Meet Meghann York, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Salesforce
Job Title: Senior Director, Product Marketing
Degree Path: BA, Communications, Miami of Ohio, Magna Cum Laude
Hometown: Avon, Indiana
Current City: Zionsville, IN
What led you to your getting into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?
My first job in tech was with DyKnow, an education software company. It was the early days of 1:1 computing in schools and I was more drawn to the mission of the company – helping kids learn more effectively – than thinking “I want a job in tech.” The job with DyKnow then led to the job at iGoDigital where I really developed a love of working in tech. It was extremely exciting to be on the cutting edge of an industry, working with a company that was growing at such a rapid pace. Because it was a startup, there was so much green field to create innovative products and innovative marketing programs to support them.
What has been your career path so far?
In 2012, iGoDigital was acquired by ExactTarget which began the real definition of my career. At ExactTarget, I was introduced to the field of Product Marketing (because at a startup, you’re just all marketing). ExactTarget was then acquired by Salesforce which is a company that heavily invests in Product Marketing. It’s been very exciting to learn the craft from some of the best product marketers in the world. Salesforce has given me many opportunities to advance my career over the last six years, steadily being promoted in product marketing roles from senior manager to director to senior director and also continuing to push myself to learn and market innovative products like Einstein Artificial Intelligence and our integration with Google Analytics 360.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?
I lead Product Marketing for Einstein Artificial Intelligence and Google Analytics 360 which means I am encouraged to think of myself as the CMO of these product lines. Our job is to drive ACV for those products, and the Marketing Cloud in general by using these products as differentiators. One of the reasons I love my job is that it’s up to me and my team what mix of activities is needed to drive that success whether it’s enabling the sales team, working with customers to tell their stories through Public Relations or event presentations, working with our demand generation teams on campaigns related to the product, working with our creative team on new digital content – no day is really the same and I love it.
Help us picture your work environment.
Salesforce places a lot of emphasis on work environments. I have the opportunity to work in the Salesforce Tower with natural light coming in and an amazing view of the Circle. We sit in community seating so there is constant interaction between our team – much of which involves joking and laughter. Product marketing is responsible for delivering many of the presentations at Salesforce events and supporting the sales team in customer meetings, so I am often traveling. Thanks to Salesforce, I have gotten to see the world. Because I do travel often, Salesforce is also very open to allowing me to be flexible with my schedule when I’m home in order to accommodate the needs of my family, whether that is working from home or having flexible hours to be there for school activities and appointments.
What do you love about the work you do?
See question above our roles and responsibilities. I also love working at Salesforce because it is one of the most accepting workplaces I have ever come in contact with. Salesforce is a leader in equality and it “walks the walk” encouraging employees to bring their authentic selves to work. This was also the “secret sauce” behind much of iGoDigital’s success and amazing culture.
Which personality traits, interests, and abilities are important or common for a person to succeed in and enjoy this occupation?
A product marketer needs to love learning. By the nature of technology, products are always innovative and changing. There is no such thing as “status quo” so being open to learning and trying new things is vital to success. Product marketers also need to be good communicators. Our job is to make very complicated concepts simple to understand and communicate those concepts concisely. Being comfortable with public speaking is also extremely important.
Which tools/technologies or technical skills are particularly important for a person in your job to be proficient in?
Product marketers at Salesforce live in PowerPoint, Keynote and Google Slides. Being able to communicate a complicated subject in three bullet points is a must!
Which soft skills (aka general business skills or employability skills) are particularly important for a person in this occupation to be proficient in?
- Ability to collaborate with people of different backgrounds, skill and perspectives
- Be a “connector” between a lot of different groups of people
- Focus on other people’s success – our customers are the star of the show, not us
- Tolerance for ambiguity and the motivation to solve new problems. Lots of times things in technology are not yet defined. You have to be the one who wants to define them.
From your experience with new grads applying for and beginning jobs in this occupation, are they missing any particular knowledge, skills, or experiences that hold them back?
Many new grads I talk to want to do “strategy.” I’ve been in the workforce for almost 20 years now and I don’t do “strategy” all day! Grads need to be willing to roll up their sleeves and write, design slides, edit content, put together event spaces. I was successful at first in my career because I was a writer – I had a marketable skill that companies needed. I would encourage every grad to have a skill.
Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?
Find a mentor that you can be totally open with and ask all the “stupid” questions. Someone who is willing to take the time to make you better…then be willing to pay it forward as you grow in your career. Everyone woman should read “The Confidence Code.” It will change the way you interact with everyone you come in contact with at work.
What encouragement or advice would you offer to others considering this occupation or wanting to stand out amongst others?
Do the things that scare you. Every major accomplishment at work has started with me wondering if I could do it and doing it anyway. Use the fear to propel you, not hold you back.