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Product Marketing Rule #40: Shine the Light on Product Marketing

Product Marketing Rule #40 from the best-selling book, 42 Rules of Product Marketing, was written by Jennifer Doctor, Managing Partner, HarborLight Partners

The problem is that even our executives do not truly understand what we do, and don’t always understand why we do what we do!

Ever feel alone? Feel like product marketing is misunderstood? Feel your job is threatened? You’re not alone, but you do need to take control and change it.

Product Marketing is different from Product Management. Product Management is responsible for getting the product on the shelf, while Product Marketing Management is responsible for getting the product off the shelf.

Earn Value by Working with Your Colleagues

When you are pushing through your tasks, are you respecting your internal partners? Do you work with marketing communications and others on their deadlines, instead of pushing your timing on them?

The basis of respect is trust and credibility. The quality of what you, how you, and when you are the basis for the credibility. How you communicate, to whom, and how often cannot be under- estimated.

Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk

When you get a chance to be at the table, are you talking about your strategy and deliverables? Execs aren’t interested in the amount of tactical effort and time you put into creating all those data sheets or webinars. These leaders are focused on results and business goals. Take the opportunity to talk about strategy.

  • Talk about the product marketing roadmap you’ve created and how that is guiding you.
  • Talk about your partnership with internal teams such as product management or sales.
  • Talk about your contribution to the corporate strategy.

Keep this in mind: results drive the business, so align yourself with corporate goals.

Establish Your Own Distinctive Competence

You need to advocate for yourself as a value-add to the company, so start at the beginning. What do you do better than anyone else? What is unique about you?

Bottom line: if you don’t have a unique quality or skill that adds a specific value to the team and differentiates you from the other team members, you are giving others the opportunity to define you—and maybe not in the way you want to be defined.

Engage in Communities!

In developing your distinctive competence, take a role in larger communities…not just your company. Engaging in product camps, twitter hashtag following, online communities, and the like that provide support to answer the questions you can’t find within your company.

As you become more comfortable and involved, you will establish a voice. It’s validation, growth, and leadership. It’s a badge of honor you can show within your company. Step forward and develop a voice.

Remember that PMM is the only team/role/function concerned about how to communicate with our market at a holistic view.

Really? The only ones? Yes. Look at the primary roles of your peers:

  • Product management is looking at the market problems.
  • Development is looking at how to solve those problems.
  • Marketing communications is looking at how to design the tools to present to the market.
  • Marketing Services is trying to get people into the sales funnel.
  • Sales is primarily concerned about the person in the market with whom they are speaking with at that moment.
  • No one else is looking at how the market, those who have not already decided your product solves their problems, except product marketing.

Providing That Voice Is the Value of Product Marketing

In the end, your role as a product marketer is best developed by being the defender of your market, the superhero who represents the market voice at the leaders’ table. When you do that in a focused and well thought out style with sound facts to support your claims and ideas, you will earn your value. And don’t forget to always “Defend the Buyer.”

Product Marketing Rule #40 from the best-selling book, 42 Rules of Product Marketing

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