5@5: Meet Aaron Sawitsky, Senior Product Marketing Manager [SERIES]

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We try to stay humble at Localytics, but there’s no denying it: we have an incredible team here. (#Blessed.) Our new blog series, 5@5, uses 5 questions to get a behind-the-scenes look at who’s designing, building, and marketing our platform, and how they do it.

Kicking things off is Aaron Sawitsky! He’s the race car driving, Boston-bred man behind product marketing at Localytics. 

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What’s the difference between product marketing & product management?

So product marketing is how we explain our product, internally and externally. Product management is all about bringing a new product or feature to market. I work very, very closely with the product managers as they spin out new products or features to make sure they get promoted. But the big difference is one is a product role, and one’s a marketing role.

The hardest thing about my job is that we have a super complex product. It can be very technical at times. If you let a product manager explain our product to the market, it’d go into really granular detail--all the individual specs and features and stuff like that. So I take that and roll it up into: “Why should somebody care about this? Why is this something that a marketer would want to do?”

"Even though I’m on the product team, what I bring is a marketer’s perspective. And the marketer is one of our biggest customers."

I’m able to tell the the product team, this is what I care about. This is what I don’t care about. Then I take all the fantastic work they do and summarize it so that when we announce it, marketers like me understand instantly.

What do people get wrong about what you do?

I’m kind of a bastard. Um, let me rephrase that. I’ve got a unique position in that i’m not in marketing, but I’m not in product either. I’m the equivalent of a social butterfly or something like that. That’s a horrible analogy.

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Aaron's the social butterfly of the product and marketing teams.


Maybe a little bit of an orphan?

Yeah, exactly right. I think product people sometimes think that marketers are all about gut instinct and going with their feeling, versus working with data. So when I start talking about data analysis and statistical rigor, a lot of times the product people give me this amazed look. What they don’t realize is that marketing has really changed over the past 10 years.

"Nowadays, to be a good marketer, you need to understand statistics and be willing to rely on data for certain parts of your job."

There’s still places where the data’s incomplete, or you don’t have access to everything you need. So there’s times you have to go with your gut, or logic, or what your experience tells you is right. But I think marketing has evolved into a much more data-driven role than it was a decade ago.

What’s the most challenging thing about working in Product Marketing?

We have a super powerful product. Trying to take everything we do and summarize it in 1 or 2 sentences is challenging. The product means different things to different people. Marketers, data analysts, product teams, executive teams--each one of those groups cares about different features and functionalities in the Localytics platform. When somebody asks me what Localytics does, I need to get them the 1 sentence response. There’s so many things i can tell them. What do I need to tell them, what should I focus on? I think that’s the hardest part of my job.

Want more of Aaron's take on marketing? Check out "Marketers: Let's Not F*ck Up Geopush"

What surprised you about Localytics when you started here?

I didn’t realize just how powerful the Localytics platform is, in terms of the level of data that you can get. I went from using this type of product--a marketing platform--to being able to target audiences in a broad fashion: everyone who visited the website, or everyone who’s from Boston, or something like that. But the fact that Localytics lets you get to the point where you can say, “I want to build an audience of everyone who read this specific article on this date,” and we’re talking 6 months ago, that’s an amazing level of power. Frankly, I didn’t realize there was a platform out there that allowed you to get that granular. And what that means in terms of how you can use our platform to create a truly relevant experience for users is incredible. I was pretty blown away by that.

I also didn’t expect the company to be as nimble as it is.  By the time a company gets to around 200 people, I think change generally happens pretty slowly at that point. But out of necessity, things evolve incredibly quickly here. Our industry is changing every single day. 

"What mobile can and can’t do is redefined on a weekly basis, so we need to move and change with that."

So I was expecting a company that was past the startup phase where it can really pivot, but everyone at Localytics does a fantastic job of putting up with this insane rate of change in our industry. We can be working on something for months, and it suddenly changes in terms of what phones can or can’t do, so we have to drop that and do something else. The fact that everyone is able to pivot that quickly is astounding. Really cool.

What's your app guilty pleasure?

Bumble! Without a doubt. I spend way more time in there than I reasonably should. It’s disturbingly addictive. And I know I’m not alone in that. You look up and you’re like, geez, I’ve been swiping for 20 minutes and I only intended to go in here for 2 minutes. So that’s why it’s my guilty pleasure.   

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Thanks, Aaron!  Have a question about product marketing here at Localytics? Ask Aaron in the comments.

 

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