Nikhil Balaraman

Nikhil BalaramanShare

Director, Retailer Product Marketing, Instacart
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Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
I think the mistake here is making it too long. I’d suggest an inverse triangle approach, and keep it short depending on the length and purpose of your briefing, probably no more than 5-10 slides. My typical lay out is: 1. Company slide (founded in, team, key logos, etc) 2. Market context (TAM/SAM/SOM as needed) 3. Problem statement: Key persona & pain points 4. Unique perspective: What’s your thesis/why you 5. Product overview: Perhaps a traditional marchitecture slide to start and then some screenshots or even better a 10min product demo walking thru a fictional user problem...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
I think the mistake here is making it too long. I’d suggest an inverse triangle approach, and keep it short depending on the length and purpose of your briefing, probably no more than 5-10 slides. My typical lay out is: 1. Company slide (founded in, team, key logos, etc) 2. Market context (TAM/SAM/SOM as needed) 3. Problem statement: Key persona & pain points 4. Unique perspective: What’s your thesis/why you 5. Product overview: Perhaps a traditional marchitecture slide to start and then some screenshots or even better a 10min product demo walking thru a fictional user problem...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
Analyst relations programs are best run as a partnership between PR/Comms teams and PMM. The PR and Comms teams will be helpful in driving longer term thinking and time horizons. How do we start to influence the narrative in the market today for the future, how do we position the company today for where we want to be in 3-5 years, those type of questions. For PMM, the value is in getting feedback on how you’re positioning products for buyers today, and driving awareness especially for enterprise buyers (CxOs) with the analyst community on what you have to offer. The best way to really do it...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
Honestly, this is a GREAT problem to have. If there’s no Wave or MQ for your category, then all the more reason for you to be in the top right quadrant once one comes out :) The first thing I would recommend is identifying which analysts are covering your space generally. Whether or not it’s specific to your category matters less, but having a mapping of who the 2-5 analysts are who might care about your space, and ultimately who might be the ones to create a Wave or MQ is what matters. Next, understand their research. Get your hands on whatever material you can, sign up for a license, a...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
At a B2B company PMM and Product cannot function without each other. There’s simply not enough time in the day for either team to do the other team’s job. I think the best way for PMMs to stay connect as a valuable partner to product is to help Product with understanding the market context and customer needs in a way that goes beyond just the job to be done or the pixels on the screen. A great product marketer will help set a vision and narrative for everyone – sales, product, engineering, the whole organization – that helps to contextualize the roadmap in terms of what the customer’s busin...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
Depending on your target marketing and how active they are on these type of review sites, you may end up finding that G2 and TrustRadius are actually more effective than analysts. This is more likely to be the case if your economic buyer and your user personas line up more often than not, as it is not uncommon for buyers, especially of single seat tools or point solutions, to buy that software similar to how one might choose a restaurant for dinner in a city they’re visiting. As you start to move upmarket and your buyer personas turn into committees it does become less likely that G2 and...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
These things are bound to happen, but the good news in today’s world is that customers are likely getting their information from multiple sources. If I were in rapid response mode, I’d probably start by lining up some blog posts and customer testimonials that address the perceived weakness. Perhaps even hosting a webinar and running a counter narrative that goes directly in the face of the report…something like “Analyst X says we’re terrible at this…attend this webinar to find out why they’re wrong!”. Longer term, it comes down to communication. The analyst community can only write about...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
Customer advisory boards are great ways to bring product, leadership, and your customers face-to-face to really help everyone understand if what is being built will really solve customer needs. Along the entire product development journey, there are ways to involve customers that aren’t just focused on getting people to use a beta version of a product. I have found that customer advisory programs that meet semi-regularly and ideally at least once a year in person are helpful in building rapport both between product, leadership, and customers, but also between customers themselves–becoming t...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
It is important for all functions across the company to build empathy for users. Regardless of your segment, small advisory boards are helpful for this, and can be set up to feature 10-20 key customers who meet quarterly (or more or less often) to review roadmaps and provide feedback on either new initiatives or existing products. The key here is getting leadership buy-in across the exec team, as they will likely be the main headlines to actually get key customers to attend these sessions. Depending on the level of budget you have, getting teams together to go onsite with customers and a...
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, InstacartMarch 22
Starting with the customer insight is always the #1 job of a product marketer. Ideal customer profile, target verticals, buyer personas, etc these are things that aren’t going to change on a weekly or monthly basis. However, as part of routine planning cycles – perhaps every 3, 6 or 12 months depending on your market or industry, it’s always good to re-evaluate with sales and CS leadership and understand if we’ve been seeing any shifts in user base or even with the demand gen team to understand how mix in titles might have changed in your inbound lead mix. Competitive insights are a sepa...
Credentials & Highlights
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, California
Knows About Sales Enablement, Analyst Relations, Enterprise Product Marketing, Growth Product Mar...more
Work With Nikhil
Consumer Product Marketing Manager
San Francisco, CA or New York, NY or Remote
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