James Morehead heads up Product management and Marketing at SupportSoft. he's giving this talk in terms of where he works.
So - traditionally, Product Management and Product Marketing are separately organized, although often with the same management. He's advocating having a single marketing organization for all of that. Where he works, the organization is one centrally located and managed group. Responsibilities?
- Customer interaction (supporting sales)
- Outbound - web content, collateral, press/analyst, speaking, etc
- Inbound - market research/planning, roadmap/release planning, pricing, training
Metrics for the merged organization:
- Quarterly MBO process - aligned with corporate objectives and quarterly bonuses
- Pipeline per product
- Release completeness - aligned with engineering, focuses each PM on shepherding reqs to delivery
By combining the two pieces, you get aligned communications. To ensure this, they set up a system of "gates" to ensure that products get to where they need to go - miss a gate, slip a release.
- Market Opportunity
- Use Case Definition
- Functional and Usability Reqs
- Engineering Development Timeline
- Functional Completeness
- Release Readiness
- 6 Month Assessment
These gates have various people who are notified of progress, and who have approval/decline power.
- Credibility with customers as you have one group in charge of all messaging - roadmap and communication
- Reqs tied tightly to customer interaction
- No communication gaps between PM and PMM
- Efficient Staffing Model
- Constantly being stretched between sales, engineering, and corp. marketing
- Hiring is more difficult - staff needs to be articulate and detail oriented
- Both sales and engineering can end up feeling under-served
One caveat: James is not sure that this would scale up to a larger firm (his has 220 or so people). In the summary, he figures that the roles will eventually split to some extent - probably around industry verticals, followed by field marketing.