When Girish Mathrubootham, CEO, Freshdesk) hired yours truly, a complete novice straight out of B-School, I was Freshdesk’s employee no. 8, and we operated out of a nondescript location deep in south Chennai, from two small rooms behind a quaint Catholic church. Painted in our company’s signature teal color and equipped with an internet connection that had a mind of its own, our old office was for me the ultimate symbol of the true entrepreneur – spare, utilitarian and with a contagious energy that infected everyone.It was then that G, as we call the boss, told me to put my Kotler away and learn by doing, rather than falling into the trap MBAs usually fall into, of analyzing everything but failing to execute even a single one.I tried to do that, and learned a lot from a world class team of marketers along the way. Our marketing has received some praise, and though we’re light years away from where we want to be, I’d love to share a few things with the product community.Here are five questions for product marketers like me -
Are you telling a great story?
The answer should be a resounding yes. If not, well, you should be. A technology product’s website is its showroom, and like showroom space is gold for the retailer, so is our website. And this is where we need to get our story across. We humans understand and assimilate stories much more easily than we do disparate facts. It’s just how we are. And that is why, to make it easy for the customer to understand our product offering, to digest it, there needs to be a story, told in a simple way, as clearly as possible, with a definite call to action. For tips and techniques you can use, here’s a post from Jonah Sachs, author of ‘The Storytelling Wars’. The book itself is quite good, and I highly recommend it.
Is the language perfect, the communication flawless?
You should be saying yes even before you read the question completely. As product marketers, more often than not, our target market is international, and there can be no compromise on grammar and language. The writing needs to be top drawer. Full stop. In fact, this was the reason I got the chance to become a product marketer in the first place. G did not hire me because of my MBA degree, G hired me because he judged me to be a good writer and because I was able to get a point across. When we at Freshdesk write copy for our site and content for our blog, there is great emphasis on grammatical accuracy and narrative tone. None of us is Shakespeare of course, but selling to respected companies abroad, we can’t afford to drop the ball on this – the very brand is at stake.
Is more time being spent on perfecting things than on getting stuff out?
This question is specifically for content marketers like me. The desirable answer is of course no, but if your answer is yes, then rejoice. You now have a chance to simplify your content delivery stream and it’s going to give you great results. What you need to do is this – don’t keep reviewing and perfecting the content you write or the infographics you make or the SEO pages you craft. Just get them out. Nothing is going to be absolutely perfect. Even Beethoven thought his symphonies were flawed. After a point, the difference between good enough and perfect is so negligible you’ll need a microscope to find out. Something ‘good enough’ that’s out there and garnering eyeballs always, always, trumps that ‘perfect’ thing which will take another week. Don’t ‘review’ over and over again. Just get it out.
Are there clear strategies for social, content & customer service?
Yes, you need them. Just so every employee knows what’s going on and what the organization’s outlook is. At Freshdesk, being a customer support company ourselves, our service is our brand. Every single customer of ours is treated with respect and the questions our support and sales teams ask them, boil down to roughly this – what problem of yours can we solve today? This is ingrained in the way we do things and it’s now in our very DNA. Our customer service strategy is clear – whatever we can do for him/her, we will. This clarity is very important. Because when different teams talk to customers and prospects, this consistency will become your brand, and then reinforce itself. This is exactly how a brand is built. Same with your content and social strategy. The key word is consistency. Just remember that with every piece of content and tweet and Facebook post you put out there, your brand is being constructed, bit by bit.
Are new things being tried out, and are the results being recorded?
Yes, yes and yes. If A/B testing is not (at least) a weekly activity, you are doing something wrong. You should be constantly trying out new avenues for growth and new platforms for attracting customers. A few will work, many will not. Don’t worry. This isn’t sunk cost, not at all. Write down the results and move on. This way after a point of time, you know which channels to invest in and which channels to avoid. The data you collect during all this will give you the answers you need to the channel-ROI question. And in the age of newer platforms and channels almost every month, if you continuously try new things – you might actually be the first movers into Klondike! Give yourself that chance.