"Communication is the number one challenge for remote teams. Overcommunicate expectations, progress, blockers - don't rely on assumptions."
With the shift to remote work over the past few years, product marketers have had to adapt to promoting and positioning their products in a distributed environment. While remote work certainly has its benefits like flexibility and autonomy, it also comes with unique challenges that require product marketers to adjust their workflows and strategies.
In this guide, I'll share some of the best practices I've learned from leading remote product marketing teams. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, these tips will help you collaborate effectively, align with stakeholders, and drive product success - all without being in the same office.
Remote Product Marketing Checklist
☐ Overcommunicate priorities, timelines, responsibilities
☐ Send regular status emails and updates to stakeholders
☐ Schedule recurring 1:1s with key partners
☐ Join cross-functional meetings to stay aligned
☐ Share progress proactively without waiting to be asked
Goal Setting & Tracking
☐ Work with leadership to define 3-5 quarterly goals
☐ Break down goals into owners, timelines, metrics
☐ Build goal/metric tracker in BI tools with automation
☐ Review metrics regularly in team meetings
☐ Course correct if goals seem out of reach
☐ Have regular virtual coffee breaks and offsites
☐ Kick off #win-the-week channel to recognize peer successes
☐ Create #life-outside-work channel to share personal interests
☐ Organize remote activities like cookalongs and trivia
☐ Send birthday/anniversary egifts and handwritten notes
Tools & Technology
☐ Audit workflows and identify friction points
☐ Evaluate new tools for efficiency gains
☐ Roll out 1 new tool per quarter and get team feedback
☐ Optimize tech stack for communication, content, and data
☐ Organize assets by product in cloud collaboration platforms
☐ Tag assets extensively for easy searchability
☐ Provide self-serve access with clear instructions
☐ Set reminders to remove outdated materials
☐ Proactively fill asset gaps based on upcoming plans
Communication is Key
When working remotely, communication can't be an afterthought - it needs to be intentional and consistent. With teammates dispersed geographically, misalignment can easily happen if you aren't proactive about communication.
Here are some best practices to maximize communication when working remotely:
Overcommunicate expectations and priorities. Don't assume anything - reiterate goals, timelines, responsibilities frequently. Follow up meetings with summary emails.
Schedule regular 1:1s. Weekly or bi-weekly 1:1 video calls give you dedicated time to connect with cross-functional partners and understand their needs.
Share status proactively. Don't wait for stakeholders to ask - provide regular updates on projects and campaigns through weekly status emails or Slack updates.
Collaborate in real-time. Use tools like Slack, Zoom, and Miro to engage in real-time collaboration and co-creation. Working on docs together builds alignment.
Listen actively. Ask clarifying questions, paraphrase what you're hearing, and read between the lines over video calls. Active listening is crucial when you can't have in-person conversations.
Align Closely With Product and Engineering
Since product marketers serve as the voice of the product, close alignment with product management and engineering is essential. This ensures your positioning and messaging accurately reflects product direction and resonates with customers.
Here are tips for partnering effectively with product and engineering when working remotely:
Join recurring syncs. Attend product team standups, grooming sessions, sprint reviews/plannings to stay up-to-date on product development.
Collaborate on roadmaps. Provide go-to-market perspective as roadmaps are created. Review regularly to update messaging based on roadmap shifts.
Partner on user research. Join user interviews to gain firsthand insights. Tap into research to derive messaging and stories.
Bridge communication. Disseminate product updates across the marketing team and other functions like sales and customer success.
Give product feedback. Share customer and competitive insights to influence product direction and identify whitespace opportunities.
Build an Asset Library
Curating a library of easily accessible marketing assets helps teams move faster in a remote setting. Rather than recreating the wheel or bugging teammates, your team should be able to self-serve assets as needed.
Here are some tips for building a robust asset library:
Organize assets by product. Use folders to arrange assets by product line, campaign, asset type (creative, video, presentations). Add README docs with guidance.
Store assets in the cloud. Use centralized platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Atlassian to house assets. Ensure all teammates have access.
Tag assets rigorously. Use tags and metadata so assets are easily searchable by campaign, asset type, product, etc.
Enable self-serve access. Provide clear instructions for using and modifying assets. Design templates for consistency.
Automate asset creation. Use AI tools to auto-generate content from existing assets. Maintain image banks and design libraries.
Update regularly. Review the library quarterly and remove outdated materials. Fill asset gaps proactively based on upcoming plans.
Optimize Your Tech Stack
Having the right mix of tech tools is essential for productive remote work. Evaluate your team's workflows and identify areas for better leverage through technology.
Here are some examples of helpful martech tools for remote product marketers:
- Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom for communication and teamwork
- Asana, Trello, Jira for task management
- Dropbox, Google Drive, Notion for content collaboration
- Mural, Miro, Figma for interactive ideation
- Google Docs, Office 365, Grammarly for content creation
- Canva, Venngage, Visme for design
- HubSpot, Pendo, Drift for conversational content
- HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot for marketing automation
- Airstory, Highspot, Uberflip for message orchestration
- Looker, Tableau, Google Data Studio for data visualization
- Perficient, Supermetrics, PieSync for data integrations
- Guru, Slite, Confluence for knowledge management
- Outreach, SalesLoft, People.ai for sales enablement
Continuously evaluate new tools and don't be afraid to switch things up to optimize productivity. The key is choosing tools based on your team's unique needs and workflows.
Cultivate Virtual Team Bonding
When working remotely, it can be challenging to maintain team cohesion and culture. As a product marketing leader, part of your role is fostering an inclusive virtual environment where your team feels connected.
|Virtual coffee break
|Video call platform
|Video call, drinks of choice
|Show and tell
|Props if desired
|Shared slide deck
|Trivia platform, prizes
|Ingredients, video call
Here are some ways to boost team bonding remotely:
Have virtual coffee breaks. Leave 30 mins open for casual chats about non-work topics during sitewide meetings. Break into smaller groups.
Organize offsite activities. Plan virtual cooking classes, escape rooms, painting sessions, tournaments - creative activities for people to interact in a relaxed environment.
Recognize people. Celebrate career milestones, work anniversaries, birthdays by sending egifts or handwritten notes.
Start clubhouses. Encourage shared interests by starting Slack channels around parenting, sports teams, passions outside work.
Do photo challenges. Share pics of desks, pets, favorite mugs - lighthearted ways to share snapshots of your life and personality.
Virtual bonding goes a long way towards helping remote teams enjoy collaborating and delivering great work - even from afar. Get creative in bringing people together across geographies through inclusive team traditions.
Set Clear Goals and Metrics
With distributed teams and asynchronous collaboration, it can be difficult to cascade goals and track progress. That's why it's critical to be ultra-clear on objectives and metrics for success - they serve as the north star for getting work done.
Here are some tips for goal-setting in a remote environment:
Make goals public. Post goals on Notion, Slack, or your website where everyone can access and align on them. Discuss regularly in team meetings.
Break down goals. Define specific quarterly goals that ladder up towards achieving the annual goal. Then assign owners, dates, and tracking metrics.
Choose measurable metrics. Go beyond vanity metrics and identify ones that indicate progress towards your goals like lead conversion, retention, NPS, etc.
Automate reporting. Build dashboards in Google Data Studio, Looker, or other BI tools to monitor metrics automatically instead of manual updates.
Review metrics regularly. Discuss metrics and trends every week in team meetings. Course correct if goals seem out of reach.
Celebrate wins. Recognize teams and individuals who helped move metrics in the right direction. Little wins keep motivation high.
With constant communication and rigorous tracking, remote teams can crush goals successfully. Defining the “what” and “how” ahead of time establishes focus for distributed teams.
Facilitate Creative Brainstorms
Collaborative brainstorms are vital for product marketing, but trickier when working remotely. Luckily, there are plenty of techniques to spark creativity and align on ideas from anywhere.
|Gets people relaxed, playful, primed to think creatively
|Keep it quick, choose light activities, have some laughs
|Allows focused ideation in smaller teams
|Mix up groups each round, assign clear topics
|Enables participants to focus just on ideating
|Rotate roles each brainstorm to vary involvement
|Re-energizes brains, reduces Zoom fatigue
|Switch topics every 5-7 minutes
|Allows building on ideas, exploring concepts visually
|Choose digital whiteboard all can access and edit
|Fosters wild ideas and piggybacking
|Remind people periodically to stay open and build on others' ideas
Here are some tips for facilitating creative brainstorms virtually:
Warm up first. Get people relaxed and thinking creatively with quick word association or drawing challenges before jumping into brainstorming.
Use digital whiteboards. Miro, Mural, Figma allow real-time, visual collaboration to build on each other's ideas.
Go deep before wide. Start rounds focused on a specific angle before opening up to all ideas. This unlocks distinct perspectives.
Assign roles. Designate facilitators, notetakers, and timekeepers so everyone can focus on ideating.
Use breakout groups. Hop into smaller Zoom rooms to brainstorm then share back with the wider team. Vary groupings.
Set a topic cadence. Switch topics every 5-7 minutes to re-energize brains and reduce Zoom fatigue.
Capture everything. Emphasize wild ideas, early grouping, building on others’ concepts. Withhold judgement.
Remote brainstorms require more planning and intention but with the right format, they unlock diverse thinking across locations.
Prioritize Mental Health
Succeeding as a remote product marketer relies heavily on mental wellbeing. It's easy to burn out without the separation between work and personal life. Set boundaries and make space for yourself.
Some self-care best practices:
Take regular breaks. Step away from your desk, go for a walk, do quick stretches. Change your environment.
Unplug after hours. Don't answer emails or Slacks outside work time. Set OOOs when taking time off.
Have lunch away from your desk. Eat with family or virtually with coworkers. Don't work through lunch.
Express needs openly. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to managers about adjusting responsibilities or schedules.
Learn to say no. Don't overcommit if it means working nights and weekends. Set realistic deadlines.
Disconnect regularly. Take advantage of flexible schedules to recharge. Use PTO when you need it.
Make time for yourself and speak up when you need help. You can't be an effective marketer without taking care of your mental health first.
Summing Up Remote Best Practices
Transitioning to remote product marketing comes with growing pains. But by optimizing communication, collaborating closely cross-functionally, and employing the right tools and strategies, distributed teams can succeed and even thrive.
Remember, mindsets and management matter just as much as methods. Foster a transparent, inclusive culture and keep your team connected through change. With the right priorities and practices, you can overcome the challenges of dispersion and continue delivering standout product experiences - no matter where everyone's located.
Here are the key takeaways:
- Overcommunicate priorities, progress, and blockers
- Partner closely with product management and engineering
- Build an organized asset library for easy access
- Choose martech tools strategically based on workflows
- Make time for virtual bonding and culture building
- Publicly define goals and rigorously monitor metrics
- Facilitate creative thinking through structured brainstorms
- Don't neglect mental health - set boundaries and recharge
Remote work is here to stay. Companies that meet the challenges head-on with purposeful leadership will gain competitive advantage. Use these best practices as you navigate the future of distributed product marketing.
1. How can remote product marketers stay aligned with product roadmaps and developments?
It's critical for remote product marketers to maintain close collaboration with product management and engineering teams. Join recurring syncs like standups, grooming sessions, sprint reviews to stay immersed in product updates. Collaborate on roadmaps together - provide go-to-market perspective and review regularly to keep messaging and positioning updated. Conduct user research together through interviews and surveys to ensure product and marketing insights align. Maintain open communication channels on Slack and sync frequently via video calls.
2. What metrics should remote product marketing teams focus on tracking?
Important metrics for remote product marketers include: campaign reach and engagement, content performance, lead conversion rates, sales qualified leads, retention rates segmented by persona and lifecycle stage, and net promoter score. Rely on marketing automation, CRM, analytics, and surveying tools to monitor these metrics. Build dashboards to track automatically and review during weekly team meetings. Metrics keep distributed teams focused on outcomes and progress.
3. How can remote product marketers facilitate creative ideation and brainstorms?
Get creative with digital whiteboard tools like Miro and Mural that allow for real-time visual collaboration. Appoint facilitators, notetakers, and timekeepers so everyone can focus on contributing ideas. Do icebreakers and warm-up activities to spark creative thinking. Use breakout groups and topic rotations to keep energy high. Emphasize piggybacking off ideas rather than judging initially. Capture everything and involve introverts in the conversation. Follow up with summary docs.
4. What team bonding activities work well for remote product marketing teams?
Virtual coffee breaks, happy hours, show & tells, themed days, and photo challenges help remote teams bond. Trivia games, cookalongs, and creative activities like escape rooms also bring fun interaction. Enable watercooler chat through Slack channels on passions like sports, pets, etc. Surprise people for birthdays and achievements. Send handwritten notes or e-gifts to maintain personal connections between coworkers.
5. How can remote managers ensure team members avoid burnout and prioritize mental health?
Encourage taking regular breaks, unplugging after hours, and separating work from personal life. Discuss capacity openly in 1:1s and redistribute workloads if needed. Lead by example by taking time off and respecting others' PTO. Building a culture where boundaries are valued empowers people to prioritize self-care. Share best practices around wellness and offer resources like access to mental health services. Fostering an open, caring team environment is key.
6. What are some red flags to watch out for on remote teams in terms of collaboration challenges?
Declining meeting attendance, missed deadlines, lack of communication are red flags. People too frequently working nights and weekends indicate poor boundaries. Team members seeming isolated or disengaged from others' successes may signal weak relationships. Lagging team morale presented through cynicism or low motivation levels are important to address quickly. Sudden declines in quality of work should be explored through 1:1s. Watch for misalignments resulting from ineffective collaboration.
7. How can managers keep remote teams focused on goals and priorities?
Clearly defining goals upfront and repeating them often is key. Break larger goals into smaller milestones with owners and timeframes. Track progress through automated dashboards providing visibility into metrics tied to goals. Review metrics religiously in team meetings and course correct if goals seem out of reach. Celebrate wins when goals are achieved. Well-defined goals unite distributed teams, while poor goal clarity leads to misalignment.
8. What are some tips for building self-serve assets remotely?
Conduct an audit of current assets and organize them in cloud folders by product lines, campaigns, and asset types. Add READMEs explaining how to access and use assets. Tag assets extensively for easy searchability later - include campaign, product, asset type, etc. Enable templates for consistent creation. Set permissions for people to edit and customize. Automate asset generation with AI where possible. Remove outdated materials regularly and fill gaps based on upcoming plans.
9. How can remote managers optimize team communication practices?
Overcommunicate expectations, priorities, dependencies, and blockers through status emails, recurring syncs, and documentation. Listen actively via video calls and ask clarifying questions. Share context proactively vs waiting for requests. Discuss work asynchronously via collaboration tools like Slack and Docs. Convene real-time when faster back-and-forth is needed. Collaborate visually using whiteboards. Balance group discussions with 1:1 conversations to build connections. Healthy communication minimizes misalignments.
10. What collaboration tools are most impactful for remote product marketing teams?
For communication and transparency, tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom are essential. Enable seamless file sharing through Dropbox or Sharepoint. Improve task management using Asana or Trello. Tap into Canva, Venngage and Visme for collaborative design work. Leverage HubSpot, Marketo or Pardot for marketing automation. Look into Airstory or Highspot for orchestrating message hierarchies at scale. Data visualization tools like Looker, Tableau and Data Studio provide transparency into metrics. Miro and Mural allow interactive whiteboard experiences. The optimal stack depends on team needs.