The other day I had the opportunity to sit down with my friend and former colleague, Jeff Foley, VP of Marketing, Luminoso to record an episode of the Biznecdote Podcast. It was great and really fitting because Jeff has played a large role in defining how I view product marketing, which I thought was important to break out in a post.

What Does Product Marketing Do?

Product Marketing is the translator that sits in the middle of Product, Marketing, and Sales plus the Customers.

As a product marketer, I find myself faced with this question all the time and really it makes me feel a bit Bob Smykowski from The Office answering the Bob’s question ‘What would you say you do here?’ And while I would love to use his answer, ‘I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS, I AM GOOD AT DEALING WITH PEOPLE!’ I think Jeff’s answer of product marketing being the translator is much more eloquent. Product Marketing does sit at the center of sales, marketing, and product while also working with customers to drive sales, get stories, etc. If you’re looking for a comprehensive detailed answer I’d point you to this post What Is Product Marketing from Dave Gerhardt, Drift.

‘What is Product Marketing’, Drift

How is Product Marketing Different Than Product Management?

Product Management worries about the users, Product Marketing worries about the buyers.

That’s a nice little simple nugget that I LOVE, but really it makes a ton of sense. When you think about a software company that is trying to be agile, it’s essential to get feedback from users. Part of this can come in the form of direct feedback using things like advisory boards, user testing groups, and surveys (maybe even using Luminoso to tease out insights from these surveys) to elicit feedback. There’s also what I would call tacit feedback, which is where instead of asking direct questions to users you use other methods to observe activity, products like:

  • CrazyEgg for heatmaps, A/B testing, etc.
  • Google Analytics to see how users are finding and interacting with your site
  • Appcues to both help users interact with your product with “cues” (hence the name), but more importantly, understand how users are behaving so you can improve the User Experience (UX) of your Product

Both direct & tacit feedback are great sources of information to build into improving products, so product managers can incorporate this information into their product epics, stories, themes, and initiatives.

On the other hand Product Marketing as we covered above really focuses more on influencing the buying cycle with customers. That said, there is no “one size fits all” definition for Product Marketing in a given company because the role sits between sales, marketing, and product. So if you’re considering bringing in product marketing it’s crucial to establish which one of the three will be product marketing’s key focus – sales, marketing, or product. There’s no wrong answer and it can (and should) change over time as your company changes, but in my experience, if you can’t identify the one key focus you’ll find yourself frustrated and constantly searching for someone/something that is near impossible to achieve.

Why Are Frameworks Important for Scaling?

Give a man fire and he’s warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life.

Now, THIS is really where Jeff shines, and as much as I initially bristled about the “F-word”, Frameworks, of course, they really help expedite the process of delivering information at scale. As Jeff’s humorous quote above alludes to, one of the things that every good product marketer runs into is being too good and everyone needing your help. Here are a few examples:

  • Sales – How does our product compare to XYZ Competitor –  Battlecard
  • Marketing – What things features and functions are coming out that we can promote –  Go-To-Market/Market Launch
  • ProductHow do we explain all of the various features of our product to the customerPositioning & Whiteboards

Now the frameworks really serve to save product marketers time communicating at scale, so that instead of you having to be in every meeting, conversation and interaction everyone can be on the same page.

Thanks again to Jeff for coming on the Biznecdote Podcast, if you’re interested in listening to his episode you can check it out here. And I hope you enjoy the podcast, and please make sure to check out the Biznecdote blog, and follow @Biznecdote on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and please share feedback, ask questions.


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