Loved

Loved

Author
Martina Lauchengco
Year
2022
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Review

I didn’t enjoy reading this book. I found it to be a bit of a slog. I felt it repeated itself in places and tailed off towards the end. Yet it delivered on ‘demystifying the Product Marketing Manager (PMM) role - which is why I picked it up.

The book recommends a Product Manager (PM) to PMM ratio of between 5:1 and 2.5:1. I don’t see anything like that number in the wild, it seems we’re only just working this out as an industry.

Before reading this book, I would have expected the PM to be doing much of what the author describes as the PMM role. If you’re scaling a team beyond 3 PMs, I can see value in creating a PMM role. Most ‘full-stack’ Product Managers struggle to do everything well. It often makes us feel like we’re not doing a great job. If you’re a PM, I wouldn’t feel threatened by a PMM, they’ll likely raise the quality of your team’s execution.

It didn’t cover Product Marketing metrics in any depth. That was a big disappointment. I was hoping to see more applied examples of CAC, LTV and HEART metrics.

Loved isn't a classic. It's only worth reading if you're curious about the PMM role, or how Product and Marketing overlap.

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Key Takeaways

The 20% that gave me 80% of the value.

  • A product manager needs to get product/market fit and get the product to market.
    • The Product Marketer (PMM) focuses mainly on the market side, including the go to market strategy.
    • PMMs can bring strategic intent and product insight to all market-facing activities. Working with product teams to make better decisions affecting market adoption
  • PMMs think about:
    • Reach - how to target the customer
    • Awareness - how and when to drive awareness
    • Positioning - how a customer thinks about you
    • Messaging - how they connect to customer needs so they see value
    • Evaluating - helping the customer evaluate your product
    • Purchasing - who and how the customer will make the decision to buy
    • Evangelism - how can customers spread the word
  • PMMs need to be the..
    • Ambassador - connect customer and market insights
    • Strategist - direct your products go-to-market
    • Storyteller - shape how the work thinks about your product
    • Evangelist - enable others to tell the story
  • PMMs come up with compelling positioning
    • Their tools → Launch plans, equipping sales, customer testimonials, product pricing, eProduct Launch, sales tools, customer testimonials, influenced pricing, enabled product evaluations, educating partners, working with advertising teams
  • Ground your GTM plan in strategy. Start with the why (strategy) and the when (the plan) before defining the how and the what. Don’t start with a list of to-dos. Every activity should have a ‘why’
  • Questions to help think through your strategy and decide on tactics
    • Is 3rd party validation important for credibility?
    • What kind of customers are you trying to acquire and how fast?
    • Where do those customers spend time in their professional or personal lives?
    • Are you trying to educate the space?
    • What are the products strengths?
    • Are there particular trends that present opportunities in your category?
    • Does someone else already have established relationships with the customers you’re trying to reach?
    • What is the preferred way to adopt new products or technologies for your customer?
  • Positioning is the place your product holds in the minds of customers. It’s how customers know what you do and how you differer from what’s already out there.
  • Messaging includes the key things you say to reinforce your position, making you credible so people want to learn more
  • We’re moving away from positioning formula statements like this…
    1. 📄
      For [target customer] who [statement of need or opportunity] the [product name] is a [product category] that [statement of key benefit]. Unlike [primary competitive alternative] our product [statement of primary differentiation].
    2. Formulas create derivative, dense and jargon filled messaging. They focus teams on want they want to say NOT what is most important for customers to hear.
  • The key to good messaging comes from knowing what your audience wants to hear. CAST
  • Make it..
    Think about…
    Clear
    Is it clear what you do? Is there a reason to be curious? Tradeoff (clarity vs comprehensiveness)
    Authentic
    Is the language evocative and meaningful to your customer? Does it make them feel known? It needs to be concrete enough to be credible to technically savvy.
    Simple
    Is it easy to understand what’s compelling and different? What’s better?
    Tested
    Has it been tested and iterated in the context customers will experience it?
  • Lead with what makes people care. Stories on how existing customers have recently solved a big challenge using the product
  • You have market fit when you discover market pull (customers need or want your product enough they take action to learn more, try or buy). Product growth is often only sustainable when you have market pull
  • Practice Agile Marketing
    • Respond to changes versus following a plan
    • Rapid iterations over big-bang campaigns
    • Testing and data over opinions and conventions
    • Numerous small experiments over a few large bets
    • Individuals and interactions over large market segments
    • Collaborations over silos and hierarchy
  • Metrics for Product Marketing
    • HEART · Happiness, Engagement, Acquisition, Retention, Task Success
    • Customer funnel metrics ·
    • Customer journey engagement - which content, pages and websites prospects engage with
    • Marketing qualified leads - PQLs (product qualified leads) - refine and engage target segments
    • Inbound discovery - inbound organic search, direct search as a % of visitors (indicator of brand awareness, market position)
    • Sales cycle time - want them to be as predictable as possible
    • Win rates
    • Conversion rates by product
    • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
    • Lifetime customer value (LTV) - your CAC to LTV ratio should be healthy.
    • Retention - important but lagging indicator if customers are getting enough value
  • Price on value and willingness to pay (not cost)
    • Price on a single unit of measure that’s easily understood by the customer
      1. Use a metric that reflects the value of your product AND grows as your product provides more value
      2. It must be simple enough for customers to do the math in their heads
      3. It must be easily measurable
      4. It must be something a procurement person will understand (and be comparable to others)
  • Campaign = specific collection of coordinated actions to address a specific market opportunity or challenge
  • Examples of campaigns that aren’t linked to product
    • Leverage a black-swan event
    • Target a particular micro vertical
    • Amplify a singular company event
    • Activate a dormant or existing customer segment
    • Shift brand perception
    • Convert users of a competitive product
  • The Product GTM Canvas
    • A product GTM is strong and strategic when all its activities line up to achieve larger goals that incorporate current market realities.
    • Q1
      Q2
      Q3
      Customer / Outside environment
      · Event
      · Event
      · Event
      Product Milestones
      · Event
      · Event
      · Event
      Strategies
      Activities
      Goal 1
      · Activity · Activity
      · Activity · Activity
      · Activity · Activity
      Goal 2
      · Activity · Activity
      · Activity · Activity
      · Activity · Activity
      Goal 3
      · Activity · Activity
      · Activity · Activity
      · Activity · Activity
    • Shows misalignment, keeps focus, helps communication (even without being comprehensive)
    • Helps all activity have a purpose
  • Making better marketing plans:
    • Set the strategic frame → Identify key important actions → Be clear on what to measure → Align goals to the business goals → Keep an eye on quality (not just quantity)
    • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) are not the whole story. What’s flowing into the pipeline?
    • Define the playing field - and your position in it - keep an eye on the competition
    • Beware of the allure of paid marketing and big budgets - it can mask poor organic growth
  • The One-Sheet Messaging canvas separates messaging elements into building blocks - you don’t use all of them all the time, just what you need at the right time.
    • The canvas builds the case for why people should believe a product is a good one. The product’s market position should also be clear.
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  • PMMs can build trust with PMs by showing their research and customer interaction process - inviting the PM along. If impressed, it will make for a smooth relationship
  • Things anyone can do that can make a difference
    • Ask for the customer point of view in product and GTM meetings
    • Learn what’s working well in marketing
    • Share more stories
    • Revisit messaging (CAST, Clear, authentic, simple, tested)
    • Use the GTM canvas to create alignment between GTM teams and product
    • Use the messaging canvas to improve what marketing and sales teams say
    • Use a release scale to develop shared expectations between product and marketing
    • Use agile marketing practices
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Deep Summary

Longer form notes, typically condensed, reworded and de-duplicated.

Introduction

A product manager needs to get product/market fit and get the product to market. The Product Marketer focuses mainly on the market side, including the go to market strategy.

Questions for Product Marketers:

  • Reach - how to target the customer
  • Awareness - how and when to drive awareness
  • Positioning - how a customer thinks about you
  • Messaging - how they connect to customer needs so they see value
  • Evaluating - helping the customer evaluate your product
  • Purchasing - who and how the customer will make the decision to buy
  • Evangelism - how can customers spread the word

In a competitive market, you need a great product and great product marketing. A bad product can’t be rescued with great product marketing.

The market determines the value of a strategy. Things can go wrong when you go to market.

Microsoft lived by the disciplined application of objectives, strategy and tactics. Always starting with the end in mind. Every move, even small ones mapped to Microsofts strategic objectives.

The book: how product marketing shapes the foundation on which the rest of marketing can build.

Part 1: The Foundation: Understanding Product Marketing’s Fundamentals

Chapter 1: When David Beats Goliath: Why Product Marketing Matters

  • The impulse is build product enhancements (competing on features) but market traction is what’s important - and requires equal focus.
    • Define the customer, how to reach them and who needs to say/do what for your product to be credible
    • Tactics behind Pocket beating Instapaper
      • Sharing data in blog posts. E.g: The 1000 most saved videos
      • Rebranding to pocket
      • Creating a free offering
      • Sharing the why and advance access with influencers

What it product marketing?

  • Purpose: drive adoption by shaping market perception through strategic activities that meet business goals
  • It’s not optional. If you don’t position your product with purpose, competitors and market dynamics will work against you.
  • Bringing strategic intent and product insight to all market-facing activities
    • Set’s sales and marketing teams up for success
  • Working with product teams to make better decisions affecting market adoption
  • Highly strategic and tactical role
    • NOT JUST: creating product collateral, enabling sales or managing launches
    • ^ these are just jobs to be done, they aren’t the purpose of the role
  • Purpose: leveraging product investments in a deliberate way so the go-to-market machinery can achieve business’s goals

Fundamentals

  1. Ambassador - connect customer and market insights
  2. Strategist - direct your products go-to-market
  3. Storyteller - shape how the work thinks about your product
  4. Evangelist.- enable others to tell the story
  • You can start without the perfect team
  • More important now than ever
    • Competition becoming fiercer (similar price, features and claims)
    • Social media becoming more influential
    • Marketing tech becoming more complicated
    • Trust and work of mouth becoming more important
  • You need your entire go-to-market engine to be coordinated - that’s product marketing

Marketing - finding and reaching the customer with the right message at the right time

Sales - selling to and converting a prospective buyer

Product marketing - what aspects to promote, people to target, value to customers, channels to use

Bridge between the product org and ensuring the actions from sales and marketing result in business impact.

Chapter 2: The Fundamentals of Product Marketing

How MSWord communicated the value of the 7.0 release: Functions not Features
  • Functions: most people use them most of the time
  • Features: some people use them - when they use them they use them a lot
  • MSword implemented a bunch of things that made the functions of MSWord easier to use. They communicated it well to the press:
    • 75% of actions taken in word are to do basic things like formatting and file management
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Ambassadors → between customer, productt and market

Storytelling → enabled by great insights that positioned the product

Evangelists → activities and tools that let others evangelise through the go to market machine

Strategy → guided everything

  • Product Marketing comes up with the compelling positioning.
    • Tools: Launch plans, equipping sales, customer testimonials, product pricing, eProduct Launch, sales tools, customer testimonials, influenced pricing, enabled product evaluations, educating partners, working with advertising teams
  • These are the job not the purpose - drive product adoption by shaping marketing perception through strategic marketing activities that positively impact the business
Fundamental 1 - Ambassador: Connect Customer and Market Insights
  • Bringing customer and market insight to every situation
    • Segmenting customers
    • Know customer problems
    • Knowing the activation steps (to being a better customer)
    • Knowing what makes customers fans
    • Knowing how to create and amplify influence
    • Knowing what activities engage future customers (and existing ones)
  • Requires
    • Deep product knowledge - what customers find useful
      • Know why customers choose to use or buy a product
      • Knowledge of the buyers frame of mind
      • how competition affects a decision → what that means for positioning
      • Qaul and quant - shared effort with product managers, insights or research teams
      • Understanding how future customers think and act → applying that to go to market
Fundamental 2 - Strategist: Direct Your Products Go-To-Market
  • Make every market facing activity you do matter → align your go-to-market strategy with business goals
  • Guide the tactics to get you from A to B. Clear why and when for certain activities in addition to the what and how.
  • Why a customer wants a product → how they might find it
    • Do they rely on word of mouth? Do they do research online? Do they want to try it themselves?
  • Somethings can only be discovered by trying things in the market.
    • E.g. Product-Led growth vs Sales Force
    • So defining a good go-to-market is iterative
  • The purpose behind the activities is made clear, then thoughtful actions are executed - both planned and opportunistic
  • Strategic and learning mindset
Fundamental 3 - Storyteller: Shape How the World Things About Your Product
  • Not everything said about your product is in your control
  • You can do positioning work to shape how people think about your product.
  • Positioning is the place your product occupies in peoples minds
    • key messages from marketing and sales support that positioning
    • promote it over and over to reinforce that position
  • Positioning is a long-term game → messaging is a short-term one
  • You need perseverance and patience
  • Every marketing action and customer touchpoint can reinforce a position
  • Iterate on messages to connect with the right audiences helping them make informed decisions
  • Be helpful - don’t be overly promotional or authoritative
    • Restraint - don’t say everything → know what’s most meaningful to your audience in that moment
  • Positioning and messaging is best done through stories
Fundamental 4 - Evangelist - Enable others to tell the story
  • Stories are easy for others to tell
  • Other people are going to talk about your product.
  • Evangelism needs to feel authentic.
  • The right messages → make your sales team sound genuine
  • Find the most meaningful influences that move your market
    • customers, analysts, pundits, press, bloggers, social influencers, forums
  • Inspire them with stories and evidence → turn them into advocates

Chapter 3: Gather Insights and be the Ambassador

Get a deep understanding of the customer and the market
  • Connect customer and market insight
  • Understanding nuanced customers and markets is hard. Don’t underestimate the work involved
  • Customer discovery is the market side of product/market fit.
  • Do it from the start, as the product is forming. Get product, marketing and sales involved
Market Sensing Questions

We are trying to understand thier entire journey toward product consideration. Both rational and emotional motivations.

  • What are customers trying to do?
  • Which products do they use now
  • What prodcuts will they compare yours to
  • Do they recognise and prioiritise this problem?
  • What is motivating them to solve this problem?
  • What compels them to take action?
  • What in this product delivers the most value?
  • Who is most liekly to value and buy this product?
  • What starts the journey toward aquiring the product?
  • How might a product get discovered and become more desired over the entire journey?
  • How might we reduce friction in acquiring the product?
  • What do people need to see or hear to become customers?
  • How can we delight customers so they want to talk about the product with others?
  • Utilise different sources
  • 1) Direct
    • Get out of the building. Observe them where they are.
    • You’ll learn more than if you just look at data
    • Create a set of open-ended questions to ask them
    • Find ‘Jobs-to-be-done’. What are they trying to achieve? What are the motivations behind their choices? How do they like to feel?
    • You’ll need to test market assumptions in real life situations
    2) Third Party
    • A market is shaped by more taht what teams observe directly
    • Gather regular insight from 3rd parties.
      • Data, research, reports, articles, websites, reviews, press, social, google trends, highly rated content
    • Use your customer insight, research or analytics team if you have one.
    3) Competition
    • Seemingly small changes at a competitor can swing the market (sales funnel, SEO or press)
    • You can’t let them dictate what you do - but you can’t ignore how they shape perceptions
    • You can lose your way if you’re overly responsive
    • Meet the challenge - outplay the competition - stay one move ahead
Prioritise insights that help make decisions and tradeoffs
  • Decide which key learnings will help ‘go-to-market’ and product teams do their jobs better
    • Will an insight help make a decision or a tradeoff? What to say or do next?
    • Keep teams focused on what matters.
    • Not all insights are going to be actionable or relevant to product, marketing or sales
  • Get the right level of granularity (e.g if categorising customers, don’t make them too general)
Translate them into artefacts and share them
  • The most important attributes (that drive customer and market adoptions) should be documented and shared
  • Start with a fuzzy hyposthesis, then iterate towards answers
Represent those insights to help direct an appropriate response (via product, marketing or sales)
  • Adapt the plan based on what’s been learnt about the customer and the market
  • Bring those insights into product and go-to-market decisions
  • Understand and direct activities according to the market challenge based on customer and market insights
  • Understand the implication of insights across the entire buyers journey
    • Both rational and emotional motivations:

Chapter 4: Strategist: Direct the Go-to-Market

Some terms defined
  • Go-to-Market (GTM) from here on
  • GTM Engine: all the marketing and sales machinery that brings products to market.
  • GTM Strategy (or Marketing Strategy): Coordination of marketing elements in the GTM Engine (brand, comms, demand generation, promotional programs)
  • Product GTM: path for how a particular product goes to market
  • Distribution Strategy (aka GTM strategy, GTM model, business model, adoption model): The chosen GTM model used to get products into the hands of customers
  • Various GTM models:
    • Direct Sales: sales force is the primary distriubtion
    • Insdie Sales: customer self-serves into a sales funnel and a sales rep closes the deal
    • Channel Partners: leveraging vendors, resellers, consulting firms, systems integrators
    • Direct to professional/customer: customers buy produts themselves (could be via a form of distribution like the app store)
    • Trial or freemium: awareness and customers come through free usage
    • Product-led growth: customers are acquired or converted by the product itself
  • Ground your GTM plan in strategy. Every activity should have a ‘why’ - this ensures you stay aligned to business goals
  • The when is also important. Consider timing and sequence.
    • Product milestones, customer realities, market dynamics.
    • Example: If your customer is a student - target them around ‘back to school’ time
  • Start with the why (strategy) and the when (the plan) before defining the how and the what. Don’t start with a list of to-dos.
  • Your marketing activities should reflect the reality of your company’s resources and stage
Questions to help think through your strategy and decide on tactics
  • Is 3rd party validation important for credibility?
  • What kind of customers are you trying to acquire and how fast?
  • Where do those customers spend time in their professional or personal lives?
  • Are you trying to educate the space?
  • What are the products strengths?
  • Are there particular trends that present opportunities in your category?
  • Does someone else already have established relationships with the customers you’re trying to reach?
  • What is the preffered way to adopt new prodcuts or technologies for your customer?
  • Create strategies based on your products situation.
Typical Strategy Themes
  • Enable growth to hit a revenue or business goal
  • Improve conversion of specific customers
  • Generate awareness, improve discovery, or build a brand
  • Define, reshape or lead a category, eco system or platform
  • Engender customer validation, loyalty or evangelism
  • Find and develop new customer segments, partenrs and programs
  • Creating a GTM plan doesn’t slow you down
  • Established companies require more coordination effort.
  • After your GTM plan is in place. You need a story to shape how the world sees you. That’s where positioning and messaging comes in

Chapter 5: Storyteller: Shape How the World Thinks About Your Product

  • You need to guide how the world thinks about your product - and the value it brings
  • It’s more than data, stories, claims or positioning statements. It’s the collective outcome of everything you do to bring your product to market over time.
    • Positioning is the place your product holds in the minds of customers. It’s how customers know what you do and how you differer from what’s already out there.
    • Messaging includes the key things you say to reinforce your position, making you credible so people want to learn more
  • Positioning Statement Formula
  • 📄
    For [target customer] who [statement of need or opportunity] the [product name] is a [product category] that [statement of key benefit]. Unlike [primary competitive alternative] our product [statement of primary differentiation].
  • You need to do more than complete a positioning statement. Formulas create derivative, dense and jargon filled messaging. They focus teams on want they want to say NOT what is most important for customers to hear.
  • Start with: knowing the story you want to tell about your product - and having evidence to support it
  • The key to good messaging comes from knowing what your audience wants to hear.
  • You should test your messaging on different platforms and refine it over time.
  • Messaging can’t do everything. It might be best paired with a trial, video or testimonials
CAST: How to check your messaging is grounded in what customers want to hear
Make it..
Think about…
Clear
Is it clear what you do? Is there a reason to be curious? Tradeoff (clarity vs comprehensiveness)
Authentic
Is the language evocative and meaningful to your customer? Does it make them feel known? It needs to be concrete enough to be credible to technically savvy.
Simple
Is it easy to understand what’s compelling and different? What’s better?
Tested
Has it been tested and iterated in the context customers will experience it?
  • Consider SEO. Conduct keyword audits to show what words people are likely to associate with your product. Watching users search your product will help.
  • Comparisons sites, reviews, ratings, social postings, shares, forums - non of which you control, form a digital footprint.
    • Word of mouth can become your defacto positioning - so pay attention to what people are saying
  • Positioning happens slowly over time.

Chapter 6 Evangelist: Enable Others to Tell the Story

  • Evangelism = the systematic enabling of influence through others
    • press, sales, investors, analysts
    • social, content, PR, technical, community, events, partners, sales, customer success
    • pundits, reviewers, partners, customers
  • Some evangelists matter more than others. Understand what types of advocacy matter most for your products GTM - then figure out what enables and activates it
  • Enabling others - have a story and tools - let them sound genuine
  • Some customers don’t value ‘official marketing’ - many search instead for what others have to say, the more candid take
    • Reviews, blogs, social, meet-ups
    • Advocacy through community can work - but be careful
  • Explore the landscape of influence, understanding how to leverage it for a product GTM
  • Promotion vs Evangelism
    • It’s easy to crank out content BUT making it compelling, credible or desirable for others to talk about is hard
    • Lead with what makes people care. Start with stories on what existing customers have recently done to use the product and solve a big challenge.
    • Traditional product-first methods → make them easier to evangelise

      Promoting Product
      Enables Evangelism
      Customer case studies (key challenges + results)
      Interest-grabbing customer stories
      Product demo - feature walk through
      Demo through a day-in-the-life of a customer
      Sales Deck (company, product, features, market)
      Whats changed. Why its urgent and important. How a customer found value
Some Approaches
  • Sales playbook (conversations, tools, process)
  • Talk to a previous customer who’s adopted the product
  • Community - recognition of customers
  • Get on the pundit and influencers calendar
  • Evangelism is a team sport - work with the other functions

Part two - How to Do the Role. Who should do product marketing and how to do it well.

Chapter 7 - Strong Product Marketing: Skills of the Good

  • Bring product marketing in before or at the same time that you bring in sales
Examples:
  • Bring consistent clear messaging that communicates the product’s value.
  • Position yourself vs the rest of the category
    • Write a white paper that can creates and justifies a new niche (yours)
  • Work with other teams to adapt everything as you go
Key Skills
  • Deep customer curiosity and strong, active listening
  • Genuine product curiosity
  • Strategic and strong on execution
  • Collaboration
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Broad marketing knowledge
  • Business savvy
  • Technical competence (to understand how technology is used)
Key Responsibilities
  • Ambassador - Connect customer and market insights
    • Connect product team to market
    • Segment customers and identifying target personas
    • Understand competitive dynamics
    • Understand customer journey/customer discovery
    • Understand market trends / competitive messaging and dynamics
  • Strategist - direct your products GTM
    • Define product GTM plan
    • Guide execution and adaptation
    • Understand relevant pipeline or funnel dynamics
    • Partner in branding, packaging, pricing strategies
    • Guide and align programmatic marketing activities
  • Storyteller - shape how the world thinks about your product
    • Positioning and messaging
    • Frame the GTM story narrative/shape categories
    • Create key product-centric content
    • Collaborate on appropriate marketing activities and demand generation
  • Evangelist - enable others to tell the story
    • Customer’s stories
    • Enable analysts, press, influences
    • Enable sales with sales playbook and sales tools
    • Enable fandom and communities
PMM anti-patterns
  • Strong on style, soft on substance
  • Stuck in technical weeks
  • Functioning like a service - the GTM situation determines the priorities not the other teams
  • Insufficient dedicated product marketing
Some nuances to the above depending on …
  • At larger companies you’ll do more coordination and less activities yourself
  • Growth marketing teams are more multi-disciplinary, have direct control of product resources.
    • Growth hacking is the term for data-driven, test and trial, product-led growth
    • Laser focused on the mechanics, sequences and combinations that lead to faster growth largely through product and its data
D2C (Direct to Consumer) PMM focus areas
  • Hyper-specific customer segmentation based on engagement and growth
  • New acquisition channel experimentation
  • Enabling product engagement
  • Enabling customer life-cycle activities
  • Understanding funnel and conversion behaviours
  • Enabling important influencers

(B2C has to be business to consumer but D2C doesn’t) and would cover Slack. Signifies the bottom up approach.

B2B (business to business) PMM focus areas
  • User vs buyer vs influencer personas and roles in buying process
  • Sales tools - competitive depositioning, demos, sales deck, sales playbook
  • Understanding what nurtures, nudes people in their process
  • Work with wales to define customer qualification criteria
  • Guide programmatic marketing activities that align with sales targets, stages or account-based actions

Chapter 8: PMM working with a PM

  • The PMM should feel like the product squads designated marketing strategist
A PM and PMM are working well together if
  • The why behind the GTM is understood. PM bought in.
  • Product squads involve the PMM in major decisions to understand market implications
  • PM and PMMS collaborate on positioning and messaging
  • Competitive response is rapid, collaborative and coordinated
Things aren’t going well if
  • What product ships, sales can’t sell
  • Product ships at a terrible time to market it
  • Product managers are trapped too often for product collateral or sales support
Best Practice Touch-points
  • Ongoing - understanding market fit
  • Weekly - PMM in regular product squad meetings
  • Bi-monthly - regular product planning reviews
  • Quarterly - Review product GTM and product planning
  • Ratio: 1 PMM for every 2.5 PdMs. Can depend on product complexity, size of other teams etc

Chapter 9: Working with marketing

  • Marketing brings much of GTM to life. From an email signature to an event .
  • Not everything marketing do is about product GTM (brand, pr, events, social - can serve all products and the companies overall goals).
Where there’s overlap with marketing
  • Making customers aware of the problem, the solution and a company
  • Encouraging consideration of a solution
  • Encouraging purchase or renewal
  • Enhancing awareness and loyalty around the brand
When things are working well with the PMM
  • Understand the nuances of the market
  • Understand customer segmentation
  • Know key insights that will help them do great work
  • Understand the context for what a product is valued, not just what features matter, has a strong messaging framework
  • Understand the why behind the activities - and a variety of new ideas are explored to reach new or existing markets
  • Product naming decisions are collaborative
  • Cost to acquire customers is sustainable
  • Teams collaborate on responses to market changes
  • PMMs feel their GTM goals are being hit by marketing
  • The PMM ensures that the marketing team and the product team are aligned
    • The PMM finds new ways to expand product GTM while the marketer is constantly trying to use product to improve marketing outcomes
  • Typically PMMs report into marketing
Anti-Patterns
  • Campaigns perform but product isn’t getting positioned
  • Future state is too far ahead of reality → detracting credibility
  • Creativity that pushes the edge but doesn’t connect with customers

Chapter 10: working with sales

  • Balance urgent and important. Tension → sales want it now, product marketing want to get it right
  • Sales want to know what to say to whom to drive a deal forward
  • The most powerful tools in this relationship are
    1. Reference customers - concrete examples, best practice can be discovered
    2. Sales playbook - makes winning repeatable: a demo, competitive response, how to run a proof-of-concept process
      • Playbooks show appropriate actions by stage, next step, relevant tools, how to qualify a customer and move them from one stage to the next
Key Activities in support of sales
  • Customer profiles - target customer segments - target account lists
  • Customer journey maps
  • Sales presentations - call scripts - email templates
  • Product data sheets - videos - product information
  • Product demos
  • Competitive response tools
  • Customer stories - customer case stufies
  • Customer advisory board
  • Identifying new target markets
  • Key events
  • Sales training and enablement
Working well if
  • Sales know about product and targets right customer segments
  • Sales are following the sales playbook
  • Healthy flow of prospects through pipeline - gaps are closed
  • Materials connect well with clients
  • Marketing actions and assets are relevant, timely and compelling
Anti patterns
  • Marketing is a service to sales
  • Lack of awareness before sales engages
  • Lack of adherence to sales playbook or official materials

Chapter 11: Discovering and Rediscovering Market Fit

  • Discover the product and the market in parallel
  • You have market fit when you discover market pull (customers need or want your product enough they take action to learn more, try or buy). Product growth is often only sustainable when you have market pull
  • Desirability is easily confused (you have to test it in the market
  • Determining market fit:
    • Take inputs from discovery → check what people will truly do in real-life conditions
    • How will they act in a crowded market, competing priorities, limited budgets and as status quo that works well enough?
  • Use value discovery work to determine how much people will pay for something. What conditions motivate action or create urgency?
  • Synthesising all the learning into a smart product go-to-market plan, positioning nad messaging is the work of product marketing.

Probe Early, Probe Often

  • Third party analysts and trend reports are relevant, but pair with live customer conversations for understanding market context
Discovering the basics
  • Who are your customers?
  • What problems do they have?
  • How they solve that problem today?
  • What would they need to switch?
Discovering Value
  • Who will use it? Who will buy it? Who influences decisions?
  • Do they prioritise the problem? What else are they considering that is similar?
  • What ‘s the most compelling thing I’ve shown you?
  • Relative urgency probing
    • How would you allocate 10 points across your most pressing problems?
  • Probing pricing
    • How much would expect to pay? Max price willing to pay? (I don’t think these would work)
    • What else have you recently bought at this price?
Discovering Growth / Connection
  • What created curiosity?
  • How would you describe this to a colleague?
  • Where would you expect to see this product talked about?
  • How would you expect to access it?
  • What would make you a raving fan?
  • Who are the next most likely segments to adopt? Do they feel the same sense of urgency? What situations are necessary for them to act?
Example techniques
  • Exit surveys - what could we have done differently to make you say?
  • A/B messaging test - what does the winning variant tell you about market perception
  • Demand test variation - get people to think they can buy
  • Ad-testing - Test vastly different directions (aspirational, product, problem-oriented messages). Not about finding the optimal ad but the best direction to go
  • Sentiment probe - Take a baseline sentiment measures on interest for your product, problem or space
  • Usability test variation - can include key competitor websites

More techniques to understand market fit for existing products

Win/loss analysis - Why you win and lose customers.
  • Not just who you’re losing to, its the why. Is it product or process? Is it about perception or brand?
    • Where can messaging be reframed?
    • Where can the product improve?
    • Where can the sales process be changed?
  • Sales call shadowing
  • Intent data - What actions people take historically translated into sales
  • Social/customer sentiment - Inform what you might need to work on
  • Active listening
    • Open, attentive listening
    • The mission is to learn
    • Open-ended questions - focus on market perceptions before diving into specific product discovery ideas

Chapter 12: Product Marketing in the age of agile

  • Agile and continuous delivery make it hard to stay in sync: velocity, lack of predictability, light weight comms and docs.
  • Product teams sometimes don’t understand what get marketed and why, and why it isn’t correlated to engineering effort
  • Fix: Clarify expectations, define a process that allows the team to categorise releases together
  • Agile marketing is becoming a thing - take the same principles and apply them to marketing
  • Create a release scale - for categorising releases
    • Make clear the distinction between a release and a launch
    • image
      Steps to create:
      • Decide on a scale
      • Use known prior releases as examples to define the levels
      • Identify customer impact
      • Define marketing objectives
      • Define resources and promotional vehicles used
      • Articulate needed lead times
      • Talk about releases using the scale in planning meetings
  • Agile Marketing
    • Respond to changes versus following a plan
    • Rapid iterations over big-bang campaigns
    • Testing and data over opinions and conventions
    • Numerous small experiments over a few large bets
    • Individuals and interactions over large market segments
    • Collaborations over silos and hierarchy

Chapter 13 · Metrics That Matter

  • Product marketing is about executing the right GTM activities to drive the business.
  • Potential OKRs
    • Become recognised as category leader
    • Improve market awareness by x% and adoption [in new market] by x%
    • Position product as redefining [concept] - measure by inbound or mentions of x
    • Enable sales to win 50% of competitive deals
    • Grow organic evangelism by 10% on key social platforms
  • OKR vs KPI
    • OKR: Goal setting framework for defining objectives
    • KR: specific KPIs with targets - a subset of everything the team is tracking
    • Use OKRs to create alignment across functions
Metrics for Product Marketing
  • HEART · Happiness, Engagement, Acquisition, Retention, Task Success
  • Customer funnel metrics ·
  • Customer journey engagement - which content, pages and websites prospects engage with
  • Marketing qualified leads - PQLs (product qualified leads) - refine and engage target segments
  • Inbound discovery - inbound organic search, direct search as a % of visitors (indicator of brand awareness, market position)
  • Sales cycle time - want them to be as predictable as possible
  • Win rates
  • Conversion rates by product
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Lifetime customer value (LTV) - your CAC to LTV ratio should be healthy.
  • Retention - important but lagging indicator if customers are getting enough value

Part Three - Strategist: Guardrails and Levers: the tools to guide product GTM strategy

Chapter 14: When Strategy Guides Product GTM

Salesforce new product launch example
  • Think about timing - don’t try and sell a retailer new tech in December
  • 3 public examples - different types of companies
  • Won over a key analyst
  • Create great sales tools to capture existing customers
  • If you have a checklist of things to do - that removes the context, that informed the strategy

Chapter 15: What the iPhone shows us about adoption lifecycles

Adoption Cycle: Innovators Dilema
Innovators
2.5%
Early Adopters
13.5%
Early Majority
34%
Late majority
34%
Laggards
16%
  • Don’t think you’re moving through the adopter segments faster than you are
  • Understand the impact each customer segment has on subsequent customers’ product adoption
  • The Adoption curve should inform product decisions
  • Identify which customer segments are most meaningful in shaping market adoption
Superhuman went after ‘the ones who would enjoy the product for its greatest benefit and help spread the word’
  • Differentiated - the fastest email experience ever made
  • Early adopters - refer friends to jump to the front of the beta line
  • Getting qualified before being accepted into the beta
  • Monetisation at the start of onboarding (no free trial)
  • required onboarding call to ensure customers were successful from the start

Chapter 16: The brand lever : it’s not what you think

  • The best brands in the world deliver their promise in every part of a customers experience
  • Some brand work happens at the product level
  • In highly competitive crowded markets your brand experience can make a product feel different
  • Helps you punch above your weight, compete on something other than features
  • How does your product deliver against the desired brand experience?
  • Brand strategy informs GTM strategy. Three levels of brand:
    • Company: Apple
    • Line of business or key brand: Mac
    • Product: Macbook Air, iMac
  • Levels help customers understand a company.
  • Leverage existing product-brand loyalty to acquire new audiences
  • Microsoft had added the xbox brand to penetrate a new market - that you wouldn’t have expected the old brand to be in
  • Product naming is brand strategy

Chapter 17 - The Pricing Lever - It’s all about perceived value

  • Nike put on a womens marathon event - used it for market reserach
  • If I like this product, is it worth it to me at this price from this company?
  • Pricing isn’t about what it costs to produce - it’s about perceived value and their willingness to pay
  • Price isn’t an absolute value, it’s a relative one.
  • If you have a pricing problem - you actually have a value perception problem
  • Customers value calculous is complicated:
    • context, brand, competitive alternatives, availability. ease, budget
  • Monetisation strategy - deciding how and when you’ll make money (product, business operations, product marketing)
  • Pricing strategy - determining the actual price for products (finance, business operations)
  • Packaging strategy - creating bundles that serve customers, market segments or use cases in ways that support a business.
  • Make pricing easy for customers and good for the business
    • Should be built on one unit of measure that’s easily understood by the customer & that connects to your companies financial success
    • Use metrics that reflects the value of your product and grows as your product provides more value
    • It must be simple enough for customers to do the math in their heads
    • It must be easily measurable
    • It must be something a CFP or procurement person will understand as they compare your cost to others
  • Buying psychology:
    • Buy because it’s cheap
    • Buy because it’s the best
      • If you decide you’re a premium product because your market supports that strategy, if you don’t hear customer complaints that you’re expensive, you’re leaving money on the table.
  • You can’t be sure about your products’ value until you’re out there in the market pricing with actual customers. Look for breaking points.

Packaging - the purpose of packaging is to move people toward a purchase decision.

  • Too many options prevents purchases
  • Complexity of pricing and packaging creates friction in the sales and buying process
  • If you go for an ‘edition strategy’ make sure the vast majority of potential customers think ‘look at all I get for this price’ (it should include all the must haves)
    • next edition could be higher value, differentiated, aimed at a slightly different segment

Trends shift expectations of value

  • shifting to cloud and subscription

Chapter 18 - Marketing When its not about product

  • Events can have a massive impact on how you market your product
  • Sometimes product marketing has to drive things when the product isn’t improving in that moment
    • rethinking how to market when the product isn’t changing
  • Campaign = specific collection of coordinated actions to address a specific market opportunity or challenge
  • It’s good practice not to make all campaigns about product
    • focus instead on what specific audience case about or company-level momentum
  • Examples of campaigns that aren’t linked to product
    • Leverage a black-swan event
    • Target a particular micro vertical
    • Amplify a singular company event
    • Activate a dormant or existing customer segment
    • Shift brand perception
    • Convert users of a competitive product
  • Invest in the emotional over the rational - how can marketing programs deepen relationships with customers?
  • Examine the customer journey - so much of peoples consideration of a product happens in a blended way - dominated by online but offline too. People speak to people that they know
    • Reach out to customers with high NPS scores and ask if they’d write reviews
  • Enable evangelism from customers
    • get your customers advocating on your behalf
      • start by making them successful using your product
      • give them a surprise piece of value
  • Activate your community
    • scaling evangelism - beyond what you can do as a company
    • forum - help questions and answers, meetups, experts to help, customer council
    • Can loyal customers who feel proud to be associated with your brand discuss it in a public way together with others?

Chapter 19 - The One-sheet product GTM canvas

Product GTM Canvas

  • A product GTM is strong and strategic when all its activities line up to achieve larger goals that incorporate current market realities.
  • The canvas makes planning easier for GTM and product teams.
  • Example
  • Q1
    Q2
    Q3
    Customer / Outside environment
    · Event
    · Event
    · Event
    Product Milestones
    · Event
    · Event
    · Event
    Strategies
    Activities
    Goal 1
    · Activity · Activity
    · Activity · Activity
    · Activity · Activity
    Goal 2
    · Activity · Activity
    · Activity · Activity
    · Activity · Activity
    Goal 3
    · Activity · Activity
    · Activity · Activity
    · Activity · Activity
  • Quickly show opportunities for misalignment - for product and marketing
  • Keeps everyone focused, even when improvising or reacting to something new
  • See the most important activities at a glance - communicate them internally
  • Understand the why behind actions and stay aligned at the strategic level, not just ticking off tactics
  • It’s not comprehensive - but it clarifies purpose and priorities and keeps things on track
  • How to create - Get Product, Marketing, Sales and Customer success together and discuss:
    • The customer reality
    • Competitive and external environment
    • Anticipated product milestones, releases, or commitments
    • The resulting marketing strategies
    • Key activities

Chapter 20 - Understanding Action: Real Marketing Plans

Making better marketing plans:

  • Set the strategic frame
  • Identify key important actions
  • Be clear on what to measure
  • Align goals to the business goals
  • Keep an eye on quality (not just quantity
    • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) are not the whole story. What’s flowing into the pipeline?
  • Define the playing field - and your position in it - keep an eye on the competition
  • Beware of the allure of paid marketing and big budgets - it can mask poor organic growth

Part Four - StoryTeller: Clarity and Authenticity: The Process and Tools to Rethink Messaging

Chapter 21: Discover Your Position

  • When describing your idea you’ll hear “oh, you mean like what [existing tool] does?”
    • People make sense of your idea using what they already know. People need to start with what’s familiar to understand what’s new
  • You might have to anchor what you do relative to competitors or what else is happening in the space
    • Positioning → the place your product holds in the minds of customers. How people know what you do and how you differ from what’s out there already
    • Messaging → includes the key things you say to reinforce your positioning, making you credible so people want to learn more
    • Positioning is the long game - messaging is the short game
  • Positioning takes time - you’ll get sick of repeating your messaging - it takes ages for people to get it - as you’re moving through the technology adoption curve
  • Positioning happens organically through reputation - places where evangelism happens influences the market perception
    • Word of mouth, reviews, comparison sites, social, shares, online forums, employee buzz etc
  • Positioning is the outcome or combination of all the things done for the product GTM - NOT JUST MESSAGING
  • Bad product messaging → after reading it you still don’t know what the product does
  • Good messaging → natural, obvious. It could be just factual or aspirational. It depends what people need to hear.
    • it frames a product’s value and makes people want to lean in and learn more
  • Forming your messaging must start with discovery work - getting a deep insight into your customers and the market

Chapter 22: How to Listen and Connect

  • Expensify Messaging:
    • Expense reports that don’t suck! Hassle-free expense reporting built for employees and loved by admins.
  • Why do people like it?
    • It feels emotion and true
    • It efficiently communicates benefits in simple and compelling ways
    • It covers multiple interested audiences
    • You can infer the approximate market position they wanted to own - the easiest, most loved way to simplify expense reporting for everybody who touches it
  • You shouldn’t be able to substitute other companies into your messaging statement!
  • You need to understand your customer - their daily lives, what frustrates them, what trigger moment they have for problem solving etc
    • Listen for insights and the language they use
  • Deep customer context and insights → are required before you can create compelling messaging
  • Choose credibility and clarity.
  • Best messaging isn’t absolute - you want messaging that performs well for your products GTM strategy and positioning - so you need to balance those accordingly
    • Data should inform decisions - but shouldn’t drive the outcome → you need to hold your products positioning
  • CAST - A simple guide

Chapter 23: Understanding in Action

  • When you’re a new company - you have to focus on making it clear what you do
  • Make your messaging speak to the customer - not to your investors or board
  • Netflix Early: Watch TV shows and movies anytime, anywhere. Only 7.99 a month
  • Netflix Mature : Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.
  • Zendesk still had to say what it did 3 years and 10k customers later.
    • They later matured to …. Beautifully simple, Zendesk is software for better customer service

Chapter 24: Balancing Act, Right Message, Right Time

Market ahead of customers - or market what they want now?
  • Should you market ahead of what customers valued to push the market - or market what they told us they prioritise now?
    • If you’re pushing the boundaries of what people believe, you need to show the industry is moving with you
      • Competition isn’t a crowd - its confirmation
      • Concrete evidence - industry trends, customer stories, adoption, pundits, data is at the heart of messaging and positioning .
Create a new category? or Redefine an existing one?
  • Creating a new category is really hard. Takes persistence, time and resources.
  • You may have more success by redefining an existing category
Create new category
Redefined an existing category
Amazon - the store Amazon web services Netflix RedHat
Google → yahoo iPhone → blackberry Facebook → myspace Slack → hipchat Spotify → pandora SpaceX → NASA
  • Category creation is not a marketing event - its an industry shift - much harder, more luck and timing involved too. You’ll need lots of external evidence
  • It’s easier to redraw lines around existing categories and sub-categories
  • Stories need more that words to be credible and compelling. It requires creativity but equally important, evidence and restraint.
    • Industry thought pieces, data, videos, customer stories, credible evangelists
  • PMs should have a clear idea of where the product is going and why. Holders of product vision and strategy and should have a clear sense of how the future intersects with what a product does now.
  • Don’t rely on jargon - be authentic
  • Leverage search trends and techniques
    • Search Trends - compare terms customers use to talk about your space
    • Search journey testing - watch how they search for your product and the actions they take
    • Targeted ad buys - don’t test mild variations of the same theme
    • Keyword audits - usually done by specialists - examine the universe of terms associated with your web presence

Chapter 25: The One-Sheet Messaging canvas

  • Collaboration to mediocrity is all too common. Instead collect the inputs - and craft a strong output yourself
  • The canvas separates messaging elements into building blocks - you don’t use all of them all the time, just what you need at the right time
  • The canvas builds the case for why people should believe a product is a good one. The product’s market position should also be clear.
  • Use it to iterate toward better messaging - it can be a mess
  • image
Steps to make one
  1. Decide on your most important customer segments and shape messaging around them
  2. Come up with starter messaging and key support messages
  3. List areas of value in customer friendly language under each pillar
  4. Designate messages as appropriate for specific audiences
  5. Provide evidence
  6. Test it with customers in the intended mediums
  7. Refine
  8. Finally check CAST - Clear, Authentic, Simple, Tested
Completed Example
image

Part 5: Advanced Product Marketing and Leadership: How to do and lead it better at any stage company

Chapter 26: Leading and transforming product marketing

  • PMMs succeed when they are willing to challenge a conversation based on customer insights
    • they need the data, customer and market insights to do that
  • Leaders need to clearly define how they want the role to operate and communicate this across the entire organisation
    • Anchors of the role: Ambassador, strategist, storyteller and evangelist
  • How many? 2.6 - 5 PMMs for every PM
  • Where do they report? Less important than how they’re shared across teams
  • How to organise depends on what you’re trying to do
  • Factor 1: What business problem are you trying to solve?
  • Marketing if
    Product is established in the market Growth requires a market focus Customer segments need to be refined more Marketing strategies require a lot of coordination If you have a portfolio of products
    Product if
    Continuous development of a technical product Struggling to communicate well about its product
  • Factor 2: Which leader has the capacity to help the function reach its potential?
    • If you have a leader with experience or leadership potential who can be strong across both product and marketing - take advantage
    • Credibility boost by reporting to a respected or extraordinary leader
  • Defining the role - Product Marketing is full of versatile generalists - that makes defining the boundaries of the role tricky
    • generalists are really valuable early in the product lifecycle
    • as companies mature - product marketers tend to specialise around vertical markets, marketing or distribution channels, or customer segments
  • Where to start - pair your best PM with your best PMM on the most important msrket segments
    • have teams try the model and tools - adjust it so it works in your company - then roll it out. This gives everyone a working reference point
  • PMMs can build trust with PMs by showing their research and customer interaction process - inviting the PM along. If impressed, it will make for a smooth relationship
  • Psychological safety. Is having the confidence that it is safe to take risks with asking questions, offering new ideas, disagreeing or sharing something personal.
  • Dependability - all reliably complete high quality work on time and don’t shy away from being held accountable
  • Structure and clarity - a clear understanding of job expectations and what it takes to fulfil them
  • Meaning - having purpose in ones work. Meaning is also personal
  • Impact - people want to feel like they’re making a difference and that their contribution matters

Chapter 27 - how to hire strong product marketing talent

  • Optimise your hire around what’s most important for your company’s stage and how much you can grow or develop skills
  • Skills to look for in a PMM interview
    • Deep customer curiosity, strong active listening
    • Product curiosity and technical confidence
    • Strong on strategy and execution and business savvy
    • Collaborative
    • Strong written and verbal communication
  • Tell me about a product or company you think is doing really great marketing. It can be anything. And tell me why you think it’s great.
    • Now pretend your a marketing leader at a competitor to the great marketing company
    • What 2-3 things would you consider most important to do in order to compete with [the company they chose]
      • Looking for breadth of marketing toolset, how they deal with change, are they open to new information, how do they manage constraints?

Chapter 28: PMM Career

Early Career: 0-5 years - focus on rapid learning.
  • Skills:
    • Interpret customer research
    • Do insightful market tests and customer interviews
    • Competitive analysis
    • Product demonstrations
    • Sales tools
    • Website content
    • Thought leadership content
  • Foundational skills
    • Writing - more concision and story telling
    • Oral - learning to read the audience and adjust if necessary
    • Holding productive discussions with customers, sales and product
Mid Career: 5-12 years - expand skills, learn to guide and lead
  • leading big launches, multiple products or segments
  • Additional Skills
    • Knowledge of marketing specialists - brand, communications, digital, demand generation
    • How to enable partners
    • How to market to verticals
  • Additional Foundational skills
    • Able to lead campaigns across functions
    • Excellent at communicating well with and commanding respect of product and sales peers
    • Able to hire well
    • Management - lead a team and scale through others
Senior Career: 10 + Years - ongoing success and evidence
  • Additional Functional Skills
    • Company spokesperson
    • Great at negotiating challenges or conflict across cross-functional teams
  • Additional foundational skills
    • Leads with other functions - believes their success if tied to each others
    • Is seen as a leader by other functions

Chapter 29: Product Marketing: Early, Growth, Mature

  • Scope of product marketing isn’t well understood, each team assumes it’s the salvation for whatever gaps they feel most
  • What you can expect at each stage

Chapter 30: Mature Company Inflection points - When to lean into Product Marketing

  • Inflection points driven by changes in product that require shifts in GTM to succeed. Often requires some unlearning - internally and externally for how a market thinks about a company
  • Scenarios:
    • Traditional company becomes tech first
    • Single product company becomes multi-product company
    • Moving from product to solution, service or customer-centric
    • International expansion

Conclusion: What you can do right now?

  • Apply the four fundamentals
  • Things anyone can do that can make a difference
    • Ask for the customer point of view in product and GTM meetings
    • Learn what’s working well in marketing
    • Share more stories
    • Revisit messaging (CAST, Clear, authentic, simple, tested)
    • Use the GTM canvas to create alignment between GTM teams and product
    • Use the messaging canvas to improve what marketing and sales teams say
    • Use a release scale to develop shared expectations between product and marketing
    • Use agile marketing practices