Div Manickam

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Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer
Div Manickam is a mindful soul and a believer in simplicity. From frameworks to mentoring to bring the best in each other: She enjoys sharing her experiences on career growth, authentic leadership,...more
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Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

Our messaging and positioning starts with this framework below. We combined messaging and positioning into one document and have it built out for each product, solution, and industry. We engage with product management to start and confirm the value proposition, key personas and their pain points based on current learnings from customers. Then we validate our messaging with sales, presales to gain insights into prospect conversations. 


This has become the guide for the content/editorial team and the other teams in marketing to help articulate business value.

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Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

As product marketing is part of the product organization, we look at data analysis and north star metrics to help in our decision-making process. Customer research and market analysis help to identify the unique pain points to develop the differentiated value proposition. 

CRM data analysis, buyer persona research (interviews with customers and external) and competitive intelligence (with sales, customers, partners and win/loss) help articulate the right value at the right time for the right segment.

Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

Often times, we say our platform has unlimited possibilities, it's the art of the possible -- because it truly is. But it doesn’t help the customer understand our unique differentiator vs any other option in the market. Starting with themes has been helpful to simplify the messaging hierarchy. We need to simplify the message, so it’s memorable. If we cannot do that, no matter how great the messaging sounds, it will be forgotten the next second.

We developed a messaging and positioning framework to help articulate customer needs and our value proposition across 4 main themes - Connect, Modernize, Transform and Innovate. It was simple to remember and helped anchor our portfolio messaging and positioning to those pillars.

Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

When we had one product marketing manager (2015), we had the product knowledge to articulate business value and simplify technical concepts. With addition of solution and industry marketing managers, we evolved to product and solution marketing(2017), and we started to focus on buyer personas and customer pain points. This led to the evolution of portfolio messaging as the anchor for our team to help showcase our value and differentiation as compared to product management or marketing, where we own product, solution, and industry messaging. Today(2019), I am honored to support a team of 12 high performing and mindful team members that are driven to be the voice of the customer. Our team responsibilities include portfolio messaging and positioning, buyer persona research, product and solution launches, and competitive intelligence as well.

When we are developing product messaging, we focus on the product and the features and capabilities that simplify the life for the user. Our messaging/positioning leads to assets like product briefs, technical whitepapers/ebooks, and demos that focus on product awesomeness.

When we are developing portfolio messaging (product, solutions, and industry), we are looking through the buyer persona lens. A buyer exists in a specific industry and their pain points may be unique to that industry. When we conducted our buyer persona research, our interview responses were loud and clear - everyone wanted to see use cases and scenarios that are relevant to their industry, not just a horizontal solution. This helped us to look at our top 5 buyer personas and we are developing messaging and positioning that is relevant for a specific target segment.

Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

This is something we would like to get better at within our team. We aspire to be persona-led and data-driven, but don’t have processes/tools in place to perform the right testing for messaging and positioning. Today, we are able to test messaging and positioning with the sales teams(joining customer calls for customer feedback), Customer advisory board. We have identified champions across sales, presales, etc. for focus areas or use cases (by solutions/products/industries) to help us test the messaging with biweekly guild meetings. We would like to put more processes and conduct surveys to analyze impact and ROI for effective messaging.

Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

Today, portfolio, platform, ecosystem and suite are used interchangeably depending on the use case or scenario. Every technology company wants to be a platform today that encompasses multiple products/services/offerings. 

  • Portfolio is a collection of products, industries, solutions, and services that focus on the buyer persona needs within a target segment. 
  • Platform is a group of products/services that builds the foundation or acts as the technology backbone and have synergies for customers to leverage capabilities across the platform.
  • Ecosystem is much broader and includes the business and every other entity that has a role in the customers’ industry landscape. 
  • Suite is a package of entities that meet a specific use case. eg: sales cloud
Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

It is recommended to start with one segment to test/iterate, to completely understand the buyer needs/value proposition and then build messaging for the other two segments. If it’s not unique for each segment, then it will be hard to position one overarching message. It will be challenging at first, but once you have the value proposition for each segment, you will naturally see the synergies and patterns.

If the message is too broad, it wouldn’t mean anything to any specific persona. Always test the message with Competition. If you change your company to a competitor, can they say the same message? That’s the best way to validate your differentiated value.

Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

Our team, Portfolio Messaging (product, industry and solutions) are part of the Product organization (I report to the Chief Product Officer) to help build synergy with Product Management and solutions team. We work closely with Product, Marketing and Sales to meet business needs. We have the process and team interlocks across Boomi from Demand Generation, Sales Enablement, Business Ops, Sales Ops etc.

Here is a good read for the holidays on how to think about where product marketing would sit. It depends on the company needs. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2019/09/30/where-is-product-marketing-or-portfolio-messaging-in-your-organization/#6215f0d747c9

Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

It's easy to use the words product, feature, and solution as different options. As product marketers, it's important for us to understand the subtle differences.

  • A feature is the smallest element or component that solves a specific job. 
  • A product includes a set of core features and functionality that solves for unique needs. 
  • A solution solves a business need and is typically tied to a target segment by market size and/or industry.
Div Manickam
Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

Category creation is a unique messaging and positioning initiative when your startup is providing a differentiated value that doesn’t exist in the industry today. When I think about new markets like the subscription economy or SaaS platforms, these categories didn’t exist a few decades ago. 

Every startup should look at existing categories and NOT try to fit into a category if that isn’t the value for customers. Often times, customer advisory boards help guide and share perspectives on the ecosystem and act as a sounding board for value creation for a new category.

Credentials & Highlights
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer
Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodData
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, CA
Knows About Messaging, Building a Product Marketing Team, Establishing Product Marketing, Product...more