Grant Shirk

Grant Shirk

Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki, Cisco
Grant Shirk is the Head of Product Marketing for Cisco Meraki. With over two decades of experience in marketing strategy, positioning, product design, and leadership, he's truly an enterprise softw...more

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Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
I think this one just dropped in. Let's do it live! My gut reaction is: If you're being asked to do "extensive competitive research," something is broken. And you should say no, gracefully. It's very difficult, if not impossible to learn how to win in a market by looking at a competitive produ...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
This is highly requested, so I'll take a shot at it. But first, an acknowlegement of bias: I don't really like competitive tools that much. I find they put more emphasis on collection than utilization and understanding. Kind of like how we all can't remember anyone's phone number any more because...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
The answer here is in the question. My approach to differentiation starts with understanding why the product or service you're responsible is uniquely suited to a specific customer. And then focus on what makes you great, not what makes others less good. Too many companies (including a few I'v...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
This is the job within the job. You're always balancing two macro audiences: External (prospects and customers) and Internal (well, all your coworkers).  I'll reiterate what I've said elsewhere today. This is all about repetition, repetition, repetition. Put your messaging and positioning fram...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
I'll start with the assumption that this isn't a product you can personally go out and procure on your own. Hands-on is always great.  Review sites are good, and can often generate a list of targets to call for more qualitative research. My biggest piece of advice here is to always do compete ...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
I feel like every organization struggles with this. Everyone (and every function) brings their own definitions and biases with them.  Here is my definition of this: * Positioning: This is the combination of audience definition, problem statement, product/category definition, and unique di...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
Answer one: Iterate, iterate, iterate. Answer two: Yes, brand positioning and product positioning are inextricably tied.  A statement that sounds bold but shouldn't be: Product marketing should drive brand positioning. It's the why of what we do, it stems from the problems we're solving, and ...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
Your best bet is always "talk to customers." You'll learn more in 10 conversations with prospects and customers than you will with $10K or $20K in market analysis.  To keep it fresh, participate in weekly customer calls and prospecting. You'll hear where the threats are coming from immediately...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
Oof, tough situation. It's very hard to navigate these situations, and tougher to give advice without context into why that group might be protective. Often, if you take an open mind in and ask, you'll learn that there are good reasons for this. Then you'll have to adapt what you want to learn. ...more
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki
This requires a few different tactics depending on the size of your sales team. YMMV based on culture, sales leadership, enablement structure, but it's a good place to start.  One thing that's constant, though. Establish a one-stop shop for all competitive materials (Folder in sales portal, in...more
Credentials & Highlights
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki at Cisco
Formerly Tellme Networks, Microsoft, Box, Vera, Scout RFP, and Sisu Data, to name a few.
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In Pleasanton, California
Knows About Influencing the Product Roadmap, Sales Content, Technical Product Marketing, Enterpri...more