Have you heard of cognitive dissonance theory? In psychology, it refers to the tension that results when you attempt to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time. We all balance ideas that are often quite different. This is especially true for product managers and product marketing managers. Building and launching brilliant products requires that you can understand and harmonize an internal focus (the build) with an external focus (the launch).Read more…
“But why?” You have probably heard this question countless times if you are a parent. Children have a seemingly insatiable curiosity to learn the reasons and causes for things. This yearning tends to diminish as we get older. But knowing “why” is important for people of all ages and it is critical in business. I am going to focus on why it matters to product and marketing teams at fast-moving technology companies.
What is in your marketing plan? I would guess that you have goals, activities, and dates. These are the basic elements of any marketing roadmap. You create a visualization of your marketing strategy, the work required to achieve it, and when you plan to tackle it. Because it organizes all this information in one place, the roadmap is an incredibly useful tool to clarify and communicate the team’s direction.Read more…
Being a product marketing manager is not easy. I know this because I was one early in my career. It is hard and important work. You need to communicate the value of the product to internal teams and customers, track all the work that goes into delivering new customer experiences, and seamlessly shift between technical understanding and benefit-driven marketing savvy.Read more…
It is no secret that I have a special fondness for product managers and product marketing managers. I have written before about the enormous value that these folks bring to a company. I worked in both roles early in my career, so I know firsthand how instrumental the disciplines are to driving the growth of the business. Unfortunately, that hard work is often unappreciated or misunderstood — not just because both start with the word “product.”
Increase conversions. Decrease acquisition cost. This is the constant push-pull for marketing teams. How do you grow the number of people who engage with your ads, while simultaneously lowering the money you spend to do so? And how do you optimize to ensure those folks turn into real paying customers? These are not easy questions. And the problem is that you are too busy buried in the day-to-day tactical work to deeply ponder the answers.
What does it take to be a great marketing manager? A strategic mindset. Understanding of the market and the customer. Creativity, yes that too. But there is something that is not on this list — working in an office. This is because being co-located is not required to be a brilliant marketing manager.
Grab some candles and put on your party hat. There is a birthday to celebrate. The banner ad turns 25 this year — the first online ad went live on hotwired.com in 1994. The click-through rate was an astonishing 44 percent. (Yep, you read that right.) I am sure that most digital marketers today would cry tears of joy to hit even half that number now.
Marketing teams are falling in love. The object of affection? Agile workflows. A recent study found that 37 percent of marketers have already implemented some form of the methodology. And I can see the appeal. Agile marketing encourages rapid iteration and constant improvement. It is especially attractive to content teams since these folks are continually under pressure to publish, publish, publish.
You are a superhero. Yep, I am talking to you — product marketing manager. Your superpowers range from understanding how the product really works to a telepathic sense for what your customers really need. You shape-shift seamlessly between your alter-egos as product expert, storyteller, and connector. And you bend time, working backward to plan and launch new products and features. How do you do it? I think I know.
Personas. Buyer journey. Omni-channel strategy. If you work in marketing, you have likely heard these buzzwords in the last few years. And you most definitely sat through a few conference presenters droning on about the importance of creating “360 marketing campaigns.” But the chatter has died down. Not because these concepts are no longer important, but because most forward-looking teams are implementing integrated marketing into their everyday work.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?
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.
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?
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.