In our next PMA Member Spotlight, we steal an hour with Lauren Yeoman, Product Marketing Manager at Ambit. Lauren has bragging rights to being not only one of our founding community members but also the very first person in New Zealand to ever take our Product Marketing Core course!
Her teammates have dubbed her a “sagacious”, “closet geek” but we wanted to get to know more about the person behind the product marketer. So, how exactly does a little girl with dreams of going to veterinary school in South Africa end up on an “Alice in Wonderland adventure” into product marketing?
Find out as we learn more about what led Lauren to where she is now, how she defines the increasingly ambiguous role of PMM, and how she likes to wind down after a wild week of plate-spinning. (Spoiler: with her German Shepherd puppy, Ralph Lauren! 🥺)
“I did the Product Marketing Core certification, which I thoroughly enjoyed and it answered all my questions and made life really easy as I was transitioning into my new position. PMA gave me confidence and helped me avoid that imposter syndrome that we all suffer with sometimes. I felt super confident and that was literally because I’d done the course and had the community behind me.” - Lauren Yeoman
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How did you get into product marketing?
Lauren: I got my first taste of SaaS products when working at a digital product studio a couple of years ago. One of the developers told me he could automate most of my work as a marketer. That got me thinking about the future of work, and the relationship between humans and technology. I side-stepped into the world of artificial intelligence and product marketing, interviewing AI companies with product teams to learn more about the role.
I discovered there were many questions around what product marketing was, and how it fitted into a company, dependent on the company lifecycle. Many perceived it as digital marketing for SaaS or product companies, others confused it with the Product Owner role. It was through these discussions that I interviewed for product marketing roles, and chose Ambit to start that journey with. I call it my 'Alice in Wonderland adventure' because I fell down the rabbit whole of product marketing and met a lot of great characters along the way.
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So, how did you come to join PMA?
Lauren: I like to take calculated risks and jump while building my wings on the way down. I’ve built the confidence to do this, since I’ve started landing on my feet more often using this technique. It’s one of the ways I’m learning to overcome the imposter syndrome I know so many of us experience at times. The wings in this case took the form of the Product Marketing Alliance.
I found them while researching Product Marketing Certifications, and promptly joined the Slack group as a paid, founding member. At that stage, I didn’t realise PMA was just starting out, but I liked their explanation of what product marketing is, and the framework they’ve taken to market. I haven’t looked back since. The community of people is amazing – they’re truly knowledgeable and happy to share their learnings through open discussions, and that’s so powerful. I’ve spoken with VPs to interns, had the privilege of working with Div Manickam as my mentor, and became one of the first students in New Zealand to become certified through the Product Marketing Core certification.
What do you find most valuable about being part of PMA?
Lauren: The question PMA answers exceptionally well is: 'What is product marketing?', and they top it off with the tools, resources and community product marketers need to succeed. PMA also does a great job of providing a coherent roadmap that you can follow. I had my first great mentoring opportunity through PMA, which was a fantastic chance to get insight and guidance into my product marketing career. I’m a fan of the ‘see one, do one, teach one’ learning approach, and being part of the PMA community enables you to take hold of, and be part of all three – enabling you to learn both didactically, collaboratively, and build capability within your team at work.
Did you always want to be a product marketer?
Lauren: No, I first wanted to be a vet, and then a war journalist. I think because I’ve always been fascinated by living things: the make-up of living things, the power of communication, behaviour, identity, health, spirituality and what drives a living being to do what it does. I ended up studying English Literature, Psychology, and Film & Media, before moving into design and marketing-related studies. These things easily transitioned into marketing and product marketing over time. Looking back, it’s easy to see how my love of people and relentless need-to-know has sewn all the patterns together.
What would your definition of product marketing be?
Lauren: I think it’s a brilliantly collaborative role and I describe it as being the heart of where the marketing, sales, and customer success teams meet - we sit in the middle. Together with those teams, we build personalized customer experiences that continually scale through growth and engagement, and provide profit and satisfaction. It’s a multifaceted, hybrid role because you get to be part of the ‘doing’; you are part of the team and you’re also part of the project management.
You’ll be working with the sales team on whatever their goals are, like shortening the sales cycle or minimizing the effort it takes to get a sale across the line. You’ll be working with the marketing team on messaging and positioning, and building a cohesive marketing strategy with a narrative. You’ll be working with the product team to create Go-to-Market strategies, and customer feedback cycles so that you can convey the voice of the customer, and constantly search for product-market fit. As far as customer success is concerned, it’s about increasing customer engagement and retention, and creating the best customer onboarding experiences.
It’s a huge role and it’s highly cross-collaborative and it’s great because as a person, you’re learning so much all the time. It’s so dynamic because you get to understand the architecture of products and how they come together with people.
Give us a snapshot of your current role of PMM at Ambit...
Lauren: We're in a really great part of our product lifecycle at the moment where our company is transitioning into the next level of finding product-market fit and showcasing our point of differentiation. What that looks like for me, is transitioning the marketing team from a branding and communications marketing focus to a product marketing focus. This includes teaching narrative design, looking deeper into our verticals, re-assessing our personas and journey maps, and working through each one to set up and test the foundational marketing strategies.
I’m working with the sales team on our sales cycle, mapping out and analysing each touchpoint from first contact through to becoming a customer. We can see how long our cycle is, how we can reduce sales effort and shorten the cycle, what attribution marketing contributes and what resources sales require that are effective.
There are two projects that have just kicked off with the customer success team: We’re upskilling our own Digital Employee, BIT, to showcase the many aspects of his capability from lead generation, to concierge and customer support, and we’re working on our onboarding programme for clients. I’m also working with the product team to get a turnkey version of Ambit onto the AWS Marketplace.
I also organise the Conversation Community events which occur every six weeks, and assist with PR. Our next event is an official Techweek21 event in the form of a debate. We run these events to stimulate conversation, inspire new ideas, and convey alternative perspectives. So, there’s a lot of projects across the various teams that I’m involved with every day, which of course is the nature of the role.
What words do you think your team would use to describe you?
Lauren: I actually asked them and they came up with some interesting ones... 'Sagacious', which is “showing keen mental discernment and good judgment”; 'enterprising', which is “having or showing initiative or resourcefulness”. Some other words they gave me were: generous, observant, curious, brilliant, energetic, closet geek, and zealous. It’s always interesting to find out how others see you, and how you see yourself.
If you could swap places with anyone in your org for the day, who would it be and why?
Lauren: Tim Warren is our founder and it would definitely have to be him. I want to have my own company one day and the founder is the heart and vision of any company. Tim has a very clear vision and I just love how he has created the Ambit team by hiring people to do what they do best and then putting them into those positions.
At the moment, I’m tinkering around with a personal side project together with my business partner. It’s been a really hands-on experience and we’re very much in the research and prototype phase. If we can get it right, I think it has the chance to change the behaviour and lives of people for the better when it comes to online shopping. I love the idea of getting people together and then building something together that has potential to change the lives of others.
What are your top tips on collaborating across time zones?
Lauren: I literally just use the world clock app on my iPhone! It’s the best thing ever. I’m in New Zealand, which is at the end of the earth, so as far as working with people is concerned, the best thing I can do is just accept that I’ve got a lot of early mornings! When I first joined PMA, I had to get up at 3am for a Customer Advisory Board meeting, and when I was studying Product Marketing Core I had lectures from 4am. My advice would be to just stay super, super gracious; don’t be late if you’re going to be working online with people, present yourself as well as you can, and have your meeting agendas well-organized. Finally, learn to use online tools to your advantage. One of my favourites is Miro, for example.
After all that plate-spinning, how do you like to unwind after a super busy week?
Lauren: I have a fantastic husband who’s also my best friend and we actually just love to hang out together at the end of the week. He’ll drink a glass of wine, we’ll talk about our week, and laugh together. We’ve got a five-month-old German Shepherd puppy called Ralph Lauren, so we also take him walking and swimming in the evenings after work. On weekends, we love to ride motocross at the Sandpit in Woodhill.
A massive thank you to Lauren for her kind words, and for staying up late in NZ to let us interview her all the way from PMA HQ in the UK!
Fancy another PMA Member Spotlight whilst we're at it?
Catch up with Mark Assini, Product Marketing Manager at Voices 👇
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