The Overview #5

This week: Slack's positioning challenge, product marketing alignment, and a meme tweet

👋 Hey there. This is The Overview, a weekly roundup of noteworthy B2B SaaS stuff. You'll find interesting tweets and articles from around the internet, plus highlights from my personal swipe file.

This is edition five! Let me know what you think: find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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FYI: Next week I’ll be appearing on a panel in the Product Marketing Festival online conference, talking about Positioning & Messaging: Achieving & Measuring Success with PMM experts from Farfetch, Grokspark, and Beamer.

Sign up to the PMM Festival (free)


Slack CEO: positioning is our biggest challenge

Many of us on this newsletter probably understand Slack’s positioning. At least… we did.

As products evolve, new markets open, and strategies are reset… positioning needs to adapt in step. It’s never a one-and-done approach.

I worked with Shipamax on their positioning and messaging in 2019 as they worked to better position amongst three customer groups. I worked with them again about 14 months later as they had identified a core segment that they wanted to double-down on. By the end of the project, 3 months later, they were already thinking about evolving it again as they learnt more about their buyers.

Positioning is about occupying a space in the mind of your customer. Do you know what’s going on in their lives today - and how often are you adapting?

Who should Product Marketing report to?

PMM usually aligns to either the product org, or the marketing org. There are benefits of both: usually a tighter focus on product adoption, or closer alignment with revenue and awareness.

But this tweet from Anand is a really interesting point: why does product marketing not flow down into the marketing and product orgs? As we see more product marketers become CMOs and CEOs, it would be an interesting switch.

More businesses are also hiring commercial strategy leads who own a mixture of traditional product marketing areas (like ICP definition and GTM strategy) as well as directing sales/marketing/product opportunities. It will be interesting to see how PMM adapts, evolves, or merges with this role.

No one sells to everyone

Niches for riches reigns supreme.

There’s so much more value in being ‘the thing for someone’, rather than ‘something for everyone’.

Niching brings focus in messaging, go-to-market, sales, marketing, product, mission, execution. The more you focus and build confidence in that niche, the more momentum you’ll build.

You can mine for gold, or you can sell pickaxes

I’ll leave you with this meme tweet: many of the fastest growing businesses are building infrastructure for other startups to build on top of. We’ll continue to see some big investments here.

That’s the Overview for this week

Hope you found some interest in this edition.

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Thanks for reading, and happy building.

James