🎙️ Jira, HubSpot stalking & Smash Mouth
A quick 20-minute podcast episode on PMM tech tools, and some advice for product marketers getting started with Product-Led Growth
👋 Heya! It’s Alicia. Welcome to Finding Customer Focus - a newsletter to help you accelerate growth by putting your customers at the heart of your business.
Building a product marketing team from scratch?
Wondering what tools to invest in for your PMM tech stack?
Trying to figure out how to work towards Product-Led Growth?
Through the whimsical powers of Twitter, I’ve been connected to Sean Broderick, Head of Product Marketing at eDesk, for a couple years now.
Sean just launched a new podcast that helps you to answer these questions, and more.
In Sean’s words: “The Product Marketing AI Podcast is on a mission to make the lives of PMM's easier. The average product marketer today does not have access to competitive intelligence, sales enablement, customer research, copywriting or Go-To-Market tools. We seek to change that by highlighting the tools that Product Marketers need to succeed. There are many podcasts which focus on the mindset and skillset that the best PMM’s employ, but The Product Marketing AI podcast will focus on the toolset PMM's need to be effective.”
I was chuffed when Sean invited me to be the inaugural guest on his show. Tune in below for a quick-20 minute conversation where we discuss the tools I’ve loved, the tool I hate, and how to use PMM tools to get closer to tech teams, and drive product-led growth as a PMM.
Transcript below for all you skimmers out there
Sean: Hello, and welcome to the very first episode of the Product Marketing AI Podcast. I'm delighted to say I'm joined by the Head of Product Marketing at Lune — Alicia Carney. She's also launching a brand new Go-To-Market course, which we're going to plug heavily later in the show. Alicia, welcome.
Alicia: Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here, especially for the inaugural episode. Very exciting.
Sean: Fantastic, Alicia, let's get straight into it.
Give us the three most time intensive elements of your job as a product marketer
Alicia: Product marketers love to complain. So the three most time intensive things that I do — and I should also caveat that my answers are really informed by where I'm at right now, which is an early stage startup — I was like the fifth employee.
So a lot of what I'm doing is developing customer profiles.
That has to be the core of everything, the customer must be the starting point and their pain points for all things product marketing and strategic decision making. But the reality is that requires a lot of manual outbound grunt work to get those customer interviews booked in. It's a lot of like, straight up just sitting on LinkedIn, connecting with people, messaging people asking for their time. And it's very tedious, but so important. So that that's a really big one developing customer profiles.
The next is creating the strategic messaging. So by that, I mean, connecting the value of a product or a business down to the features and functionality of its components. And that's a really difficult exercise, because you're usually taking a pile of things, and trying to organise them. And I find, especially in my work at Lune, it's like, okay, well, this should go over here. Well no, it should go over here. And actually, it's in both. So another kind of tedious and very nuanced process is developing the structural messaging and figuring out — how do we bucket value?
But it's so important, so it's worth it.
And the third one would be actual content production. Maybe 10 years ago, when I was maybe less weathered and jaded in my product marketing career, I could crank out a blog a day. But I think now that I am an elder in the tech scene, I really want to focus on quality over quantity and making sure that I'm creating content that speaks to the real pain points and the real needs of the people that I'm not just selling to, but like trying to create a community and engage with.
So I find content production now to be quite tedious and fatiguing. But it's weird because I would draw a distinction between content production versus strategy documents. And I think from my +3 years at Deliveroo, I now have a really solid process for building strategy. Now I can do that and it feels recreational to me. But still, creating that external content is something that I feel almost insecure about now.
I don't know, I kind of regressed.
But anyway, those are my three things.
Sean: But I think you're tapping into something really strongly there, which is that trend of quality over quantity? Because I think that content farm approach is not really doing brands the same serve as it might have done two or three years ago.
Let’s jump back to number one, the customer profile. Yes, any product marketer here has done case studies, interviews, win loss. All of these things, trying to get people to appear at events will know the pain of trying to automate that work. Have you thought about how you would look to add automation or tools that you could use to actually help you make that process a little bit faster.
Alicia: Tools? I I have not — I don't know any yet. I think you might have that might be foreshadowing for something we could talk about later. But I I actually have stolen some really good process to automate this from James Doman-Pipe, my co-founder for the WTF is Go-To-Market short course. Because when I started at Lune I was like, I can't spend five hours a day just like connecting with people on LinkedIn. And so he suggested if you have a little bit of budget, creating LinkedIn Ads, or Google Ads, promoting the opportunity to be interviewed with like a £25 or £50 Amazon gift card, and that can create this inbound stream of people who are interested because you can do all the targeting of who you you hypothesize is your ideal customer profile in the target the creation of those ads. So that's a cool way.
If you have existing customers, you can always use your CRM tool like HubSpot to create an automated customer journey. So what you create logic to say — if they're an existing customer, you maybe want to organise it by their satisfaction rating or something, and then hold those interviews as they come in.
Sean: I think that spending a little bit of money on budget wise segmentation, targeting, positioning, focusing on the folks that you actually want to go after, and get the flow of customer interviews coming back to you great advice.
From a strategic messaging point of view, that message narrative all the way down to features — how do you speed that work up? Or should you even try to?
Alicia: You absolutely should do it. Otherwise, you're stuck in the base level of benefits and everything just time savings, cost savings, like really basic, fundamental components. And when you do the exercise of this strategic messaging work, you elevate your message up into the value that people humans actually care about, like, am I motivated about time savings, maybe for a minute, but it's a fleeting thing. And then I don't care. So very important, the only thing I would recommend it, which is the framework that I've used for maybe six or seven years now is from someone called Myk Pono. So if you just Google like strategic messaging framework by Myk Pono you'll find it and it's incredible and time tested. So very good one.
Sean: That's a great little nugget there as well, at the risk of having content production houses pitch you their services for infinity and beyond. What how would you look at speeding up that content production process, knowing the fact that you're a solo product marketer, very early stage company? How do you look at automating or speeding up some of those elements?
Alicia: Yeah, I think this is something that I'm struggling with right now. I’m trying to create enough of a rich picture of our customer pain points and constantly feed that into my content strategy. So that you’re doing all the heavy lifting upfront of giving a picture of, okay, who are the personas that this content relates to?
What are the questions that they're asking themselves, irrespective of how great your product is?
No one's going to bed wondering, like, why Lune is different than other climate offsetting API companies, they're wondering, how do I accelerate sales?
How do I keep my customers loyal? Stuff like that.
So when you can structure your content strategy in a way that makes it easier to turn out more needs-based content, that's one way to do it in-house. I do actually think there is a an agency that has changed my mind about agencies, and it's called scribly.io.
It's relatively affordable, especially for early stage, like where I'm at, and they they are actually pretty good at churning out high quality content. But I would usually just say do the work to make sure that your content pillars align with the real problems in the market and to that can facilitate real engagement conversation. And then you kind of have a stronger foundation to to build off of.
Sean: That is seriously actionable advice that people can use.
Sean: Welcome back everyone to the Product Marketing AI podcast. It's really cool to have LoopVOC on board as a sponsor for us here at the podcast. Product Marketing celeb Lauren has been building something really special for the last few years and we're going to have her on the show really soon so keep an eye out for that episode as well.
I'm here with Alicia Carney the Head of Product Marketing at Lune.
Alicia, Let's talk tools.
Give me three tools you can't live without as a product marketer and why cool?
Alicia: Okay, so this will probably make some people block me on Twitter and that's fine.
I really like JIRA. I really do.
I think that JIRA is like the Smash Mouth of tech tools.
Yesterday I got in a debate with my dad because I think Astro Lounge is a great album. It's really solid, but it just has a bad rap.
And then when I was trying to think about what my favourite tool is… I was like JIRA is Smash Mouth. I'm gonna make a hashtag for that.
Yeah, it's clunky, and it's a little bit antiquated. But if you dust it off a little bit, it really does bring teams together — especially for my work at Deliveroo, where we had multiple engineering teams, multiple work streams happening at the same time with different milestones. And it can bring me as a product marketer into the tech world.
And that's such an important thing.
The number one piece of advice that I give to more traditional marketers who are trying to deepen their product marketing expertise is get closer to tech.
You need to be as accountable for the success of your product, and the success of your customers with your product, as anyone else in that room.
And so, I find that layering or embedding product marketing activities within the tools of a product team is invaluable, not only for you to build trust and build relationships with those people, but for you to know exactly what's been built, what kind of customer insights have informed what's being built. Usually, spoiler alert, not much!
It’s an immediate way for you to add value. And it really just brings people in teams together, and keeps you focused on the bigger picture. Why are we building this thing? Does it actually create a better experience for people? Not really? Okay, here's a great way for you to add value. So that's my first one.
Sean: In a previous life, I was a product manager, we use Jira, I have to say, I didn't love it as much as you do. Maybe, maybe you could be converted to that one. Give me that second tool you love?
Alicia: You know what, I might like Jira because I've never actually had to rely on it. I've been a stakeholder, that might be why I like it.
Anyway, second one would be Mixpanel.
Because what are product marketers if not influencing or creating behaviour-based marketing? It's all about converting customers — we all know that — but that's just the starting line.
We really need to understand what happens after that point, for example, back at Kayako, where James and I were launching a new SaaS-based version of this customer service software tool.
We were like, Okay, we're launching it, everything's great pat ourselves on the back.
But as soon as our prospects were getting into the product that we were like, look how great it is, it's so shiny. But then once we actually dug into the insights in product tracking, we were like, “Oh, my god" they're getting so lost.
They're completely churning because they don't even know where to go first. So it's really, really important and valuable to create that in product tracking to understand how do we guide them towards the most valuable pieces of the product experience first.
Sean: That's one of the ones that we've started to use at my day job at eDesk as well. So nice plug for Mixpanel.
What's the final tool that you can't live without as a product marketer?
Alicia: They're, I think their UK-based… Appcues. And Appcues is a tool for product marketers to take control over like onboarding experiences in product education. It's kind of the other side of the coin for something like Mixpanel. And so that's how we actually used it at Kayako to turn our terrible free trial conversion around — by guiding people towards value with tooltips, or kind of onboarding flows, or whatever it is. If you're a SaaS based product, I really recommend Appcues, it's super easy to use. And it's a really kind of like, low investment to integrate and high impact over time. So I just find it really enjoyable to create really memorable customer experiences,
Sean: Really solid recommendations there all the way through the product developments, and go-to-market journey from JIRA to Mixpanel to Appcues - love it.
What's the one you hate? Everyone's gonna want to know.
Alicia: Luckily, I think I really struggled to come up with one that I hate. The only the only thing that I could remember like being very, very angry about was Pardot.
I used it back in 2013/2014 at my first B2B early stage startup called Tallie, and I hated it so much, I ripped it out halfway through our contract and put in HubSpot and became like a huge HubSpot evangelist. But it was kind of weird, like, really weird…. I was going to all of their events... It was weird. Anyway.
They're owned by Salesforce now so it can't be much better than it was back then.
Sean: Yeah, well, hopefully, hopefully that seven years. They've pushed it on a little bit. I know. There's a lot of evangelists for Pardot as well. But it's, it's difficult. It's difficult to beat the community vibe that Hubspot’s created in the market, right?
People love it. So they love it for a reason.
Alicia: Yeah, I do hope it's improved. I really shouldn't be judging something from 2013 hahaha
Sean: Right, that's a historical view, and it's great to get it as well because we want the yin and yang here on this podcast.
I've got three final questions. How's the new role going with Lune?
Alicia: It's been amazing. It's been really really good.
We are on a mission to make every product and service climate positive by default, and it's been incredible to work with founders who believe in Product Marketing, who believe in investing in product marketing as early as possible.
That's why I was like the fifth employee.
And we are making every decision as customer-focused as possible - and understanding how we can help businesses take their first steps in their climate journey.
That's what I've been really interested in. Over the past few months of interviewing customers and businesses — even ones who have reached B Corp certification have hit these really amazing milestones, towards climate progress — they still view themselves as in the very early stages. So that's a really interesting piece of how I need to get into their mindset. It doesn't matter that they've done X, Y, and Z and whatever. They see themselves as “we're just getting started.”
So yeah, and the whole thing with Lune is getting your customers involved and making sure that climate is not a cost centre.
When you have really high quality carbon offset projects, which we specialise in, you can connect those straight through to your customer, and use it to your advantage.
So that climate drives business growth, and so it's been really, really fun.
Sean: Absolutely fantastic. And brilliant to see that you're at the forefront of that as well. From a course point of view, I know you're launching, you mentioned James Doman-Pipe earlier, you're launching a course in 2022 called WTF is Go-To-Market.
Tell us a little bit about the course then — what the fuck is Go-To-Market?
Alicia: Ah, the eternal question. Yeah, it really started — James and I are super passionate about product marketing. We each have been doing this for about 10 years each. And we used to have little product marketing meetups all around London and pubs with some other folks and just like, exploring that exact question.
What are we? What are the challenges that we all have in common? All this stuff.
There's been a huge sea change recently in the amount of attention and demand for product marketers.
But we've noticed there's a huge gap in the market for people to have the right skills for more startup product marketing, really scrappy, kind of broad roles, getting your hands dirty, which is a fundamentally different thing from doing it at like Google and Facebook.
And those are great roles, but it's totally different.
So we wanted to create a course that would help to upskill marketers, give them the confidence and the tools to go, you know, invite yourself into tech meetings, and have an idea about how to launch a product safely and effectively and making sure that you're actually solving real problems for real people through through your work.
Sean: I know it's gonna be absolutely fantastic. Where can people get in touch with you and find out more about WTF is Go-To-Market?
Alicia: You can find us on Twitter, us, being me. My Twitter handle is @aliciaverbs, which was a joke from 2012. And now it's not 2012. And I should probably change it.
And James is @JDomanPipe on Twitter. Our course is WTFgotomarket.com.
And yeah, we're taking applications right now — they close on December 17.
We're going to be doing a second cohort because we're getting a lot of interest from founders. So we'll be doing a second course, probably mid next year.
But this one, we really just want to focus on upskilling actual marketers.
We've just launched an inclusivity scholarship to ensure that a broader representation of mindsets and paths are being developed now because we think they're the next generation of leaders and we need much more diverse mindsets to be leading the industry moving forward.
Sean: That is just fantastic. On so many levels, I think you're leading the charge on climate change, on inclusivity, on creating opportunity for product marketers is absolutely fantastic — especially the insight that you've given us here.
My name is Sean Broderick. Thank you for listening to the Product Marketing AI Podcast. If you liked the show, subscribe. Give us a rating on Apple podcasts. If you feedback on the show, or just want to say hi, you can get me on LinkedIn or on Twitter. And be sure and check out our show sponsor LoopVOC.
Thanks so much, Alicia. Alicia, you're changing the world one day at a time.
So we're going to play about with some Swedish House Mafia “Save the World.” Thanks so much. Thank you! There we go. Yay. That's crazy. Was that okay?
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