Friday, March 18, 2016

What Makes a Great Tech Product Marketer

A few months ago I was working on a product keynote for one of our events. I shared some of my ideas with my manager and the first thing she asked me was "What's the story?". This is not the first time she has asked me that question. In fact, I've noticed a pattern. Whether it's a product launch, an internal business case or a blog post, she pushes me and the rest of our team to incorporate a story into whatever we are doing. In my opinion, the ability to tell a compelling story is something that can make a tech Product Marketer great. This got me thinking about what else makes a great tech Product Marketer. I reached out to some leaders in tech Product Marketing to hear what they think and wanted to share their expertise with all of you. Whether you're a student considering Product Marketing as a career or a Product Marketer right now, I think you'll be inspired by what they have to say.

Product marketing word cloud of best PMMs

"A great product marketer is someone who can create a genuine “movement” around their product. Internally, they act as the product’s champion and work tirelessly to understand their market, and nail the product’s messaging, value prop and all other modalities to get stakeholder teams (product, sales, 
leadership) stoked up about going to market. 
Externally, they are the product’s ambassador—helping prospects envision a world where the product can truly make them a better version of themselves, and authentically channeling that success via the customer’s voice." 

Indy Sen, Google

“Product marketers adapt quickly and drive for results amidst ever changing tech organizations and industries. They empathize with the unique needs of their customers and address those needs throughout every stage of the customer journey.”

Kari Ann Sewell- Symantec

"A great product marketer stays close to the customer. Understanding how your customers use your product, learning their pain points, and what more they want from your offering informs great product strategy and marketing."

Corinne Roberts, Campaign Monitor

"A great product marketer is a skilled translator, synthesizer, and story-teller. Her goal in every activity - whether it's working with customers, writing content, or improving sales effectiveness - is to find the point where her product uniquely satisfies a potential customers' specific need. To do that, you must understand your product, your market, and your customers from multiple points of view.

Grant Shirk, Vera

"Great tech product marketers understand how technology can enhance the customer's life. Engineers often fall in love with their "babies" but great tech product marketers have the vision of what features will ultimately matter to the customer. They create the emotional connection between the product and the customer."

Gabriel Jaquier, Dell

"I don't know if I qualify as a great product marketer, but I do have one quality in abundance that I think any great one (tech or otherwise) should possess: Empathy. It's a product marketer's job to practice empathy, and then strategically and continually insert it into the development and GTM processes. This is equally important in cultivating a deep, nuanced understanding of customers and in applying to internal dynamics with eng, design, and product counterparts. Empathy is a key soft skill that will never let a product marketer down. (Word of caution, though: It must often be paired with data!)"

Omar Garriott,

"We product marketers used to dub ourselves 'mini CEOs' of our products. While lifecycle ownership is indeed pertinent, the best product marketers position themselves as hubs, conduits and conductors. This is the only way to achieve velocity and quality at the same time. Conductors produce beautiful symphonies because they empower each section of the orchestra, not because they try and play every instrument themselves."

Justin Topliff, Infusionsoft

This post was originally published on LinkedIn

Friday, March 4, 2016

How to Make a Great Software Product Keynote

A few months ago I was tasked with putting together our product keynote for LinkedIn's Sales Connect 2015. We had a new head of product we wanted to introduce as well as highlight some brand new functionality. 

Now I must admit, as a marketer, I really like putting together keynote presentations. It's always a challenge, but very rewarding to see your work on stage. Our presentation went well, except for a potentially keynote destroying technical glitch that was overcome by supreme presentation skills by our head of product. If you want the full story on how a knock knock jokes saved the keynote check out this article.

I wish this post was a step by step guide to making a great product keynote, but that would probably be impossible. Instead, you're going to get a list of resources, a few ideas and some inspiring examples to get you going.

man on stage during software keynote

Here is what I recommend…. 

First find some inspiration.
 I searched the internet for keynotes that were awesome. Also, asked our head of product and designer to share keynotes they thought were great. Here are a few we liked. 

Why not Apple keynotes? I think at this point there has been enough talk about Apple keynotes, so I did not spend much time looking at them. 

Think about what you have to work with.  A few questions you should ask yourself.

1. What's the message I want to get across?
2. How much time can I work on this?
3. What resources do I have? (i.e. designer)
4. Who is the audience?
5. What time is it at? What state of mind will the audience be in?

Tell a story. In general, I think you should tell a story right out of the gate as well as make sure there is a strong story line through the entire presentation. The first story could help set up the pain your product is trying to solve. Then another good option is to have a story about the user of your product. Don't show a list of features, but tell a story that shows the features while highlighting what they are trying to accomplish. We attempted this in our keynote that inspired this post. It's by no means a perfect example, but you can see how we tried to weave story into it. 

Make it engaging. 

There are a lot of tricks of the trade, but if your presentation is more than a few minutes, you'll need to make an extra effort to keep the audience engaged. Half way through our presentation we presented some awards to our audience members to keep the energy high. I recommend reading "Your Perfect Presentation" by Bill Hoogterp for more ideas.  Also the own the room training by Blue Planet Training was very helpful in putting together the whole presentation. 

Practice. Practice. Practice. 

If you want it to be perfect, you need to practice it many times. In our keynote after the technical glitch our head of product picked up where he left off without skipping a beat. It was because he had done the entire presentation at least 20 times. 18 of those times was in-front of me, so I was able to provide feedback each time. Nothing gives you confidence like experience. 

I hope this posts gives you a few ideas. If you feel like I missed anything, add it in the comments!