Product Marketing Best Practices eBook Cover

Product Marketing Best Practices

Product marketing can be a complicated process if not well thought out. With more people shifting to a purely digital way of living, it’s essential to make sure you get exposure for your product or brand. Uncover key best practices in our Product Marketing Best Practices ebook!

Video Transcript:

Trevor Newberry: So, first things first, I want to welcome everyone to our second Launch & Learn. Our last Launch & Learn went really well. If you did not catch it, we have it on YouTube. You can tune in to that where we talk a lot about fundraising for startups.

Today we’re switching gears and talking about product marketing. We have a great panel of HVL team members here to lead that conversation. My name is Trevor Newberry. I’m the director of product delivery at Harmony Venture Labs and I am going to go ahead and introduce our host and our panelists.

Our host today is Emily Claypool. She’s the director of marketing communications for Harmony Venture Labs, where she guides internal and external communication strategies for the company. Most recently, she served as the communications manager for Therapy Brands and previously led communications for the PGA of America in the United States Senate. Emily resides in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and children.

Our panelists today—we’re going to start with Shegun. He’s the founder and CEO of Harmony Venture Labs, an idea and growth studio that owns and operates a family of technology companies. He also serves as the CEO of Copysmith, a female-founded startup that uses artificial intelligence for content generation. In 2013, Shegun started Theranest and its parent company, Therapy Brands, the leading provider of software technology solutions for mental behavioral substance use disorder and physical rehab providers. Prior to that, he established Zertis Technologies, a computer software consultancy company. Shegun resides in Birmingham with his wife, Mary, and their children.

Next up is Travis Dailey. Travis is the president of TrustSpot, a company acquired by Harmony Venture Labs. Travis served as the general manager of TheraNest and My Clients Plus.

And rounding things out is Haley Park. Haley is the demand generation specialist for HVL. Before HVL, Haley ran demand generation and paid ads for Therapy Brands’ enterprise portfolio, led content and growth marketing at Thera-LINK, and created the CRM adoption strategy for HKS architects as part of their business systems team. So, now you know our panelists and our host. I’m going to turn it over to you.

Emily Claypool: I appreciate it. So with that, let’s jump into our conversation on product marketing. Just as a housekeeping note, everyone’s welcome to submit questions via the Q&A tab at the bottom of the screen. And we will address all those questions at the end of our session. To frame our conversation, let’s start from the beginning. What is product marketing and how do you define it in the context of the larger marketing umbrella?

Travis Dailey: Yeah. Thanks, Emily. When we think of product marketing, we kind of think of the process of bringing a product to market. So that includes the product, positioning, and messaging. Then launching the product based on the channels where those customers actually are and then ensuring your customers actually understand what your product does—specifically, what it does for them. Product marketing ultimately aims to drive demand and usage of the product. So the initial acquisition, the activation of that customer, and all the way through the retention of keeping that customer around us for as long as possible. The team is responsible for the value proposition of the product and/or feature.

You can boil it down to why should a customer use it and why should they care that you exist. Rather than communicating on the actual feature or what the product does, you bring it down to the value. Why is it important? Why should the customer care about the product that you have?

While you’re trying to sell it, product marketers also communicate the position and the value to the customer-facing teams. So the product marketing team or product marketer is responsible for keeping the sales, support, and marketing teams on the same page—and again, making sure we’re communicating on the value of the product and not just the features and functionality. I like to think of it as the product marketing team builds the why. So you can kind of find that by asking what it does for the customer, why the customer should care, and then how does your product specifically improves their life. And that could be both their business life or their personal life. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. Lastly, the product marketing team or person partners with the demand generation person on paid ads. They kind of flex across the entire company. They partner with demand gen for the paid ads, the digital marketing team on the website, the designers and the product team on any of the in-app messaging flows for any kind of onboarding, as well as the actual content in the application. Typically, the designer and the product team will actually write the first iteration of the product and then it goes to the product marketers before it’s actually released or published to provide the final feedback on the actual copywriting of the content in the app.

Emily Claypool: Yeah, that’s great information. So typically, what does a product marketer’s day look like?

Hayley Park: On an average day for product marketers, it’s going to be things like activation experiments for the onboarding flow, going through the website, and ensuring the proper value props are there. Like Travis said, the focus is to ensure you’re able to clearly communicate how these features and your product are delivering that value to your customers. So that’s where a lot of the personas really come into play—to really know the pain points and really be able to get yourself into the shoes of the person you’re trying to solve the problem for. Instead of just a persona being on a checklist, it’s “What does their day-to-day look like and how are we connecting?” We want our product to be the solution for some of the pain points and things that they’re dealing with. Through that, we’re going to continue to do different customer discovery processes throughout. Interviews or surveys really don’t end when you launch—it continues to go throughout because you’ll be looking at different utilization experiments to improve adoption of core features or to really get down to why certain features aren’t being used or more of what the customer wants. So you’re really able to craft it in a way that’s solving for their pain point versus just checking it off your list. Wrapping that up would just be more of the experiments and such to keep customers happy throughout.

Emily Claypool: Yeah, that’s really insightful. If we’re thinking about product marketing through the marketing life cycle, what does that look like? As a concept, at launch and in the growth stages, how does that work?

Travis Dailey: Starting with the concept, we are looking at continuing the customer discovery process and understanding the customer’s pain points. We’ve already made several hypotheses in this phase. We’re working to prove and/or disprove the hypothesis around the product and specifically our customer. Now, moving into launch. Once that product is in the marketplace, we’re then internally focused on keeping that messaging consistent while making sure we’re talking about the value and not just the features of functionality. And then externally we want to employ targeted approaches to get the product communicated to the early adopters. We’re experimenting heavily with messaging and even more so with different channels.

Finally, the growth stage. We’ll spend more time on this phase during the growth period. The marketing team is focused on capturing as much market share as possible. That means your funnels are likely blowing up. You’re getting a lot more customers into your funnel. You’re then reevaluating the current customer personas you have and then also adding a lot more to your list. As you continue to update and improve customer personas, you’re also getting a lot more access to data. At this point, you will start experimenting with different qualitative user research opportunities as well as actual data of usage. You’ll start deploying user usability testing; you’ll be analyzing and supporting tickets and transcripts. This is where sentiment analysis and natural language processing comes in very handy. And, you’ll also start conducting your first one-on-one customer interviews. So you’re likely to do a little bit of the launch phase in the growth phase. You’ll start doing that for more of the personas you’re investing or finding out at this stage. Additionally, you’ll also add an on-site survey. A company like Qualtrics is very beneficial in the stage. You can add it across your website and your application to collect customer feedback or any kind of sticking points that customers have on specific pages.

Once you have that research, you can then improve the personas you’ve built, as well as improve the current marketing copy. You may uncover some issues where you’re not properly communicating the value of the product, and that comes through your interviews or the surveys. You can make some tweaks to make it a little more valuable for the customer. This is also an important time to start keeping tabs on your competition. Do a deeper dive into the competitor analysis by determining who is your customer, who is your competition, and what are they doing? You’ll get a lot of this from conversations with customers. Sample questions to ask them are, what’s driving them away from your competition and why are they leaving you? It’s good to understand why they’re actually leaving your product to go to a competitor. You’ll likely improve the product through new features and improvements, so it’s important to focus on how you promote these to existing customers to have a solid retention strategy.

Most people will want to build a robust marketing plan with a blog post or landing page, paid advertising, and numerous email campaigns, while others may be suited for just a small in-app message or even a release channel, such as a headway app that sits inside the application and kind of has a little notification whenever you add something new to it. A couple of ways to determine how big of a push you should make for a product or a new fee is asking if that feature is a revenue driver. Does it increase upgrades or is it an actual add on like a stand-alone add on? Is this the missing feature driving churn? Your customers are already leaving your product because this is missing. And then is this feature heavily marketed by your competitors? Is your customer base getting bombarded by competitors saying that they have this feature in their current product? And then finally, have many of those customers already requested it? In this growth stage, you’re also capturing a lot of feedback from the customers using Hotjar, in-app, or survey links, capturing their wants. What do they want in your product?

Lastly, make sure that in the growth stage you have started hiring a sales team. It’s very important, and it’s typically the product marketer’s job to keep that sales team on task by developing collateral they can use to support their emails, calls, and demos. Make sure they’re aligned on the messaging and the value proposition. The product marketing team works very closely with sales, with objection handling. It’s better to wait until you get those objections and then work through those rather than trying to predict what a customer may object for.

Emily Claypool: Yeah—a couple of questions on that. So, talking about surveys and getting that feedback from our customers, you know, how often do you survey? How do you determine that cadence, and what triggers that for you?

Travis Dailey: There are two ways to approach it. If you have a specific customer persona or segmentation, you can survey those customers. Maybe every sixty, ninety, one hundred days. You could add a form or tab on every page to collect feedback on that specific page and use that on your marketing website. You could use it in the app. What this specific survey does is capture what’s confusing on the page and what you could do to improve it. The other survey would be more future-looking, thinking through things such as, “What do we want to do in the future? What would be valuable to your business? How do we help you get more value out of our applications?” Those are two ways I would look at it.

Emily Claypool: Another follow-up to that. In terms of getting feedback, it would seem that at some point there might be a cutoff. But fill me in on, does that last forever? How do you determine it throughout the lifecycle? Are you constantly getting that feedback from your customers? Is that something you’re always focused on?

Travis Dailey: As a product marketer, you’re always focused on communicating with the customer. You’ll have customer interviews, and you’ll be focused on new customers and existing customers through the maturity of that business. And you’re always going back to customers who you’ve previously talked to, as well as ones you’re adopting, and you break it into personas too. You’re wanting to talk to one to five customers per persona. You could also, as your product matures, break that down to the LTV of that customer. Like how long they have been with you to also get different snippets to guide your process.

Emily Claypool: Great. Shegun this one will go to you. A question that gets asked a lot is how do you focus on getting customer number one? Do you have some insight you can share around that?

Shegun Otulana: Yeah. So I would say you typically would start your business with a particular customer in mind, and that’s who you believe you’re targeting. And part of the discovery phase is actually going and talking to those people. And it’s possible to have more than one customer persona. You may have several people who you think your product can serve. The best practice around this would be to start gathering information about where these people find themselves. Are there particular members of certain Facebook groups? Are the particular members of certain Reddit groups? Do they congregate in certain LinkedIn groups?

And when you do that, when you figure out your target, you can have conversations with them. So your initial finding in a customer process is a process that doesn’t necessarily scale. It’s typically not ideal to start finding your customer journey that you’re spending a ton of money for right after you’ve built a product. It’s better to start the process of finding your customer before you start the process of building. So finding your customer should actually come first before building your product, and the voice of the customers should be an aggregate in what actually guides the development of your product. You pick which group in those customer groups that you’ve been talking about and you’re really going to focus your product on at launch. Email is a good way to stay in contact with people after you’ve had those initial conversations, but we all know that email has been much harder than it’s been in the past. Think content. Content brings people to you; you have to think of those things and also focus on bringing people to you—not just on the things that you send out to reach people.

And then as you build your product and you have started acquiring customers if you have made progress along those lines, you need to start thinking in terms of channels. You knew where you found them, so what marketing channels get back into those places where you found them originally? What marketing channels give you access to the groups that they belong to? What content gets shared in that group?  You really need to start thinking about how to get your customers organically first because organic customer acquisition is what scales over time, not necessarily paid. Paid is very powerful and important, but organic is what scales as you actually scale your brand.

Those are some of the ways you initially start the customer discovery journey and then you move on from there. The initial journey starts by you doing the legwork of going to where they are, and then you can continue that journey by continuing to deliver value for them through content, through ads, through partnerships.

Emily Claypool: That’s really interesting. Do you have any key red flags that say, I targeted these customers and they’re not quite the right fit? Are there some key signs that someone can look out for to say, yeah, I might’ve missed the mark here?

Shegun Otulana: The biggest thing in post product launch is really retention. So you really have to measure and gauge and if the customer is not engaged and they’re not coming back to your software, you’re probably targeting the wrong customer, one that your product is not really a solution for. It may just be a nice-to-have but not a must-have, so one way to figure that out is the product-market fit survey where you reach out to your customers and try to find out how they feel about your product and why they feel a certain way. You really want to nail your product down and focus on those people who would be very disappointed if a product ceased to exist in the marketplace. That’s one way to start testing. When you figure out the characteristics of those people who really just feel your product is a lifesaver, that’s when you know to focus on that. So you start narrow and then you expand. Many times you run into trouble when you start too broad and you’re everything to everyone–and nobody feels crazy about what you’ve built. So those would be some of the ways to resolve the issue of, “I thought these were my customers, but they’re not really responding the way I thought they should respond.” If something’s really solving their problems, they’re going to keep responding.

Emily Claypool: Yeah, that’s really good. Once we’ve gotten customer number one and we’re feeling good, what does the product marketer do at that point? What kind of activities do they take?

Hayley Park: Yeah, so I’ll expand. I think this piggybacks perfectly off of what Shegun was saying. Something that really stuck with me that I’ve heard before was people don’t accept or resist technology. They accept or resist the way technology changes their life. So, have you really drilled down? Is it really the right persona? Is it really the solution to their problem—versus sometimes you’ll get a created solution but now you’re trying to find the problem. Really, the solution needs to be born out of creating and fixing a problem for that group.

When you start getting really into the niche aspects of that, that’s where the volume and value add is—being able to communicate that in relation to the features. Then you can speak in terms that they can relate to and that resonate and connect with them and with how the feature or your product also connects there.  That’s where a lot of the real drilling down and figuring out lies. Okay, it’s not just everyone on Facebook–it’s probably a specific group. So finding that group or just really drilling down further rather than just the big platform pick.

From there, as you’re continually updating those personas, just getting all that feedback to really—whether it’s the utilization experiments or customer discovery surveys or interviews—making sure you’re giving those different opportunities for the customer to come to you and share their feedback. That’s where the product marketer being really in touch and a part of the full team is important because you learn something from each aspect. If customer support is constantly getting these questions, or if the sales team is always getting asked this during the demo, some of those different touchpoints and insight can help you figure out the product roadmap or how we’re going to pitch it and how we’re going to market it.

I think of the example of if I were to try to sell four different people on a spring break trip. If it was my boss, maybe I needed time off versus if it was my friend that we were going to go take the trip with, maybe I needed funding and I’m trying to get pay money for that. How you’re going to describe the trip is going to be different to all of those people. Thinking about it from the different vantage points where this is really going to make sense.

That’s really where you start getting in-depth and figuring out if there is educational or different content you can provide to help them go along that journey. If during onboarding they’re getting caught at one step or if we just realized from the Hotjar analytics on the webpage that they’re not going past the top of the fold of the website–that’s all good information. You can then go back and clarify that messaging, or really figure out, okay, why is this? This is where things are breaking down and making it to where it’s a full circle—where the people that are staying love you enough to talk really good about you to other people.

Emily Claypool: One thing that I’ve heard that I think is good to share—and if anybody wants to jump in and expand upon it—is to try to run the most experiments for the least amount of money. Shegun or whomever, what are some best practices on how to do that and be fiscally prudent while you’re running these experiments?

Shegun Otulana: It depends on the stage. There are certain experiments you can run in the early stage that are harder to run. When you have customers, there are certain experiments you run. You can prototype something and put it in front of people and you see how they interact with it, and it’s not costing them much. I know we had a practice at TheraNest where we had a large chunk of customers who we used as an experiment and as a thinking group and they got to give feedback. They got to experience things before everybody else experiencing them. Another way you can run experiments is to build landing pages and send people to those landing pages—interactions you expect to see and what happens there. Obviously, you haven’t built out the product, but you’ve given people an experience. You can have surveys to run experiments. There are different ways to think about it. And it’s very context-specific. What you don’t want is to spend a ton of money on executing a marketing strategy that is purely guesswork, and you just go all out and everything in businesses and experiment. Everything is an experiment, and you want to set up the experiment for the most chance to succeed. If you, for example, go build your product without ever talking to customers, you’re running an experiment that is called gambling. If you have not tried to sell what you’ve built yourself as a founder and you just go hire a salesperson, that’s an experiment you’re performing with that salesperson and hoping they can gain traction by themselves without you really establishing how your customers buy.  I would say, think about everything you’re doing, especially at the early stage, as an experiment. And we experiment on what’s the most important. So before you do what you want to do, try to think about what you expect the outcome to be and see if you’re going to get that outcome.

Emily Claypool: Yeah, that’s a perfect segue to our next question regarding metrics. It’s been said in the growth stage that product marketers should focus on retention. In your mind, what are the top two to three metrics that we should be looking at or measuring?

Shegun Otulana: Yeah, I think people miss the power of retention.  And they just think about top-of-the-funnel growth, like new MRR, new monthly recurring revenue, and many people focus on, “hey, this month I made a thousand bucks and new revenue.” I’ve made 2,000 bucks in your revenue, but when I’m evaluating a company, what I’m actually more interested in is the net revenue retention. And I want to see the growth in the net revenue retention, net MRR for associates, plain MRR. So that means I want to see your new revenue plus your expansion revenue from existing customers and your churn from existing customers and the net of that number. I want to see the growth rate over time, which means, are your existing customers staying and spending? And is most of your revenue part of your existing customers or are most of your revenue always new customers? So if most of your revenue is always new customers, I’m not going to be very impressed. But if a good chunk of your revenue is new customers plus the prior customers, which is your net revenue and the overall net revenues, then that is healthier business. Net revenue retention is actually the way to know if you’re really healthy versus just new revenue, especially if you’re building a recurring revenue business. It’s also important to look at the customer satisfaction score. Many people are responding and saying, hey, I’m happy with this product.

There are several metrics around growth at this stage that you have to be cognizant of from your customer acquisition costs to the net revenue retention onto your MRR growth. But specifically, the one metric that will engage the health of your business at the growth stage is your net revenue retention, which is the aggregate of your new customers and your existing customers, and your grid.

If you want to calculate it, you just take your monthly revenue– revenue from existing customers, and then you’d take out the revenue you lost from existing customers and the revenue you lost from customers who have canceled and divide by total recurring revenue. And that ratio gives you the net revenue retention. You want that ratio to stay healthy.

Emily Claypool: Thanks so much. That’s great. I feel like we’ve covered the role of a product marketer, how they do their job, and then how they measure their job. People on the webinar may be thinking when do I hire a product marketer? Are there some things that they need to keep in mind when they’re thinking about hiring a product marketer?

Travis Dailey: Yeah, I’ll take that one. So as with most things, it really depends. There’s no right answer. Some ways to think through this are what are some jobs that you want to take off your plate and delegate to the rest of the team? You will look at which ones get a significant amount of ROI if you take it and give it to someone else on your team. A strategy that we’ve seen many founders have success with first is they delegate a product designer. The second is to a product marketer or a general marketer, and the third would be the product owner. What we have seen is it’s best for a founder to have the last bit of delegation for the product. They should own that product as long as possible—and until it’s actually a big blockchain or a big pain point for the rest of their team, and it’s prohibiting their product from improving.

Shegun Otulana: The reason why it’s very important for the founder to own the product for a long time is that it brings you closest to the customer experience in a way that the other functions don’t. As the product owner, you experienced the product, but you also experienced your customer’s interaction with that product. And those two things are really important because that’s when you hear how your customers talk about your product, how they talk about their own problems and find what messaging will be necessary for you to pass down to the product marketer—what the product designer should actually work on, what is the priority.

So for example, you see this very often, in situations where the founder delegates the product ownership to somebody else, and they check out in terms of product delivery and they check back in and the product has taken a totally different turn from what they thought they were building, what they thought the customers were looking for. It’s really important for them to stay close to product ownership, not as a dictator but as the owner of the vision of the product and the voice of the customer for as long as possible.

Emily Claypool: Yeah, great insight there. Let’s say I’m a new founder and I don’t have the funds to hire a product marketer. What are some actionable steps I can take to jump-start my product marketing?

Shegun Otulana: I would say first, just get good books and good materials and start educating yourself. Learn, learn, learn, and then take what you’ve learned and actually apply it. Don’t take the book, read it, and just throw it away. Follow great product marketers and product owners online that you can learn from, and learn how to do product research by using tools like Hotjar and all the other tools that are out there from a product research standpoint. Learn how to conduct surveys—a great product isn’t made in a vacuum, and it’s also not marketed in a vacuum. It should be data-directed. Frequent cadence, frequent motion within the product—you learn and iterate quickly. So that’s one—you really need to figure out product research and you can really go learn and do enough of a great job to get yourself going.

You have to be able to tell the story of your product. What problem does it solve facing this problem? Does it solve this problem for them? Again, there are lots of great materials out there, such as Building a Story Brand. There are so many materials out there that can help you tell a compelling story about your product. Learn how to really write content that’s about your customer and how your product helps them. But start building the story around your product and putting it out there.

This used to be an area of weakness for me. It still is, but I’m thankful to have people around me that really helped move that forward. A good example, just from my own personal story, is when I started as an engineer. I quickly found out my best value was not in actually building the product. It was in owning the product and talking to the customers versus actually sitting behind the computer trying to write software. And that was probably the best decision I made at the beginning of launching because I realized that this is where I would get the most value instead of being narrowly siloed inside of building the product. I should expand my view as an owner of the product, doing the marketing for the product. I knew nothing about marketing, so I had to learn it all and listen to the voice of the customer. And that really helped accelerate what we’re building for the customers.

Then think about how to do launch plans. You know, when you’re building a product or even a feature, there is the pre-launch, the launch plan, and then the post-launch. And you have to think about all those three stages and try to write out your plan and spell out the stages of the marketing process. I’ll do a pre-launch market for this thing and bring it into the market, and when I’m ready to bring it to market, which channels should I push? There are channels like Product Hunt, there’s PR, there’s everything else. And then after I launch, do I really nurture the people who come into the products that may not engage the first time or may engage and then be gone and I need to get them back maybe two weeks later? So plan out your launch in the different stages.

When the product is launched, everyone should be on the same page in terms of the rollout. You don’t just think of something and go do it. You think about all the different stages of the life cycle of the product. Have you written out the support materials? If somebody asks questions about this product, would they be able to find helpful materials and actually find answers to their questions instead of them checking out of your product because they had a simple question where there was no answer in your help documents, for example. Think about the messages that are going out about the product itself and the situations your customer would find themselves in post-launch. You do not want hero behavior for your product launch plan where one person just goes in there and everything and then nobody knows what just happened. If nobody knows what happens, nobody will have answers for the customers to try to make sure the team is aligned. Silos are your enemies who try to break them down.

Then think of community engagement—this is different for different products, but every product has a community of some sort. As your marketing generates enough calls around the product, it’s very common for the marketing team to capitalize on what the market is saying. Try to leverage that, reach out to partners, reach out to influencers, reach out to your existing customers so they can also be the voice of your product in terms of reviews and recommendations. You want the voice of your customer. Reflect yourself positively on channels like Capterra and Facebook communities. But you have to be active in making that engagement happen. You have to reach out and help them tell your story.

And then finally, if there is a sales team on the product, you want to make sure that the sales team is looped in and carried along. Make sure the sales strategy is in alignment with the marketing message. If it’s a product-driven type offering where the product kind of sells itself, then let the customer discover what you’re trying to sell them within the product itself—build your product in a way that it exposes additional value to the customer just by their interaction with it.

Those are the things you have to think about when you think about a product launch. You’re not at the point where you can hire a marketer and you want to do it yourself. Those are the different steps you need to think about. How do you tell your story? If you can’t act effectively to tell your story, you can spend a little bit of money and find somebody who can help you effectively tell that story. And you can use that content over time. Have a plan in place. Again, even if you can’t fully execute the plan, you need to be able to lay it out, and you may be able to spend a few resources on somebody who can help you.

Obviously, that’s a lot of what we do at HVL as a team. It’s really all about these brains working together to look at the products we offer in the market and execute on a lot of the same things we’re telling you. So hopefully this is delivering value for everyone that’s listening or watching or hearing this. And you’re able to take the steps and significantly increase your chances of success in the marketplace.

Emily Claypool: Thanks so much, Shegun. We have two audience questions we’ll get to quickly as we’re kind of rounding home here. The first one is from Chris, and he says, “Shegun my apologies for being late. If this question has already been answered, please ignore it. How did your original thesis on who your customer evolved over the life of your company, and did your company end where you thought it would in terms of initial product vision?”

Shegun Otulana: It changed a little bit, not by a lot, but it did change. The original thesis was that we were going to be selling to nonprofit counseling centers, like family counseling centers, like Catholic family services of the world. And we pivoted from that. We still continue to serve them, but the product began to pivot to serve more of the private practice due to the demand we’re hearing from the customers and due to our ability to actually sell the product.

It became clear that selling to those nonprofit centers is a long sales cycle. You have to talk to the board, you have to do all that stuff, but they pay you the same amount, for the most part, that the private practice would pay. So we started shifting the product to be one that was really product-driven and product-led, and the for-profit counseling centers were the ones that we’re able to tap into it.

And obviously, over time, we ended up serving the wider market—nonprofit, for-profit, community health centers, and everybody. But at the beginning, we had to shift to make sure that we were being product-driven—and that it could be bought by customers who would buy through a product-led process versus a sales-led process, which is what we would have had to deal with our original type of customers. Even though the original type of customers actually paid us a little bit more money—like the agencies were typically going to pay you more than the small solo private practice was going to. But the sales cycle was different. So those are some of the changes at the beginning. But in the end, we ended up being able to serve everyone and have success across the board.

Emily Claypool: Perfect. The second question is how do you usually find the dividing line between product marketing and product management and do you see more overlap at the earlier stages? And if so, at what point does it typically make sense to start building a dedicated product marketing team?

Travis Dailey: Yeah, I can start. The lines are more blurred in the early days between the product marketer and the product lead. One thing that is for sure though is that the product strategy is defined by the product owner or the product manager, while the product marketing team is kind of advocating on behalf of the customer and on behalf of the market. And then they’re responsible for communicating that messaging and that value to the customer. There’s really not a right time to hire, but it kind of depends on which teams you already have in place and what they’re focused on. Make that decision as if you’re noticing teams not focused on the onboarding of customers or the activation retention of customers, and if everybody’s kind of focused on their own. If marketing is only focused on SQLs, and support is only focused on retention, then it may make sense to bring in your own and start building your own team.

Hayley Park: Yeah, I think Travis said it really well. The only thing I would add is that I think distinguishing product management versus marketing is, at the end of the day, product management. That’s going to help decide what’s next, and you can run with that. Whereas I think the marketing is more taking the decisions we’ve made and making sure they’re being translated in a way that is really reaching our personas—really matching and aligning our messaging to showcase the value that we’re going to deliver with those product decisions. I think that’s where I see some of the distinction there too, but I agree with what Travis said.

Emily Claypool: Wonderful. Well, we’re about out of time here. I believe we answered all the questions and I just want to say a big thanks to Shegun, Travis, and Hayley for sharing your insights with everybody today. For those who are on the webinar, if you want to learn more about Harmony Venture Labs and our services, feel free to check us out at www.harmonyventurelabs.com or our LinkedIn page where we post content. Again, thank you so much for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you at our next Launch & Learn.

Shegun Otulana: Thanks, everyone.