The Site and Situation for Technology Marketers
<<<<<<product: site & situation
A geographic term. Site refers to the advantages or disadvantages of a specific
location for certain kinds of activities. Situation refers to the advantages or
disadvantages of a site in relation to other locations and activities.
example: A city that is conveniently located in relation to major infrastructure
may be said to have an advantageous situation over one with less.
Product managers and their products’ site and situation constantly changes throughout the
personas: mileage may vary
Most marketers apply their personal biases to initiatives.
These biases are created through experiences - personal
and professional. Whether a bias is earned from lessons
learned or a personal “style” element - it often manifests in
the types of channels used, the tactics used and which of
the 4 P’s is central to the product.
•I am continuously looking for ways
Director, to increase EBITDA even as my
Product Marketing customer count drops
•We really need to build this for the
Sr. Product Manager customers – after all they want it.
•No single product can really solve
a problem and customers don’t buy
I want to have a say.
I want to buy things on my schedule, not yours.
I don't want to do business with idiots.
I want to help shape
things that I'll find
•If we went to Ruby it would be so
much easier. More features - faster!
•If we can manage the backlog and
schedule it will be alright.
•I’m pretty sure it’s about repeatable
problems and brand visibility…
when you write, start with your buyers, not with
• Don’t just send press releases when “big
news” is happening; find good reasons to
send them all the time.
• Drive people into the sales process with
Steady as She Goes
• “If only we could get a new UI, we could take this to
Martha another market”
• “How about a services offering for Z-OS
• “Why do the people still use the green screen?”
Bio: Martha is a seasoned PM who has found the product equivalent of an ATM
machine and is essentially on auto-pilot. She likes concerts on the river, wine &
cheese events and is not a big fan of excel. Product performance is key. Never
read a blog or at least that she knows of.
Education: Liberal Arts Bachelors and every continuing ed certificate an employer
Strategy: 1 major release a year prior to maintenance renewals, 1 up sell add-on every
18 months and a minor release here and there just to tell folks about.
Functional Ownership: Product Group P&L – effectively the product level CEO.
Strengths – Excels in waterfall development and process HEAVY launch methodology.
Weakness – Can’t spell emerging technologies
Low price is a great way
to sell a commodity.
That’s not marketing
though, that’s efficiency
Throw away all the excuses. Here’s where we tie in the
pirate ships. Pirates didn’t give a rat’s ass what their ship
looked like, or even whether it was their ship in the first
place. They took whatever floated and could carry cannons
and men, and they lobbed themselves at targets. It was
messy. It was ugly. It was warfare, but they weren’t ones to
fret or struggle with their infrastructure. What defined a
pirate ship? That the pirates were aboard it. That’s about it.
Everything will be OK
•“I remember from school that the
customer is always right”
•“That project management course
said “be the process””
•“Let’s meet weekly to ensure we are
in synch– OK?”
Bio: Barney hasn’t met a customer he didn’t like. With management gigs in food service,
technical support and corporate projects his skills focus him on managing expectations of
stakeholders. Product Management is one big “manage to agreement” initiative for Barney.
Has never blogged about anything which didn’t involve customer support or high light another
Education: Associates Degree in Business and a Technical Degree from University of Phoenix.
Strategy: Happy customers are good customers. Happy customers refer their friends. Cross-
functional process design and sign off critical – continuous improvement of processes and
controls a key value driver.
Functional Ownership: Single product P&L, incented on corporate goals and activity oriented
goals like on time releases.
Strengths – Works well with others and a trusted team member. Everything is rainbows and
Weakness – Can’t possibly believe folks don’t have best interests in mind with their actions.
My job is a decision-making job. And as a result, I make a lot of decisions.
• “Customer problems require a more
Stuff for Markets
robust ala carte section”
• “We have a bucket of stuff for the
market, all they have to do is pick what
they need now”
• “Tell them the whole story every time,
the whole toolset is the differentiator”
Bio: Sabrina has done project management work in manufacturing, was a solution consultant at
a software shop and had a MARCOM gig a couple of times. Prefers getting out on sales call
to tell the story and ensure it is being told right. Never blogs, ideas too big for text – graphic
artist required. Has never actually used any of the products.
Education: BS, Public Administration and MBA from Troy University Executive Program.
Strategy: If we build it they will come. Truly believes all the teams are scurrying to code to the
PowerPoint's she makes and continuous development of forward looking solution slides.
Functional Ownership: P&L of the “Solution Portfolio”, no direct interaction with delivery, no
direct development resources and she believes she is basically already the CEO.
Strengths – Mad PowerPoint skills and ability to spin anomalies into market proof points.
Weakness – Lack of market and delivery connectedness due to corner case solutioning model.
It is easier to find
products for people
you know, than it is to
find people for
products you know.
•“First to market features drive market
perceptions of leadership”
•“Incremental extensions drives
increased customer loyalty”
•“I’m staying late, but only until 7 and
then I’m off to the show!”
Bio: Jess is a former developer, financial analyst and Army Corp Engineer. The whole
PM gig funds his hobbies, which after all is all we got. In a zen like moment in grad
school, he just said “Oh yeah, I can do statistical models like for money – no need for
school”. Operational metrics, research and customer acquisition are core care
abouts. Rarely blogs, but always links it to music somehow.
Education: BA in Electrical Engineering and Children’s Theatre – soundboard.
Strategy: Continuous feature delivery until critical mass merits a notification. Know your
customer, understand user behaviors and differentiation from competitors.
Functional Ownership: Feature delivery and roadmap prioritization. 3rd level customer
support, can approve credits and discounts.
Strengths – Agile shops with support for pirate coding. Ability to mix stories into product
Weakness – The whole monetizing and productizing thing.
Somebody has to do
something and it’s
incredibly pathetic that it
has to be us.
Process Sets us Free
•“It’s all about the backlog!”
•“Sprint planning is more important
Product than following up on the email from
•“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m not
suppose to know that kind of stuff”
Bio: Kristi is a former business analyst, recent mother and is completely happy and
content with what she is doing. Morning Starbucks, occasional long lunches and
rigorous reporting, task statusing and management schedule updates make the world
go round. She’s pretty sure that carpooling is the right thing to do, but people
basically annoy her. Generally friendly with a searing wit. Blogs frequently, but not
on company blog.
Education: PhD, Biology – the school is unimportant, that’s Dr. Kristi Sorensen
Strategy: Hit the schedule, meet some customers and increase analyst visibility.
Functional Ownership: Implied P&L ownership, but no ability to actually influence .
Organizational readiness is true role.
Strengths – Killer checklist management and has actually used the product.
Weakness – No real interest in anything more than keeping things tidy.
A common request I hear
is for a product launch
work great for chores.
Make your bed. Brush
your teeth. Take the @launchclinic
garbage out. Not so much
for product launches.
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of
• “I’m pretty sure if you make that packaging
change you can make an extra $2M/yr”
• “The arrows are always more interesting
Evangelist than the boxes in a flow chart.”
• “Know your competitors and your
Bio: Kai has traveled a good deal, worked in numerous industries – mainly just a good listener and
thinker. Never found technology that difficult – loves excel , understands the importance of
telling stories and never has a problem working late as long as the project has some chance of
success. Prefers data over people, sales over development, finance over support.
Education: 8 undergrad institutions in 3 countries, degree from Middle Tennessee in General
Studies after 11 years.
Strategy: Listen to smarter people, put in a yeoman’s effort and pitch in on anything he can add
value on. Real big on doing what he said he was going to do and I told you so.
Functional Ownership: No formal product ownership, works big deals, deals with super angry
customers and is sales preferred special call person. Also special project boy.
Strengths – Listening to sales, customers and prospects and simplifying the problem and story.
Weakness – Unwilling to stop train wrecks if already forecasted and communicated as a probable
There is no correlation
between your good idea
to embrace it.
@sethgodin – he doesn’t use twitter tho
products and markets have lifecycles
distinct people? distinct personas?