Hila Segal

Hila SegalShare

VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI
I am a product marketing leader with over 15 years of experience designing and executing GTM strategies for innovative, high-growth SaaS solutions. I helped early-stage start-ups and large enterpri...more
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Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

What is the role of product marketing, and why do you want to do the job. I care about not just what the answer is but also how candidates deliver it. Are they giving me a textbook answer or telling me a story about their proudest PMM experience or a project that significantly impacted the business or a day in their life as a PMM.

Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

Strong PMMs are good writers, know their product inside and out, experts of the competitive landscape, messaging geniuses and storytellers, BFFs with the sales team, GTM architects and excellent project managers. I like to think about a good PMM as a:

  • A psychologist who can develop a deep understanding of the fears, aspirations, hopes, and dreams of buyers and target personas.
  • An explorer seeking to learn more, discover more, and do more; bringing curiosity and some risk taking to product messaging and positioning. 
  • A teacher who can inspire an audience with subject matter knowledge and possess excellent preparation and organization skills.
  • A conductor, leading cross-functional teams, unifying performers, and setting the tempo of product launches and other GTM initiatives.  
  • An artist, who is creative and adventurous but also persistent and disciplined to deliver top results.
Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

Advancing to a director level can happen as an individual contributor when the scope of the role is expanded, and more responsibility is given to you—for example, leading product marketing for a product line or multiple product lines. You can also step into a people manager role. No matter what path you choose, transitioning into a director role means graduating from product marketing execution into designing a strategic product marketing roadmap that aligns with company goals and the needs of the business. How to do that?

  • Ensure you have a good understanding of your company's strategic initiatives (for example, going up market or transitioning to recurring revenue models).
  • Develop a POV on how product marketing can help achieve corporate goals  
  • Build product marketing priorities and OKRs, socialize them with marketing, product, and the GTM organization for visibility and buy-in.
Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

Today, there are so many fantastic resources and community groups, certainly more than when I started as a pmm. So I'll focus my answer on other ways you can continue to grow professionally:

  • Find a mentor. Identify a product marketer who's further on in their career than you and ask them to be your mentor. It doesn't have to be someone you know or have worked with in the past. Reach out and explain what you are trying to accomplish and what pmm skills you are looking to develop. Ideally, you want to find someone who works in your industry and has a career path similar to the one you're pursuing. Once you have a mentor, do the hard work and come prepared with topics, scenarios, and situations that you need guidance on. Your time with your mentor is the best opportunity to grow your PMM skill set and leadership skills, especially if you want to become a manager.
  • Become a mentor. I'm a firm believer that everyone has something to give, and that mentoring is as fulfilling to the mentor as it is for the mentee. Identify your PMM superpowers and offer younger product marketers the opportunity to learn from you. I guarantee you'll learn a ton from it, too - including how things are done in other companies, how to handle new situations you might not have dealt with before, how to provide meaningful coaching. You might be saying, "I'm still learning myself. What do I have to offer?" so I encourage you to dig deep and find what it is that you do well. I'm sure there are a few things you can think of. 
  • Follow PMM stars on LinkedIn. In addition to all the slack channels, webinars, and AMAs, pay attention to what is organically shared by other PMMs. IMO, these are the real gems - daily experiences, POVs, best practices, and templates that are super impactful and you can quickly put into practice in your organization. (Btw, these are the folks you can later target as your potential mentors).
Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

Building diverse working relationships with different stakeholders across the organization is one of the most critical secret powers of a successful product marketer. Doing that not only gives you access to information and knowledge, but it will also help you collaborate more effectively on major projects. Here are the tops internal relationships you need to master:

  • Product managers - think about this relationship like a true marriage, and your children are the products you bring to market together (and raise them to become successful adults). Trust, honesty, and open communications are key to success here. 
  • Growth & content marketers - these are your partners in driving demand for your products. Make sure they are educated and excited about new product capabilities and work with them to design high-impact campaigns. 
  • Sellers and sales leaders - I don't believe you can be successful as a PMM if you're not engaged with the sales team regularly. Hear what's working and what's not, work with them on new tools to drive deal velocity, learn from them about the competition, and help them win. Invest here and build relationships from the individual rep level to the regional VPs and revenue leaders. 
  • Customer success - If you're in SaaS, driving cross-sell and up-sell revenue from existing customers is as important as generating net new dollars from your product. Customer success are your partners in driving customer interest and engagement.
Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

The role of a product marketer is very different in every company. Still, I believe you shape up the position in your organization - the strengths, interests, and passions you bring with you can expand the role beyond its initial job description. Whether you're a PMM at a global enterprise with thousands of employees or part of a lean and mean marketing team at a fast-growing start-up, you have to control your own destiny. 

The vast majority of learning and development happens not in formal training programs, but rather on the job—through developmental assignments. Identify the set of PMM skills that are important for you to develop - it can be more opportunities to actively pitch your product in sales cycles, running large quarterly launches, or sharpening your writing skills. From here, you have to continually look for new projects and ways to get yourself involved in a broad set of initiatives across the company. Take advantage of your connections in sales, enablement, GTM, product management, customer success, and devote at least 10-15% of your time to extra curricular activities. Coordinate this with your manager and make it part of your OKRs (objectives and key results).

Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

Start by writing down your career goals. Answer questions like:

  • What experiences are you looking to get in the next phase of your career, and why?
  • Why do you think this is the right role, time, and environment to deliver on those experiences?
  • What things have you done in your past that give you confidence in your ability to perform in this role? What challenges do you foresee?
  • What are your expectations from management?

Use this career development framework to have a conversation with your manager about your aspirations, where you currently stand and develop a mutual understanding about the next steps to achieve your goals.

Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsJanuary 28

Switching companies as part of your PMM journey is a good thing (if you're not jumping around too much). It will give you a broader perspective on different GTM channels, business models, org structures, sales processes, etc. You just need to make sure you are growing and acquiring new skills with every role. Even if you're making lateral moves, seek out new areas of responsibilities and more opportunities to do things you've never done before - maybe take on analyst relations or build the competitive intelligence program from the ground up.

Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsMay 30
  1. Listen to sales/CS calls. As a team on 1 you can't be on every call but make it a weekly habit to listen to at least 5-10 calls (you can listen at 1.5 or 2x speed 😊). Be strategic about the calls you listen to - use keyword search or tagging for key topics of interest that are relevant to your business like competitors, pricing, implementation, ROI, etc. This will give you great insights into what your customers and prospects care about and how your team is responding. 
  2. Read G2 reviews. There's so much information shared in these reviews about what your customers like or don't like and what matters to them. You can also make it a fun activity with your CS team - once a quarter host a happy hour and each one reads a couple of reviews out loud (record it and you have a great video to share on social). 
  3. Follow NPS comments. If your team is running NPS surveys, comments left by your customers are also a great source of intel. You can btw, easily turn these comments into customer quotes that once approved can be used in your marketing content, social, sales deck, etc. As a marketing team of 1, you need to multiply yourself so this will allow you to kill 2 birds with one stone. 
  4. Set a goal for yourself to talk to at least x customers every quarter. It can be a formal interview or just listening in to a customer QBR.   

Hila Segal
Hila Segal
VP Product & Customer Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsMay 30

The short answer is customer validation. The best messaging is what comes out of your customer's mouth so spend time learning from your customers and informing your base messaging. But even after you validated your messaging, test it. Run a/b tests in digital, email, and other channels to show you what's resonating, and use this data-driven insight to continue to refine your messaging. Bring all of this data to your executives to create the needed alignment. 

Credentials & Highlights
VP Product & Customer Marketing at Observe.AI
Formerly Clari, Vendavo, Amdocs
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Studied at Industrial Engineering
Lives In San Mateo, California
Hobbies include Reading, hiking, traveling, food traveling, spending time with friends and family
Knows About Category Creation, Multi-Year Product Launches, Product Launches, Building a Product ...more
Speaks English, Hebrew