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Contributors

Writers

Susan Joseph

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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.

Shubharthi Ghosh

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Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.

Priscilla Thomas

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Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.

Moulishree Srivastava

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Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.

Avanish Tiwary

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Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.

Priyanka Bhatacharya

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Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others. 

S.Sahu

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A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications. 

Prajwala Hegde

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Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others. 

Rajesh Nanarpuzha

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Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.

Designer

Priyokumar Singh Naorem

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He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.

Artists

Dyuti Mittal

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A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.

Sumakshi Singh

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She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.

Parul Gupta

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A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.

Shweta Malhotra

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Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.

Rithika Merchant

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Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.

Aniruddh Mehta

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Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.

Paramesh Jolad

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Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.

Chandrashekhar Thakur

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Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.

Concept and Direction

Nimish Vohra

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Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.

Enquiry

+91 9632549324

shwetha.mahesh@regalix-inc.com

Know when a new article is published

Murthy Mathiprakasam is Director of Product Marketing for Splunk’s business analytics products. Murthy has almost two decades of experience working with emerging high-growth software technologies, including roles at Mercury Interactive/HP, Google, eBay, VMware, Oracle and Informatica. His interest and passion in product marketing derived from a very early interest in technology products, combined with an interest in analytical thinking and communications. He has a unique combination of a technical background with the capacity to research and analyze information and present that information in targeted ways. Murthy holds an MS in Management Science from Stanford University and double BS degrees in Management Science and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Interviewed by Shwetha Mahesh

 


 

/ / How has the product marketing function evolved over the past few years?

 

Candidly, I don’t believe the core discipline of product marketing itself has changed that much. The biggest challenge that product marketers face professionally is, somewhat ironically, a lack of awareness of where product marketers fit inside organizations. On the one hand, product marketing job descriptions can sometimes focus excessively on the tactical assets and activities that are informed and directed by product marketing, though not fully executed by them. On the other hand, product marketing job descriptions can often also be lofty with phrases like “develop compelling messaging” or “design innovative communications.” My personal favorite was a job description that called for someone to build a “cohesive audience-centric market-shaking marketing plan.” So perhaps in that sense, the understanding of the discipline itself has always been a bit poor and has not particularly evolved much in recent years.

Fundamentally, product marketers are strategists, subject matter experts and market advocates who uniquely combine an understanding of customer needs and competitive context with an organization’s product capabilities to develop a directional marketing posture for a product or business line. At the core, a product marketer’s goal is to understand why and how a customer would want to buy a product, as well as why and how a sales channel would be able to sell it. That goal is achieved through a wide portfolio of assets and activities that are executed in collaboration with a wide organization of marketing and sales stakeholders. While the execution of those assets and activities generally fall on these other stakeholders, the quality and efficacy of those investments is the principal determinant of an effective product marketer.

More strategically speaking, product marketers identify and define the positioning battlefield for their products and lines of business. Product marketers research the critical purchasing factors of greatest importance to different segments of customers to assess and define what segments of the population would be most likely to prefer a product over its alternatives and why.

 

/ / What tools and techniques do product marketers use today?

 

Product marketers fundamentally require significant leverage to be successful. Particularly in fast-moving markets, such as those commonly found in the technology industry, every minute of a product marketer’s time is a valuable investment in the profitability and growth of the business. So careful curation and optimization of one’s time is critical for success. First, it is important to have leveraged means of research. Intelligence about customers and competition is never enough, so obtaining this data effectively can make a very big difference. As a simple example of a tool, Google Alerts provides a remarkably automated and efficient way to track news across the web. Along with Google Alerts, subscriptions to important mailing lists and social media channels also help empower product marketers with research that is constantly and immediately pushed for consumption. As a specific example, I subscribe to any mailing list that may cover information about my competitors so that I am always informed of the most recent competitive intelligence. Second, it is important to have leveraged means of analysis. If a product marketer can benefit from a lot of customer and competitive data, one needs to have smart ways of curating that data. Simple office tools like word processing documents and spreadsheets can be set up to collect incoming data but make it accessible by search or quick pivot tables. As a specific example, I often build spreadsheets with key customer statistics. If I need to provide management with any summary information about the profile of customers, I can often provide it with a couple of simple manipulations. Tools for research and analysis like this not only improve the external efficacy of the content that is built based on this research and analysis, but also help build strong internal credibility when proposing new and modified strategies.

 

/ / What metrics do you track in product marketing?

 

There are truly only a few metrics that really matter to a product marketer and these are all the metrics that assess the health of the sales and customer purchase funnel. As raw leads enter the funnel and progress to further stages of qualification, evaluation and close, the product marketer is interested in the conversion rate of leads as they pass through the funnel. While the magnitude and volume of traffic through a product line’s funnel is often out of the control of the product marketer, the conversion rate through each stage is absolutely an area of strong influence. If raw leads seem to convert poorly into marketing qualified leads, perhaps the early awareness content needs to be better tuned. If marketing qualified leads are not converting into sales qualified leads or sales qualified leads are not converting into accepted opportunities, perhaps internal sales development teams need more training. If opportunities are not closing, perhaps field organizations need more training. Each organization’s purchase funnel is different, but product marketing has a unique role in monitoring the funnel to maximize its efficacy.

 

/ / Which content assets have you found to be most effective?

 

Content, whether consumed by an internal audience or an external one, must be fit for purpose. Effective content varies dramatically between B2C and B2B organizations. Effective content varies dramatically between organizations in the same industry. There is no singular best practice for content other than to have the discipline and agility to measure and monitor what works so that investments in new content are constantly updated for maximum success.

 

/ / What are some critical tips you would want to share with our readers about effective product marketing?

 

  • Be enthusiastic but not hyperbolic: One of my pet peeves is the perception by non-marketers that marketing is full of “fluff.” That poor perception comes precisely from marketers who believe that exaggeration of a product’s benefits will somehow may the product easier to sell or more desirable to buy. In most cases, the exaggeration either obviously lacks credibility, or even worse, may set up a credible but false expectation that could lead to poor customer satisfaction. Energy and passion are great personal characteristics for product marketers but also should not be at the expense of focus or facts. Great product marketers are credible and data-driven.
  • Listen but also talk: The most difficult balancing act for most product marketers is the need to research as well as analyze information, while also facilitating the communication of that information to others. This balancing act often defines the effectiveness of a product marketer. Great product marketers are strategic filters and conduits of information.
  • Aspire to be creative and exceptional but plan to be realistic: As product marketers invest their time and communications skills in different assets and activities, there are often unique risks and opportunities that come along. The tried-and-true approach to solving a problem may yield a known benefit. But creative out-of-the-box experiments can also often yield new and previously unknown benefits. Find a way to deliver realistic results, while also being open to new and creative ways to unrealistic outcomes. Great product marketers deliver creatively and reliably.
  • Collaborate obsessively but strategically: A product marketer accomplishes nothing on their own. While all product marketers must bring a core level of subject matter expertise to their organizations to establish credibility, most programmatic execution ultimately requires heavy collaboration with a wide variety of people in different disciplines with their own unique needs and requirements. Empathy and appreciation for those unique requirements and responsiveness towards meeting them help a product marketer achieve better outcomes with other teams. At the same time, the collaboration plane for a product marketer can be quite expansive and it is very easy to be overwhelmed by requests for support. Great product marketers work in teams but also set appropriate expectations.
  • Delight your team and delight your customer: The best product marketers recognize that they are exposed to a wider group of people than most other jobs in the organization. Every day, you are listening to and communicating with dozens of internal and external stakeholders. Recognize that every one of those engagements matters and that no two are quite the same. Enjoy the thrill of the challenge and be the source of humor, fun and positivity when it is needed the most. Seek not only to inform but to understand, educate, empower and inspire all those around you.