I believe deeply in the power of investing in organizational thought leadership. It has inherent network effects and a high ROI. It becomes an authentic source of storytelling when directed. And, the secret is that…
For product marketers and content teams sourcing and building upon high conversion content is one of the toughest and perennial challenges to sort out.
This brought me to bump into Ashley Faus’s Linkedin posts because she is a similar believer of Thought Leadership. Despite her busy travel schedule as the Director of Integrated Product Marketing, Atlassian, she squeezed out time for my questions as a product marketer.
Get to the section that you are eager to learn about.
- Go-to-market approach for a Multi-brand product line
- User Research by product marketing
- Actionable plan for leaders within the organization to develop Thought Leadership
Go-to-market approach for a Multi-brand product line
Nischala: How do workaround GTM for multi-brand product line? So many brands, personas and use cases, where should one start?
Ashley Faus (Ashley): It’s tough! Handily, we’ve grown over time, so we didn’t have to think about all of the brands and products at once. But, now we ARE having to think about them in relation to each other. We’ve done a ton of work to think about solutions and which of our products are complementary vs. differentiated in the portfolio.
We’re working through an updated brand architecture to hone in on a few key land or pillar products, with the remainder acting as expand products. The PMM team works closely with the Brand team to help define the audiences, market segments (competitors, key capabilities, etc.), and the go-to-market strategy.
- Look for complimentary vs differentiated products within your portfolio.
- Restructure your brand architecture, work closely with your brand team.
- Look at each product exclusively. Pick a product and define its audiences, market segments, competitors, key benefits – features, USP, and then GTM.
User Research by product marketing
Nischala: How important is user research in product marketing? How should we convince the leadership about this and the budgets associated with it?
Ashley: User research is important in product marketing, but it’s often conducted in additional teams in the organization. Thus, I don’t know that product marketing should be the only one to fund this type of research.
In smaller organizations, the PMMs are the most likely people to do this work, and it fuels improves to messaging, onboarding, the upsell and cross-sell experience, etc. It matters to the entire journey, so whether a PMM conducts the research or it comes from another team, it MUST be done.
We have a couple of teams who do user research at Atlassian, including a dedicated research team and our Product Managers. PMMs do bring a different lens to the research, so it’s worth having all 3 teams conducting research and/or collaborating on the research to get a holistic view.
- User research is not a good-to-have, it is a must-have.
- Get all three teams to work on this – Product team, research team and the product marketing team
Actionable plan for leaders within the organization to develop Thought Leadership
Nischala: How should we execute an actionable plan for the leaders within an org to start publishing work to build their thought leadership in alignment with the brand?
Ashley: I have a whole article on how to build thought leadership: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/four-pillars-thought-leadership-ashley-faus/ and I recommend looking at the “content depths” section of this article https://cxl.com/blog/content-playground/ for aligning the narratives.
(Don't worry, I have done the reading for you and here is the summary of it)
Let me start by sharing her words of inspiration to become a Thought Leader.
You need four elements to work together:
The framework below needs to be read upwards to ace the game of thought leadership.
- Depth of ideas
It’s not about a fancy title and complex processes, but being able to simply go up the ladder as represented below. Move from the low hanging fruits upwards to theorized and concept-cracking ideas.
Ashley shares a color coded representation of how to crack each element and ride upward from simple acts of thought leadership to a full-fledged proliferation of your ideas.
She also shares how to frame and structure proof-points and tactics to build upon each element. You wouldn’t want to miss the entire framework.
Read the full article on Linkedin: More about Ashley Faus, connect with her.