4 Product Marketing and Campaign Management Partnership Strategies

How to Cultivate a Close Partnership Between Product Marketing and Campaign Management

There is a lot of debate between the differences and overlap between product management (PM) and product marketing (PMM). From responsibilities to reporting structure, PM vs. PMM is a popular subject. Less popular is another partnership duo that needs to nail messaging together. Often overlooked, the PMM and campaign manager require close alignment to achieve marketing results. 

Product marketing and campaign management are BFFs

In a smaller company, product marketing managers are sometimes tasked with doing more of the campaign management work – establishing messaging, creating copy, and sometimes even creating the campaign theme. In companies of this size, the PMM serves dual roles on a smaller team. 

In larger companies, product marketing may sit under marketing (62%) or product. With enterprise companies, they may have their own department, as functions become increasingly specialized. 

Overall, the top five responsibilities for product marketing managers are:

  • Product positioning and messaging (92%)
  • Managing product launches (79%)
  • Creating sales collateral (78%)
  • Customer and market research (72%)
  • Storytelling (60%)

Campaign managers are nearly always square in the marketing department, although at smaller companies, campaign managers may take on more of the demand generation or even marketing ops role. 

With larger companies, campaign managers can even be a centralized function, tasked with running multiple campaigns for multiple products, simultaneously. 

With all the different ways to organize these functions among the multiple departments and solutions, why is it important to keep product marketing and campaign managers aligned?

Simply put, these two functions are the linchpin helping the company create and deliver audience-focused messaging. Think of it as a kind of marketing equivalent of Cyrano de Bergerac, with product marketing providing the insights and overall message for campaign managers to then create a specific campaign conveying that message to their audience. 

To ensure that your audience is receiving consistent, focused messaging, it’s important for these functions to be aligned. Depending on where they sit in the organization, they may need a nudge to ensure your buyers and customers have a seamless experience. 

Here are four areas where marketing leaders can help create that alignment:

  1. Goals/OKRs/KPIs
  2. Audience insights
  3. Messaging
  4. Sales alignment

1. Goals/OKRs/KPIs

Campaign managers live and die by campaign metrics. They’re data driven and focused on reporting and metrics. Their job success metrics are often tied to campaign results and/or campaign result improvement. 

Product marketing? Not so much. In fact, 15% of product marketing teams don’t have OKRs in place. Many PMMs are working without success measurements to brag about. There’s no reason product marketing shouldn’t be aligned to success metrics – they’re critical to the success of the company. Without success metrics, they’re often relegated to support staff.

Since product marketers work with different functions of an organization, they should be held to similar, or even the same, goals as those functions. So, when it comes to closer alignment for product marketing and campaign management, here are some shared metrics to consider:

  • Share of voice / mentions (especially when it comes to big launches)
  • Deals impacted
  • Campaign landing page conversion rates 

Depending on how much collaboration takes place from messaging to copy, each function could share campaign goals as well. 

2. Audience insights

The entire focus of a campaign manager is to create content and copy that converts. Whether it’s survey results, email campaigns, or social media posts, the goal is to get the audience to engage. That’s where the audience insights from product marketing play a big role in the creation of messaging and content. 

By definition, product marketers need to know the product. But knowing the market, or audience, is the second half of the all-important ‘product-market fit.’ Product marketers are tasked with knowing and communicating specific information about the ideal customer profile and personas. They need to understand the challenges, pain points, alternative solutions, and benefits – not just to create their own documents, but to share this information throughout the organization, specifically marketing, sales, and client success. 

For audience insights including ICP and buyer persona – to be common knowledge and the center of all campaigns, they  to be documented, updated, and transparent. How often have you seen a company conduct audience research once and call it good? Or worse, do the work once, document it, then file it away so no one else in the company knows where it is? By making audience insights a living document that informs not only campaigns, but sales, client success and the product roadmap, a company makes true progress toward being customer-focused.  

3. Messaging

As we mentioned previously, campaign managers are much more metrics focused. While they may have technical solution knowledge, it’s a mistake to assume they do. This is a main reason they rely on product marketers to translate technical language into high level messaging. 

Product marketers are translators, communicators, and project managers. They take technical information from the product managers or engineers and translate it to common language, with few exceptions.

In smaller organizations where product marketers wear multiple hats, they sometimes write copy and create content since they know the customer so intimately. However, in most organizations, campaign managers take the high-level messaging around challenges and pain points to create impactful copy for creative campaigns. 

What’s the difference between messaging and copy? Messaging is strategic, foundational. It is WHAT you talk about and WHY it matters. And while it will evolve, the changes will be nuanced, undramatic. Copy is HOW you get the message across. It has to be concise and catchy. Hit you in the gut. Make you notice. Here is an example from Warren West, copywriter.

To ensure continuity and consistency in the message, it makes sense for product marketers and campaign managers to collaborate on conception and build out campaigns. In that situation, it’s important to clarify where that overlap ends and when product marketers pass the baton to campaign managers. Clarification on both sides will help avoid frustration by keeping each role focused on their own objectives. 

And don’t forget – the alignment on messaging isn’t a one-way street. The feedback loop is critical to continue to evolve messaging for that living audience insights document. Campaign managers need to communicate results of A/B campaign tests, especially when successful campaigns include a variation or different messages than what was originally intended.

4. Sales alignment

The last area where product marketers and campaign managers need to be aligned is with the sales team. Sales is looking to these roles for different reasons:

  • To product marketers for messaging, enablement, and sales playbooks
  • To campaign managers for a stream of interested buyers

Guess which role gets more attention from the sales team? If you guessed campaign managers, you’d be right. Presenting a unified front helps sales see and understand the importance of consistency in messaging from product to marketing to sales. 

Consider having these two roles present to sales together when launching new products. Sales will gain visibility into the value of the two roles, and how they work together. And as another customer touchpoint, the sales team can give first person feedback on the messaging and campaign. 

Alignment means customer focused

The winning play for companies today is to be customer-focused. Both campaign managers and product marketers perform jobs that are extremely focused on the customer. Even if they are not customer-facing, their work product is. The more guidelines you can provide these two functions to keep and stay aligned, the more collaborative they will be and your customer experience will improve. 

Written By

Celeste Jacroux

Celeste is an experienced marketing professional with 16+ years of experience. Her core marketing expertise comes from product marketing, demand generation, and content roles. She's worked in tech most of her career, and for the past 2 years, she's taken on the fractional marketing executive role for smaller companies. With deep expertise in marketing and a solid understanding of business principles and operations, she helps companies create and execute a growth strategy aligned to business goals.