Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and Welcome to Tea Time with tech marketing leaders.
Okay, I want to keep this opening as short sweet as possible because this show is action packed. Normally, I like to unpack one topic. In this case we unpack three. And they actually all connect beautifully together to really tell the story of how product marketing has evolved from what it was to what it is today. And then we make predictions on where it is going.
Andy Tzortzinis has joined me on the show to really unpack this with me and what an amazing conversation. It really goes to show the power of product marketers and their ability to communicate like he gives definitions that are succinct and spot on. He gives examples that tell a very clear story with a through line within less than like two minutes. He has given his communication style, we are able to get it all in here and it feels so smooth, so smooth in terms of this conversation. I can't wait for you to hear it before I get there. Just a little bit about Andy.
Andy Tzortzinis is a seasoned messaging expert with over 12 years of PR communications and marketing experience, a lover of dynamic industries, and he starts his marketing career in the food and beverage industry and made his way into cyber, just a few years back. He breeds an authentic and programmatic approach to marketing that is less dependent on industry buzzwords, and just you just focus on using empathy to understand the customer journey.
This strategy has led to success in content comms and product marketing roles across a range of security products, services and platforms. And as you will find out he is also a frequent collector of hobbies which we cannot wait to share with you.
Without further ado, here is my conversation with Andy Tzortzinis.
Kerry: Hello, Andy, thank you for joining me on to Tiger tech marketing leaders.
Great to be here. Thanks.
Kerry: Yeah, excited to have you excited for our conversation. But before we get there, let's set the stage for everybody tells your story. What do you do, Andy? And how did you get there?
Andy: Well, what do I do? So right now I don't, I don't do as much as I'd like, because I'm looking for my next role. But I will say that I am an experienced cybersecurity. And by I guess by that measure technology, senior product marketer slash kind of content comms guy. How I got here is a really really loopy story. But I start actually started in the food service industry as a marketer in restaurants like 13 years ago. And it was mostly very much a PR and comms focused kind of kind of approach because that's what restaurants require more I worked for, like small, locally owned restaurants, not big, you know, big like, chains or anything like that. And then after a while of that, I decided to make a lifestyle change because the restaurant industry is gruelling, kind of bounced around through a few different marketing roles. Did some ecommerce for a while a lot of stories from that actually. And then I I went to industrial manufacturing and that just wasn't the right fit for me. It was cool industry. I liked the people I work with a I mean, I love translating technical topics into into easy to digest, you know bites, but it just didn't grab me it didn't have the dynamic kind of feel that the food industry had, you know, that was my niche for a long time. And so during COVID I applied for a director marketing role in cybersecurity and got the job and I was hooked because now I found a job that gave me like the the work life balance I wanted, but that dynamism at the same time. And so that's you know, that's kind of how I how I wound up where I am now. But there you know There's a there's a few more loops in there but like layoffs but you know, we're, we're doing all right.
Kerry: Well, maybe that leads me to my next question. And you can you know what challenge you're currently facing right now is always my next question. So for you where you are what's what's the hardest part about either being in between jobs or finding the next thing? Or all of the above? What's what's hard?
Andy: Yeah. So I think I have probably two primary challenges. And the first challenge is a challenge that a lot of people have. And that's that there are a lot of people looking for jobs right now. Because there's been a lot of layoffs, there's a tonne of really talented people. I mean, we just had another set of layoffs for meta this past week. And it wasn't, it wasn't entry level, folks. It was like, high skill, people. And so I mean, there's just a lot of quality out there. You know, the, the way I describe it, is, it went from being a buyers market to a seller's market over the past few months, if you will, you know, what, this time last year, a lot of companies are still scrambling to find talent, now, they kind of have to pick a litter because there's, there's a lot of extra folks out there, there's a lot of COVID hiring companies are dialling back because of the because of the economy. And and so here, here we are. But I would say the other challenge is more personal. And that's that. I don't have like the most conventional background, like in terms of cybersecurity marketing, it's not like I worked in, I've worked in cybersecurity for the last 10 years. And so, you know, hiring managers and recruiters that that stopped to talk to me, they're, they're gamblers, you know, they're kind of maybe going a little bit against what, what their, their job description is asking for. And I stick my neck out there. And I apply anyway, though, I don't have eight plus years of, you know, the very exact things that they're asking for, but, but luckily, because of my network, I've been able to get a lot of interest, at least at least initial interest.
Kerry: I think that's key from a lot of the things I'm hearing around activating your network, I see a lot of posts on LinkedIn of like, I'm really scared to say this out loud. Because, yeah, that's really vulnerable and really scary. But I also know that if I don't ask and let my network know, looking, then, you know, the chances of me finding a job are slimmer as well. So I, I love that you activate your network and your say, you're raising your hand and say, Hey, and I'm looking at I need some help, who I'm looking for. I think that's I think that's what you gotta do so good. Anya. Um, thanks. Yeah, no, I love it. I love it. I think that's great. I it's hard to be vulnerable. But it, it's what makes us all human and makes us all connected. And and when you were looking for a job, and when people want to hire you, it's about that connection.
Andy: So yeah. And I mean, you're, you're in a position of vulnerability anyway. So at that point, why not? I mean, you're, you're gonna, you know, you're gonna Yeah, exactly. Love it.
Kerry: Awesome. Well, thank you for speeding through those first two topics. I normally love to sit there and like, unpack your story and really understand yes, that gets mentioned. But we had an action packed show where we're actually getting cover off on three topics which are connected. But normally, I try and find one that I like, really want to dig into. But we had a great prep call y'all at any brought to the table these things and I was like, We got to jam it up. Like we got it. We gotta at least start the conversation around these. And then if I need to have a back on I will. But yeah, we got an action packed show for you. And so I'm gonna dive right in. And we're gonna, we're just gonna jump on the train and see where it takes us. It's going to be great. Um, one of the things you mentioned in your story, and he was, you alluded to it, maybe people didn't catch it at night and I know that it's there because of our prep call and and also the first topic we're gonna have, but you sort of made this leap from being product marketer focused to this VP of marketing role that became a bit more generalist. So can you talk to me about to you what it means to be a specialist versus especially in Product Marketing, what is what defines pack marketing in that specific specialist blame?
Andy: Yeah, so in my opinion, I think that there's there is some probably some flexibility to this, but generally in my my opinion a product marketer is attached to a product or service line specific, you know, at an organisation and they are they are organising. And then or maybe I should not organising ideating and then launching go to market strategies for that specific product or product line or stret. service line. And so by doing that, you know, they are doing kind of key activities for that, figuring out who the you know, the personas are for that service line, like who your ICPs are, then like putting together all the all the kind of marketing content, or at least coordinating the production of of that content, like at some larger orgs, they may have content specialists and other specialists that are supporting their their effort. And then, you know, putting together sales enablement and, and then prepping the sales team on how to go to market with with this, if it's a launch, they may be kind of coordinating the launch as well, and any associated activities with that. And then at the end of the day, you know, their metrics are based on that, that service lines performance. So they're not, they're not necessarily held accountable for another service line. That's someone else's problem, if you will, but they're, you know, they're, they're, they're specific to that whatever's within their portfolio. So that's, that's how I define a product marketer at, you know, kind of in plain speak. Let's, um,
Kerry: let's just make sure because this is gonna come up a lot throughout the conversation. So let's just get this out of the way go to market strategy, what does that mean to you as it relates to product marketing?
Andy: Well, sure, so. So it's the way that you position your product in the market in front of the people that you want to sell to? So you know, that's, that's probably the most distilled way I can I can put it. Again, there's probably a little bit of, you know, elaboration that might be called for and other situations, but we'll let it go at that.
It's the overarching strategy that ties the personas in the ICP, yes. And with the content you're writing in relation to what's already happening from a competitor standpoint, from an exam point, and sort of like making sure that you're in that right spot to eat some of that.
Kerry: Sure. Exactly. Yep. Okay, so that's, that's what you did identify a product market, or as that's very apt feels specific in terms of clear roles and responsibilities. So what happened for you specifically? Or maybe just as you know, what, from an inmate making that lead to generalists? So yeah, what is a generalist for you then? Well, relates to marketing.
Andy: Yeah, so a generalist is where, honestly, I've probably spent more of my career. And that is where you're kind of doing a little bit of everything, so and by everything, I mean, you know, I'll keep it on the digital side, and not go into, you know, more traditional marketing, but like, you're, you're handling social media, you're handling all content, you're handling website, you know, you're doing anything, like customer facing, including sales enablement, just everything, you know, demand gen, or lead gen, whatever your strategy is, you kind of are a one person show, or maybe a very, very small team, where you have one or two people that maybe support your kind of generalist strategy. And I think that because of the way that product marketers kind of touched so many pieces of the marketing. org, you know, they're kind of like, if you were if, in many cases, especially now, it's almost like product marketing is kind of almost become the hub. And all the other specialties are kind of spokes that are kind of, you know, leading back to the hub, because at the end of the day, the product is what you sell, you know, so all those other all those other things are just kind of supporting, you know, that go to market strategy. And so Because of that, if you get into teams that are running on a leader, on a leader kind of platform, you don't have all those specialists to sort of support you. So you're the, you're those specialists. So that makes you a generalist, right? In that case, like, you're, you're writing content, you're doing social posts, you're, you're sending emails, you're helping, you're helping organise and facilitate event, you know, functions, you're, you're positioning speakers to get, get put into speaking opportunities. So you're writing up, you know, calls for papers, and like, you know, or presentations, you're doing all that stuff. And so I think that's kind of where, in my experience, at least, that's where product marketing is starting to move. And I think it's a kind of a testament to where we are, like, kind of, in the macro sense, you know, where people are trying to do more with less, and they're trying to run a leaner, more, more streamlined programme that has fewer kind of specialists, and, you know, letting the product marketer kind of, run, run more of that. And so that's, that's kind of where I wound up in my last role. My title was VP, but I was a senior product marketer, it was crawl crawl was the company I was at last, and they they came from a financial services background. So they have, their titling was a little different than a lot of other companies. But, but as a senior product marketer, I role, not only did I oversee a whole bunch of a whole bunch of service lines, but I did all that stuff, you know, there is the only things I didn't do were designed. And even there, I, I contributed to the design, you know, by by talking about, like, how we should position things and, you know, you know, working with the designers, but I didn't, I didn't actually do the design myself, which is lucky for everyone.
Kerry: Um, this feels like when you talk about the way product marketing should work, and apart from world versus in more into this journalist area, it feels a little bit like strategy versus execution, Product Marketing, being the strategy of how we want to go to market, what the personas are, how we fit, and then the spokes have the other teams then maybe develop a little bit of their own strategies around what channels are, we're gonna go after from a demand lead gen standpoint, how are sales? You know, how are sales going to do their outreach? And how are they going to follow through, like, there's going to be some steps that they have to approve, but they're actually putting everything out to the market and doing a lot of the actual, from social media posts to email to digital ads, so on and so forth, that that's what it sounded like, to me. I just was curious if that, yeah, is accurate.
Andy: It is. And even like, you're even seeing a lot of organisations, they're building their product marketing work. So that you have like a director, and then a senior manager, and then a manager. And in some cases, you even see product marketing specialists. And they're building the whole kind of hierarchy within the product marketing work, specifically. So you still have people that are contributing to the tactical side, you know, they're, they're helping, like, get the emails out, right, all the social and all that stuff. So that the leadership can focus more on product marketing strategy, and then you have like, those two things, you know, kind of doled out a little bit and spread spread among many or a few. But the difference is, is that everyone is still focused on the product. They're not, they're not writing like, you know, corporate comms or any, you know, brand stuff, they're focused, they're still squarely focused on product. And that's, that's where I think it gets different.
Kerry: Yeah, that is a big difference. I think that's important because on the marketing side, outside of product, especially from a demand gen standpoint, we were talking about top of funnel, it's very much sometimes more about the brand versus an individual, you know, actually bring people through the journey from understand the brand of why we exist and what we're trying to do as a collective to then figuring out what product might work for you depending on what you're trying to do. And then the actual, you know, buying and the bottom of the funnel engagement so I I think that's a really important distinction of like, where product marketing sort of fits into that, which takes us squarely nicely into our second topic, which is this, look at that, which is the way the, you know, the gender demand gen of this shift that's happening, and how Product Marketing fits into that. So we just talked about the funnel, do you want to elaborate or add anything to what I said in terms of like, that how that funnel works, and how Product Marketing contributes to it?
Andy: Yeah, so. So I think, personally, I think product marketing is much more supportive of a demand gen strategy than a lead gen strategy, by merit of your focusing on the product, and you're focusing on pain points that your, that your target customer has, right. So so by by merit of doing product marketing, if you're doing it right, then you're focusing on a certain, a certain group of, of key customer personas, and you should have some sense of what is driving them to buy your product, right? You may not know every reason, but you should know, like, the big reasons, hopefully. And so that is, to me, that is the definition of creating demand. Now, you know, I think lead gen is kind of a it's kind of an old way of doing things, it's more of a, throwing the spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks kind of strategy, you're, you're dealing with more people, you're definitely keeping your sales team more busy, but probably at the risk of having them waste a lot of time chasing leads that are really not anywhere close to buy. You know, I think the classic example is, is when people go to trade shows, and they set these trade show lead numbers, and they come back with 300 weeds. But like, somebody's just there for the schwag. You know, I mean, they're, they're window shopping, they're not, they're not serious customers, they don't go to most of them are not going to the trade show, to to buy that product that day, you know, that does happen. But it happens at a much, much lower rate. And those people have already done their homework. Like, they don't go to the show having like, walked into a booth and been like, oh, yeah, I need to buy a, you know, manage detection and response platform now, because I talked to you, you know, I didn't think I needed that. But I know, I know, I need it now. That's that's not likely. So you know, all these all these sales. I mean, I'm saying this, and RSA is starting today, you know, the Superbowl of cybersecurity marketing. And all these people are going there, they're setting their sales team, they're setting up meetings, you know, with the people that they're setting up meetings with our existing customers, existing partners, people that they already have relationships with, they're not getting very many cold meetings, they might get a few. I mean, by narrative, just how many people are there, you're gonna get some, but, you know, the idea of building leads that way, like starting with cold leads, and trying to nurture them into a warm lead is just a fool's errand. Yeah, it's creepy and requires, like making your your customer uncomfortable. Like It, it, it makes your sales team uncomfortable, because they're chasing down people that don't really want to be talked to. And it's not good, right? So demand, it's somebody who at least, has acknowledged at some point, either internally or externally, that they, they need a solution, like what you're selling. And so at that point, you have a, you have a lot, a lot more influence in the product, on the product side, to sort of guide them through that process, you know, in my opinion, if you're doing product, right. There's a lot of thought leadership that goes into it on the front end, you know, in the in, like all the way through the funnel rate rate till the end, and even after a purchase has been made, you're continuing to show them value. Right, you know, right through that thought leadership shouldn't stop. But that's that's sort of how I made make the distinction. I'm happy to say that a lot of companies are moving in that direction. You know, maybe it's partially because CMOs are feeling a little more emboldened to kind of push back on the rest of the leadership. team and say, you know, would you rather have 1000 cold leads? Or, or 10 really hot leads, you know, you know, like, Where Where are you going to make the money? You're still gonna make it on those 10 hot leads? Now 10s? Not very many. But you know?
Kerry: Well, it depends. It depends on the cost of the product. Right. So it's true. That's true. You know, and I think for startups, right, we were talking to a lot of folks, in that. I've been talking a lot of folks in that sort of startups get like they're trying to make that leap into scale. And I feel like they tend to fall back on lead generation, because it feels like it's somebody that can show up very quickly to their youth, their leadership team and say, okay, but we're generating leads, right? I'm finding, I'd love to your opinion on this, that the mark, like, I do think that CMOS in the like, are shifting demand gen, because they know from a long stamp, like from a long haul standpoint, So way to go. But I also feel like, based off of the buyers journey, that they don't want to be leets. They don't want to give up their information. And they won't do it until the very last second when they're like, Okay, that's right, ready to talk. So yeah, I feel like we have to make that shift to demand gen. And we have to do it as soon as possible. You know, right. When you have a product ready, or even before you have approached ready, I'm talking to a company right now, where they don't even have a right, they don't have a product that's ready, but they need to do fundraising, they need to get the name out there, they need to start building that. And I'm like, okay, great. We're going to, we're going to go out, we're going to do a lot of content, and we're going to build a lot of value, we're going to show people what this thing can we look for this thing to do in the future. Yeah, all capture newsletter leads in the meantime. So we can keep talking to these folks for when it is, you know, ready to start building that brand now. And that demand now so that when it is ready, it's it's just there, the audience is there, and it's all there. But luckily, they have time on their side. And they can do that. So yeah, I'm ready for the companies that are looking to get going. And they're like, We gotta go. Now we need leads yesterday, like, what do you say to those marketing? VPS? Who have to walk into their boss's office and talk about the power of demand? But if that let them know, it's going to take time, like, how do you balance that?
Andy: Yeah, I think, I think, well, first of all, that's a conversation that you should be having from from the very beginning, like, set, kind of managing those expectations from from the get go before before you try to go to market because, you know, my, my sort of hobby horse and all of this, like my top but my top, you know, so box, whatever you want to call it, is you can't market to people who don't know who you are, and who don't trust you, you have to build credibility with your with your, with your, you know, target customer, your target personas, if they don't trust you, they're not going to buy a thing from you. And especially, yeah, yeah. Oh, definitely. I mean, and, you know, if, if you're honest about where you're at, even even after you launch, I mean, I think that most people who work in technology, and particularly in cyber are used to going are used to working with products that may still be in development, you know, because I mean, in a sense, cyber products are always in development, hopefully, like they're constantly being, you know, revised and improved and updated as as threats and risks change, and, and more. And so, there's an element of that. But, you know, it's also no secret to anyone that companies are going live with minimally viable products, or maybe just like a step up from that things are still in beta, or maybe not officially, but they are, you know, and when the marketers quite often go into market with their feature set, it's almost more like a wish list than then, you know, a feature set, right? It's like this is, this is what we're going to have, you know, and and what they're not saying is, is this is what we're going to have if you buy this,
Kerry: right, because at the end of the day, it is dependent on building that initial business business getting that first few customers to stick out their neck and go with it, you know, and there's different ways like to entice them whether it's like it's so sort of convincing them that that there's a need there that they hadn't previously considered? And they're like, oh, yeah, I need this. Or they make it cheap enough for offer, you know, in the product, lead growth world, the freemium version where people can download it and try it out. And then you know, also the, just like the I think there's a Tech Edge kind of aspect there, maybe two or more people become interested in it. Because a lot of people in this industry are kind of like, nerds, and they like the hot new thing, and they want to try it out. And you know, they love technology packs the product, like, Oh, I get to get in there early. Like, yeah, impact the features like whatever.
Andy: Yep, for sure. And, and you can, it's almost like getting some, as for some of those customers, if they're working with a small startup, it's like getting a custom product, because they have a huge, say, and where that where that product roadmap, you know, goes later on to things I want to say. And then this leads perfectly, like, got it all connected. See, it's this beautiful. Two things I would say. One is I love that you brought up the roadmap of the wish list of features, because if you say that, especially in cyber to a buyer, a seaso, or VP buyer, I found out recently my my business partner has a podcast needed somebody on the show, who said that he actually, if you bring that up to him, in a sales call that you have a roadmap, he will stop you in your tracks in the middle of a demo and say great, pull it up.
Kerry: So yeah, word of caution, if you have this wish list or a roadmap that says when these features are going to be part of the product, make sure that it's in writing and something easily pull up.
Andy: Yeah, yep. And make sure that you're either planning on truly executing that at the at the rate that pace you say you're going to or plan on having some, like communications put together to talk to the customers that know about it and say, Hey, we're still working on this new feature, but it's not ready yet. It's still in development, we ran into some snags with, you know, blah, blah, blah, and like, let them know what's going on. I think, I think transparency gets you a long way. Especially if they understand, okay, you're just getting started out, you're still developing this technology, you're working on the edge of where technology is right now. They're, you know, they'll throw you a bone, they work in the industry, they get it. But like, when you go out there, and you act like you've got the whole thing put together and it's ready to go and you're gonna hand it to him, and it's gonna fix all their problems. And like, they can't even like, the dashboard doesn't even come up. Right? Or, you know, it's got like, really basic issues, you can't, can't get a report, whatever, whatever the problem is. They're, they're gonna see right through it.
Kerry: Keep it real. I love that. One of the things you mentioned, when you were talking about ways to talk to the audience around those MVPs is you talked about product lead growth. And I think this is a hot topic, I'm finding that companies are sort of backwards, where they're like, Okay, we tried the whole marketing way, or maybe I wasn't quite ready, like we need to do product lead growth, but the products are already like, baked, and now they're trying to add product lead growth. And so let's talk about this. Because it it does seem to be more prevalent of a topic, especially in that earlier stage realm, if you can get the product to do most of the heavy lifting for you, then like, why wouldn't you? But there are some key elements to this. So first of all, what is product lead growth mean to you? You, Tasha, elaborate?
Andy: Well, I mean, I guess the ultra distilled version is that you have a product that essentially sells itself. So and the you know, I have a boss years ago, who was like the first person that told me about product led growth, he said, think about Netflix, you know, you you go the Netflix, website or app on your TV or whatever. And in a few minutes, you can put in your credit card number and start watching movies. You know, you don't, you don't need to talk to a salesperson, you don't need to send a check in the mail anywhere. You don't need to do any of that stuff and you you understand right away what the function of that application is what you're gonna get from it. And, you know, at least you're going to have some sense of how it's going to work. There's going to be some things that that it'll take you through after you download it or you know, by whatever whatever the case is, but you'll get like a little some sort of onboarding tutorial that takes you through the basic functions of it. And then, and then you should be good to go, you should be able to use it at that point. So that's that's me. That's, that's a product lead growth to me. I don't know if you see it at all differently from that, but that's a distilled version.
Kerry: I think you mentioned two key elements that right? They understand what they're getting. And they don't have to talk to a salesperson. Yeah, I think there's a third element, which is the growth part, right? The that's the part and how it functions. And that's the easy the easy in to get it going. But then the growth part I also think is, like for Netflix, if we're gonna stay on this topic, which is a little tricky, because it is consumer, but it will translate it in a second. So hang in with us, folks. The growth part is twofold from a Netflix standpoint, right? One is, they have their own proprietary content. And now people are talking about, well, if you've seen the show, you should go binge it. It's amazing, right? So then that's gonna make somebody sign up. And the other thing that they had, which maybe wasn't as prevalent, but it worked, like during code, whenever somebody got like, my early days of Netflix, like my aunt got really sick. And so I gifted her Netflix, right? Well, she was never going to stop, that's as crucial to start it. Right. That, that refer friend, that gifting element that again, that easy way of sharing this thing out. Credited that immediate, easy growth. So yeah, so how do we translate this now from consumer sees we could talk about product like, bro, from a consumer standpoint, all day long? How does that translate to more of the b2b tech side?
Andy: So it, you know, what I was talking about earlier about providing value to the customer, like, all the way through the journey, including after I'm after the product is bought, I think I think that's the key. And that's where really strong, like content programme comes in, where you're, you're constantly reminding your customers, you know, and I think this applies to consumer or b2b. Like, you're reminding them of what they have at their fingertips by by downloading your application, you know, and like, keeping it squarely in, in like cyber SAS, you know, software as a service? Well, we'll just say, like, you know, you start off with this, you know, downloadable application that has limited function, but it is, you know, a mirror of the more like, fully functional, hopefully, feature rich, paid version, and you get some sense of like, this is, this is what you can do and then and then the freemium model you brought up earlier, yes, that's the freemium version. and, and then as, as that is working, and the person has access to the application, you know, the actual application that you're that you'll be using, you're also feeding them content, because now you have their direct contact information, or their contact information, you can send them a newsletter, or you can, you know, whatever, there's different ways of doing it, but you're constantly feeding them value, did you know that you can do this with this tool? Did you know that you can do that? And that's in the free version? And then you have that that opportunity to say, but, you know, if, if you do the paid version, then you also get ABCD, you know, as well. And, and I think that those are, that's a model that's very successful, you know, I was just doing some competitive research for, for a freelance client, we were talking about, you know, necess, the tenable is like one of the, you know, most widely trusted vulnerability management platforms out there, arguably, and, and that's how they work. I mean, they have a free you download, you download the app that's free, but if if you want all the data analytics and all that stuff, you you have to pay, you know, and then they have different models, depending on the kinds of business that you're doing. Are you a pen tester or a consultant? Are you an in house, you know, security expert for a large enterprise, they have different different ways that you can sort of chop it up and use it, but, but it starts off with a free version, you know, and that's I mean, they're hot, they're still hot. And they've been around a long time.
Kerry: Longtime. One of my very first clients back in the day, 13 years ago, very first times for MKG clients before that where I worked in the real world was box.com. And it was the very end, it was a freemium model. Right. The challenge with that is they had this expectation that those free leads, were going to turn into paying customers quickly. And a lot of the people that were signing up were very small businesses who weren't going to do that yet, right. But the plan, if they could have just, you know, stay to the uncomfortable early stage of people aren't paying yet, would be that you would go with that you grow with those customers, right. So I think this makes a lot of sense for those early stage MVP. Folks, if you can build on a freemium model. Now, get those people in, when you only have a few features, they add features for you, because they tell you what you need. So you're adding the features as as they're growing with you, and then you're making those features pay, then you bring in the next generation that then yeah, need those features is, yeah, but it sounds like from what both of us are saying, like, you gotta start pretty early, it doesn't feel like something you can add on later. Is Would you agree with that? Or can you can you decide that this is something you want to get into once the product is bit more down the road? And they can most features are there?
Andy: I think you can, it's just harder. I think that, you know, when your consumption model changes like that, because it really is a consumption model, you know, at that point, like, you're changing how someone gets to your product and uses it, I think it just gets, it just gets harder. Because you don't, you're not you're not just changing your narrative, you have to change the buyers habit also, you know, and if, if they are looking for that, then it can, it can be a lower barrier to entry to getting somebody using your product. But, yeah, I mean, you still have to be able to provide value. And I think, I think ultimately, if you can start at the beginning, with with with plg. Or, I mean, it's not just plg either, honestly, like, I don't want to go off on another tangent. And this could be a whole separate conversation. But like, if you want to, if you want to sell on the channel, it's the same thing. You don't go to market for direct sales, and then decide all of a sudden, oh, we're not going to do direct sales anymore, we're going to go to a channel, you should probably make that decision before you go. I know it's a hard decision make. But you have to make that decision before you go live, in my opinion, because it's way harder to start after you, you know, you just I don't know. And there's, there's an extra layer of trust in there too, because people start worrying that you're going to, like sell directly to their customers and stuff like that, but but the point is, is that you kind of have to pick a model and run with it. And if the model that you choose is plg, and you have a product that facilitates that model, you know, like it's pure play SAS, it's, it's literally a product that somebody can download and use without a salesperson or an implementer or anything like that, to, you know, download it into your system and use it, then great, but plg is not for everyone, you know, if you've if you need any sort of tuning to your product that requires staff on the vendor side to set it up or to make it work better is not true product lead growth, because it's going to require touching, it's going to require account management. It's going to require, you know, extra steps. It can't be bespoke guidance. Yeah.
Kerry: Oh, I think this is so important. I think that there are other ways that we definitely could go down a rabbit hole. I'm going to I'm going to point to two podcasts for people listening that I did on product lead growth wellness with Peter Wheeler, very first episode of this season, he is all about public growth and what he's doing at Octa to make it happen. Go check him out. And then there was another show with Josh Martin, he talks about a product called walnut that allows you to do demos without a salesperson. So if you're looking for a product like growth sort of interaction, but you don't have it baked into the product, there are some avenues to Go explore and get creative. And those are definitely to go check out.
Andy, this was unbelievable. Last question for you to close out here. Where do you think the future of Product Marketing is going, given the shifts between specialists is on our list? Do we demand lead gen to demand gen and now adding in, you know, the idea of product lead growth? Where do you look like the perfect world scenario of where product goes,
Andy: I'm laughing because what I what I really think is going to happen is, I think everything is cyclical, and more than likely, what's going to happen is that products are going to run lean, or companies are going to run lean, sorry. And product marketers are going to be sort of that new, like I was saying earlier, describing earlier, kind of that new gen generalist for their product or service line. And that's, that's gonna stick around for a while, but then as the economy kind of levels out, and companies start, you know, bringing in profits again, I think that people are gonna start to realise, like, hey, we haven't been focusing very much on brand, and, and there's all these new companies out there, and we're gonna have to, you know, we're gonna have to focus more energy on, you know, like, on our corporate communications, and all of that stuff. And I think you're gonna start to see specialist creep again, you know, we're gonna move back into the model, and it might end up being some sort of hybridised version, you know, like something, maybe something similar to where we are now, after it goes farther one direction and comes back this way. But that's where I see it going. I mean, honestly, you know, everything happens in cycles, right now we're at a, we're on a cycle where people are pulling back in years past, when this has happened. Sometimes companies with Hyatt would fire their entire marketing team, because they didn't have product marketing teams, like they have now. You know, and so they would put a lot of that on the sales team, like the sales would, the sales team would have to do a lot of that work. Right now, we're actually fortunate to some degree that marketing has a completely like, lost its panache with, you know, with the with the sea levels and and boards and, and people see the value in it, but I just think it's going to come back around. That's, that's where I see it. I don't think that the product marketers going anywhere. But I don't think that they'll necessarily always be as generalised as they are now, because it's just going to get too big for them. And they're going to need support. And they're going to need specialist support. Because especially at bigger orcs where there's more products to represent, there's a bigger brand to represent. And you're just gonna need people to do that. That's, that's my, that's my prediction.
Kerry: It sounds like the evolution of a company of almost like company growth, you know, starting off in that more startup B scale or stage where you have like one or two very, you know, to folks who are more than generalists who care a lot has to do a lot of things. And then as the company grows, you build out that team along the way. Ah, I could keep going. But yes, I am so grateful for this conversation, Andy, and I think these three things are definitely going to impact where marketing in general goes. I think the last thing I want to say that has been very clear from this conversation and that's been clear through a lot of my conversation with part of marketers is that content being king, and having really great writers come out of Product Marketing. I feel like y'all get pulled in to more of that generalist role because your writers really contents are like, Hey, can you just tell like my social posts that you forgot? Like, what's up? Like, just jot that down for us? Cool. So I could see that also being a blessing and a curse of like, how you go from specialist generalist for sure. When you work great writers and marketers are definitely in that.
Andy: I mean, that's, that was that was actually the transition point for me is like the content like understanding how to write and to position you know, that's that was the natural kind of stepping stone for me. So I'm sure I'm not the only one out there.
Kerry: Sure. Before you go ahead. I do have just one quick question for you. All right, because you're more than a marketer people should get to know you. Have you picked up any new hobbies in the last few years given the change in the world? COVID and working from home and work life balance and all the things
Andy: oh my gosh, you don't realise You're asking so that I actually just posted on LinkedIn about this like a week and a half ago. My hobby is hobbies. So I collect hobbies. I, I am a very poor Potter, I've been doing pottery. I've been doing wood carving a lot of tactile stuff, I guess, you know, like, even before COVID I became a very, very, like active Baker like bread baking in particular, like with my, you know, natural starters and all that stuff. And so, I'm, I keep myself pretty, pretty darn busy. You know, I'm one of those people actually, it's funny that I use Netflix as an example because I hardly ever watch TV, because I'm always doing something else. Yeah. So yeah, you name it. I've, I've, I don't know if it makes me you know. Even more terribly unfocused person or if it makes me a renaissance man, but it or something in between, but I do we'll do a little bit of a lot. Yeah.
Kerry: So what's the current hobby of choice then? Do you dabble in all of these? Are you focused on one or have you picked up something new? What's Yeah, hold on right now.
Andy: I've been pottery has been particularly big. That's partially because I'm doing like the seven week sessions at a studio. So that that keeps me doing it. I don't have my own pottery wheel and studio here at my house. So. So yeah, so that that definitely keeps me kind of doing it regularly. You know, it is the most confounding thing to pick up. It's like easy and hard at the same time. Like some things are so easy, and yet, I don't know. It's it's definitely kept my interest. We'll just say that.
So that's amazing. And you know, I'm not going to be able to do in retirement or like, I'm not going to ever make a business out of it. I'm not I'm not good at it. But I like doing such a hobbies or for her.
Kerry: That's amazing. I'm so grateful. Andy, thank you so much for joining me.
Andy: Thank you it's been actually a blast. So I appreciate it
That was my conversation. Andy Tzortzinis. If you'd like to learn more about Andy, like we mentioned, he is looking for his next role and what a person to scoop up.
If you are looking for a product marketer who has the ability to write and tell a story about what your product clearly does and hit all those pain points or that customer journey. If you've a product lead growth strategy, or maybe you're looking for one. Clearly this guy knows what he's talking about and should definitely reach out and get in touch.
What a great conversation. I just feel so amped and pumped from it. I hope you do too. If you'd like to connect with Andy, his link is in the shownotes please be sure to reach out.
Thank you for listening for tuning in. Once again. I'm so grateful you're here you've been here with me. If you liked this episode and found it useful, please like subscribe and share.
This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.
If you'd like to be a guest please visit mkgmarketinginc.com to apply.
Andy Tzortzinis is a seasoned messaging expert with over 12 years of PR communications and marketing experience, a lover of dynamic industries, and he starts his marketing career in the food and beverage industry and made his way into cyber, just a few years back. He breeds an authentic and programmatic approach to marketing that is less dependent on industry buzzwords, and just you just focus on using empathy to understand the customer journey.