What Product Marketers Actually Do in Tech Companies!
Yeah, so ecommerce seo experts near me honestly didn't even know product marketing was a field. Apple only traditionally had product marketing managers. Why is it not just marketing? Why is it product marketing? And that is what we are here to find out.
PMMS In Tech
This is everything I know about being a PMM. First, there are three types of products PMMS in tech generally work on. Business-to-Consumer, B2C products that can be further broken down to software; Google Search, Instagram, Notion, and hardware; the iPhones, Chromebooks, and Oculus headsets. Then you have Business-to-Business, B2B products such as Google Ads, Salesforce, and Workday. And third, Business-to-Developer, B2D products like Android and iOS. Products like Notion offer both B2C and B2B solutions. Android and iOS reach us, the consumers, through the Play and App Stores while at the same time supporting developers in creating those apps as well. Since the needs of those target audiences; consumers, businesses, developers are so different, it's not uncommon to have different PMMS working on separate campaigns for the same product.
How Much We Spend Time
For how we spend our time, this will obviously vary by company and product but in my experience, only 5 to 10% of our time goes into what I call the end result. 40 to 45% of our time is spent on communication, and the remaining 40 to 45% is spent on what I call alone work, which is not as sad as it sounds. Let's take two very high-profile tech events as examples, Google I/O and Apple's WWDC. Both events last for a maximum of one week and that's the part end users like developers and consumers actually get to see and experience right from the event landing page to the confirmation emails. And, of course, the actual event itself. Those are the end result. What we don't see are the months PMM spend communicating with internal stakeholders and external partners.
For example, internally, we work with all the speakers to align on a single narrative. Externally, we make sure the creative agencies adhere to our brand guidelines. And alone work, it's not that sad, at least, to introverts like myself. This could be where the PMM is creating slides to brief the project team, building spreadsheets to track the number of signups and turning meeting notes from the communication phase into next steps and action items. I actually have an entire video teaching you how to plan marketing events step by step so check that out afterwards. To give a completely different example, let's say you're a product marketer for a B2C digital product. After about multiple rounds of feedback, the product team finally rolls out with a feature update. As a PMM, you and I get to decide how to communicate this change with the end user. Is an in-app notification enough? Should you email and send them a text message? Are you a PMM in China, so WeChat is the best channel to use? And that's just for existing users.
Acquire New Users
How can you position this change, and what channels should you use to acquire new users? By the way, if you're watching this and you're in product marketing, would love to know your thoughts down below, and let me know where they're hiring. Just kidding. I love my job. On that note, let's talk about qualities I've observed in strong PMMS. And this can be broken down to hard skills and soft skills. I'd say hard skills are more relevant for B2B and B2D product marketing roles where the product is a bit more technical. For example, if you wanna be a product marketing manager for TikTok Ads, not TikTok but TikTok Ads, it helps if you're either an account manager at TikTok selling the product to businesses or if you use it yourself since you would literally know the strengths and shortcomings of the product.
Moving over to soft skills, I would say, first, you have to be really flexible. Even if you came up with the perfect idea and you are already executing on it, real-time feedback from users and other teams may mean you need to quickly pivot into another direction. So you can't really let your ego get in the way, which is something I may or may not be still working on.
Strong Communication Skills
Second, sounds cliche, but strong communication skills. For example, how can you boil down the dozens of awesome features into one memorable takeaway for your external audience? On the internal side, product marketing managers need to know how to manage expectations by over-communicating. My rule of thumb is I'd rather have the sales team tell me, "Jeff, please shut up. You've said this so many times. I get it." Instead of, "Hang on, you never told us that." You also need to learn how to say no without burning bridges.
Also Read: Social Media Marketing
This is where the third soft skill comes into play. Having an analytical mindset. Using data to make decisions really help PMMS, number one, push back effectively against teams that raise a bunch of requests, and number two, find that message that really resonates with users.
An Experience Of Spending Limited Money
For example, recently, my team was asked to spend marketing dollars on 10 media channels to drive more leads, but our budget was limited. So we looked at a similar campaign from last year and found that five of those channels drove 90% of qualified leads. We shared this finding within the working group and everyone agreed it made more sense to focus on the top five channels and invest the remaining budget in other parts of the campaign. Now that you have a general understanding of what product marketing managers actually do and the qualities companies look for, you might be wondering, should you be a PMM? And the answer to that question largely depends on how mature the product is because your responsibility changes throughout the product lifecycle. And here I wanna give a huge shoutout to Henry Wang's interview with veteran Google PMM Michael Schipper.
According To Mike
There are three stages; pre-launch, growth, and mature. If the product is in the pre-launch phase, the PMM needs to do a lot of market research to determine what the audience needs and also helps decide what features are rolled out first. In the growth stage, the product is gaining attraction and here, the PMM really needs to, number one, gather feedback from the expanding user base and number two, prioritize the changes that will make the most impact. In the mature stage, your product will face a lot more competition so the PMM has to figure out a way to stay top of mind for users when competitors are offering similar features. For example, I work on Google Ads. It's a mature product, and our friendly competitors include Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads, Microsoft Ads, and TikTok Ads.
Google Products Like Play And Cloud
For one of my campaigns, I brought other Google products like Play and Cloud together to give our clients a more comprehensive solution. Facebook or Meta doesn't have a cloud offering, and back then, Amazon Appstore didn't exist, so our message really stood out in that instance. And in case you haven't noticed, working at a large company doesn't automatically mean you're in the mature stage. It depends on the product. The iPhones and Max are very established but Apple Ads is relatively new. On a more personal note, I have really enjoyed being product marketing for the past five years or so. I love coming up with and piloting new ideas. And when you see that event or campaign come to life because of the efforts of you and your team, it really does feel like you're able to create something from nothing.
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