An interview with Alfie James Gardner, Product Marketing Manager at HowNow
We sit down with Alfie James Gardner, Product Marketing Manager at HowNow. HowNow is the learning experience platform that helps fast-growing companies engage employees with personalised and collaborative learning, everywhere they work.
How did you end up at HowNow and what problem does HowNow solve for its clients?
I started at HowNow brand new to tech. I was one of HowNows first Customer Success Managers, before making the transition as HowNows first Product Marketing Manager. HowNow is a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) that makes learning a meaningful part of everyday work, rather than an unwelcome interruption.
As the Product Marketing Manager, what are your main responsibilities at HowNow?
As HowNows first PMM, my role has a lot of scope! I lead on market and customer research, commercial enablement, product launches, product education and our voice of the customer projects. If it involves making HowNows customers happier and getting them involved, helping our sales team figure out our customers problems or involves messaging and positioning : there I am.
To get a bit more technical, what are some of the acquisition channels that have worked well for HowNow and why do you think that is?
Our primary customer works in Learning and Development or People teams. Often, they fly solo in their business or as a really small team who don't always get to network or learn by osmosis through their colleagues. They're often time pressed and passionately seeking challenges! Our go-to-market strategy focuses really heavily on value-adding content. Whether that's through books, events, easy-to-consume guides or our L&D Disrupt Podcast. Our focus is always on helping L&D practitioners to think big, aim high and always learn.
At ColdFire, when we look at our clients' Marketing strategies, they vary greatly. Some have found a single, scalable client acquisition process while others thrive on a mix of top-of-funnel strategies. If you had to summarise the high-level LeadGenMarketing strategy of HowNow, what would it be?
The best marketing strategy is one driven by your customer. Find out where they work, what they care about, what they want to achieve and dig deep. Your CRM tells one chapter of your customer story. Your CS team will tell you another. Product another. Use that story to figure out where you go, and don't be afraid to experiment.
What is a Marketing technique that you've used at HowNow or at previous companies which you believe is underutilized at most Marketing teams - and why?
I can't say it enough - understand your customer. Properly. Your CRM data isn't enough, following a few customers on LinkedIn isn't enough. Do more and you'll get better. I used to be a Customer Success Manager, it gave me such valuable insight into what people were using our product for - how we helped solve them, where we fell short, where we needed to be smarter. I'd say a good 40% of my week is me just stalking, researching and snooping on customers to enhance our market knowledge.
Has your Marketing team experimented with some kind of cold outbound strategy (like cold email)? If yes what was the general outcome and if no, why not?
We're still somewhat green in the world of outbound. Its important for us to make sure we're still raising awareness, and simultaneously delivering value to our customers to maintain our integrity. So far - it's been fantastic for us as a tactic and we're keen to keep experimenting.