Like I’ve blogged about before, a lot of people have difficulty understanding what product marketing is and how it should fit into their organization. This problem is pronounced for product marketers who find themselves starting the function at their company from scratch or part of a product marketing team in its infancy.
When I showed up at VTS, there was no product marketing. I was brought to VTS to start the function from scratch after they began experiencing the symptoms and pains of not having any product marketing.
We PMMs know that our role is similar (in function) to that of an orchestra’s conductor. We may not play every instrument, but it’s our job to make sure that all sections of the orchestra are playing theirs perfectly and to the shared beat. If the drum line isn’t on beat with the trombones or the violins weren’t provided with their sheet music, then we have failed.
An orchestra can’t be successful without a conductor, and a conductor can’t succeed without the orchestra knowing how to work with him or interpret his signals. So how do we, as product marketing ‘conductors,’ make sure the orchestra knows how to work with us?
Enter the Product Marketing Manifesto. A public declaration of the principles, beliefs and intentions that guide product marketing teams. I authored this when I arrived at VTS and shared it across the organization. It’s similar to vision or mission statements. It informs other department leaders and the company as a whole what they can expect from product marketing, and how product marketing will work with them to help their department (and the company as a whole) achieve its goals.
Check it out below. I hope you create something similar for your department and share it with the rest of your orchestra so you all can play a symphony rivaling the Lord of the Rings’ soundtrack.
The Product Marketing Manifesto
We are responsible for the market success of the product portfolio. We balance art, heart and science to strategize, launch, sell and maintain world-class products that make our customers successful.
We control the perception of our product and change behavior. It takes effort to form a perception about product and it takes an even larger mental effort to change perceptions once they’re formed. That’s why we treat messaging with the utmost care.
We understand the perception of our product is the sum of the content, communication and experience surrounding our product. And though we may not own every piece of the website, ads, PR, blog articles, sales emails, etc., we partner with and equip the creators of those assets. We arm customer-facing teams with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful and enable all channels to bring our product’s value to life.
Great product marketing is a telling a great product story. We talk about and give our prospects & customers value. We’re not the sleazy marketers who shove product in faces. We show our prospects we understand their pains, their struggles and tell them how we can help. We create simple messages for complex products and speak the customer’s language, because conquering hearts conquers pockets.
We are not our customer. We strive for customer intimacy and building a deep knowledge of our market, customers and competitors to guide product strategy. We turn all channels into a listening platform because great product marketing comes down to understanding our customers. We focus on customer discovery and validated learning over static prediction and opinions. Opinions, while interesting, are irrelevant. We love data, always test and favor adaptive and iterative over “big bang.” We are calculated and strategic and not afraid to call out “shiny penny” syndrome.
We do plan but we focus on action. We think big, start small and move fast. We deliver things with consistency and without lingering. We don’t confuse excellence with perfection, but we do treat every single piece of output as the one that’ll be a breakout hit. We find the balance between chaos and process, responding to change and being flexible over rigid. We focus our efforts on achieving main goals and eliminate unimportant opportunities.
We remain resilient in front of challenges. We build relationships and trust with our customers, both internal and external. We bring clarity and inspiration to the organization and lead positive change.