Crayon's Product Marketing Spotlight is an interview series where we chat with product marketers to get a glimpse into their careers and gain unique insight into product marketing strategy. In this edition of Product Marketing Spotlight Series, we shine the light on Lisa Gonzalez, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Lytx.
ED: What is your role, and what does your company do?
LG: I’m a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Lytx (pronounced “Lit-ix”), which is a San Diego B2B SaaS company. We’re the leader in our category, and our services help commercial fleets improve driving safety on the road and operational efficiency in the field. I love the culture here because we hire based on the Hungry, Humble, Capable DNA. The people here are aces at their craft and have a lot of drive and energy. But they also tend to be modest, eager to learn, and have a lot of curiosity. I feel lucky to be working with this incredible pool of collaborative humans who are out to contribute to the greatest social good.
In my role, I focus mostly on product and technology strategy, launches, messaging, positioning, and influencing our roadmap. I also lead our cross-functional go-to-market initiatives and support our demand generation team.
ED: Did you always know you wanted to be in Product Marketing? What led you to the Product Marketing role you’re in today?
LG: I didn’t! I thought I wanted to be in advertising, so I went to advertising school, then got my B.S. in Business Administration. I was sort of a late bloomer and didn’t graduate until I was in my 30s. But my work experience in other industries continues to inform the work I do today.
Early in my career, I held a few different titles ranging from Marcom Program Manager to Associate Product Manager to Video Content Producer. I found myself really enjoying the process of defining and bringing new products and technologies to market in creative, yet strategic ways. I think my range of experience gives me a unique perspective and makes me a well-rounded Product Marketing Manager.
ED: What’s the best part about your job? Why do you love being a product marketer?
LG: I’m naturally curious. I enjoy untangling problems and creating simplicity out of chaos. For me, every new initiative is like a puzzle. I love the balance of strategic and creative work, and helping new products come to life. Figuring out ways to make complex technologies easy to understand is a passion of mine because it means I can help people make informed decisions.
But, my favorite thing is talking to prospects and customers. I learn so much from them, and understanding what they’re up against is not only interesting, but it helps me do my job better.
ED: PMMs have a lot of different responsibilities. How do you prioritize what to focus on?
LG: First and foremost, I prioritize initiatives that align with corporate goals. The way I accomplish that is by understanding our corporate goals and how they fit into the competitive landscape. What do we need to do? Where do we need to go? What’s in the way? Then I take our priorities and strategic initiatives and translate those into my personal goals. From there, I create marketing plans designed to advance those goals.
This is a really important step because it serves as a compass for everything I do. It helps me say no to things that aren’t going to move the needle, and focus my time on what the company needs to flourish. Inevitably, something urgent will come up, and I’ll work with my manager to determine what tradeoffs to make, and adjust our plans accordingly. When that happens, I always make sure to make a note of that on my objectives so that no one forgets!
ED: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a product marketer, and how did you overcome it?
LG: Having a manager with no marketing experience. I’ve been in this situation more than once. For me, it can be frustrating because it takes a lot of time to explain and justify everything you do. My solution is to embrace it and shift my perspective, rather than resist it. I have to think about it from the perspective of “What can I do to be the best partner this person has ever had?” This approach generates trust, which leads to a smoother working relationship. So instead of looking at it as a frustration, I try to look at it as an opportunity to help. But I’m not gonna lie… it’s not always easy!
ED: What are your top three product launch tips?
- Align product launches to corporate goals. This is the best way to get executive and resource support.
- Delegate the responsibilities. You should be leading the launch, but doesn’t mean that you have to DO everything. People want to be a part of something big and if you frame it up right, they will get excited for an opportunity to contribute.
- Continually improve your approach. A focus on strengthening weaknesses is my favorite way to improve anything in life. So I like to perform a post-mortem or retrospective with our launch team where we look at what worked, and figure out new ideas for what didn’t go so well so that each subsequent launch keeps getting better and better.
ED: What are your favorite resources that have helped your career?
LG: I do a lot of personal transformation work through Landmark Worldwide. I like to think of myself as a pretty self-aware person, but I know there is a lot that I don’t know! I’m always amazed at the dedication of the coaches. They have helped me recognize and address my “blind spots” and doing that work has helped me create positive shifts in my work and personal life. I highly recommend this approach to anyone who wants to enrich their work and personal life, as well as the lives of those around them.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. Some of my favorites are Tim Ferriss, Art of Charm, and Aubrey Marcus, because I learn a lot about people dynamics and relationships, which is core to success. I also attend a lot of free webinars. Even if the topic is outside of my industry, they inspire new ideas from unrelated places.
I most recently completed a Persona Masterclass by Adele Revella helped me understand everything I ever wanted to know about how to create personas. They don’t teach you that in college!
ED: What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your career?
LG: I wish I would have known about the career paths that are available today. I went to a college-prep high school, and at the time, they were focused on churning out doctors and lawyers. So when I expressed my interest in “commercial art” (graphic design), my counselor basically scoffed at me! I had no idea what marketing was – or all the fun facets of that as a career. I had to figure it out along the way. Luckily, I had many advocates that supported (and still do!) me along my career path, and I am grateful for them every day because I get to wake up and do a job I love. I try and pay it forward by mentoring people of all ages to help them figure out what they need to do to get where they want to be in their career.
ED: When you’re not hard at work, what’s your favorite thing to do?
I have so many things! Indoors, I love making fermented things like mead, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Right now, I’m learning how to make cheese, which is a test of patience! After a 7-week aging process, I just opened my first cheese, which is a pepper jack that turned out heavenly. If you want to see what cheese I’m currently pressing to, you can watch me fumble around on my Gonzos Makes Cheese Facebook page.
Outdoors, I ride a motorcycle. I have a Ducati Scrambler, and I love taking time to explore the back roads of Southern California. Last August, I did a 3,000-mile roundtrip motorcycle ride from San Diego to Seattle with four of my girlfriends. That was probably one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done in my life, and I’m really proud of that accomplishment.
Topics: Product Marketing Spotlight