Product marketers and product managers are the dynamic duo leading new features and driving adoption. Even with different responsibilities, they both keep the customer at the heart of the product.
During a live Slack chat, product marketers answered six questions about making the most of the PM/PMM relationship, creating a launch strategy, and learning from the best in the business.
Depending on the size and structure of the company, these responsibilities might be overseen by different roles. In some cases, the CEO acts as product manager and handles feedback, while the product marketer owns research.
Larger firms may have a designated team to oversee pricing, then the product marketers own the other two areas and report to leadership.
Even if the responsibilities of a PM or PMM are carried out by another role, the goal is always to build for the customer.
This answer varies company-to-company based on their target markets, industry, and tools. Two product marketers explain how they structure a product launch.
Dustin from LaunchKit breaks it down into 4 steps:
For each time we come out with a product we…
1. Figure out the target customer
2. Send them a ‘beta’ invite for the product
3. Have 1-3 articles written on the feature/product for PR and our own blog
4. Then let all of our users know about the product
Dustin clarifies this isn’t universal. For a music app business, he launched features based on the mobile devices their customers use.
Product marketer Max gave us his checklist:
1. Identifying target markets and verticals where we feel our technology is most relevant
2. Hosting various launch parties and keynote sessions internally where our CEO can demo and pump up the sales team
3. Answer questions and deliver marketing materials to sales with incentive packages
4. Teasing the market through PR and blog content
4. Attend trade shows to demo the product
5. Release the sales team and pray for the best
Product launches are not one-size-fits all. As businesses introduce new features, they may require a different plan from previous strategies.
Attention to detail is the greatest skill for this position. Product managers report to directors and balance the workload for engineers and designers. They’re coordinating meetings and taking diligent notes to share with stakeholders.
If plans are not on schedule, it’s the product manager’s responsibility to coordinate all activities to meet the goal as soon as possible. They own the customers’ problem and align the product teams who build to solve it.
Jess of Crazy Egg & Hello Bar describes how she stays organized without a central office:
I work on a remote team. We use Quip, Trello and lots of Google Hangouts + Skype.
The challenge is to keep the number of tools at a minimum and use the most effective platform that everyone is comfortable with.
When you’re in a physical office, the seating arrangement makes a difference, according to Max:
I think for me, most important is sitting next to each other as a team, but outside of that (especially for virtual offices), having a morning standup with Skype or some other video conferencing is really important. Just to take 15 min and get on the same page.
An aligned team is better prepared to identify customers’ problems and create a meaningful solution. Sometimes all you need to do is hop off Slack and tap your neighbor on the shoulder.
This is a common concern amongst firms that are growing and investing in the marketing team. Not only are teams unsure when to hire a product marketer, they struggle to incorporate the role effectively.
Korin, a marketing manager at Zipongo, explained how she justifies the need for a product marketer at a company that doesn’t have one:
My “pitch” to different team members here is that it’s a bridge between Product and Sales.
Dustin identified the most important metrics to research and share:
My biggest measurements are ‘how did we get someone to register’ and then ‘how did we get someone to pay us money?’
Collective data is more powerful than a single opinion. Consistently producing numbers that show how product marketing is driving retention justifies expanding the department.
Here are your recommended readings as a PM or PMM:
- Brian Balfour’s Coelevate
- Sean Ellis’ Startup Marketing
- Badass: Making Users Awesome
- Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
Don’t forget the value of face-to-face conversations. This worked well for Korin:
I reached into my network to find a few experienced Marketers who are familiar with product marketing and have set up mentorship-like relationships.
To find more insights like this, join the community alongside product marketers and managers from companies like Acquia, HubSpot, and Slack.
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