Often, product marketers and product marketing teams don’t know what metrics they should be owning.
Ten years ago, we weren’t able to measure as much from a product marketing perspective as we are today.
But according to Clare Hegg, Director of Product Marketing at Treez, there are a handful of metrics product marketers can report on to earn a seat at the table.
Clare has been in product marketing for over a decade and has worked for Microsoft, Highspot, and Socrata, to name a few.
She shared with us, which product marketing metrics are important, tools to measure them, and how to get executive buy-in on the results you’re delivering as a product marketer.
Before we dive into the specifics around what product marketing metrics you should measure, let’s revisit some best practices for setting and measuring goals effectively. Clare recommends using the SMART method as a framework for building out your product marketing goals.
The SMART method is helpful for getting incredibly focused:
Sure, having goals like “get more business” or “increase revenue by x%” are nice, but they aren’t well-defined or focused. They’re also tough to measure and don’t necessarily give your team a shared vision or alignment.
They make people feel good that there’s “something” to work toward, but without some form of measurement, that “something” can feel intangible and impossible to quantify.
“Not measuring the goal gives you a lack of a rally cry for the company.”
Especially in small startups, there’s nothing better than watching a dashboard or a thermometer tick up with each customer acquisition, right? It’s a great feeling and builds excitement and accountability across startups, fueling the drive to do more. But we can keep that momentum even in larger companies with measurable goals.
Your product marketing goals should also be relevant to your business, market, and industry. Add a layer of attainability and keep your economic situation in mind. For example, setting goals around returning to the office while still in the pandemic are irrelevant for companies in the current circumstances.
Another way to ensure your product marketing metrics will be valuable to your team and your company? Include a window of time you want to have the goal completed by to help you prioritize your goals and have incentive to move forward.
So what types of goals should product marketers be setting? Here are the five types of goals Clare uses and recommends at a high-level:
These buckets give titles to the types of work product marketers are responsible for ranging from product launches to sales enablement tactics and everything in between. Within each of these buckets are different types of metrics to measure.
Let’s start with product launch metrics.
Product goals can be about launches, feature adoption, building an MVP, or starting a beta program. Product launch metrics are often the first types of goals that a company or startup looks at and help companies get up off the ground and running.
These are the bare bones metrics of product launches:
When it comes to these metrics, it’s important to keep in mind that these don’t have to be percentages and numbers. As an example, getting five customers into a beta program is a starting product goal that can be expanded upon across quarters. These goals can be laser-focused to help your product team understand where to put their energy.
These can also be large metrics that expand across quarters or daily metrics you use every day, like number of daily active users.
Product goals also help you measure product market fit down the road and can help be attributable to revenue (which is a huge win as a product marketer.)
There are a couple of key points around tools for product launch metrics to consider.
The first is that even though product adoption measurement tools aren’t generally owned by the product marketing team, these tools are valuable to product marketers, and it’s beneficial for the team to be involved in the process or part of the ideation stage of adding an adoption tool.
Some of my favorite product adoption tools:
These tools help you measure your features and talk to your customers too. (These tools can also help with customer metrics which we’ll touch on in more detail.)
When it comes to product launches, I’m a big fan of regular Excel spreadsheets and the green/amber/red mentality. Product management tools can be valuable, but nobody rallies around any tool as much as they do a Google slide with a spreadsheet on it every week leading up to the product launch.
You have a big goal to hit your launch date, your features within that launch that you’re working to achieve, and smaller measurements of various work streams to track from a deliverables perspective. Each deliverable is considered a metric of success which allows you to determine if your launch is at risk. In this part of product marketing, it’s all about being very tactical, similar to program management.
When it comes to revenue metrics, we run into an acronym soup of measurements. There are so many different measurements that can fall in the revenue category:
The ones that make a bigger difference from a product marketing perspective are monthly or annual recurring revenue.
This is also a metric that could be used to measure bonus numbers by so that your bous is tied to revenue contribution versus something more arbitrary.
How your marketing team is structured will impact how you measure your revenue goals. When your product marketing team ladders under marketing, it can be easier to track because everyone feels like they’re part of the same team.
The same team structure removes the “us vs. them” mentality. It’s no longer our content vs. their sales enablement collateral. When product marketing is separate, sometimes you have to make sure you have your own tools to measure your goals.
Other metrics that are important here are around lifetime value and how much you’re getting out of each customer. How much is your average contract value? (This one is very product marketing specific as it requires a measure of content and demo scripting.)
Product marketers can also help be a part of or start a churn task force to monitor churn rates over time. It’s one of the smartest things product marketers can do because product marketing gets embedded in sales work.
There are plenty of tools you can use to measure your revenue and customer goals.
Connect as many of your tools together as possible as you build them out. For example, if you have the ability, connect where your content comes from into your CRM. If you’re using Salesforce, try to find other tools that can connect directly to it. This allows you to gather your revenue numbers and identify what was attributable to your team’s work.
Product marketers didn’t touch this one much in the past, but it has come to its own over the years. Your product marketing team is as responsible for this as corporate marketing, and you’re also the people who engage customers to make sure they are happy.
Some ways to measure and understand how your customers are feeling:
You can use metrics like NPS to understand if your customers are willing to become advocates for your business, which is helpful for building case studies and asking for testimonials. You want to be able to call on customers to serve as reference and referrals.
With customer engagement, product marketers can work with the corporate marketing team to understand if customers are engaging with your business outside of the business through events, your sphere of influence, and other methods.
Other things you can do to measure customer engagement are create a customer advisory board (CAB). A CAB is another opportunity where product marketers can engage with customers to understand who the ideal customer is and what they want.
From a customer love standpoint, there are plenty of survey tools you can use:
Here’s a quick breeze over campaign-related metrics I use:
These tools and tricks have all been in place for years and we should all continue to use them as product marketers.
I’m a big fan of looking at win rates overall and from a competitive standpoint. These are the sales goals you should consider when measuring the success of product marketing
When we talk about prospective clients who draw and don’t choose anybody but instead continue doing what they’re doing, these scenarios can be incredibly telling.
What in your market message is not resonating? Is there a sales team issue? Do you have a big product deficit?
Sometimes you can learn more from prospective clients who draw than from any other metric.
Talking to and engaging with your sales team is so important. Going back to your sales team members for feedback and paying attention to whether or not they come to product marketing for support is another way to measure your team’s performance and success.
Even if you don’t own sales enablement or it sits somewhere outside of product marketing, sales enablement is a part of product marketing. A sales enablement tool is key and there are plenty of options to choose from, including:
Competitive intel tools can also be worth investing in:
So much of being a product marketer requires behind-the-scenes relationship-building and analyzing information to help close more deals. While there’s a lot of tactical work involved, soft skills are equally as important.
It can’t always be quantified, so make sure you celebrate the wins when and where they happen along the way.