Kimberlee West is a marketing strategist with over 10 years of experience minimizing jargon and simplifying the positioning for the product and service-based businesses.
Kim is the Senior Product Marketing Manager at 6sense, an Account-Based Orchestration Platform helps revenue teams identify and close more opportunities by putting the power of AI, big data and machine learning behind every member of the B2B revenue team, empowering them to uncover anonymous buying behaviour, prioritize fragmented data to focus on accounts in the market, and engage resistant buying teams with personalized, multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns.
Kim is also the founder of KidsSwag.ca, An eCommerce store that promotes diversity and inclusion through character-based swag for kids. A mother of two girls Kim was inspired to create Kids Swag when she realized her girls’ rooms and accessories had images that didn’t reflect their beauty.
Being a marketer Kim understood the power of images and videos in shaping perceptions and she wanted to ensure her girls were constantly reminded of their value and beauty. Kids Swag delivers on Kim’s vision of mindful representation and making it easy for parents to diversify the images in their child lives.
In episode 15, we discussed how product marketing plays a crucial role in managing the team and also achieving demand gen. Kim also spoke about the challenge a marketer has to position a brand globally and the core elements that help in achieving that.
Here’s Pranav, Co-founder at guch, speaking to Kimberlee.
Pranav Chimulkar: Hey guys, welcome to the MOV podcast that is Mad over videos by guch. This is episode number 15. And today’s episode we have a guest from Xactly Corp. Again, Kimberlee is a senior product marketing manager at Xactly, and she also runs her own side hustle called KidSwag. Again, a very interesting background that she has. And today. I mean, what I find interesting is because of my own background in incentive compensation during one of my previous roles, I think I’ve got to be certainly enjoying the conversation with her. So I don’t want to waste a lot of time, we might fall short of it. I would like to add her to the stream. And I would like everybody to welcome Kimberly to the podcast. Hi, Kimberlee, how are you?
Kimberlee West: I’m doing well. Thank you so much for having me.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolute pleasure to have you, thank you for taking time out and agreeing to do this at a such a short notice. I think we just reached out to you a couple of days ago and you said yes. So brilliant. Thank you so much.
Kimberlee West: No problem, right. I’m a big proponent of- if somebody asks if you’re available, say yes. You never know what that might lead to. So it’s a great mantra to have.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. I swear by. And I’m really happy that you could make it. So I don’t want to waste a lot of time in this. I quickly would like to get an intro about your background, a couple of lines of how, and what has led you to the work that you’re doing right now. And Xactly. And how did how has your career progressed?
Kimberlee West: I love what you said a couple of lines haha! Like trying to summarize 20 years of life in a couple of lives. But I can do that. I really got into Product Marketing through discovery, that same idea of saying yes, and so I was working in the market research intelligence side of things. I started meeting with a lot of different marketers at that point, I didn’t think I was necessarily a marketer, I just was really good at understanding analytics and managing data platforms. And when I spoke to a few people, they’re like, well, what you’re doing, because I would then turn that into different types of reports. And we’re talking about content, I would create video content, etc. Based on those insights, they’re like, well, what you’re doing is marketing that’s like, Oh, is it really? Because I always felt like marketing was more just like flashy, fun stuff. And so I love Product Marketing. And I came into it because a big chunk of product marketing is actually understanding your audience. It’s knowing what types of factors are happening in the economy that are impacting people’s decision making. It’s taking a number of different types of information sources, and putting it together that is bite size and easy for people to understand. And so then I naturally navigated to product marketing, and it’s nice. The industry risked me and the companies that I’ve worked that have been fantastic in the experiences that I’ve had. And that’s really how I got here.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. I think as I said, it’s very hard to summarize this into two lines. And then you did absolutely amazing job at it. Because often than not, I don’t think so. Like I think the resume is not enough to put out everything that you’ve learned and you’ve practiced in those two decades of experience that you have. This definitely was a great job. First of all, thank you so much, for we saved a lot of time, but then I think we got exactly what makes you a great product marketer, I think the mindset that you just spoke about, and how the industry just absorbed whatever you had to bring to the table and it was such a smooth transition from your earlier rules to what you’re doing right now. And I want to just like start off ready with your first major vertical where you actually talk about on your LinkedIn profile that is integrated marketing campaigns. So I want to talk about how Product Marketing is something that sits in between demand Gen teams and the product team’s understanding of both of which is very important for a product marketer for doing well in their role. Why don’t you tell me what’s the typical ask from a product marketer when it comes to understanding the requirements of the demand Gen teams and the product teams and ensuring that the communication that you put out is consistent with both?
Kimberlee West: Now, for sure, I think that’s that the core aspect of a product marketer and I almost view it as being a translator, where you have this product team, you have your product manager that’s really well versed in everything technology-wise, and all the different release notes that they put together all these different types of ways that they’re trying to guide the engineering team to get to a particular milestone, and they’re so excited and happy with this baby that they built, and the technical features of this baby, but don’t necessarily know how to then translate that language in terms of like, why would a customer be interested in this, and then you look at demand Gen, they also have technical expertise, but it’s now in terms of marketing technology. So they know how to program and leverage things like LinkedIn, and your ads, etc. But they need to be fed with that information. And they’re not ready to translate that completely. And so you need that person in the middle that’s saying, you know what, I’m going to be this interface to make sure that we not only speak to all the technical aspects and figure out what are the right channels to audiences to highlight the technical aspects of this. But then we also have to think about what are the other ways that we appeal to emotion, what are the ways that we’re going to capture attention, that’s really what your demand Gen marketers looking for. And so you want to make sure that you’re supplying them with the right content with the right story with the right angle, the audience they need to go after, to be able to do their job effectively. And so that’s really what it is, you’re this translator, really saying, I fully understand everything we’re trying to do as a company. But I also understand what the market is looking for. And the market needs to be stated in a certain way for them to even want to pay attention.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yes, going by their destination of what you just said, it doesn’t seem like a very straightforward task, because a product marketer is somebody who also has to ensure that there is no bias, one because there’s a lot of bias from the product, a product engineering side, right? Where I mean, they’re like, this is the technology we have used, and this is how we built it, etc. And these are the features. And if you look at it from the audience’s perspective, a lot of times, they don’t give a damn right they don’t care. What you build, or how you build, what they care about is how it’s going to make their life easy. So it is very important for you to like, not have that bias and talk the language of the consumer. How do you do that really well?
Kimberlee West: At the biggest part, and this is where it was nice to know, my background in research actually helped. The biggest part is actually going where your customers are. And so a lot of times people will say do research, but I think you have to break that down and say, Well, okay, what does that actually mean? It’s one thing to go to analysts’ reports or look at what competitors are doing in the space and say, Well, I want to do something similar but different. It’s another thing to say, you know what, who are the people that are actually going to use this? What is their day to day life look like? Even without my technology? How are they like, for example? Xactly. Do we sell incentive compensation software? Does a company need to have incentive compensation software? It really depends. How are they currently operating? What are they doing in this space? What else is plugging into this? What’s the full scope of their role? You really want to make sure that you are actually sitting in the shoes of your customer and their world? So they have to do this in aim for what? Why are they even trying to do this isn’t just for a job to get a paycheck? No, a lot of us when you get to a certain point, you’re doing it because you’re trying to make the company better. You’re trying to grow as a person. So if you understand their desires and ambitions and the pains that they’re going through, then you can better speak to why should they even care about this piece of technology, and how it’s going to plug into their current day. I think the main thing as a product marketer, they are always trying to do is- it’s not let’s say blow up everything. It’s not like, Oh, it’s disruption, and you have to completely change everything. The best thing to do is say, how can you be very sort of modular in your approach? What are the marginal changes? So let’s go with what’s known to you. So there’s some comfort level. And then here’s a few things you can add on that’s going to be this much better and how you actually perceive what your work is and how you proceed throughout your environment at work as well.
Pranav Chimulkar: Correct, and I mean, because I also shared that kind of a background in incentive compensation, I understand that. Although you are in the b2b SaaS, like category, I still feel it’s not such wide. Like, it’s not such a large number of people that might be using IC software, right. I think I see happens on Google Sheets, or other even spreadsheets, which are offline, I think it’s very important for a marketer on a company like Xactly do understand what that audience is, and what kind of language you have to speak to them in order to communicate all your value props, like to them. And I mean, if you look at it, they’re all Excel sheets, boring to look at. So it’s very difficult to, engage somebody who’s used to looking at Excel sheets, and like Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, all day long, and then all of a sudden, you’re throwing them another ad, which has the same sort of message, it becomes very difficult for someone to grab that attention of that intended customer. So, a lot of times you need to take a step back, or try and understand what is that other way, stop taking yourself seriously, first, and what is that other way that you can communicate your particular product or your story to them, right, and I think exactly has done a very good job at this. And I have a couple of videos that I’d like to play to demonstrate how Xactly has not taken, taken themselves very seriously, and at the same time done a very good job to communicate what they do. So the first video I like to play is called ‘It’s not difficult’, it’s a great campaign, there’s a 30-second video like that.
A very sweet video, what do you make of this? What is the mindset of a guy who commissions a video like this? Again, kids and incentive compensation, are apart poles apart, they have nothing to do with each other. But how beautifully you have connected? What a bonus could do and, and the desires of a kid, and just beautifully blended that in the message of the brand.
Kimberlee West: I think the biggest thing I could go back to this idea of a product marketer and one of your goals, I think the biggest part of your role is really leveraging analogies and metaphors. And so you do that, because you’re again, trying to reference something that people are already comfortable with what they already know. And so to have that analogy between- Well, how does a child perceive this idea of bonuses calculations versus yourself? It goes back to the piece of at the core, we’re all human, we all have certain desires that are driving us. And part of it is that idea of what could I potentially acquire through the income that I get. And so to be able to break it down in that simple form. When it’s fun. I think the best part about video and this idea about being mad over videos is that you’re able to humanize the story, you’re able to now try to engage build empathy, interest, be memorable. That’s the whole reason if we think about how many decades have gone by where you have TV commercials, why did they have such a big impact? It was because the story came together with a really good visual and, and sort of storyline that really made it easy for that audience to capture. And then the whole idea of doing a video like that is for it to be sticky. Like even the music that plays becomes a little bit sticky. The idea of- Oh, wait a minute, it’s this idea of easy bonus calculations. All of that just makes it easier for the person to replay in their mind what they just saw, versus it just being something they read in an article or read on a piece of white paper like that.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, again, I think another point that I came across from your experiences is your expertise in positioning brands really well and along with that, coupling it with the entire aspect of a global go to market strategy. I think it’s very important that you put the right perception out there, for everybody to take notice, and then relate to the brand, because people are going to buy from you, if only they relate to your brand, right? If you act like a snob who has a corner office and send out a message that he has something amazing that you’ve built. And if the person is watching on the other side does not really believe in that story, it goes down the drain. Please tell me what it takes to sort of position your brand really well, globally, and in a domain like that, you operating? And what are the things that you think can go wrong? I mean, it’s very easy to say that these are the things that you could do to get it right. But then what are the things that could go wrong? And what are things that you need to keep in mind?
Kimberlee West: I think the biggest thing that you have to take into account is that you can’t do a peanut butter spread. You can’t say, well, the story that I’m telling here for the company in the US, I can tell everywhere else. And you really have to tap into local expertise. So for exactly in terms of going global, then it became a priority to make sure that not only from a sales and infrastructure standpoint, we have what we needed in different markets. But even from a marketing standpoint, you have someone that has sort of the cultural, linguistic, all different pieces that are going to inform how another person might perceive what you’re doing. And so to have that, for example, at Xactly, we’re in EMEA, we’re in APAC as well, you want to make sure that you have people within the marketing space that have that expertise. What’s interesting, and this goes back to one of your questions on that translation between product and dimension is that from a product marketing standpoint, your role becomes so integral, because it innately becomes a role that’s going to be global. It’s your company’s being expanded globally. And the way that you expand when it comes to them, the marketing that you’re doing externally is leveraging more dimensions. So that growth marketing team, you want them to have the local context, but you want them to pull from a central source, which is your product marketer, in terms of what is this product? What’s the story around this product? How can we speak of this product, and in that interface, that is two-way communication, that product marketer can then communicate well, here are the key things, then that growth marketer can say, Well, you know what, we’re going to tweak language a little bit in this way or that way, based on the localized context. But that becomes really integral is that partnership that you’re having? And how does it go wrong? It’s kind of the flip side of the coin, right? It goes wrong. If you don’t have that, if you’re trying to say, Well, everything that I do here in the US, I can do anywhere else. Then in addition, with a small story, on the tech side, it’s on the retail side is I’m actually based in Canada. And sometimes there’s the mistake of American companies feeling like they can do exactly what they did in America and Canada, we share a similar language or on this continent. But I’ve seen time and time again. And a retailer did this. And I’ll leave them nameless, they know who they are. I came to Canada, they had a big splash in having a number of locations that they were going to do fantastic. And I think it was 18 months, they had to completely shut down their operations. And you can Google that the final retailer. But it’s that idea of not acknowledging that there is going to be nuance, and you can’t take it for granted.
Pranav Chimulkar: Correct. I think a lot of cultural references that, did hold true in one region, not in some other region. Sometimes a particular like gesture could be something, it could be a choice of words. Again. I mean, there are a lot of times I’ve seen a particular example that comes to my mind is an ad that did pretty well, in some of the first world nations where kids were playing around with their breakfast and the mother is agreeing to like get them all together. And it faced a massive backlash in African countries, etc. Where a mother actually struggles to put breakfast on the tables of kids and it’s not such a great thing to sort of disrespect food. Again, something that can actually go wrong. When you’re talking about multiple geographies, it’s very important that you empathize and you understand what holds true in those geographies before communicating a solid point that you just brought out. When you do this and when you’re entering a new geography or when you are putting yourself out in front of everybody, it’s very important that a lot of brands take themselves way too seriously and end up becoming the boring brand. Rather, I feel one of one such video that you all actually put out was all about, I think your data video where the mascot of Xactly was featured again. And it’s shown that okay, well, it’s called quota for people who don’t know, and quota is sent out to space and they put that particular listing mascot on a hot air balloon and release it into actual space. And I’m just saying that okay, that conversation that is shown between an executive at Xactly, exactly and the model of the mascot, it just humanizes the brand in a way, which goes beyond spreadsheets and, and technology, etc. and, and shares a very genuine story with the people intended. I don’t know who are the people behind creating these videos. Do you do your videos in the house? Do you have an agency we work with freelancers? How are Xactly’s videos produced?
Kimberlee West: I would say all of the above. So a couple of comments there. So quota was our old mascot, so we no longer use quota as our mascot. But that goes back to the importance of research. And so we did a lot of work. And so Product Marketing also works very closely with the brand team, that’s an important relationship to make sure that the brand is being informed by the core capacity and capabilities of what are the product specs and platform that you’re selling. And through the work and recognizing the growth story of Xactly, we moved away from quota, but we didn’t want to move away from the fun. And so one of the biggest things was saying, Okay, well, we’re not going to necessarily have this logo, but we’re definitely going to try to infuse all of the work that we do at Xactly with fun, with bright colors, with interesting videos to make it light and easy. And then in terms of who actually does our videos, we do work with an agency or a lot of your more like structured product type videos, where you’re introducing maybe a new feature or a new type of capability that’s available. If we’re doing maybe more relaxed fun videos, then it really is just up to someone in the house, we have our creative team, they quite creative in terms of thinking about how do they leverage different mediums to make videos. We actually have someone on our solution consulting team, who’s really great at making videos. So internally, we have fun, I always say that we should probably share some of our internal videos, we have a lot of fun, creating internal videos just to kind of build up morale and culture. And we will have competitions between the different teams like what’s the marketing video versus the sales, video, etc. And sometimes the ideas can be turned into something afterward, or it’s just leveraging existing technologies. I did a LinkedIn live, I want to say now under a month ago, and everything you know, with COVID, and I have two girls at home, like a lot of people who have kids at home. While I was doing LinkedIn live, my four years old decided to walk in and was dancing around, etc. But it honestly was more on brand. So even though it wasn’t planned, it worked out really well. And all of that helps in terms of making sure that the process is as democratic as possible. And you have a lot of different people being able to contribute to the creative process. I don’t think it needs to be housed in a box and say only marketing does this. You have a lot of great special people within corporations that are sitting in different departments, who are also even closer maybe to issues. We have people on the customer success team that know a lot about what our customers are facing experiencing, what types of things appeal to them, which could also help to influence what type of messages we put out there.
Pranav Chimulkar: I actually did some of the watching of that video for quite some duration. I think I enjoyed listening to what you’re saying. But then I was quite enjoying what she was doing. The human element, right. I mean, you know, these times people work from home. And it’s not always perfect. It’s not going to be picture perfect. It’s not going to be like sickness to you and doing it. And I’m filming this in my bedroom. You’re doing it from your home. Again, people understand this and that’s what, the candid nature of these videos actually helped, Connect first of all with the person and then also, I think it’s very become convenient, like, people are more open to consuming videos without high production and things like that. I mean, every time brand would actually think of putting out a video they would be very careful on what camera this is shot, or what are the lights and what’s the set like I said, timing, all those things have become. I mean, people are more open to trying out, they take out their mobile phones and shoot a video and then upload something. A lot of your videos, again, I’ve seen on the YouTube channel vary in production quality. And it’s no longer an entry barrier to sort of shoot something in high production to ensure that your message is put across correctly. So I think that’s one thing. And the second thing I’d like to point out is having a very good in house team or people on your team, whether it is in marketing, whether it’s from the product, whether it’s from sales, just the ability to put themselves out being vulnerable, being candid on camera, whether or not you’re comfortable is very important because sometimes it is genuine if I have built a product, I will put out the rights to you. Or if I am the salesperson and I am recording a video and send it to the customer. It’s going to be so much more powerful than me putting a model there and asking them to deliver the same message. I think that is something I really appreciate. And you guys have been doing that really well.
Kimberlee West: Now the video can be used in so many ways. And it’s so powerful. It’s one of the reasons I think the company Vidyard does really well in terms of how do you incorporate video now into your sales cycle. And we leverage that exactly as well. Because there’s something to be said about whatever you’re trying to convey coming from a person and really seeing their mannerisms, their passion behind it. There’s so much happening. They say a picture has 1000 words, imagine a video and all that other subtext and other storylines that are happening besides what you just say, right? Like when people see you on video, they’re now putting on you their perceptions of like, Oh, what’s this person? Like, if I were to hang out with them? What does this person actually do? And it gives us a sense of like personality and a sense of comfort and connection. And so now it’s that one step away of like, oh when I do meet them in person, there’s already this familiarity of- Oh, I kind of already like this person like me to carry themselves. I think the biggest thing and I think you need a balance for a corporation on the b2b side, you definitely need a balance of your buttoned-up really structured videos, we have different audiences, right? Not everybody is ready for the more relaxed, fun videos. But being able to have more of those off-the-cuff videos, just makes it that much more engaging and makes people will kind of want to take a look to see like, oh, what are they doing over there? One thing you mentioned at the top of the call was I own KidSwag. And so KidSwag is on the b2c side. And that’s an e-commerce store that’s focused on children and celebrating diversity. With that, because you’re on the b2c side. And I feel that’s where there’s a lot more comfort and doing videos, and b2b is catching up doing videos, whether it’s an Instagram Live or Facebook Live, or even just recording a video and throwing it up, has become such commonplace that people now come to expect it. And so it’s part of building your brand is to show who is the founder behind this brand, or who are the customers that are engaging with this brand. I feel on the b2b side, we’re starting to see that more and more where there’s this recognition that b2b buying is just as emotional as b2c buy, right? If anything, it’s even more I remember coming across a person that said, it’s actually more emotional because you’re impacting people’s jobs, like the trajectory of their career. And so they’re making the wrong decision. And what technology to take on could have been the complete impact on whether they move up in the organization. So the idea of being able to appeal to that person goes back to really the olden days of the salesperson that went from one house to the other was driving around, it’s that idea of, let’s try to make that real connection, build a relationship. And video helped them do that, to make it that much easier to inform a person and make a decision. So they’re like what if I look at these two companies, they both kind of check the same boxes, but I like this company more because of XYZ and it’s probably going to be more than all the different technical aspects of your business.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yes, I think as you said, I was swiping through the Instagram page of KidSwag and I found all these colorful posts and videos and things like that. And I think the point that you just brought up is such a valid point that most people, undervalue using engaging content for b2b especially in video and putting out as you said, the stories of customers, I think That brings me to the point that exactly actually has been doing this pretty well. Because exactly as customers all across the globe, and I think a bunch of videos on the channel talks about how exactly it’s helping them succeed and not about the product, I think, what better could you do if you put a customer’s point of view out there, where they say that, okay, I did this, this thing so well, and that was made possible by the software that exactly built, right and nothing better than somebody else recommending you, or, somebody else talking really good things about you. Because very difficult to believe when you like, please yourself, but if somebody else does that, it’s always better. I like to play one short video from one of your customers at Western Union. And such an interesting addition to it. I’d like to play this first before we talk.
I just love the way the video ends. I’m in love with the ending of this saying that I’m amazing. I don’t think it looks forced it, it is so beautifully come out in that video when somebody else says it. And it just puts the brand in such great light.
Kimberlee West: And that’s the biggest thing, it’s and this is why product marketing works so closely with brands, it’s the biggest piece of making sure that people are at the core of the story that you’re telling. And it’s not just your own people, it’s your customers. And the impact of having besides like the tool and the modular benefit I had, because this particular new feature came out. And that’s the reason why product marketing has to kind of be a translator because there’s always going to be new features that you add on. And there’s always going to be this push in terms of what is the next milestone and whatever roadmap you have for the products you’re developing, but you need to be able to step back. And it’s hard for a product market manager to step back when they’re trying to drive the ship and building a product. But you need someone that’s going to step back and say, Well, how does this fit into the bigger scope of what our target audience is trying to do? How does this necessarily change the game, or better enhance whatever goals they’re going after? And so it’s always important to try to uplevel that messaging, you need to have different tiers of messaging. But when you think about the sort of broader stories, the brand stories, it has to be something that’s more than all the individual features and what they do.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, I think you’ve spoken a lot about your experience in b2b and how are you translating those learnings that you’ve taken out of all your previous roles and the current one at Xactly. And how are you implementing them in marketing your own Brand Registry track. I like this because a lot of people here who might be watching the podcast would be from the b2b domain, but I am pretty sure there will be someone out there who’s was possibly running a b2c brand, or might want to come up with a brand in the future. And I think could take some inspiration and a page from your book. If you could just walk me through. First of all, what made you come up with this? And then what are the learnings that you’re actually using in this?
Kimberlee West: For sure. So KidSwag is from the hearts, I have two girls. And when I was pregnant with the first and went through the experience of wanting to build her book collection and just buy little toys, etc. It was very hard to find products that actually represented black culture and were fun and light and easy. And through a number of different sources online friends, family, I started finding products, and then I would come across of their moms and they would ask- Where did I get these items, and I would share and they would always be so surprised and grateful. And so when I was pregnant or not pregnant, when I was on maternity leave with the second one is when I started the company, I recognized that there was a need and especially with my background in marketing, and acknowledging the importance of visuals, and even in my own life growing up, and the importance of visuals, seeing yourself or seeing other people that look like you hold positions, or be in different atmospheres that you may not necessarily have thought you could be in, has such an impact on your ability to want to grow and develop. And so I knew it was gonna be vitally important for my girls to see themselves as hockey players or astronauts or whatever they want it to be and not feel just because of the color of their skin, that they couldn’t do it or there was only one way to get there. So the impact of just generally being in marketing helped me even think about the importance of the business. The other piece then is the background on research and analytics. And so in setting up the company and building out the business, one of the things I was a strong proponent of and still look up to today. So I use a platform called Shopify. I think everybody knows Shopify, a great Canadian success story in terms of a retail e-commerce store. So the company’s based on that platform, and the analytics able to pull from Shopify as well as all the integrations that they have with other applications. Really, I prioritize that I knew that was important because of my background on b2b. And then if you flip it around in terms of what’s the impact of being in a b2c space, and bringing that into b2b, it was really that idea of acknowledging that integrations are just important in b2b. When customers are looking for new products that they are going to buy. They’re not looking at it in a vacuum of Oh, I’m going to buy exactly and have it operate on its own. It needs to seamlessly integrate with what we’re doing as an organization, not just what’s happening in my department. The other piece is the biggest part is the community and customers. And so being in the b2c world, I think it comes very naturally to acknowledge and recognize that you have to build community brand, and community go hand in hand and b2c. And then this idea of how do you make sure that the customer story is always front and center, and you’re not just ringing your own bell and there are other people that are galvanized around you deeply influences now, how I think about b2b marketing and how we can think about different ways to kind of disrupt the space that’s been kind of tracking along the same way for quite a while. And so then it gives brings some innovation. And I even know about innovation, but some alteration to the b2b world that I think is necessary and just those small changes, because they haven’t been applied as well in the b2b side, people start to take on this and that’s what you’re always trying to do. You’re trying to capture people’s attention and get them to take notice.
Pranav Chimulkar: I’m glad you brought up the point of the community, I think selling becomes so much easier if you have a community around your product already. I think B2C brands do this pretty well. I know that you’re building an amazing community for KidSwag. And it’s a close community, I know that you would have a lot of people, the kind of brand love that you get from this is going to be so tightly bound and so easy to get this word of mouth out among parents that, say, for example, find your product really useful. It’s very easy then to get the good word out. And then you have a lot of reference coming in, and it becomes so much easier, but a lot of b2b guys struggle at doing that. I think they undermine the value of building a community, whether it’s around the SaaS product, very important, as you said, I think there are a bunch of people in, say, for example, if we take the community that could be built around incentive compensation and quota setting professionals. I mean, a lot of them are, or rather any company that would be running sales teams based on quotas, I mean, would have all their sales force would be like, someone who could be a part of this community. And I think not many efforts are done in that because the main power that comes out of this community, especially for b2c brands, is the usage and related content. Now for example, if KidSwag customer uses a product and creates a video with their kids, using that product, it becomes such a powerful marketing asset for the brand. A lot of times I think b2b brands miss out on that. What do you think? Or how important is it for a brand to do that? And then what? What does it take to convince the decision-makers to take the right step in this direction?
Kimberlee West: So I’ll answer the first part because it’s easier. The second part is how do you get decision-makers? That’s all sort of internal politics and trying to pull the ship behind you when you have different ideas in terms of doing that, but I can speak to that as well. But the biggest part in terms of community and what you said in terms of their professionals that are interested in incentive compensation and in quota, I look at other professional organizations. If you look at it, there are lawyers, there are accountants, what I really like, there’s an organization called the Product Marketing Alliance, of course, I’m a proud product marketer. And so to see an organization that was developed around my industry, was something that I immediately went to. And I think it’s so important. And that’s an opportunity that any company can take advantage of. You don’t have to wait for some external organization to build it, you can build it. And so you can build an environment. In our case, we’re going after sales operation professionals, you can create an environment that doesn’t feel sales-y and feel like overselling products, it can feel like, Oh, this is a resource. And that’s what you do. on the consumer side. One of the biggest products that we sell in kids swag is swim caps. And they’re called swimming caps. And there are some caps made, especially for large volume hair. As you can see, this hair does not fit under the standards in the cap. It’s the top-selling product that we have in our store. What did I do, I built a community around that I actually have a Facebook group and I think Facebook groups are underrated. On the b2c side, I make the majority of my sales, Facebook groups. But I have a Facebook group that’s just focused on black women swimming. Because what did they need, they needed a community and support group that wasn’t just about buy swim caps, they needed a community to support group because again, research is so important, like near and dear to my heart. When you look at the numbers and the stats, it’s astonishing how many black women do not know how to swim. And so why do they not know how to swim? Let’s tease it, let’s tease it out. Let’s try to figure out what are the barriers that are stopping them from swimming. And then let’s make sure they have the support in place to get to the point where they’re swimming. Now you’re actually adding purpose and mission to what you’re doing. And it’s not just by swim cap. It’s now a swim cap and supports an effort of building a more healthy lifestyle, and you being part of a community of other women who are going to encourage a greater generation to be swimmers on into the future. So it’s so important when you start to build a community because it has a purpose and mission. It makes it more sticky, you have more connection. And so then when you are adding any new product lines, now if I were to throw out swim goggles or swimsuits, it doesn’t feel like oh, this person is selling to me. It feels like oh, this person is adding value to a lifestyle I’m trying to adopt. The same thing for sales operation professionals if you now came up with a new product. That’s an easy test field. You can say, You know what? We’re coming out with this new thing. We’re not too sure if this feature really makes sense. Well, why don’t we throw it into this group? Get a bunch of people that are going to be beta testers for this before we even go live. And now when you do go live, you have a Ready Set source of user-generated content. But these people can now come out and say, Yep, that product is great. It adds so much power when you see comments under different posts, versus just the post. Like, I don’t know, if I want to look at that. And you need to be nudged a couple of times, and somebody else tells you about, and you’re like, oh, maybe I should probably look at it now. So that’s the important piece of the community, that becomes so much, it’s basically your digital version of Word of mouth, that becomes so much easier for people to actually try what you’re selling.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, interesting that you brought out Product Marketing Alliance, shout out to Richard King. Would you like to iterate on how he’s built this community if you’ve been a part of this for a long time, and also, if there are other marketers that you really feel, deserve a shout-out, please go ahead? This is the right time, we’d like to appreciate the great work that they’re doing. And I hope they’re listening. If not, we’ll ensure that we send this clip out to them so that they do see the appreciation coming and all the love coming.
Kimberlee West: Now for sure. So definitely Richard King and Bernie Pierce who are on Product Marketing Alliance, because that organization has been phenomenal, on a number of reasons, not only externally, what you see them do on LinkedIn, and how they’re actually building the platform for product marketers, and building the recognition of the value of product marketing, but even they have a Slack channel. And to be able to engage and interact with other product marketers to learn, to throw questions in there, and get responses is phenomenal. Definitely have to do a shout-out to Dave Gerhardt. And I might be pronouncing his name wrong. So I apologize. But he’s the CMO of Privy. He used to work at Drift. And just wherever he goes, and fantastic marketing, I learned so much from everything that he produces. Andy Raskin is another one who talks about this idea of narrative design. I’m really big on storytelling. Once you do all that research, he now needs to put it into something. And so having that as a framework, I think is so important. And then I definitely have to shout out a Canadian, so I will shout out April Dunford, she is fantastic. When you think about positioning and telling your story. That is her core competency, she does it seamlessly and very well.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. Thank you so much. I think we will ensure that these people hear the love that you sent. And they get it by the time we are done with this episode. And thank you, first of all, thank you so much to have taken time out on a Wednesday, like the middle of the week, and I’m sure where it’s what lunchtime there. I’m sort of interrupting your lunchtime right now. Again, it’s post-dinner time here in India. The reason why we’re doing this is all that we feel the kind of passion behind the work that we do one and the common bond of why we feel video is so important in our armor when it comes to all the skills that we have in terms of marketing, right. I think it’s very important that we look at this and thank you so much first of all for taking time out. That’s all.
Kimberlee West: No, Thank you for that. I appreciate you having me. I love the questions and for anybody, if you want to reach out, that’s what I did feel free, send me a LinkedIn message. I’m open to connecting with you.
Pranav Chimulkar: I’ll really do that. Thank you so much. I’ll take you up on that offer. And with that, I think we come to the end of this 15th episode of the Mad Over Videos podcast by guch. We hope to bring you a new guest very soon. And till then, Stay tuned. We’ll be putting out a lot of content from this podcast as well when it comes to like the great quotes and the stories that we’ve shared and a lot of learning points that have come out from this conversation. So please stay tuned to that and see you.