Community Spotlight: Salsify's Evelyn Hartz on How to Excel in Product Marketing

This post was written by Mary Austin Williams, an associate editor at Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). Follow her, @mawill8.

As part of Boston Content’s new Community Spotlight series, we sat down with Evelyn Hartz, marketing associate at Salsify. Before joining Salsify, Hartz served as a development coordinator at BUILD, an organization that uses entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth in under-resourced communities and equip them for high school, college and career success. In our discussion, Hartz shared what it takes to truly be a great product marketer.

Mary Austin Williams:  What is product marketing exactly?

Evelyn Hartz: I couldn’t describe product marketing better than HubSpot’s Vice President of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson:

Product Marketing sits right at the intersection of the product team. Our job is to bring products to market. That includes everything from setting the positioning and messaging, to running product launches, to making sure the sales team understands how to talk about the product and making sure customers know how to use it.”

At Salsify, my job is to synthesize inputs from customers, prospects and the market, and communicate my findings to the rest of the company — and ultimately, back out to current and customers. My day is usually spent researching our competitive landscape, sitting in on calls with customers and prospects, understanding how our customers use our product and, in general, being the voice of the market internally.

What does a typical day at Salsify look like for you?

No day is the same, but most days, I spend a lot of time working with our sales team to understand the needs of the market and what resources they need to be successful. I also work closely with our product management team to educate internal audiences, prospects and customers about new feature releases, and learn from the feedback we receive. Finally, a good chunk of my day is spent writing to arm the sales and marketing teams with foundational content to be used across channels.

As a product marketer, you’re often working across departments. How do you manage the coordination of these efforts to ensure the entire organization is on the same page? 

I think it starts with listening to each department to understand what each team needs to effectively communicate the core business value of our product. For example, the level of knowledge a member of the sales team needs often differs from the knowledge a member of the customer success team needs to be successful.

It’s easier when you have solid positioning that then serves as the touchstone for all other messaging. Good positioning lays out the essence of what you do and the value that you provide to your customers.

If you have good positioning in place, it’s simply a matter of figuring out how to package it up for different audiences, both internal and external. If you don’t have good positioning, it’s easy to muddle your message.

Sketch via  Iris Amelia Febres . Follow her,  @epubpupil . 

Sketch via Iris Amelia Febres. Follow her, @epubpupil

In what aspects of your job does content creation come into play?

Oftentimes, I’m writing content targeted at our customers and prospects who are late in the sales cycle. Much of the time, that comes in the form of blog posts targeted at the bottom of the funnel, or working with our customer enablement team to create clear, consistent messaging for our customers. We also utilize internal resources in the form of enablement materials for our sales and customer success teams.

Being a product marketer requires a deep understanding of your customer. In what ways does your team get to know your customer better and ensure you’re solving their pain points?

[A few weeks ago], we had our first Customer Summit. It was great to take a step back and hear what our customers think about during their day-to-day and the challenges they face, and to think about how we can solve for those challenges in the future.

We also regularly sit in on customer calls and weigh in when customers are figuring out how to build out their technology ecosystem, and where we might provide additional value.

What’s been your greatest challenge thus far? And, your greatest achievement?

My greatest challenge has been beefing up my technical skills and knowledge in order to better communicate with our product and customer success teams, and truly empathize with our customers. I’ve learned a lot in the last six months working at Salsify, but am always looking for ways to dive deeper and expand my knowledge base.

My greatest achievement has been building relationships with different internal teams and our customers, so that I can effectively carry out our mission as a team.

What inspires you?

At Salsify, I’m lucky in that I have a lot of people to look up to and learn from. This extends across the board, from our leadership and management teams to my peers.

I particularly appreciate the diversity of perspectives at Salsify. We have employees from Israel, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and all over the country, as well as people with a variety of different former professional backgrounds, from education, to law, to those who have spent their whole careers in technology. It may sound corny, but I really enjoy being surrounded by good people and am never too far away from a fresh point of view.