Your 30–60–90 day plan as a PMM

A slide from my presentation at the Product Marketing Festival, 2021

It’s been awhile; I took on a new stint at Vetstoria as the head of product marketing and have been trying to settle. But then again, you don’t really settle. If you do — it’s time for something new.

I was super excited to host a couple of sessions at this year’s Product Marketing Festival, APAC hosted by the Product marketing alliance and one of the topics I talked about was getting started and succeeding in a PMM role. I felt quite confident presenting this as I felt I knew what you shouldn’t do.

You could be someone who is starting out as a product marketer from an existing marketing role or moving from a non-marketing one. Being curious, a passion to help solve customer pain points and knowing the product inside out would help you have a solid start as a PMM. If you’re a good writer — it’s definitely a bonus. But once you do have the job, how do you get started? It can be a bit overwhelming because there are always a lot expectations when product marketers come in to an organization. They work with a lot of other departments so everyone already has a set task list for you. But it’s great to walk in with your game plan and mutually agree on this with your superior.

Do note though, this is just a format that worked for me; perhaps a modified version may work for you.

First 30 days

  • Get to know your stakeholders. You’d have to work with product, marketing, sales and customer success. In some cases, more teams. Product marketing is 60% building relationships so get to know them, their pain points, their expectations from the product marketer and how they define the product. Knowing this helps you understand what needs aligning and pivoting.
  • Interview or talk to your customers. Customers are also included in the equation of relationships you want to build. Even if you can’t and it’s too early in the job, listen to calls and understand where they are coming from, why they are working with your organization and what problems you are solving for them. Knowing and advocating for your customer is an important part in product marketing so knowing what works for your customers is how you get new ones.
  • Study your competition. I must admit though. There have been so many times I’ve been a little too obsessed with the competition. But here’s the thing; they’ve also done the hard work of studying the audience, have created content and value propositions so their products stand out. Most importantly, how are they differentiating their products and what other users are saying about theirs will help you define your space.
  • List out your overall goals. What do you want to accomplish in 3 years? How do you want to get there? What do you want accomplish in the next 6 months or 3 months? And once you know that, agree on those with your superior so you are managing expectations from day 1.
  • Nail some quick wins. Ok, you don’t want to exhaust your self during the first month. But we’re doing this just to have that tiny sense of accomplishment that you’re creating some impact. For me it was putting together a campaign strategy for product releases and researching the industry. Start with something small and achievable. This is for your ego.

First 60 days

  • Keep building relationships with your stakeholders. At this point, you can see which stakeholders has the biggest pain points and where you can help. It could be the sales team that requires content like a brochure or two so this can be your starting project.
  • Keep talking to your customers. Use the information you get to validate personas that may have been drafted already.
  • Learn about the product. Make this a regular task and keep asking the stupidest questions till you know what you’re supposed to market.
  • Do a content audit. Doing a gap analysis of what you have right now that talks about the product features and value props and what you have missing, will help you identify what your priorities are when it comes to product related content. Content creation is key for product marketers so this would be a fun task to dabble.
  • Nail a quick win. Remember we wanted to draft a campaign strategy for releases? Perhaps during your second month, you could execute it. It’s a relatively small task and will help you understand how to gather resources in order to accomplish something.

First 90 days

  • Keep building relationships with your stakeholders. This is a constant. Creating alignment with all the others teams should be your favorite thing to do by now. Also since you’ve already recognized the ones with urgent needs, you could use this time to nail a quick win by delivering one key task.
  • Keep studying your competition. Of course this is also a continuous process. Do a monthly update to see the features they are promoting, executive appointments, anything that stand out on their websites and reviews on sites like Capterra or G2.
  • Set up a metrics dashboard. By now you may have an idea of your OKRs and metrics. If you don’t, do speak to your supervisor on what you’d like to measure and how the company defines success. You can work with your data team to help set up a dashboard that shows you information like product page visits, downloads or demos, free trial sign ups, feature adoption, MRR etc so you know how your activities tie in with revenue and other results.
  • Nail some quick wins. Based on what you’ve been working on, it could be delivering on one of the stakeholder tasks, delivering a product demo (this is quite important — you out of all people should know what the product is supposed to do), map or refine user personas or drafting a positioning or messaging document for a product. In my case, I delivered a product demo and the first draft of the PMM strategy. Of course now that I look back there are lot of edits I’d make on that strategy but it helped me to dive into the deep end and get a head start.

So those are some of the tasks I would list for the first quarter as a PMM but it depends from organization to organization and the goals you agree on with your supervisor. The more these goals are tied to the revenue goals of your company, it’s easier to see the impact — and that’s usually tough for PMMs. I would know!

Anything else you’d add to the list? Curious to find out!

Head of Product marketing at Vetstoria. Bibliophile and loves dogs. Maynard James Keenan and Dave Grohl are my imaginary homies. Music heals.

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Ishara Naotunna

Ishara Naotunna

Head of Product marketing at Vetstoria. Bibliophile and loves dogs. Maynard James Keenan and Dave Grohl are my imaginary homies. Music heals.

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