May 20, 2020
The Marketer's Support Group
I’m a Product Marketer – My 3-Step Guide to Mastering Agility
This article is part of a series for the Marketer’s Support Group. We are a group of marketers, each of us with a very different background but one common goal of persevering through the pandemic. We are hoping that by sharing our stories we will give you tips, tricks, and coping mechanisms to make it through all of the plan-pivoting, uncertainty, and change.
From Roadmaps to Blazing New Trails
Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m a Product Marketer.
For those of you who know, Product Marketing is a role that requires tremendous communication, planning and patience. We have to be well versed in the broad and with the specific. To get the right mix of messaging and market fit, we spend lots of time working with the product team, sales and listening to our customers. As they say, perfection can’t be rushed – that is until the pandemic came. Before we knew it our roadmap had completely changed, in fact we were off-roading entirely. I like at least 6 weeks to test and launch a new feature, suddenly we were launching products in a week’s turnaround.
Here is my story.
Change Means Agility
We knew the old way of doing things was out the window – and I don’t just mean in terms of marketing programs and customer engagement – it meant we had to rethink and restructure our Product Marketing processes to accommodate a very fluid situation. We, along with product management, dropped what we were working on and reprioritized to meet the new reality. Everything became a sprint. We left the long term planning to our CMO and tried to connect the dots between what was happening in the world and what was possible within our platform.
Understanding the Market is Key
Everything around us was changing at a rapid clip. Before we could make any adjustments we had to first understand how the cultural shifts of working from home and shelter in place was going to impact business models and pre-existing programs. Most importantly we had to understand how these changes were impacting our customers in real-time. We put our ears to the ground, listening to experts, predictions and most importantly our users. We put out a series of surveys to understand what these changes mean to people’s day-to-days, we listened in to sales calls through Gong.io to hear firsthand the concerns, objections and what problems people are trying to solve for. Finally we leaned on our advocate network and CX teams to ask specifics and begin developing a new plan.
Overcommunicate, Overcommunicate, Overcommunicate
Armed with knowledge our first task was to prioritize the possibilities. We set up a recurring meeting with our exec team, sharing our findings and relying on their expertise to chart the course. By bringing all department heads together for a singular conversation ensured alignment – we couldn’t afford duplicate efforts or digressing priorities. In addition, we set uniform goals across our groups, focusing on revenue, retention and thought leadership.
Next, we had to roll these plans out to the executing teams and make sure we met milestones. Even though plans were changing and our previous plans were kaput, we built new plans this time aimed at short sprints – one week at a time – meticulously documenting our milestones, stakeholders and dependencies. We then ran through the checklist daily with each owner to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. At the end of the week, we launched, debriefed and reset priorities with our leadership – rinse and repeat.
I am actually astounded at what we were able to accomplish in that short period – Sendoso Choice, Address Confirmation, and a ton of new send types, both digital and physical. I can truly say that this is the first time in my career that I’ve pulled off a full-scale product launch in 72 hours, twice.
Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m a product marketer.
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