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The importance of product marketing OKRs

This informal CPD article on The importance of product marketing OKRs was provided by Product Marketing Alliance, a company founded in 2019 with a mission of uniting product marketers across the globe.

Product marketers rarely work in isolation and in any given campaign, launch or project, you’ll almost always be working with at least two other internal departments, like sales, product, or customer success. This can make it really quite tricky to work out the attribution side of things, and exactly how and where product marketing played its part.

Regardless though, measuring the impact of your work is essential. It not only keeps you on the right track and ensures you’re going from strength-to-strength, but it helps others within the organisation fundamentally understand the value product marketing brings to the table. This can impact things like your influence, budget and how heavily your product marketing function is invested in.

“If you don’t actually know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s also hard to measure success. Try it you’ll see what I mean.” I just wanted to share this tweet because it’s so true, and while we wouldn’t recommend taking a step backwards and scrapping OKRs, anyone who’s tried it will tell you the difficulty.

So, with that in mind, before you take on anything – whether that be a full-blown launch or a sales enablement session, ask yourself – What am I hoping to achieve by doing this? And how will I know if I’ve achieved it?

It’s also really important to define product marketing’s disciplines and charter things like messaging, positioning, launches, buyer personas, competitive intelligence, analyst engagement, and so on. If you don’t, product marketing can very quickly become a catch-all for things other teams are not looking to support, so we can’t stress the importance of defining those boundaries enough.

OKRs 101: stay away from vanity metrics

When you’re defining your goals try to stay away from vanity metrics such as likes and page views. They aren’t as powerful as bottom-line metrics that are tied to your product’s success and often don’t really paint an accurate picture of what good looks like.

For example, if 7,000 people land on your product’s page but just 2% click on your CTA and 0.1% sign-up to the free demo, is that really a positive?

Relying on these metrics will result in a lot of “So what?” questions, and that’s not good for your credibility or your product marketing function, so really put some thought into which metrics you want to monitor, and make sure you’re able to confidently answer why they’re important to the business.

OKR examples

So, that’s what not to do, before we move onto what to do, we just want to share some examples of common product marketing goals we hear being used and broadly speaking, they can be split into four pillars:

  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Sales enablement
  • Lead/demand-gen support
  • Product adoption

Within those pillars there are several metrics to choose from – let’s take a quick look at each.

Go-to-Market OKRs
  • Win rates
  • Reason for winning
  • Market share
  • Conversion rate in target segment
  • Average deal size, and
  • Product-market fit assessments
Sales enablement OKRs
  • Asset utilisation
  • Sales confidence
  • Deal velocity, and
  • Time to close
Lead/demand-gen OKRs
  • Campaign performance – using things like click-through rate and open rate
  • Leads influenced by product marketing-lead content, and
  • Brand awareness
Product adoption OKRs
  • Monthly and weekly active users
  • NPS and user satisfaction
  • Retention
  • Feature adoption
  • Up-sell and cross-sell revenue, and
  • Time taken to complete certain actions

A final few words of wisdom to leave you on…make sure you’ve got a predetermined and set timeframe in place. If you go from measuring a certain metric once a quarter to once a month to once a week, you’ll struggle to form any sort of trend – and that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Product Marketing Alliance, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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