How An Obsession With Customers Drives Twilio’s Growth

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When you request an Uber and get a text message that your driver is on the way or book a room on Airbnb and trade text messages with the host, that’s Twilio working behind the scenes — and since 2008, they’ve grown to serve a network of over 700,000 registered developers with over 30,000 new accounts being created every month.

Few companies see such breakneck growth without a marketing engine behind the scenes, and if you take a quick look at Twilio’s website, one thing is obvious: they are obsessed with their customers. From an entire section dedicated to customer success stories to feature descriptions that are clear, crisp, and easy to understand, Twilio puts their customers at the center of everything they do.

It’s Elisa Bellagamba‘s job to drive adoption of Twilio’s voice product, and we recently talked to her about her role and a few of her thoughts on being a product marketer at Twilio.

Q: Product marketing can be tough to define. How do you explain what you do at Twilio?

A: Product marketing at Twilio means combining deep product and customer knowledge to serve the goal of telling a compelling product story on one side, and translating upcoming trends to product vision on the other side.

Our customers are software developers and we have to address their needs and anticipate them, unlocking new use cases and experiences. My day to day jobs spans across market research, sales enablement, messaging, meeting with customers, experimenting and measuring the results of new products positioning.

Q: What metrics are you responsible for? How are you measured?

What I like the most about this role is the ability to combine creativity with a scientific rigor in measuring the outcomes of our experiments.

We are obsessed about metrics, we constantly monitor growth at different stage of the customer adoption funnel and collect NPS associated to the different activities we run.

Q: What’s the hardest part of your job as a product marketer today?

Focus and prioritization. Especially in a startup, speed is critical and the number of (typically very fun) marketing activities we can run are many, but only a few will make a difference.

It’s very important to find quick ways to validate early on what is the most promising bet, so to be able to change direction in case things don’t turn up as expected.

Q: What do you read? How do you stay on top of the latest in product marketing?

I have my collection of RSS feeds pointing to various websites and blogs such as Hacker News, Product Hunt, Tech Crunch, Venturebeat, AVC.com, bhorowitz.com and feld.com.

Q: Do you have examples of companies that you think nail their product marketing?

By placing the right bet on a few product features and targeting a specific market segment, Slack has been able to transform a potentially “yet-another-chat” app to the fastest growing business app. They are a great example of product positioning. 

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