Product Marketing Done the Product Management Way

Posted by Matt Payne
September 8, 2020

Product Management software has made me better at Product Marketing. No, you did read that right, a tool for a different discipline has made me better at my job. ProdPad has provided me with an invaluable way of thinking, opened my eyes to a whole new approach to working, and has given me the space to contribute to future developments of the product I promote.

I joined ProdPad in May 2019. With an ever-growing list of questions and limited Product Management knowledge, I flamboyantly and energetically dived right in. Throughout the last year I have had the opportunity to watch product demos, attend product management training courses, and meet product people from all over the world. What’s struck me most is that a lot of common problems faced by marketers can be solved with product management best practice.  

If your marketing team are pulling their hair out, or crying into a glass of wine at noon under their desks – thanks to stress, confusion and being avoided by the rest of the company – then maybe it’s time to make a change. Why not start thinking about how you can align your ways of working with the rest of the team in a shared tool? Your marketing team will be grateful for the support and structure it provides. Also, they’ll have a space to make valuable suggestions to the product. Marketers are full of ideas, so why not make sure you capture them in the language and structure the product team is already using? It might be just what you’re looking for. 

ProdPad keeps the marketing team focused 

It’s no secret that marketers can sometimes get carried away. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard the words ‘scope creep’ in a meeting, I’d be a rich man. But marketing isn’t all getting over excited in planning meetings. You can pretty much split the sort of work we do into two camps; one is the day to day work like content, CRM and social, the other is the more ad hoc work like events or product launches. Measuring the success of either has its difficulties.

For the day to day work there is never really an end to it, so it’s hard to articulate to the rest of the company what you’re actually doing when you put “social” in your daily standup every day. There will always be; tweets to tweet, emails to email and all sorts of things that once completed on your to do list get replaced with the same thing for a different day. There are however different experiments we can do like testing polls on different social platforms to gauge engagement or A/B testing personalisation in emails. ProdPad is perfect for this – we can add all these little experiments as ideas and review how well they did.

When you’re working on one particular area like blog content for example it can start to feel like that’s all you do. Attaching blogs to a wider theme or experiment like increasing search traffic or targeting a new set of keywords makes the day to day work feel like it matters much more. It’s not just another blog anymore, it’s a bet you’re making against a wider objective.

The work isn’t any different but the way we look at it (thanks to ProdPad) is. Reframing the day to day work as part of a wider strategic initiative means we stay much more focused. We’re looking at our list of things to do and know that we’re doing the right stuff.

Product Marketing – How we use a Roadmap and OKRs

Our Marketing roadmap is the same as a product roadmap, we use the now, next and later format. Why? Because strategic planning is integral to success, so the format is perfect for marketing best practice. Each roadmap card represents a problem we want to solve, which is normally either grouped as a campaign or in some cases a collection of potential solutions to a question like “does feature adoption lead to more renewals?” or “which digital platform leads to a better trial to sale conversion rate?”

We have shared objectives with the entire company, because we all want the same thing, to make the best product that’s used by everyone. The key results keep us aligned and on track. Like Product Management, we only do stuff that is solving a problem – otherwise, what’s the point?

What’s awesome about working like this is it gives the team autonomy over our work. Liz (our CCO) has written about having a top down/bottom up approach to product management and it’s actually very similar to how she manages the customer team. We get directions/problems to solve from the senior leadership team but we get to use our expertise to decide how we get to the solutions. 

Having our roadmap in ProdPad makes it easy for the leadership team and the entire company to see exactly what we’re doing right now and what’s coming up in the future to support the wider strategy. This level of transparency stops us from falling down a rabbit hole, wasting time and resources on stuff that isn’t needed. 

We also love the completed column, who doesn’t love a nice big tick on your checklist? Once we’ve come to the end of a campaign we move it over to the completed column and identify what worked and what didn’t so we can iterate and learn for future projects. Sounding familiar, product people?

Collaboration

In-app communication

One of the things I love about marketing is that I get to work with everyone. One day I’ll be working with the sales team looking at how best to target prospects, the next day I’ll be working with the development and product teams to identify what features are ready to promote.

If you’ve met anyone from ProdPad in real life you’ll know we’re a right chatty bunch. Therefore, when we work together we need lots of ways to talk to each other. What’s awesome about ProdPad is we can use the in-app discussions on each idea, roadmap card or piece of feedback. We can also use our super awesome Slack bot to collaborate, too. It makes working with the whole team so easy and frictionless. I can talk to Design, Product even my CEO on whatever I am working on to get their help or expertise. It’s that easy.

Campaign management 

ProdPad’s Kanban-style workflow is probably my favorite feature. The workflow allows us to move various campaigns along, much like a product manager would move tickets/epics/ideas along towards development. We can see what stages certain initiatives are at so we know when to involve other teams, evaluate progress, or simply push to Trello. 

I manage the entire editorial process through this workflow. This allows our product experts to submit content ideas directly into ProdPad. The marketing team use the triage functionality to work out which ideas need to be written for the company blog. Giving us editorial control and giving the team visibility on how close to publishing their blog is.

Product Marketers will fall in love with ProdPad

Sometimes the entire direction, approach, and treatment for taking a product to market has already been decided before the marketing team can get a look in. ProdPad allows us to see what the product experts are discovering and testing at all times. This first-hand view reduces any shocks or surprises further down the line. It allows us to successfully manage our workload, and company expectations ahead of product launches. 

Marketers can contribute to the development of the product by logging ideas and feedback. I’m able to collect useful feedback when meeting customers and prospects at events. The information I gather might help the product team make ProdPad even better. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to contribute in a meaningful way. 

Let’s also get real here, marketing specific tools are really expensive for more than one user. They live or die by the number of users you have working out of them. I have been demoed some fantastic marketing tools that would help the team with strategy, delivery and organisation but they cost an arm and a leg. They just don’t fit the small (but mighty) marketing team we have here at ProdPad. 

Having access to something as awesome as ProdPad feels like I’ve got the golden ticket. After-all, marketing and product management aren’t so different. We also spend a lot of time researching, looking at ways to solve big problems and delight our current or potential customers. Doing Product Marketing the Product Management way means that we consistently deliver kick ass strategy. We spend less time doing work about work, and actually do awesome stuff that is aligned to our wider goals. 

Don’t take my word for it. Why not sign yourself and your marketing folks up for a free trial?

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