Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Makes a Great Tech Product Marketer

A few months ago I was working on a product keynote for one of our events. I shared some of my ideas with my manager and the first thing she asked me was "What's the story?". This is not the first time she has asked me that question. In fact, I've noticed a pattern. Whether it's a product launch, an internal business case or a blog post, she pushes me and the rest of our team to incorporate a story into whatever we are doing. In my opinion, the ability to tell a compelling story is something that can make a tech Product Marketer great. This got me thinking about what else makes a great tech Product Marketer. I reached out to some leaders in tech Product Marketing to hear what they think and wanted to share their expertise with all of you. Whether you're a student considering Product Marketing as a career or a Product Marketer right now, I think you'll be inspired by what they have to say.

Product marketing word cloud of best PMMs

"A great product marketer is someone who can create a genuine “movement” around their product. Internally, they act as the product’s champion and work tirelessly to understand their market, and nail the product’s messaging, value prop and all other modalities to get stakeholder teams (product, sales, 
leadership) stoked up about going to market. 
 Externally, they are the product’s ambassador—helping prospects envision a world where the product can truly make them a better version of themselves, and authentically channeling that success via the customer’s voice." 

Indy Sen, Google

“Product marketers adapt quickly and drive for results amidst ever changing tech organizations and industries. They empathize with the unique needs of their customers and address those needs throughout every stage of the customer journey.”

Kari Ann Sewell- Symantec

"A great product marketer stays close to the customer. Understanding how your customers use your product, learning their pain points, and what more they want from your offering informs great product strategy and marketing."

Corinne Roberts, Campaign Monitor

"A great product marketer is a skilled translator, synthesizer, and story-teller. Her goal in every activity - whether it's working with customers, writing content, or improving sales effectiveness - is to find the point where her product uniquely satisfies a potential customers' specific need. To do that, you must understand your product, your market, and your customers from multiple points of view.

Grant Shirk, Vera

"Great tech product marketers understand how technology can enhance the customer's life. Engineers often fall in love with their "babies" but great tech product marketers have the vision of what features will ultimately matter to the customer. They create the emotional connection between the product and the customer."

Gabriel Jaquier, Dell

"I don't know if I qualify as a great product marketer, but I do have one quality in abundance that I think any great one (tech or otherwise) should possess: Empathy. It's a product marketer's job to practice empathy, and then strategically and continually insert it into the development and GTM processes. This is equally important in cultivating a deep, nuanced understanding of customers and in applying to internal dynamics with eng, design, and product counterparts. Empathy is a key soft skill that will never let a product marketer down. (Word of caution, though: It must often be paired with data!)"

Omar Garriott,

"We product marketers used to dub ourselves 'mini CEOs' of our products. While lifecycle ownership is indeed pertinent, the best product marketers position themselves as hubs, conduits and conductors. This is the only way to achieve velocity and quality at the same time. Conductors produce beautiful symphonies because they empower each section of the orchestra, not because they try and play every instrument themselves."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Twitter Basics for MBA students

Twitter can be a great tool for students to build professional relationships, find a job and stay up to date on what is happening in your industry. Before you dive into Twitter, I recommend you get a few of the basics down. Below are a few basics you want to master. These tips are for people that want to use Twitter strategically for their careers, if you don't care about that, you probably won't find this advice as helpful.

1. Decide what you're going to tweet about. It's easier to build a following on Twitter when people know what you will be tweeting about. If you're all over the place, it'll be harder. This does not mean if you tweet about marketing, you can't tweet about your favorite NBA team. Just try to be consistent. For example, I tweet 90% about marketing, technology and networking. 10% is whatever I'm in the mood to tweet about. 

2. Remember that everything is public. Think before you tweet. People have lost their jobs for the things they have tweeted about. A PR executive with some racists tweets is the latest casualty.

3. Put up a professional profile picture. Just like LinkedIn, if you're using Twitter to expand your network, it can help to have a professional picture. At least put some kind of picture up. No one wants to see the Twitter egg.

twitter egg with an x

4. Fill out the description. This is your chance to let people know what you'll be tweeting about. I recommend you link to your LinkedIn profile, blog or personal website in the description.

example of a twitter description

5. Post consistently. If you never post, many people will eventually stop following you.

6. Follow people. Follow anyone or anything that interests you. Follow companies you are interested in or people you admire.

7. Favorite tweets. This is a simple way to let people know you like what they are sharing. Twitter notifies you when someone favorites your tweet. This is also a great way to get someone to follow you back.

example of favoriting a tweet

8. Retweet people. This is a way for you to share great content that you find with your network. Just like when you favorite, the user is notified and there is a good chance they might follow you back.

9. Respond to tweets. The great thing about Twitter is most people on it are the sort of people that want to have conversations with the Twitter community. Comment on posts, or respond to questions. You'll be surprised who might respond back.

10. Be yourself. The more authentic the better.

Twitter can be a valuable tool as you navigate your career. Have fun with it and find what aspect of Twitter creates the most value for you personally. Good luck and happy tweeting.

Friday, September 19, 2014

What Does a B2B Technology Product Marketer do?

It depends. 

OK, I’m going to help you out a little bit more than that, but I must clarify before you read on that every company does Product Marketing a little bit differently. In fact, within a team or group at LinkedIn Product Marketers can have drastically different responsibilities or priorities than other parts of the company. The best I can do is give you some of the key areas that Product Marketers tend to work on and some of the key tasks. Any of the areas below could be a small or large part of your job, so I recommend clarifying in your interview process. 

meme it depends

Product development.
  • Determining if there is a market for a feature or product
  • Outlining the product requirements
  • Defining the messaging and positioning
Random Strategic Projects
  • In my experience random important projects get thrown on the lap of Product Marketers because they are typically strategically minding and work very well cross functionally. 
  • Work to understand your audience and customer, then implementing what you learned to improve your sales, marketing and product efforts. 
Market research
  • Regular customer satisfaction surveys, like a quarterly NPS study
  • One off research for new products, competitive analysis or segmentation of other strategic initiatives. 
Product/features launches
  • Play quarterback to organize sales, PR, marketing, product and support for smooth and effective feature or product launches. 
Sales enablement.
  • Product training at new hire orientation. 
  • Answer the sales team’s product questions on going
  • Training the sales team on new products or features as they come out
  • Gathering product feedback from the sales team
  • Communicating changes or updates to the product to the sales team
  • Understanding your competitors strengths, weaknesses and how to talk about them. 
  • Running or participating in customer events
  • Participating in external events as a thought leader for your company or product
Thought leadership
  • This could be writing all sorts of content, participating in webinars or being brought in during customer calls. 
From my anecdotal experience, Product Marketers have high job satisfaction. No day is the same. You get to be strategic, creative and analytical. If you think I missed anything, please add it to the comments.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LinkedIn Summary Examples for MBA Students

I've been asked by several MBA students for advice on what to put in their LinkedIn summary. First, if you're thinking about your summary you're on the right track. There are a lot of different ways that you could tackle it, but I wanted to share three examples of profiles that I think have a great summary. As always, this is my personal opinion and not the opinion of LinkedIn.

Also, check out these two articles for more advice on how to write a great LinkedIn summary.

Three Steps To Writing The Perfect LinkedIn Summary
4 Tips for Writing a Compelling LinkedIn Summary

Check out Abby Stern's summary below. She's a a MBA student at Stanford. A quick read of her profile and you have a great sense of what she's passionate about. After her reading her summary it's very clear the sort of companies and roles she is interested in.

LinkedIn Summary Examples MBA students Stanford

Check out Joung Park's profile below.  He's an MBA student at UT. His summary is really tailored to his finance/consulting audience, it pulls out the highlights from his entire profile with plenty of data points to back it up. 

LinkedIn Summary Examples MBA students university of texas

Check out Tori Dumke's profile. She is a MBA student at BYU. She does a great job of telling her story. She moved from PR to technology marketing, but quickly connects the dots in her summary. In a lot of ways her summary is her elevator pitch. 

LinkedIn Summary Examples MBA students BYU

No matter what angle you take, the best way to improve your LinkedIn summary is to have a few people read it quickly, then tell you what they got out of it. This will help you know if what you'd like to convey to colleagues, recruiters and other professionals is coming through in your summary. If you'd like to learn more about how MBA students can improve their LinkedIn profiles, check out Advanced LinkedIn Tips For MBA Students.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why I Chose BYU For My MBA

Where you go to get your MBA is a very complicated and personal decision. I've had a fantastic experience these past two years at BYU, so I thought I'd write down some of my thoughts on why I came to BYU for my MBA. Below are my top reasons for choosing BYU.

Old school BYU logo

It's a great school. It's a top 30 program. Different rankings put BYU in different places, but Forbes most recently ranked BYU as #17.

You can not beat the cost. I did not want debt loads from school to dictate any career decisions post MBA. The cost of tuition and living in Provo is astronomically low. Graduating with little or no debt gives you much more flexibility in your career choices right out of school and the next 5-10 years. US News just put out a list of which schools provide the most financial value at graduation. BYU is the highest ranked school on the list. To put this in perspective, I saved my entire second year's worth of tuition over my summer internship.

The people I knew who went there.  I did not know it at the time, but growing up I was surrounded and influenced strongly by BYU MBA's in my church, community and Boy Scout activities. Even as a teenager, I admired and respected those leaders. During my undergrad I met and became friends with some BYU MBA's and I really liked them and admired their career ambitions. They seemed like my kind of people.

It gets me to where I want to go. I really thing this is the bottom line for choosing a business school. Can it help you get to where you want to go? When I looked at all the random things I want to do in my career, I determined that a BYU MBA would help me at many steps along the way. This was a tough question for me because it takes a lot of educated guessing. For example, just because you go to a school that your dream company recruits out of, does not mean you'll get a job at that company. You might be better off at a different school and a little more hustle. It's also really hard to value the future value of a network from any school. It might be worth millions or close to nothing. I just made the best decision with the data I had.

It's a tough decision to figure out what school to go to, but I'm extremely happy with my choice. I think a big part of that is that after I decided, I didn't look back and made the most of all the opportunities I had during those two years. Whatever I put into the experience, I got back even more. It could not have worked out better. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Science and Religion

Dear readers,
Many persons consider religion and science as opposites. Undoubtedly, this perception is extremely wrong. Religion and science do not oppose but complement each other. By the data it provides, science helps people get to know better the universe in which they live and make inventions which will make their lives easier while religion guides humans to the summit of their behavioral maturity helping them live harmoniously with the universe. Actually, humans are face to face with not two, but three realities. These are the material realities belonging universe, the intellectual realities produced by reasoning and the conveyed realities belonging the metaphysical world, which transferred by prophets.
The material realities
These are the realities of the material realm. Information regarding these are obtained by observation and experimentation. Everyone can make observations. However, in the practices of scientists, observations are performed much more meticulously and, when necessary, using various tools. Having a certain opinion as a result of observations, scientists render that opinion into a hypothesis. Then they try to verify their hypothesis by trying it after creating the necessary conditions. Knowledge verified by experimentation is called a scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge reveals the unknown secrets of the realities of the material realm.
In recent centuries, experimentation techniques have been improved and analysis methods which distinguish natural deviations on events from the effects created by the observed factor have been developed and thus it has become possible to accurately calculate the effects of factors. And this has rendered scientific studies faster and more efficient.
Dear readers, although scientific knowledge helps us learn about the secrets of the material realm, it is obtained within limited time and space conditions. It is not possible to precisely predict how they might manifest in wider time and space ranges or on very different objects and subjects. To reach more positive results, therefore, this knowledge is interpreted based on similar scientific studies previously carried out.
The intellectual realities
Intellectual realities include theories and mathematical realities.
As scientific experiments can be performed within limited time and space conditions, the data obtained are subject to those limited conditions. In order to fully understand the material realm in which we live, we also need to know about the events which have been occurring since thousands of years in the infinity of the universe. For example, we want to learn the answer to many questions such as how mountains were created, how earthquakes take place, how and from where the sun extracts its energy etc. Within the limited capabilities of the experimentation method, however, it is not possible to learn about these by experimentations.
In this situation, we just need to develop opinions which will explain events in the best way possible based on very small amount of information discovered by science. Such comprehensive explanations based on scientific findings are called "theories". Theories are accepted as truths until new scientific findings emerge which refute previous findings. As a matter of fact, theories are not realities but opinions which can change in time.
The evolutionary theory and what it cannot explain
One of the typical examples is the evolutionary theory. This theory was an opinion which argued that all the species emerge by evolving from each other. Tens of thousands of books were written on this matter. Detailed studies carried out on fossils, however, have revealed that the reality of the matter is very different.
If the evolutionary theory was right, "many transitional forms would be present. But even a single transitional fossil that shows transition from species to species, as argued Darwinists, is not available. Despite this lack of a single transitional form, there are more than 350 millions of fossils which show that species have remained for millions of years without any change (without any evolution)"[1]
Another impasse of the evolutionary theory is the question of how the first protein molecule needed for each species occurred. Some of my readers might not know. But all the biologists working on physiology and biochemistry of species know very well that life events actually consist of two main systems including energy generating mechanisms and biosynthesis mechanisms which utilize that energy. In order for any biosynthesis event to occur, antecedents, energy and biocatalysts are needed. Even if antecedents are available, synthesis is not possible without energy and biocatalysts. Energy is supplied by a co-enzyme named ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP functions in connection with a protein molecule. Biocatalysts on the other hand are enzymes with a protein structure. As anyone can easily understand from this, two separate protein molecules are needed for the synthesis of a need protein molecule. Then, how can a protein molecule be synthesized when there are no antecedent protein molecules, one which provide energy and other which assume the role of a catalyst?
Mathematical realities are final
Mathematical realities consist the second group of intellectual realities.
While theories are opinions which can change with the emergence of new findings, mathematical realities contain absolute data. For example, in order to learn how many tin cans you can place onto a shelf, you don't need to place them one by one to see the result. By calculation, especially if you have a calculator, you can learn the result in just seconds. This knowledge which you obtain by calculation is absolute and accurate information. You can rely on that.
Due to this certainty of mathematical realities, fundamental sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology and also applied sciences such as agronomy, pathology and sociology have always tried to utilize mathematics in order to reach more certain and accurate conclusions. As a matter of fact, mathematical realities are each a virtual reality. Despite this fact, these realities revivified each field of science they were involved in and ensured the progression of those sciences rapidly. Currently, there is almost no branch of science which doesn't utilize the opportunities provided by math.
The conveyed realities
Dear readers, learning about scientific realities and intellectual realities ensures that we can understand in more detail the order in which we live. But they don't enable us to know about how emerged the order in which we live first-time and by whom it is arranged and managed. This can only be learned through the knowledge which is provided by the owner of the order. As such information is transmitted to us through the messengers of the Creator, who is the owner of the order; the realities learned by this way are called "the conveyed realities". Conveyed realities refer to the invisible spiritual realm beyond the visible material realm. This spiritual realm is just like software operating behind hardware. Knowledge regarding that realm is the ready knowledge offered to us through religious books. It is possible to consider religious books as manuals which show the right way of living in harmony with the order provided to us by the creator, founder, owner and manager of the order. Just like we can use a device in the most accurate way when we refer to its manual, humans can live in the most suitable way without damaging the ecosystem and society in which they live when they live according to the manual explaining the right way of living offered to them. And this provides a human being the biggest perfection they can ever possess.
Consequently, as can be understood from the information provided above, all of the material realities, intellectual realities and conveyed realities are a whole. They complement each other. Humans can completely and correctly understand the environment in which they live by only possessing the knowledge regarding these three different realities.
Religion and science
Dear readers,
Some scientists believe that religion is a "dogma" and that, therefore, it is the biggest barrier in front of science. Undoubtedly, this is a great misconception. Certainly, the judgments of religion are not scientific judgments but value judgments. Like all value judgments, they are also dogmas.
"Scientific judgments" are judgments which are verified by experimentation, that is, their realities are proved by experiments.
"Value judgments", on the other hand, are judgments which mostly can't be experimented upon, which many people positively consider to be real and right, and to which religion, state or any community assign value.
But religious value judgments have a very important difference from the values which humans assign to objects and events (like the value on money): There are no conflicts between basic values of religion with scientific judgments as the both values are assigned by Allah (swt), who also assigns the values of material realm. On the contrary, there is a great consistency between them. Both of them reveal the universal truths of all times in their specific fields (science in the field of material events and religion in the field of human behaviors). Therefore, contrary to what some scientists believe, religious judgments never conflict with scientific judgments. On the contrary, each new finding of science experimentally reveals how much rightful, accurate and realistic religious judgments are. It must be known here, of course, that we refer to Islam which is the only religion in the sight of Allah, which formed the core of all heavenly religions and which has been communicated to humanity through the messengers of Allah (swt) since the time of the first human being.
Dear readers, Allah (swt) created the material and spiritual realms. He is the owner of the both realms. He is who created the both realms, established their rules and manages them. Therefore, it is obvious that no conflict can exist between the knowledge of these two realms.
Consequently, it won't be a wrong approach to say that science and religion complement each other and that humans need both of them greatly.
Be entrusted to Allah.

Higher Education For the Modern Business World

 Wow things are changing!
when i was young things were very different. Back then, not that many people went to university. Some didn't go because they couldn't afford it and others didn't go because they didn't want to. Many of them left school early to start working or learned a trade. The job market wasn't that competitive so it wasn't really necessary to have a degree in order to get a job. Once you were employed, if you were diligent and hard working, you could work your way up in the company. Many managing directors with little formal education had been with their company all their working life. Some of them had started as a messenger, sweeper or in some other low position. They got to know the business as they moved their way up the ladder.
Fast forward to today. More and more young people, especially girls, are going to university now. The job market has become much more competitive and there is no guarantee that they will get employed, even with a degree. They now need to have a degree in a field that is in demand. Sometimes they even need a postgraduate degree just to get a decent job. Business has become infinitely more complex and without a higher education they just wouldn't be able to cope. Gone are the days they could work their way up in the company. The new generation of business allows those with the proper skills and training to rise rapidly in the corporate world. Those without it get left behind. All the time there are younger and better educated people yapping at their heels. To keep ahead they have to make education an ongoing process.
The other thing that has changed is that people do not always stay with the same company for all that long. They often move in order to take up better positions in other companies. Without the proper all round knowledge that higher education gives them, they just would not be able to learn the ropes fast enough to handle their new positions. This is compounded by the fact that more companies are likely to downsize, restructure, merge or close today than has ever happened in the past. The resultant retrenchments force more people into an already crowded job market. Having a higher education makes it much easier to secure a new position.
So what is the bottom line? The bottom line is that it is extremely important that everybody sees the benefit of obtaining a higher education. Not just in anything - it has to be in a field that is in demand. Having the higher education is only the starting point because to stay ahead education must be an ongoing process.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Java RDBMS Is Important For Programming Learners

It is a renowned fact that Java as a programming language set out a new paradigm in the software industry. Abruptly, every software programmer worth his salt was midst software jargons similar to 'Platform-Independence', 'Cross-Platform-Deployment' and ‘The Java Virtual Machine’. Actually, it did not take long for Java to appropriate the ‘most sought after status’ from many software languages, and turn into the most preferred tool for creating software; particularly software for the web. As the modern trends in the industry show, Java is set to attain an undeniable position as the majority preferred software programming language for an extended time to come. It is certainly Java’s credit that many well-known vendors who tried to emulate the capacities of Java, failed despondently in the endeavor. 

The significance of Java in the software scenario has led to another major tendency. Software vendors are either rewriting their obtainable products in Java, or are creating new products exclusively or partly in Java. This has led many analysts to question the requirement to port already existing applications to Java. While the visions of porting small or medium sized software to Java may not attract concern, it supposes significance when we consider porting existing databases that could be handling millions of sensitive blocks of information. likewise, experts also have to decide among deploying reputed databases, and latest databases that have been entirely developed in Java, in their associations. Analysts have to answer many relevant questions similar to: What are the advantages of a Java RDBMS that would compel my company to switch to it? Would it be gainful to change to an RDBMS that has all the benefits of Java? Would the costs engaged in porting millions of existing records rationalize the perceived performance and scalability attributes of the Java RDBMS? How safe would be the new RDBMS? What is the learning curve that has to be undertaken by the staff who may be assigned to this database? In fact, there are a crowd of questions that a concerned technical head may inquire himself before taking that all significant decision to switch to a Java RDBMS.

What are the gains of a Java RDBMS? 
All we know that Java is set to capture, or has previously captured a sizeable chunk of the software market. On the other hand, how does that excuse the use of a Java Database? After all, is not Java theoretically able of integrating with any database? What gains can be afforded by a Java RDBMS? 
Well the answer is quite easy. Java RDBMS has, or holds, the much sought after qualities of Java, which is the most important reason to switch to it. Some of the Java RDBMS previously available in the markets answers the instant concerns of the Technical Lead in the most persuasive manner. For instance, Daffodil DB, an RDBMS written in Java, regards as the following as its core strengths: 
Multiple Platform Portability 
Transparent to End User Small Size 
Java Stored Procedures 
Zero Administration Efforts 
Some of these characteristics are worth a second look. 

One RDBMS, manifold avatars 

Java RDBMS not only offers the advantages of Java, but also introduces new concepts that can revolutionize database programming techniques. For a beginning, the much famed portability of Java is the core strength of a Java RDBMS. Currently, you don’t must purchase different RDBMS for different platforms surrounded by the same enterprise. But the cost factors, the biggest advantage such a pact can give are that in-house code requires not be redesigned for different platforms. By regulating the database that is used, programs working across platforms can interrelate transparently and efficiently. Project managers would vouch that portability, synchronization and customization attempt for software running on different platforms are some of the most time consuming and worry filled activities in the office. At the present all these activities can be without difficulty implemented with the Java RDBMS in its rightful place. 

Java programmers can provide best java programming assignment help to solve student’s assignment problems with their excellent knowledge they can provide assignment help to keep valuable time for studies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How A Pen And Some Paper Can Set You Apart During Your Internship

Last year I went with a few classmates to Boeing’s headquarters in Washington as part of a recruiting tour of a variety of different companies in the Seattle area. As we sat with their recruiter in charge of hiring MBA’s, she began to rave about two of our classmates that had interned there the year before. Finally, one of us asked, “What did they do that set them apart?”
Her answer really surprised us. She did not talk about their projects, GMAT scores or long hours. She talked about how both of them were the most engaged interns over the summer. She explained that everywhere they went they carried notebooks, always listening attentively and taking notes. She also said they were always prepared with questions. There was never a moment where they zoned out and started checking their phones.

a picture of a pen on a paper notebook

Companies often go to great lengths to create a great internship experience for you, show your appreciation by doing your best to be engaged. Our generation often gets accused of having short attention spans. You can prove them wrong. As you go to your internships this summer, take notes, ask questions and set yourself apart.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

5 Ways Students Can Protect Their Online Reputation

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you haven't done it before, do it right now. Now this thought may be a little scary but 80% of employers will Google you before they invite you for an interview. What employers find online about you is at best an incomplete picture of who you are but it's just a fact of life. Below are a few ideas of what you can do to make sure your online reputation is stellar.
a picture of someone googling their own name
1. Revisit the privacy settings on all your social channels. Most social media sites have a "view as public" link to make sure you know what is public and what is private. Anything that you'd be concerned about a future employer seeing, make sure to delete it or that it is private. You might be surprised what photos the whole world can see.
2. Set up two factor authentication for increased security. Getting any of your accounts hacked sucks. The last thing you want is SPAM being sent through your Facebook, LinkedIn or Gmail accounts to all your contacts. Two factor authentication makes it so you have to enter in a code from a text message to your phone, to be able to log in from a new computer. For example, if someone in Nigeria tries to log into your Gmail with your password, unless they have your cell phone, it will be impossible for them to get into your account.
picture of two factor authentication
3. Set a Google alert for your name. This works best if your name is not very common. If you do have a common name try to add another keyword like your place of employment, hometown or school. These alerts will send you an email anytime Google finds a new website or article where your name is mentioned.
4. If you don't have one yet, create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the worlds largest professional network. LinkedIn is the best place to establish your online professional presence and reputation. On your LinkedIn profile you can make sure employers find the information you want them to find. Check this other post I wrote which explains the LinkedIn basics all students should be doing.
5. Put up a professional picture for your LinkedIn and Google profiles. LinkedIn is a professional social network, so the picture should be professional. I recommend a professional picture for your Google profile too because it can show up in the emails you send through Gmail. If you are using Gmail for professional communication, you want a professional picture to show up.
example of google plus picture showing up in gmail

A little bit of effort can go a long way to protect your online reputation. Now is the best time to set yourself up for success in preparation for when that recruiter, from your dream company, Googles your name.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Summary: The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld.

Last summer I asked Nick Besbeas (LinkedIn's CMO) if he could recommend some marketing books for me to read to prepare to come back to LinkedIn after I graduated. I just finished one of the first books, The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld.

After reading each book, you'll get a post that has my key takeaways. Here they are......

Avoid "bad profits" at all costs. Bad profits are "profits earned at the expense of customer relationships." A great example of bad profits are the late fees from Blockbuster. Late fees were one of their biggest sources of profit. People were all too eager to abandon Blockbuster for companies like Netflix, who took advantage of Blockbuster's mistake. Netflix built their business off of the mantra "no late fees". Bad profits is one of the main reasons Blockbuster went down in flames.

Current accounting systems encourage bad profits. The book highlighted that current accounting systems do not distinguish between bad and good profits. This makes having another measure that you put alongside your financial reports extremely important. Naturally, the book recommended net promoter score

Net promoter score is a simple way to measure customer satisfaction. Net promoter is a customer satisfaction methodology based on one simple question you ask your customers. That question is "How likely is it that you would recommend this company, or this product or service, to a friend or colleague? Most often used on a scale of 0-10. This helps you bucket customers into detractors, passives and promoters.

Though the concept is simple, it is extremely difficult to implement. The companies highlighted in the book as successful users of the net promoter methodology all had large initiatives supported throughout the entire company to focus on using the net promoter score. For the system to really work, everyone from the management to the front line workers need to be committed to trying to create promoters among their customers.

Customer obsession is the winning strategy. Net promoter score, when implemented correctly, is a great forcing function to get the whole company thinking about whether they are creating positive customer experiences everyday.

This is fantastic book if you thinking about revamping how you measure customer satisfaction at your company or thinking of adopting the net promoter score methodology. Anyone that has to create customer satisfaction surveys for their job should read this book. Tactically speaking, if you're creating surveys the shorter the better and this one simple question can tell you a lot.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How to Make a Great Software Product Keynote

A few months ago I was tasked with putting together our product keynote for LinkedIn's Sales Connect 2015. We had a new head of product we wanted to introduce as well as highlight some brand new functionality. 

Now I must admit, as a marketer, I really like putting together keynote presentations. It's always a challenge, but very rewarding to see your work on stage. Our presentation went well, except for a potentially keynote destroying technical glitch that was overcome by supreme presentation skills by our head of product. If you want the full story on how a knock knock jokes saved the keynote check out this article.

I wish this post was a step by step guide to making a great product keynote, but that would probably be impossible. Instead, you're going to get a list of resources, a few ideas and some inspiring examples to get you going.

man on stage during software keynote

Here is what I recommend…. 

First find some inspiration.
 I searched the internet for keynotes that were awesome. Also, asked our head of product and designer to share keynotes they thought were great. Here are a few we liked. 

Why not Apple keynotes? I think at this point there has been enough talk about Apple keynotes, so I did not spend much time looking at them. 

Think about what you have to work with.  A few questions you should ask yourself.

1. What's the message I want to get across?
2. How much time can I work on this?
3. What resources do I have? (i.e. designer)
4. Who is the audience?
5. What time is it at? What state of mind will the audience be in?

Tell a story. In general, I think you should tell a story right out of the gate as well as make sure there is a strong story line through the entire presentation. The first story could help set up the pain your product is trying to solve. Then another good option is to have a story about the user of your product. Don't show a list of features, but tell a story that shows the features while highlighting what they are trying to accomplish. We attempted this in our keynote that inspired this post. It's by no means a perfect example, but you can see how we tried to weave story into it. 

Make it engaging. 

There are a lot of tricks of the trade, but if your presentation is more than a few minutes, you'll need to make an extra effort to keep the audience engaged. Half way through our presentation we presented some awards to our audience members to keep the energy high. I recommend reading "Your Perfect Presentation" by Bill Hoogterp for more ideas.  Also the own the room training by Blue Planet Training was very helpful in putting together the whole presentation. 

Practice. Practice. Practice. 

If you want it to be perfect, you need to practice it many times. In our keynote after the technical glitch our head of product picked up where he left off without skipping a beat. It was because he had done the entire presentation at least 20 times. 18 of those times was in-front of me, so I was able to provide feedback each time. Nothing gives you confidence like experience. 

I hope this posts gives you a few ideas. If you feel like I missed anything, add it in the comments!