There is a dog barking incessantly in the background. And the not-so-stealthy typer who is audibly multitasking during the meeting. Yes, most remote workers are probably giving a rueful chuckle. We have all been there. But what about when you take your typical virtual meeting and increase it to 10, 20, even 100 people?Read more…
The product roadmap vs. the release plan. I recently wrote about this topic for product managers — detailing how you need the first to set the product direction and then build releases to detail the work. But when I saw some marketing managers commenting on the post, it got me thinking. What is the equivalent for marketing teams?
I bet you will recognize this person. Let’s call them Cary. You know, the one who lurks at the corner of every project. Cary claims the team’s work as their own, without any real effort put forth. They have plenty to say too. But when you ask for deeper detail or the thinking behind the work, they get flustered. It is not so easy to go off script. Why?
Roadmaps are for product managers. Right? This idea seems to be burned into so many people’s minds. Roadmaps are a “product thing.” But a roadmap is simply a visualization of a plan. And that is something any functional group can benefit from — particularly marketing teams at fast-moving technology companies.
“Do not beat yourself up.” I am sure you have heard this before. It is a well-intentioned remark meant to soothe the sting of failure. There is some truth to being gentle with yourself. If you planned ahead and worked hard, then there is no need to flog yourself if unforeseen circumstances upend your plan. But I do believe there are many times when you absolutely should beat yourself up.
We are living in uncertain times. You could say this has always been true — life is unpredictable and so are we. People are complex. And as much as technology has brought us closer together, it has also drawn in stark contrast all the ways that we are different. Social media, in particular, has been used to amplify those differences. There is confusion and chaos, conflict and turmoil. It can be hard to project calm strength when uncertainty rules the day.
Marketing vs. sales. This is a common workplace battle. The VP of marketing in one corner and the VP of sales in the other, both ready to face off. But if you stop and think about it, this fight is almost comical. The two roles are fighting for the same exact thing — to grow the business. So, why does it seem like these two are always squaring off?
T-R-M. You will hear these three letters often at Aha! — with teammates exclaiming things like, “Melissa showed some next-level TRM today, showing the customer new functionality that they needed before they even asked for it.” Or “I reported a bug to the engineering team and it was fixed within 10 minutes. Serious TRM!” So, what is TRM? It stands for The Responsive Method. It is the engine that powers us.
It takes courage to have a single focus. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Because while it takes chutzpah to set really ambitious goals, that is not where the bravery comes in. No, that comes later, when you have to recommit over and over to the vision you have set in order to realize it. This kind of focus is not always easy — especially in rapidly-growing companies where there are so many promising new opportunities to pursue.
Have you heard of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale? It is essentially a scale of life events, ranking from the most stressful to the least. It is no surprise that some negative markers include things like the death of a loved one or losing your job. But you will also see things that are typically thought of as positive — like getting married or having a baby. No matter how you look at this scale, I believe it reveals a simple truth.
I always have a stack of “to-read” books on my nightstand. Recently, I finished a biography of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. No matter what you think of the company today, it was amazing to learn how Walton transformed a small-town dime store into a multinational behemoth. This story was full of wisdom about promoting products, connecting with customers, and building a lasting brand — lessons that are relevant to anyone in marketing today.
Tell me if you can figure out this math problem. In a survey of more than 500 product managers, 81 percent said they owned product strategy as part of their role. And yet barely 25 percent said that the company was clear on strategy as a whole. (I promise this is not a theoretical word problem, but rooted in real data.) So, how can both be true?Read more…
Tell me if this sounds familiar. After a strategic planning session, the marketing team agrees on a high-level roadmap for the next quarter. You are excited to get to work. But then one teammate learns about a new ad platform. And another just got back from a conference and wants to start a company podcast. Everyone is going in a different direction. Suddenly, your solid plan feels more like a franken-plan.
Childhood lemonade stands. If you grew up in the U.S., you probably had one. Maybe you posted fliers in your neighborhood. Whether you knew it or not, this was your marketing strategy. You made basic decisions — how many cups you hoped to sell and any tactics you might use to encourage a purchase. You also had to decide what the price would be and if you would offer multi-cup discounts. This was your sales strategy.