The digital transformation underway across virtually all industries, no doubt hastened by the global pandemic, has made the world a whole lot smaller. Globalization is nothing new; but in addition to sourcing materials and labor abroad, many of today’s savviest companies are pouring significant resources into global marketing efforts as well. In order to effectively connect with a global marketplace, however, it takes much more than just a global footprint.

Google Senior Marketing Director Sandeep Menon joined Simplilearn CMO Mark Moran on Sept. 17 for an online discussion about the opportunities and challenges of global marketing. Specifically, they spoke about what it takes to be part of a global marketing team today—both the skills needed and the responsibilities that must be fulfilled. 

In a highly-connected, digitally transformed world, product marketers face greater pressures than ever: simultaneous global launches, ever-shorter release timelines, and incessant demands to stand out from the crowd. What does it take to be a truly successful product marketer today? What roles will you play, what skills do you need, and what approaches and mindsets work best to create and present a truly global and impactful product to the global consumer?

The following is a recap of the September webinar, in which Menon described his own career progression from the world of mechanical engineering to product marketing; the most important skills companies such as Google look for in marketing professionals; and other insights that can help you better position yourself as part of a global marketing team.

From Bringing Products to Life to Building Narratives

Menon, a Senior Marketing Director at Google, is responsible for leading the global marketing efforts for Google Payments. He also leads the global marketing team for Google’s Next Billion Users (NBU) initiative, which is focused on using technology to enable inclusion, empowerment, and economic opportunity for the next billion users in fast-growing emerging markets. 

Prior to his current work, Menon led global marketing for Android, Chrome, and Google Play. That’s a lot of responsibility for one of the world’s largest technology companies, but it wasn’t his original path. Menon first interviewed at Google for a product management role, after taking a break to get his MBA. When he asked about alternative roles, the interviewer mentioned product marketing.

He was intrigued with the prospect of shifting his focus to marketing, but realized it would require new skills and new perspectives. When you’re a product manager, he said, you work primarily with engineers to bring products to life.

“However, if you feel that your interest is in taking something to market and telling a story—taking a product and building a narrative around it—then you should definitely consider product marketing,” he said.

With his engineering background, Menon understood and appreciated the analytical side of things, but realized there was a whole host of new skills he had to learn if he wanted to become an effective marketing professional. Marketing professionals also must know how to combine the analytical with the creative, which is apparent in SEO campaigns and other digital marketing efforts. 

Knowing how to acquire customers is an essential skill, but not the only skill necessary for successful marketing efforts. In addition to the customer acquisition or growth marketing aspect, Menon explained, product marketing requires both an analytical and a brand aspect as well. While associate-level marketing roles tend to me more specialized, you need to “wear all the hats” when you take on senior-level roles.

Growing Pains and the Importance of Effective Delegation    

Menon admits that he’s made his fair share of mistakes early in his career as he adjusted to increasingly senior-level roles with Google. It’s just part of how we learn. How you respond and course-correct, however, is what determines your continued career trajectory. One of the biggest challenges senior-level professionals face, as prompted by Moran, is learning how to manage and cultivate the growth of those under you while also growing into your new responsibilities.

“You see so many extremely smart individuals, superstars at what they do, wanting to build their skill sets and manage a team,” Menon said. “But they struggle. They struggle because they’re so good at doing something but they overplay their strengths.”

In other words, new marketing managers often have difficulty stepping back and giving their charges the opportunity to grow into their roles, often micromanaging or just doing their work for them. This tendency, he said, can be stifling to everyone involved. The key, he added, is to “give space.” Just like with any other team, not everyone can be the captain and winning is determined not by each individual part but by how well they complement one another.

What Global Corporations Look for in Marketing Professionals

In his capacity as a global marketing manager, Menon manages team members in the Bay Area, New York, Singapore, and India. He explained that each global marketing team at Google has three main functions:

  • Product marketing. Defining the product and telling its story to customers increases familiarity with the product
  • Growth marketing. Identifying and engaging with customers for the product helps identify potential customers
  • Brand marketing. Telling a compelling story about the family of products and the company behind them grows the brand

Understanding these functions of a larger global marketing effort and how they work together are key to determining what role you might play. Also, Menon added, it’s important to act locally no matter how brought your global footprint is because insights within each market are often vastly different. 

“What a consumer needs in India is different from what a consumer needs in the U.S.,” he said. “There are differences even within these countries, so you need to invest in building local teams.”

One member of the audience asked, “How does Google evaluate candidates applying for marketing roles?” For his part, Menon emphasized that he looks for people who are eager to learn new skills and take on new challenges for his marketing team. 

Within Google, individuals are encouraged to take on new roles, new responsibilities, and even new geographic regions. People who are curious about new technologies and skills, who are able to take risks, and who want to stretch beyond their current role are the most attractive candidates for that environment.

Be sure to watch Moran’s interview with Menon in its entirety at YouTube. 

Prepare Yourself for a Global Marketing Career Today

Whether you’re a software engineer or product manager hoping to make the switch to marketing, or just starting your career, marketing is always central to any successful company’s plans. Take that next step and enroll in one of Simplilearn’s proven courses, blending live, online, instructor-led classes with self-paced projects and videos to help you become career-ready upon completion. You can start with the Digital Marketing Specialist Program or the Post Graduate Program in Digital Marketing. Seize your future today!

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