Cheryl Neoh

Cheryl NeohShare

Director, Product Marketing - Core Restaurant & SMB Segments, Toast
Previously at: - Zendesk - Electronic Arts (EA) - BBDO (clients incl. HBO, Hyatt, Tiffany & Co, Bayer, J&J, The Economist)
Cheryl Neoh
Cheryl Neoh
Director, Product Marketing - Core Restaurant & SMB Segments, Toast | Formerly ZendeskAugust 28

I would challenge candidates not just to think about what questions to ask, but how best to position / ask the questions.

  • Get specific: The more specific you can be with regards to questions about the role itself, the better you showcase your understanding of what the role entails. 
  • Answers-first; Demonstrate that you have a POV: This may seem counterintuitive but personally, I'm most impressed when candidates ground their questions with an answers-first approach. It shows they've done due diligence researching the role / company itself and are looking to understand how their POV aligns (or doesn't) with the hiring manager's expectations and/or realities of how the company's inner workings. At the earlier stages of your career, it isn't so much about showing you have the "right" way of thinking, but more that you are able to formulate a data/insight-backed POV to help navigate the world of PMM, which can be ambiguous.  

As examples:

  • As a twist on the "What are your expectations of performance in this role within the first 30/60/90 days", I recommend sharing your own proposal of how/what you plan to do in that timeframe, and asking how that jives with what the hiring manager envisions. This approach shows serious intent and an understanding of the top priorities of the role. 
  • Similarly, instead of simply asking "How is success measured in this role?", consider sharing your perspective along the lines of "Based on what I've gathered, XYZ metrics seem like important measures of success in this role. Are those the right metrics to prioritize and/or are there other important components to keep in mind?"

Taking the extra 5-10 mins to read up on and ask questions about recent press releases or earnings, demonstrate specific interest in the company/role. Ultimately, being prepared with lots of questions in itself is a good start to signaling excitement. 

Cheryl Neoh
Cheryl Neoh
Director, Product Marketing - Core Restaurant & SMB Segments, Toast | Formerly ZendeskAugust 28

From a messaging perspective, you need to consider what's the "1+1=3" story. Part of this entails understanding when in the funnel to message on platform/solution-level benefits vs. more product-specific benefits, i.e. developing campaign messaging hierarchy so there's a red thread narrative that ties it all together. This also needs to be reflected in a holistic approach to pricing & packaging, otherwise you risk the perception of nickel & diming your customers with add-ons.

Consider campaign messaging frequency -- Look to optimize the customer experience by streamlining communication, instead of bombarding their inbox with disparate notifications.

Another consideration is how your audience needs may vary -- e.g. How do your smaller customers value/perceive "platform" differently than your larger customers? Smaller customers may feel 'oversold' or that the entire platform is far more than what they actually need on a day-to-day basis.

Org structure is also an important element of transitioning into a platform company. The challenge of "shipping one's org chart" often stems from teams operating too much within their respective business unit/product silos. It takes conscious effort to exercise & scale new x-functional collaboration muscles and so frequent alignment on priorities is key.

Cheryl Neoh
Cheryl Neoh
Director, Product Marketing - Core Restaurant & SMB Segments, Toast | Formerly ZendeskAugust 28
  • Regular catch-ups (1-on-1s): These are important opportunities for specific line-of-business (LOB) / product leads to share top priorities & initiatives with those who operate more cross-functionally across PMM, and vice versa. In addition to 1:1s, these can also be in the form of quarterly roadshows between partnering teams. 
  • Regular readouts (1-to-many): Whether its giving visibility into the planned campaign calendar, or sharing recent research, finding a cadence and channel to regularly socialize the work being done across different teams within PMM helps cross-polinate ideas. These readouts serve as springboards to ensure consistency, optimize / expand on existing efforts, while avoiding duplication. 

TL;DR: It's a two-way street. Make a conscious effort to get plugged in

For every product launch, consider which solutions/segments to whom it's particularly applicable and invite those counterparts to share input as subject matter experts. 

In a similar vein, PMMs who work more horizontally across product marketing should proactively be plugging themselves into launch & campaign calendars to capitalize on the right opportunities and marketable moments. Challenge teams to be specific about the type(s) of good fit customers so you can tailor use-cases and examples to ensure positioning is even more relevant. 

Credentials & Highlights
Director, Product Marketing - Core Restaurant & SMB Segments at Toast
Formerly Zendesk
Lives In San Francisco, CA
Knows About Platform and Solutions Product Marketing