Feature launches? Check. Reporting metrics? Check. Pitch decks? Check. Competitive analysis templates? Check. Resume advice? Check. PR support? Check.
Settle in, get ready for a bit of everything and if you’re left yearning for more, join the community here.
Q: I have a meeting tomorrow about the frequency of launching features at my company and I would like to know, do you launch single features or versions (and how often)? What's your considerations and how did you get the Product team onboard?
A: Lots of really in-depth answers came in for this one:
“I have my product team align releases to themes throughout every quarter, and then I hold some GA launches until it suits the story I’d like to tell at a given time. I also tier releases - 1-3. Tier 1 is a near-immediate announcement with full bells and whistles and long campaign tail.
“Tier 3 is a smaller feature that may improve but doesn’t necessarily push the needle for acquisition. For these, anchoring to events helps - I’ll often announce 4-5 smaller things at once during our marquee events throughout the year. If a feature impacts a customer in a way that changes how they work, we’ll message through the platform or customer success team, but hold blogs, webinars, social until we time it with a larger bundle of things. We decide what to hold for ‘marketing release’ in our bi-weekly product<>marketing syncs.”
- Lauren Craigie, Director of Product Marketing at Bugcrowd
I’ve found it helpful to brand the tiers for internal product teams as:
1- Major release – meaningful change to the product, customer workflow, etc. Simple examples: introducing something like user permissions or a new navigation bar.
2- Minor release – a feature that "delights", but doesn't change the way a customer uses your product. Simple example: Improved in-product search functionality.
3- Maintenance release – maybe a bug fix, maybe your product does something weird because of how it was built and this solves it.
When product teams understand that your objectives are aligned i.e. to get as many customers as possible to use the new awesome feature they built, they'll be more likely to want GTM involved for major and sometimes minor releases.
Shoutout to Geoffrey Gualano, Co-founder at FieldChat for that. 👆🏻
Q: I have just launched a major feature release for our product yesterday. Since this is the first one we have ever done people are anxious to understand its results and impact, which I will present on next week. What sort of metrics should I be reporting on? Certainly at this stage there will be no sales metrics as we are a long lead cycle B2B product.
A: We’d recommend measuring the reach, engagement and/or conversion of your marketing against your estimated total available market (TAM) and then looking to activate more targeted campaigns when it makes the most sense (best time/place/message/CTA to communicate).
Since this is the first launch being reported back to stakeholders, we’d also suggest defining your metrics. Start high-level with campaigns goals with the option to dive into others if it’s available, i.e. TAM = X and was determined by Y. Reach = X and was deployed using Y marketing tactics, engagement = X and determined by Y, product usage/activation = X, etc., this way everyone in the room’s on the same page with your GTM approach and goals.
Q: When it comes to PR and product launches, what are people’s viewpoints on having the PR launch previewing upcoming features before they actually launch? Is it good or bad? How do you capture people who hit your site through media hits before the feature’s launch and get them to come back when it actually hits?
A: Former PR pro and current Product Marketing Manager at JumpCloud, Leia Schultz, hit the nail on the head so we’ll pass over to her for this one:
“My recommendation would be to not publish a press release until the day a product is released. In most cases, a release should announce “the thing is here!” rather than “the thing is coming up!” It’s a real risk with the latter that media could see the release and not be pleased to have to wait to check out the product. However, you can 100% tease media prior to a press release publication by pre-pitching the news under embargo; media that agree to the embargo get the info early, and perhaps a sneak peek of the product -- then, the best result is they publish coverage the same day your company publishes the press release.
“All that said, your company could absolutely get away with publishing a landing page or site page or video or social campaign (which all can be called PR for a releasing product, I’d argue) that teases or previews the product release. For this approach, decide how much of a surprise you want the product launch to be -- that’ll help guide the information pre-release you share publicly.
“The key thing I’d suggest you keep in mind is your audience. Do you want media coverage? Or, are you more interested in securing interest from prospects and/or customers? Those are two very different audiences that will help direct your approach based on your objectives.”
Q: I’m looking for some competitive analysis templates, can anyone help me out?
A: Klue and Crayon’s were recommended from a fellow PMAer in Slack, and here are a few pretty simple templates we found online that are basic in set-up, but provide a nice foundation for you to add to:
Q: We are redoing our website to match our new positioning that shows our suite of products as apps within one software cloud. What are everyone’s favourite examples for SaaS companies that sell multiple products in one platform/cloud?
A: These were the go-to examples put forward in Slack:
Q: I've gotten feedback that my resume isn't as metrics-driven as people would like to see. I do have some stats on the effect my work has had on launches and adoption, but lots of bullets focus on the qualitative work I've done, like go-to-market strategy, frameworks, user surveys/interviews, and content. Can anyone share examples of how a product marketer can effectively incorporate metrics into their resume?
A: Try to find out the numbers for the business areas your work would have impacted. For example, if it’s a broader impact measure, you could write about how you did X, Y, Z for a part of a business that then grew X% in the timeframe you helped out. Or, if it’s a smaller thing like a webinar or case study, you could include the impact on lead-gen, so how many leads that webinar generated and then how many of those leads converted into sales.
With regards to any customer interview work, although not a number per se, these could then be connected to any product, sales or market shifts that came on the back of your research, and how those shifts helped the company grow.
Q: Is anyone willing to share how they structure their corporate and/or product pitch deck?
A: The best bit of advice that came in for this one is to follow Simon Sinek’s golden circles model:
Your pitch deck is all about your audience, not you, so start with the why - i.e. industry trends, why now, why they should care. Then move onto what you have to offer - the solution, not product, and how it impacts your audience. The third step is how you do it and then finally, cement everything you’ve said by adding in some proof points, like demos and client success stories.
Q: Does anyone have a learning management system they use for their organization, primarily for sales enablement, that they love? We’re evaluating tools right now and like Brainshark, but would love to hear your thoughts.
A: Here are some of PMAers’ favourites: