Quality of Work Life: an evolving definition
PMM is an ascending role at most companies, so we thought it's about time we help leaders better understand how to unlock the potential of this key function.
Over the past few years, we've delivered on dozens of PMM- and GTM-related projects in the technology sector. It shouldn’t be a surprise, really. As companies pivot towards a more product-oriented approach to their work, we're seeing a ton of demand in this space.
A quick glance at LinkedIn shows more than 15K product marketing job openings in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. The same search shows 21K data science listings but, for a non-technical skillset, that’s a red hot market.
That's why we thought this would be a good time to distill some of our learnings into our very own PMM Guide.
There are three common themes-slash-challenges we run into when asked to up-level a PMM team and organizational effectiveness has to be number one.
PMM is an oft misunderstood role, which is a pity since it can play such a pivotal part in driving growth. Sitting at the intersection of Product, Research, Sales and Marketing, and Customer Success means PMMs risk being cast as a jack of all trades…. and master of none. They are prone to being boxed out by more established orgs either because they don’t know how to engage with PMMs or don’t recognize the value product marketing can deliver.
Playing amongst well-established teams can mean vying for attention. Which team gets the credit for making the biggest impact on outcomes?
Leadership needs to focus on aligning interests and incentives, and empowering new teams. PMMs need to quickly figure out how to provide tangible value to their colleagues from across the aisle. Start with 5–10 mission critical questions that get at the core value proposition for a given product, then champion the discovery, research and communications required to get to the answers. Otherwise, PMM risks being underutilized and relegated to communicating product updates.
Another pattern we see is companies prioritizing their own goals over those of their customers'. This can lead to myopia, resulting in teams convincing themselves that company strategy is an acceptable proxy for customer needs. The PMM has the special role of truth-teller; making sure teams don’t get drunk on their own Kool-Aid.
One of the best ways of achieving this is to champion the voice of the customer, as well as their top influencers. Ideally, PMMs should be talking to these key stakeholders on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
Statistical and survey data often has a way of morphing into what you want it to be. Good news is elevated and not-so-good news is subdued. We encourage PMMs to take an active role in informing research initiatives and promoting the unadulterated truth, however uncomfortable that may be. Then, ensuring that the voice of the customer drives the conversation around "what’s next" brings it full circle. That’s a real service.
Setting up or rejigging a PMM team? We can help.
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