Josh Baines is global product marketer at Grapeshot, a contextual intelligence platform (technology that uses keyword analysis to look at web content and improve ad targeting and inventory segmentation).
What’s it like to be a product marketer? Let’s find out…
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Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Josh Baines: I am a global product marketer at Grapeshot, a contextual intelligence platform. My main focus each day is to translate the capabilities we have within our business into tangible products that the market both wants and needs, and go out and talk about them.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
JB: Our team works as the bridge between the products our company is able to build and the people that need to use them. The nature of the job means we effectively report into multiple teams at once; our sales, marketing and business development teams want more things to talk about, and our product and development teams want the best possible feedback and advice on which to build.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
JB: I think passion and getting on with lots of different people are absolutely critical. Of course, the normal competencies apply – the organisational skills to deal with lots of information and people every day, prioritising the feedback to deliver the best products and a keen eye for a good story that can fit the whole process together. However, the passion to go out and evangelise about a product because you’ve seen how dedicated people were to building it can be the difference between its success or failure.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
JB: I hate clichés but, having just taken a look at my diary, no two days are the same. There’s a lot of travel to all of our commercial markets, with plenty of time spent with our developers in Cambridge. Generally, a working day at some point will include:
- A meeting with a few customers to get some feedback and keep them updated on what we have coming out
- Troubleshooting some questions on the products from our sales team
- Undoubtedly, a call with the product owners and engineers on development progress
- A walk for some fresh air and a chance to catch my breath
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
JB: Rather than take a gap year, I’ve always wanted to incorporate travel into my job, so the opportunity to get out to so many places across the US and APAC is something I appreciate, even if it tests my organisational skills. I get to do a lot of presenting on topics I care about, and I enjoy the unpredictability of each day, although I’d love to have the time to see more people. I work with some incredibly intelligent, committed and charismatic people, which has contributed to a culture I already know I’ll have fond memories of.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
JB: A mix of quantitative and qualitative. I have a background in insight and data, so I don’t really believe something is working until I see metrics like usage, sales or whatever performance metrics my customers have going in the right direction. However, it’s just as important in my role to understand if people are happy that we’re solving a problem for them. This often means the most useful metric, and the one that indicates all the others are about to go the right way, is the buzz you have after a good presentation or meeting. That means that any day I feel like I’ve done something meaningful, or moved the dial for a product, I go home happy and on time.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
JB: Anything that helps me better understand the world around me. We have started to use our Predicts and Analytics products internally, as a way to practice what we preach and the difference it has made to our understanding of our clients and their needs is significant. It doesn’t count as a tool, but ultimately, I get the most out of listening to lots of people talk and building it into a narrative I can take back to our teams.
E: How did you get into product marketing, and where might you go from here?
JB: I’ve always been driven by trying to better understand how and why people make decisions. At Grapeshot, I feel we’ve barely scratched the surface of what the technology can do, and for whom, so I’m more excited at the moment to see how we can continue to add contextual intelligence to more business and consumer decisions. Failing that, I’d try to write about it.
E: Who is using media well at the moment?
JB: I recently got to work with some of our travel and airline clients, and some of the work they are doing seems really forward thinking. Rather than try to change how their target audience behaves, they came to us accepting that they can’t always be found in the right mindset, and that the way that their mindset changes and evolves so quickly is a challenge to embrace. Working with clients like that is rewarding.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to start in Product Marketing?
JB: Be curious, be brave, don’t be embarrassed to be passionate and enjoy working with people.
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