Competing Lessons Product Marketing Sales

Going to market through a platform ecosystem

My first real job in marketing began with a data entry gig as part of an internship: sorting out Excel lists of leads, importing and de-duplicating into a CRM. What was expected to take two weeks took two days instead. So I broadened out: writing some blog posts, tweeting, and playing around with the website. I was employee number four. Fast forward 10 months, and I’d been working with them throughout my last year of university, and fell nicely into a full-time position in the now-10 people startup. We were PredictiveIntent: a flexible recommendation platform, first developed for mobile network operator media portals (remember those?). Our audience then? Anything, and anyone. The sales team (the CEO and one account manager) […]


From unsuccessful product launch to $2m ARR and acquisition

I was working remotely for two weeks when we launched the new Kayako. The launch – a huge deal for the 110 employees that had been working on the new product for the last two years – happened over Google Hangouts and Slack. Everyone joined a video call, with champagne and cake ready in the offices in London and Gurgaon, India. Everyone had a part to play – it would only happen if everyone had typed a custom command in our Slackbot to take the old marketing website down, push the new one live, and remove the restrictions, finally opening up the new product to the world. We were confident. The new Kayako was really different from anything else out […]

Positioning Product Marketing

Emotional enemies and economic incentives in your startup narrative

At Kayako, we wanted to burn down the existing concept of customer service software that was focused on ‘tickets’ and ‘departments’ using the all-too-often emotional experience of being treated like a ticket number, and getting passed around from pillar to post between teams. We all know what that feels like, and we used this emotional enemy – a concept that our audience had experienced, could believe, and can rally against – to our advantage.  At the same time, we talked about how better customer service is not just a nice concept, but it’s good for business: improving your service builds loyalty, leading to repeat orders, and more word of mouth referrals that grow your business. This is the economic pull […]

Competing Lessons Product Marketing

Positioning against Goliath (and multiple Davids, too)

When you’re in a highly competitive industry, your business needs to stand out. But too often, companies rely on competing on issues that are relatively basic, common, and just not that important in the grand scheme of things — price and features included! At Kayako (recently acquired), we successfully competed against some of the biggest names in software — Zendesk, Intercom, Salesforce — as well as probably hundreds of smaller businesses with similar software propositions. On reflection, here are a few things I think contributed to our ability to stand out and win customers in a crowded marketplace. We focused on just two customer personas By understanding how these two different personas thought about customer service and the way they […]


Five sales and marketing phrases we should leave behind

We’ve all seen product marketing and sales phrases on websites, in collateral, and even in demos, that have made us cringe. Let’s be honest: we’ve all used them at one point or another too. But each has a price to pay. They flow off our tongues and our fingers because we mean the ideas behind them — we really, honestly do. We use them in the hope they imbue expertise, instill authority, and impress. But these phrases are lazy. In reality, they carry no weight with the people we talk to. At best, they slip past unnoticed, with no positive or negative connotations. At worst, they are realized for the lackadaisical facades they are and devalue your positioning. Now is […]

Lessons Product Marketing

Four crucial product marketing lessons

Product marketing is an odd role, a combination of marketing, product, and sales. More often than not, product marketers fall into the role rather than determine it as their career choice. At least, that’s my experience. Thrust from general marketing into product marketing through an acquisition, I’ve now gained over four years of product marketing experience across startups, scale-ups, and bigger businesses. I’ve launched products, corporate rebrands, and helped drive hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. And I’ve worked with many different marketers and product marketers, and learnt from their unique experience and skill-sets. Based on my experience and those observations, here are four lessons I’ve found crucial to understand and learn to develop as a product marketer. 1. […]

Product Marketing Sales

Your roadmap doesn’t have to be a sales blocker.

A great lead comes in: a real household name, with money to spend. They get through your SDR team. The AE prepares, and the discovery call goes swimmingly. The demo is great. And then they ask one single question that threatens to derail the entire conversation. Prospect: “Do you have [feature]?” AE: “No, but it’s on our roadmap.” Prospect: “Do you know when it will be available?” AE: “No. I can check with our team and get back to you.” And the opportunity disappears; never to be seen again. Why does this happen? It’s not because you don’t have the feature available right now. It’s not because your sales rep doesn’t know what the feature is, or will be — usually, it’s an “nice-to-have” compared […]

Product Marketing

The most misunderstood word in business.

Focus can mean working on a single activity — putting an above-average amount of effort and time into a project. The second interpretation is gaining clarity. Think back to when you were last told you should focus on a project. Were you asked to spend a lot of time and effort on the task? Or were you advised to get to a high level of clarity and understanding instead?

Customer Feedback

Customer feedback should be visible to everyone.

For the last nine years as a [product] marketer, I’ve spent 20 minutes every day checking through whatever help desk system is in use. And I can 💯 say I’ve learnt something new from that practice every day. From raising priority for things that I already knew, like bugs, or learning new use cases and understanding the language customers use regarding your product, every email is a chance to do something better than before. The best type of feedback, though, is the one that makes you feel so aggravated you have to go fix it as soon as possible. It’s just so satisfying. So one day, I logged in to our help desk, browsed around, and saw something about payments […]


The *secret ingredient* you’re missing from your SaaS pricing strategy

When you’re setting pricing for your product, those conversations can be more confrontational than you’d think. Everybody has a reasoned and valid opinion on how pricing should be set, from experience with past companies, watching competitors, ‘best practices’ articles, or even individuals influenced by the ‘IKEA effect’ bias. Here are some fictional examples that you might recognize from real life: The CEO, who wants low prices to win more customers Your head of product, who wants to charge more to reflect the product quality A CMO who wants to use pricing to position for the mid-market The CFO whose team put much effort into calculating COGs and wants to ensure a healthy profit margin As a product marketer or person in […]