Recently I saw a question on LinkedIn:
Product Management or Product Marketing, who is responsible for messaging in the product to convert trial users to paying customers?
This is a great question, and is especially important for companies building SaaS applications.
Here is my opinion…
Well, before I share my opinion on who owns the “in-product” messaging, let me reiterate a thought I previously shared on this blog.
Product Management vs. Product Marketing – Two Departments or One?
I believe Product Management and Product Marketing should be just one department, rather than two separate departments. Such an arrangement offers several benefits – including making the question of this post completely unnecessary!
That said, I’m realistic and know that many mid-to-large companies have both departments. As a result, this question becomes very relevant, especially for companies building SaaS applications. How so?
Relevance for SaaS Product Management & Product Marketing
Many SaaS companies offer a free trial to prospective customers. This free trial is usually for a period of 14-30 days. For example, our company offers a 30-day trial for both of our SaaS applications – requirements management software and idea management software.
During the trial period, SaaS applications display/share “in-product” messaging intended to convert trial users to paying customers. This often includes educational material, “nag” screens, days left in trial, email reminders, etc.
Who Should Own “In-Product” Messaging?
When a company has two separate departments – i.e. Product Management & Product Marketing – I believe the “in-product” messaging should be owned by Product Marketing, with Product Management serving a consultant role. Here is why…
Even though the product itself is owned by Product Management, the “in-product” messaging is not really an integral part of the product. Rather, it is like any other messaging about the product – such as the website, brochure, etc. As a result, Product Marketing should have the ultimate ownership for it.
FYI: Another question that runs into similar debate is “Who owns requirements?”. While that discussion is beyond the scope of this post, I do have a related news:
Product Management and Product Marketing teams at more than 100 companies now manage their requirements using cloud-based requirements management software from Accompa. If you’d like to see whether Accompa can help your team too – check out the product tour or request free trial.