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Before we dig in, I’ll be hosting a fireside chat at the PMM Summit in London on 26th November. Together with Josh Bradley, we’ll be looking back at a positioning project we worked on together last year from the perspective of PMM and Demand Gen.
If you’re in the UK and want to join us for the first IRL post-Covid PMM conference, you can get 20% off the early bird price using codes SILVERGUEST20 and GOLDGUEST20 for silver and gold passes – get your tickets here.
In this post:
If there was one thing I’d change about the product marketing and product management relationship, it’s the ownership and responsibility of pressing ‘go’ on P1 and P2 product releases.
When product releases aren’t coordinated effectively, not only do you run the risk of a disjointed user experience but you lose impact and momentum.
To break the chain, we have to disconnect technical product readiness from launch. Product/engineering ideally own readiness and ensure everything is ready to go behind feature flags, while PMMs press go – launching a cohesive product/marketing/sales experience.
We did this really well at Kayako, using LaunchDarkly. This also allowed us to beta features with a small number of customers either randomly or to a specified set, allowing us more control over ensuring product quality. And even if something did go wrong, we were able to rollback features at just the tap of a button.
Do, don’t prescribe
The biggest barrier to change is not the new way of working (the destination).
Rather, it’s the disruption that happens along the way to get there. It’s hard to help people believe that there is another way, unless they’ve experienced it already.
The same thing happens with positioning. It’s really, really disruptive to just say “TADA – WE ARE NOW THIS!” and throw teams a positioning statement and a new deck.
Before we can effectively sell and embody the positioning, we need to believe in it. We need to have the framing in our minds already, and have confidence in how it will perform.
This is why confidence is the second part of my ‘momentum equation’ (Focus + Confidence = Momentum). We can’t perform at our best unless we know we’ll perform well. Building confidence in the tools, processes, and outputs that we’ll use is key to encourage smooth behavior change.
Don’t ask customers what you should build
This interview with PM-turned-founder Ryan Glasgow of Sprig caught my eye with the quote in the tweet: you can’t rely on customers to tell you what to build, only the outcomes they’re looking to achieve.
Every customer is coming from a slightly different starting point. We’ve already covered about how they are likely not as mature as you think they are, they have different motivations and change environments.
If you ask them what you should build, you’ll get solutionizing for discrete problems – but you won’t get a real sense of the painful business challenges they’re trying to achieve unless you ask.
That’s why discovering your buyer personas are so important. If you can understand, from research, the jobs, pains, gains, and motivations, you can extract the value they’re hoping to achieve – and position, market, and build to support that.
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