Product Marketing at Canva with Daniella Latham

Hey AMA!

This week we got the chance to talk about project marketing with our amazing guest speaker Daniella Latham. Product marketing is a super important role that often gets overlooked. Sometimes this happens because it’s mixed up with product management, but other times it’s just because it isn’t talked about enough. So let’s talk about it!

Who is Daniella Latham?

Latham is currently the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Canva, but it was a long road to get there. Latham takes pride in her unconventional background. Starting out with a degree in English literature, she did not know what she wanted to do. She decided to teach English in Spain and Columbia for a few years, later returning to the UK to work for a grocery company. She even worked at Buckingham palace as a tour guide for a while (how cool is that)! Eventually, she was recruited by Lumos, a tech company based in Eastern Europe, this is when Latham became interested in marketing. After moving to Austin to work for Kahoot, Latham made the transition to working for Canva. 

Product Management vs. Product Marketing

After working in product marketing for a while, Latham realized that there was a lot of mix-up between Product Management and Product Marketing. Thankfully, she cleared it up for us.

What is Product Management?

 So what is product management then? Well, a product manager is brought on to define what product to build and create a product roadmap. They structure how the product will be developed, launched, and what the time frame is. This requires great attention to detail as they manage the work of the product engineers and designers.

Here are some of the most common metrics used by Product Managers:

New trials

Retention rates

Customer sentiments

Adoption rates

NPS scores

Monthly Active Users

What is Product Marketing?

To sum it up, Latham described product marketing as the intersection between product management and sales.

But I know you are dying to know more.

The product marketer has the very important job of determining who to build the product for. This is the driving demand for the product. The product marketer must also consider market competitors, considering how to outcompete similar products that are trending at the moment. However, some would argue that the most important part of product marketing is user research. This can include data as well as in-person interviews and encounters. Talking directly to users helps product marketers determine customer needs. 

Three hugely important aspects of product marketing are pricing, positioning, and messaging. First, determining what customers are willing to pay for the product essentially dictates the revenue made from the product. Secondly, positioning is the strategy product marketers create to differentiate a company’s product in the market. Latham particularly emphasized this part so you better be paying attention! Finally, there’s messaging, or how you are going to portray the product. Messaging is important in that it determines if customer expectations are being met. If the messaging is off, you cannot determine whether the product itself was up to consumer standards. 

Here are the metrics used most by Product Marketers:

•Brand awareness

•Conversion rates

•Qualified leads

•Cost per acquisition

•New signups


So What Do Product Marketing Managers Want to Find Out?

Clearly, we have learned that product marketers are in charge of a lot. Let’s establish a few key questions that summarize the main goals of a product marketing manager.

  1. Which user needs our product the most?
  2. Why does our product matter to them?
  3. How do they feel about our product?
  4. What can they be with our product?
  5. Will it exceed their expectations?

The main theme underlying all of these questions is understanding users. It is important that product marketing managers know who they are targeting very intimately. I know this is starting to sound kind of stalker-esque but bear with me. It is important to understand what kind of person the user is, because how else will you know what they want? If someone did not know me, I wouldn’t expect them to know what to get me as a gift (or maybe your expectations are higher than mine). Nonetheless, determining who your product is for means understanding their behavior as well. What is their mindset when they are doing their job? What do they need? How can you help them progress through what they need to do? These are ALL important in product marketing. 

The Daily Life of a Product Marketing Manager

Now that we know the difference between product management and product marketing and what product marketing managers aim to achieve, let’s recap what Latham shared with us about the day-to-day aspects of product marketing. 

Some of the most frequent tasks of a product marketer include meeting with product managers, the sales team, as well as the design team. Latham herself works on education products, so a lot of her time is devoted to user research and feedback from those using the products she is in charge of. It is also important to work with the wider marketing teams on campaigns every day in order to keep up with updates and share insights. 

Another really important part of the job that Latham mentioned is the go-to-market plans. Go-to-market plans are exactly what they sound like, they are the details of how to launch a product and get it to market. It is important to determine what that process will look like for everyone involved and what steps need to be taken along the way. Oftentimes these steps include:

Email marketing, paid marketing, support articles, landing pages, and SEO

How Canva Works

From the insight shared with us by our amazing guest speaker, I think it is safe to say that Canva is a great company! Why you may ask? Well, Canva was actually launched with the core goal of making design easy and accessible for EVERYONE. Cool right? Its one-click access to several tools, the opportunities it provides for collaboration, and features such as Import, allow for a super user-friendly interface. Latham emphasized the adaptability specifically associated with tech companies like Canva saying, “tech companies are always a work in progress, so make the product better every step of the way rather than waiting for it to be perfect. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting forever.”

“Tech companies are always a work in progress, so make the product better every step of the way rather than waiting for it to be perfect. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting forever.”

Daniella Latham (Senior Product Marketing Manager, Canva)

Canva also prides itself in its matrix structure. This means employees have dual affinities, so they have both a specialty and a team. For example, product marketing would be its own specialty, and the employees would also be assigned to a product where they work with a team. To allow for even more opportunity, Canva’s bottom-up approach allows ideas to be funneled from different teams up to executives. 

Since Canva is so big on accessibility, they make sure to get people to access their product right away. This way, growth occurs through virality. Additionally, the company is not entirely profit-driven. There are many free designs and tools that people can use. This makes Canva’s tools even more accessible. Canva also localizes its products, tailoring templates and designs to consider language differences and cultural differences. They even have a super informative YouTube Channel that helps users navigate their products! Check it out here:

What Have We Learned?

I think it is safe today that product marketing is a huge part of the marketing industry, and the role itself is clearly vital to the success of new products. Although it is easy to mix up with product management, product marketing is its own unique career with responsibilities that shape how the product is received by consumers. Product marketers are in charge of understanding users, without this understanding great products would not reach consumers in the way that is necessary to drive the success of the company! 


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