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#17: Lights, Camera, Product

There are few experiences more energizing than speaking on stage at a conference.

The thrill of sharing your expertise with a captive audience, the satisfaction of seeing heads nodding in agreement, and the buzz of excitement that fills the room - all of it creates a powerful sense of purpose and impact.

According to the PMA, 58% of product marketing leaders are expected to be the spokesperson for their product. This is up almost 30% from the response to the same question last year.

And, not only are product marketers expected to be the spokesperson, survey results show over half want to be.

While more leaders may be looking to jump into the spotlight to advocate for their products, it’s not always clear the best way to effectively do so, especially while juggling the demands of your regular role.

In today’s edition, we’ll cover 4 ways you can start to represent your product in public as a PMM.

Finding Your Voice

Being an advocate for your product doesn’t mean you need to jump onto a large stage immediately. Ease your way into a keynote talk with these alternatives: 

Podcasts Interviews

Podcasting is a great way to dip your toe into public speaking, and it often feels less intimidating. There are two ways to approach this. First, you could find a podcast that your target audience listens to, and pitch a topic that would allow you to seamlessly integrate anecdotes about your product.

Alternatively, you could pitch a product marketing focused podcast and talk about your techniques and strategies to bring your product to market. For example, when I first started public speaking, my audience was fellow product marketers. My talks and interviews were all centred on customer segmentation, but I gave examples from my current company. This allowed me to talk about my subject matter expertise and my product in an authentic and genuine way.

Conference Panel

If the thought of standing alone on stage is intimidating, you might want to consider joining a panel instead. Panels are great ways for first-time speakers to get on stage. Start by making a list of conferences that your customers attend. You can either pitch them with a full panel idea (meaning you pitch the topic and the other panel guests) or you can pitch them on your expertise and brand. Often, conference organizers will have a handful of panels they need to fill and they’re always looking for diverse perspectives to balance out conversations.

Participating in a panel will allow you to thoughtfully contribute to a conversation that matters to your market and highlight your product without going in for the hard sell.

Social Content

Posting on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can help you establish yourself as a thought leader. It can also be a great way to show the behind the scenes of building and marketing your company’s product.

If you don’t want to post on your own social channels, ask your company if you can start a recurring PMM segment on one of theirs. For example, every Friday my PMM team at Kajabi posts in our customer community, highlighting the products that have shipped that week. This allows us to test out early value props, gather customer feedback and get comfortable representing our product.

Press Interview

Being interviewed by journalists or reporters is an effective way to generate media coverage and get your product in front of a wider audience. However, in order to get in front of press, you’ll certainly want the approval of your leadership team - you shouldn’t do this on your own. When speaking to press, you’ll want to make sure you're well-prepared with your messaging and key talking points. Ask your company if they provide media training, and at the very least, prepare an interview brief ahead of time.

5 Tips for Success

Once you’re ready to step into the spotlight, here are some tips to help you be a successful advocate, regardless of the channel or forum.

  1. Know your audience: When speaking about your product, it’s important to tailor your message to the audience you’re speaking to.

  2. Focus on the benefits: Rather than just listing the features of your product, focus on the benefits it provides to your target audience. Explain how your product solves their problems or meets their needs in a unique way.

  3. Use storytelling: People remember stories more than they remember data. Use storytelling to bring your product to life and show how it makes a difference in people's lives.

  4. Be authentic: People can sense when someone is being insincere or giving too hard of a sell. Be authentic in your messaging and let your passion for your product shine through. Remember most public speaking isn’t about selling your product, it’s about sharing a story.

  5. Be prepared: When speaking about your product, be prepared to answer tough questions. Have a set of key messages prepared and practice answering potential questions so you can feel confident and in control.