you're at a PLG company, you may not have a sales team at all. In this case, you'll be working closer with product and UX teams to ensure that you've optimized the customer journey and lifecycle and that you're building in growth loops. Your trialer, freemium or customer base will likely be larger than in a sales-led org, so you'll spend more time on quantitative research in addition to qualitative research.
This will vary business by business based on your market position, your target customer profile, your go-to-market motion, and more.
But in general, I usually highlight a few areas of concern for folks to be aware of before they jump into a pricing project:
Taking the time to build out a structured plan is an amazing first step to ensure your project is successful - so happy to hear you're thinking about this from the beginning.
I like to think about pricing projects in 5 phases: Goal Setting, Research, Strategy Development, Testing, Go-to-Market.
First, you want to ensure you start the project by setting a clear objective and aligning on the measures of success with all stakeholders. Once you’ve finalized the goal and KPIs, you’re ready to begin drafting your qualitative and quantitative research plan.
Your research plan should outline the different areas of research, as well as the techniques you’d like to use - ie. Van Westendorp, Conjoint, etc. Once you've completed your research, you can bring together all of the insights to help guide your monetization strategy.
But, before you jump right into go-to-market, it's important to start testing some of your hypotheses. Even with a research-backed strategy, you'll never know how the market will actually respond. Test in phases and then scale go-to-market from there!
Competitive intel for pricing will vary based on the type of industry you're in, as well as the go-to-market motion.
If you're competing in sales-led go-to-market motion and Enterprise market, it will be significantly more difficult to gather intel on pricing as it won't be easily located on your competitor's website. A great place to start would be to listen in on your demo and sales calls. What are prospects telling you about your competitors? When you share your pricing with them, how do they respond? Do the mention you're higher or lower than a competitor. Don't be afraid to have your sales team dig into this a bit more.
If you're competing in a product-led go-to-market motion and self-serve market, this task will be much simpler. Many, if not all, of your competitors will have their pricing listed publically online. I always recommend that when you complete a pricing comparison, you consider more than just price point. What's their value metric (ie. how are they scaling plans)? Is there a combo value metric + feature differentiation? How does service scale as you ascend?
To monitor competitor pricing, I also put alerts on all of my competitors' pricing pages using my team's competitive enablement tool, Klue. This will alert us immediately if anything changes on the page.
In the beginning, you'll most likely have a smaller PMM team - maybe with just one PMM. That means you'll need a well-rounded PMM generalist. Someone who is comfortable taking on everything from product launch to sales enablement to segmentation. Prioritization will be key to make sure the team is working on the highest-impact projects.
As you scale, I'd recommend that you start structuring the team in a way that enhances and amplifies the partnership between product marketing and product management. This will usually mean aligning product marketers with product portfolios or value streams. It won't always be a 1:1 match of PM to PMM though.
For this type of role, you're looking for PMMs who can go deeper, rather than broader. As the "owner" of their portfolio, they'll need to deeply understand the customer problem and opportunity space, and then identify go-to-market strategies throughout the entire product development lifecycle, leading into launch.
In addition to portfolio PMMs, I always invest in one really strong growth product marketer. This role should be portfolio agnostic (ie. they support all PMMs on the team, think of it a bit like a consultant), and usually drives market research, segmentation and pricing initiatives across all product lines.
Whenever we launch a new product or feature, I make sure we're aligned on the core business metric we want to drive. Is this a churn reducer? A top of funnel acquisition play? An expansion or ARPU play? This should help to guide how you frame the opportunity.
If you're torn between a few potential paths forward, I always suggest a quick back of envelope calculation to help size the opportunities.
In this case - if you were to offer it to all customers for free, how much could you improve the activation rate (or time to value rate)? By doing so, how many more customers would you convert or retain? Put a dollar amount to that. Then take the flip side. If you charged for this as an add on, or included is in a higher package, how many customers would purchase? Now you have the increased MRR from that group, as well as the improvement in churn/activation for that (probably) smaller cohort.
With both calculations, you can weigh the pros and cons.
There are several different triggers that could spark this converstion - the launch of a new product/feature that is monetizable, competitive movement in the market, the decision to pursue a new adjacent market, an acquisition of a company, major changes in a key business metric, etc.
In any way, if you see an opportunity to re-investigate your current pricing and packaging, I'd suggest that you anchor it in one of these changes - this is a great way to frame the opportunity and help other stakeholders get on board.
Since pricing touches almost all parts of a business, I usually recommend a fairly diverse stakeholder group including reps from Product, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Customer Success and Operations. Since there are so many stakeholders, I'd also recommend that you be clear on responsibilities and accountabilities up front.
Pricing and packaging is such an exciting area of product marketing, I'm thrilled to hear you're going to dig into it!
Here are some of my favourite resources:
I've seen this done successfully a number of different ways. Here are a few common ones:
I find it particularly interesting to link Usage Rates back to Win Rate. If you can connect the dots to show that sales reps that use your enablement material have higher win rates, you'll not only be able to prove the success of your programs, but also use that information to encourage faster adoption amongst the rest of the sales team too!