The challenge of measuring product marketing success is not a new one.
Every single marketing leader knows how difficult it is - in part because product marketing KPIs are not especially intuitive.
With marketing moving more and more in the direction of data-driven decisions and results, it becomes quite the challenge when marketers are unable to attribute tangible results to a team’s effort.
While it is difficult, it is not impossible to measure the impact of product marketing.
In this article, I cover the most important metrics you need to include in your attribution process, like:
- Overall revenue goal
- Product launch metrics
- Win rates
- Competitive win rate
- Adoption, retention, and upsell
Product marketing is a diverse function serving many different stakeholders, and the role and priorities can vary significantly from company to company. You can determine what worked and what didn’t work, and then you can adjust by leveraging that information to drive and grow your business.
At a high level, product marketing’s main areas of focus include:
- Go-to-market initiatives
- Sales enablement
- Marketing support
- Product adoption
And, fortunately, there are several ways product marketers can take their revenue attribution skills to the next level.
So, what are the product marketing metrics that you should be including in your dashboard?
Overall revenue goal
Pretty much every product marketing team will list overall revenue among their metrics, a reflection of the diverse nature of their efforts that are ultimately meant to impact this goal.
This includes new acquisition and upsell/cross-sell/retention targets, and depending on the business and organizational goal, there will be a different level of focus on each. This can also trickle down into related goals, like the number of new customers acquired, retention rates, and average revenue per customer.
Product launch metrics
Product launches are a microcosm of the product marketing team's go-to-market strategy. They represent a focus on driving awareness, demand, sales, and usage of a new product or feature. As such, product marketing can set specific goals around each of those areas in conjunction with other teams like demand gen.
Product launch metrics include:
- Trials started or demos requested
- Content views, including product page views and video views
- Press coverage for the announcement
- New customer or upgrade revenue
- Product usage or adoption of a new feature
Product launches represent one of the best opportunities for product marketing to directly impact revenue. Before any product launch, work closely with demand generation to set goals around the campaign driving the launch. As always, make sure to follow those metrics to the bottom of the funnel, where they convert to revenue.
Be sure to set a timeframe for product launch metrics - for example, to increase Feature X usage by 10% within 90 days of launch. This is key for helping attribute results to the launch effort, and to be able to close out the campaign and report on results.
Sales success as measured by win rates is a key contributor to the company’s ability to hit revenue goals, and can more closely reflect product marketing’s efforts.
Measuring overall win rates as well as slicing this data by sales team, product, and competitor, can uncover strengths and opportunities and more closely direct and recognize the effort of the product marketing team.
Battlecards have quickly become the most popular form of competitive enablement aimed at improving win rate. Before embarking on the journey of creating battlecards or any other type of competitive enablement, make sure you have the proper mechanisms in place to measure their impact.
If your organization isn’t already measuring competitive win rate, now is a good time to befriend your sales/marketing operations team.
Competitive win rate
The ability to directly influence the success of a revenue-driving function like sales is an under-utilized power wielded by product marketers.
Competitive win rate, more specifically, is the simplest KPI for product marketers to latch onto. While overall win rate is impacted by a myriad of factors, competitive win rate is more linear and is more directly influenced by the competitive enablement provided by product marketing.
Adoption, retention, and upsell
Product usage, customer happiness (as measured by NPS or similar surveys), and other metrics that contribute to overall adoption are not uncommonly measured by product management, product marketing, or either.
While these are great quantifiable metrics for product marketing to latch onto, they’re still several steps removed from revenue. There are two ways product marketing can measure and influence customer-specific metrics that they can further tie directly to revenue.
Adoption to revenue
Product management leverages adoption metrics with the goal of guiding product development. On the other side of that coin, product marketing should view those metrics from the lens of driving revenue. Do customers with stronger adoption metrics renew or upsell at higher rates? Most likely.
Figure out the correlation between key adoption metrics (usage of specific product features, NPS, number of active users, or any other metrics you have access to) and rates of retention or increased upsell/cross-sell.
Then, work with campaign marketers and account managers to lead campaigns focused around improving those metrics to grow install base revenue.
Customer upsell/retention enablement
The notion of measuring and improving competitive win rate shouldn’t begin and end with the new business side of your organization. Most account management/customer success teams have a strong focus on retention, upsell, or both, depending on the maturity of the business.
If you’ve already created competitive enablement for your new business sales team, rework them slightly to tailor them to the competitive use cases of your account management team. Then, make sure your renewal and upsell opportunities in your CRM have fields similar to those for new business opportunities so you can continuously measure the impact your competitive enablement has on upsell and retention metrics.
Measuring the impact of your product marketing efforts can help you shape future projects, launches, and share results with your key stakeholders.
When measuring your product marketing activities, be sure to cover a wide range of metrics from customer feedback to sales numbers to website activity. The more you measure, the more insight you have into the impact of your business.
Content marketing and demand generation enjoy a much more direct line between their work and revenue-based results. Product marketers should leverage their superior knowledge of their product and industry to support these efforts whenever possible.
Product marketing-driven content
Supporting content production is one of the most simple, direct ways product marketers can influence revenue. Case studies, industry-focused thought leadership, and any content that focuses on your product should be created partially or entirely by product marketing.
Don’t let measurement of your efforts here end with usage. Track how your content progresses through the go-to-market funnel from usage to sales opportunity to marketing-attributed revenue.
Work with demand generation to ensure it’s promoted to the right audiences to maximize the impact.
When a campaign focuses on a complex product feature, industry trend, or is targeted at a new, less-understood market, input from product marketing can be invaluable.
Work closely with demand generation to A/B test messaging/copy in display ads, campaign emails, and website/landing pages. This provides the dual benefit of being a quantifiable, revenue-based activity and allows for product marketing to receive quantifiable feedback on their messaging.
Any of the points above can highlight product marketing’s performance, but it’s important to be patient before rushing to conclusions. It takes much longer for these metrics to paint a picture of product marketing performance than it does for a pipeline to paint one.
More often than not, product marketing is a marathon while the organization runs in sprints. Measure what matters, and don’t rush to conclusions.
The nebulous goals and outcomes of product marketing teams can be sharpened by taking a revenue-minded approach to every input.
Ultimately, product marketing is one of the most cross-functional teams in every organization. Understand and proactively measure the revenue-based impact of your work with every team, and the difficulty in measuring the value of your work will dissipate.