560: The Role of the Product Marketing Manager w/ Jess Forrester

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Jess Forrester, a mission-driven leader with 8+ years of experience managing projects at the intersections of product development, business strategy, market research, and marketing communications.

Looking for a guaranteed way to createcontent that resonates with your audience, start uponcast interview yourideal clients and let them choose the topic of the interview, because, ifyour ideal clients care about the topic, there's a good chance, the rest of youraudience will care about. It too, learn more at sweetfish media, dtcom, you're, listening to the B Tob groteshow podcast dedicated to helping be to B executives, anchiet explosive grown,whether you're looking for techniques and strategies, tools and resources.You've come to the right place, I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Cargary.Let's get it into the show. Welcome back to the beatyby growth show.We are here today with Jess Forester and we're going to be talking aboutproduct marketing, just how you doing today, Hey Gorad James. Thank you. I am.I'm really excited to chat with you today. Jesswe just had a really goodconversation offline before we started recording- and I think you've got somereally valuable insights around this. This idea that going to be valuable toour listeners, but before we do I'd, love to just how our listeners get alittle bit of context on you and why this is an area that you're sopassionate about. Can you tell Solo t about your background and how you havegained the expertise that you have now in product marketing? Sure absolutelyso? I've been at the intersections of business and technology for the eightyears I've spent as a marketer. I was at a Non Prophit, a research company, aresearch association, did some freelance work where I worked reallyclosely with web developer and finally, an education media company focused onantecand, recruiting and as a teckek. I found myself wanting to solve marketingproblems by working with engineers, and I hount I was able to do some powerfulstuff that way. I also found that a lot of people who are interested in thetaxide of marketing grow into the marketing operations path, and that wasnot very interesting to me. I was much...

...more interested in strategic leadershipand and strategy and picking the brains of really smart people and andleveraging their expertise to make some cool stuff happen for business growth.So so, if just if we're talking to someone who maybe they're new to theirmarketing role or they're, not asf, you know, I think, we've all heard the termproduct marketing, but I think a lot of people are hard defining it indifferent ways. How how do you define product marketing and then we're goingto dive into a turn that you refer to offline? You kept saying pm N, which isa product marketing manager. I want to talk a little bit about that role aswell, but before we do that talk to us about cand of your definition ofproduct marketing yeah, so I think the easiest way to explain it is in thecontext of a product manager, which I think people are more familiar with soproduct manager is the person in charge of a software web based product. So youhave teams for U X and Business and Engineering, and then in the middle ofthat 'm, making decisions related to the product and managing those projectsis the product manager or the PM. The product marketing manager works reallyclosely with that person at that same intersection and also have tocommunicate with those same teams and collaborate with them in order to to dothe marketing that's necessary to get that product into the marketplace. Soif the product manger's key role, is in building the right product for themarket, the product of marketing managers role is in packaging thatproduct in a way that the market is receptive to and figuring out how todistribute it to get it. There got okay, so it's more were the product manageris overseeing tha, the UX, the design. What the product looks and feels likewhere the product marketing manager is more figuring out. The distribution ofhow do we actually get this product in...

...front of the people that are are goingto get the most value from it yeah exactly. I think the easiest way I'veheard it explained as if the product manager is described as the CEO ofproduct, the product marketing manager, is the CMO OF PRODUCTS GOTAS. We weretalking off you whad mentioned some very specific benefits of hiring aproduct marketing manager. Can you go over a few of those yeah, so this rolereally grew because product managers were asking for them and they're doingall this work to to build products that answer an audience need, but there's aton of work that also goes into the packaging and delivery of the product.After it's built go to market plans which will get to in a minute, soproducts marketing drastically increases the chance that your productwill reach the market successfully. It reduces the likelihood of a failedlaunch which is expensive, you'll get faster product. Adoption you'll delivera much better experience that encourages and validates or users andkeeps them engaging your product which keeps making might wellof it. I love it,and so in getting to some of the more granular elements of OK ow. What product marketers need to know and and really what companies needto know if they're, if they're, looking to bring a product marketer on they'rethinking? Okay, what is this person going to do? What skill se do they needto have you mentioned? Go to market planning, talk to us a little bit moreabout that yeah. So, before I get to go to market planning, more foundationallyproduct marketing managers need to have a really solid foundation oftraditional business strategy: concepts like market research and brandpositioning s a huge part of your role. It is a strategic leadership all so theproduct manager is building the product, but you need to figure out how totranslate those benefits to the market, which is, I think, a that's a usualmarketing role. But on top of that, PMM's, which is the abbreviation forproduct marketing manager, pnens, have to be able to participate in the usualenvironment that that producttangs are...

...used to working in. So you have to beable to speak the language of Yu x in engineering. You don't necessarily haveto code, although I think a lot of markers can't code at least a littlebit at this point, but you really do have to have an interest and anunderstanding of what's possible. Through technology, you have to be ableto operate in an agile work environment, so you should be familiar with thingslike scrum and sprints and user stories and whatever project management tools.Euroteans are using to manage their processes because you want to be ableto seamlessly fit your marketing role into those processes that you canreally be insinck, God o are ther particular people within anorganization jest that maybe they've never been in product marketing before,but they tend to make a good fit in that role. Based on you know, otherrules they've played yeah. Definitely I think that if you are a person whoworks really well with people, if you find that your first way to solve aproblem is to find the smartest person in the room to solve that problem. Thiis probably a good role for you. It's very much of of people and ProjectManagement Role and definitely Tucky people. People who are just interestedin that space people who are more entrepreneurial will fit in really wellin a roll like this as there more just around. I want totalk about Goto Mor complaning, and I want to talk about user interviews,both of those being critical roles for a product. Marketer, look for you todive into both of those fors yeah, so operating within that agiil frameworkmeans that a huge part of your role will be constant. Gomarket strategiesfor specific products and for product features there for people who are maybeless familiar with agil they're operating within sprints, which are twoto three weeks where they actually build something. So in order to keep upwith that schedule, you're doing constant research and constant planningin order to be able to make sure that each time something goes into themartetplace you're not going to have to...

...go to market strategy for every singlesprint. But you'll put together a plan when you're either launching a newproduct, launching a new feature of an existing product taking an existingproduct or a feture to a new audience and the one people don't talk aboutthat. That ends up being a decent chunk of your job. Is that sometimes past goto market efforts failed or products or teachers are launched without go tomarket Epper, and so you might have to create a new plan to take an existingproduct or feature and introduce it or reintroduce it to your tour existingaudience. In order to make sure that you, you get the adoption that you need.So your job when doing this is develop a strategy to reach the market,leveraging the combined talents and expertise of these different teams thatwe were talking about. So you get to ask really really cool questions likehow could we develop the product itself in a way, that's more likely to reachthe market, so this might include building a preview or trial period intothe product and it might include building a product or building socialcomponents into the product. So drowbox is probably the best known example ofthis. This share with a friend promotions that they built into thefunctionality of product itself. Drunbox is a great example of a companyWHOS successis, linked really closely to their ther, go to market strategy.So, like any marketing plan, you have to figure out your brand positioning,your value, proposition messaging, your channel strategy and your marketstrategy, which is where you're pricing research typically comes in. In thecase of part, saying most of us aren't experts, so you need to get an idea ofwhether there's a market for your product at the the offering parte youintend, and then you have to just continually test to figure out the bestprizing model and messaging to meet the market gotit. So, just I would imagineuser interviews play into that because y you Wanta, you essentially want to beable to use the verbige that your market is is using because that's thetype of messaging that's going to...

...attract them is that is that the theprimary component of of user interviews- or I I much more to it h so for go tomarket strategy and positioning interviews- make a really bigdifference. Most marketers. Do I think, a few large studies a year a lot oftimes, they're outsore? They may use a researcher, that's in House that theyonly work with for those couple F projects each year and then they useape testing and analytics for the majority of their research as a PMM.You need something a little bit richer Thot! You are operating on that shorttimeline, so a lot of different methods could accomplish your goal to to betterunderstand your audience: behavior the beliefs, the relationship with yourproduct, but yeah. I want to make the case for interviews, I think peopleshry away from them and because they think they're more complicated thanthey are and they're really not, and I think this is something that p MNSreally have to do, but that all marketers could really benefit from aspart of their research repertoir. So, ideally, you talk to at least fivepeople per subset of your market for any good market strategy, and you mayspend one of those larger research projects, maybe an outsource projectidentifying and defining those personas. So I know for those of us who are usedto asking questions and diving right into analytics. It sounds painfullyslow to talk to people compared with asking those kinds of questions. Butfor me I find this type of reather thould be to be some of the mostproductive work that I do in part, because you don't go into a meetingwith a person, who's volunteering, their time and then waste their tipebillso. A good Douta analyst knows to step back and make a plan before theydig into adobianalytics or whatever, and I love those tools, I'm notstressing that you quit using ive testing or analytics by any means. Iuse them all the time, but I also know I'm not the only nurdy marketer guiltyof opening up analytics and going down...

...a black hole of curiosities and Um. I think interviewsare helpful in keeping you more focussed because you just have nochoice but to go in with an action plan so to form that plan you're going towork without Samg Cross, functional team that you work with to build yourgo to morket strategy, the more people that you can get involved in planningyour interviews, the better ideally you'd, have someone from marketingsales? U X and Engineering, in order to both to channel their expertise, butalso so that they have more buyin and interest in the results of thatresearch. The last thing you want to do is you know, put out of report and haveyou be the only one considering that, because there're just really rich coolstuff that comes out of this, so Eric Ahal wrote a book. That's called justenough research, so she suggests that the most important question you need toask is the one that sheds light on the greatest area of risk. So if you takethat big bubble, that's everything you don't know, and then you work with thisreally smart project team and figure out what questions you still have thathave the potential to do the most damage with their answers, come up withthose questions with that team and and that's a good place to start with yourinterviews and then, if you were to say the ultimate goal of what theseinterview should accomplish, how how would you boil that down? I mean Ithink that would be it to to shed light on the greatest area of brisk movingforrd, but there's there's a bunch of other benefits to them. You L becomemuch more. Your role is a PM M is to be Voice of the customer during theproduct build. So you can do that much more authentically when you'reliterally hearing the voice of the customer on a regular basis, but youcan build some really good relationships with users and plants.This way this is getting little in the weeds, but there's that if you've readthinking fast and slow, there's that there's this system, one reversepsychology thing happening there where, if you do a favor for someone, yourbrain says, I usually do favors for...

...people I like, and so, if I did someonea favor, I must like them. So if you're actually reallystrengthening relationships with the people who agree to spend this timewith you, Yourselo speaking of which I know it's very tempting as marketers,but do not use this time and space to ask for a testimonyal I I always want to, but restraint isnecesary toge e, Eder, pesan e, Say proteon justices. This has beenfantastic. Is there somebody that wants to die deeper on this with you or orjust CA, stay connected with you on social? What's the best way for them togo abou, doing that you can find me on Lington, Jess Forrester, I'm probablythe only one with product marketing in my headline, but its also slash J for Ris my linkdodn handle and um I'd be more than happy to to answeranyquestions about either hiring a PMM or, if you're, someone who's interestedin in shifting into this career path. I'd be orehappy to talk to you, boutawsome just will! Thank you so much fo time today. This has been fantastic, soreally apprecative tanks, James have a good one. If you've been getting value from thispodcest, you can help us reach more people by reviewing the show, an Itunes,here's how you can leave a revew an less than a minute open your pod castout and tap the search icon in the bottom rad corner type in fee tobgrowth then select our shol once you're, there tap the reviews tohave and tellus what you think of the show. These reviews help us out of time. Thank youso much for listening until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1602)