Working in a fast-growing startup environment, everyone wears a lot of hats. I trust they’re working towards their goals and prioritizing appropriately, just as I am. I feel that when you extend that trust and understanding, it’s reciprocated and creates a better work environment.
I am a Senior Product Marketing Manager at MikMak. I view product marketing as the bridge between our Product/Engineering teams and our customer-facing teams (Sales, Customer Success, etc.). I prepare the organization for product launches and updates with external enablement materials and internal training resources.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
Product Marketing is currently a team of one, me (but we’re hiring). The work sees me working everyday with people across our Marketing team (6 people), Product team (9 people), and Commercial teams (50+ people).
Where are your teammates located?
In July of 2020 MikMak announced their MikMak Anywhere Policy, allowing current and future employees the ability to work from anywhere. On a day-to-day basis I’m interacting with people across dozens of states within the US (New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, California) and even internationally in the U.K.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
The Product Marketing teams primary responsibility is packaging products for launch. This includes the development of positioning and value propositions for products, the creation of enablement materials allowing our customer-facing roles to easily communicate these values, and internal training resources to ensure everyone at MikMak understands not only the values of the product, but how they work.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
I find it best to approach all my work in a remote environment with clear communication, trust and, flexibility. Messages through email or apps like Slack can lack context and tone, so I like to let others know my outreach is just to share an update or ask a question but is rarely if ever some sort of fire drill requiring an immediate response.
Working in a fast-growing startup environment, everyone wears a lot of hats and tends to have a lot on their plates. I trust they’re working towards their goals and prioritizing appropriately, just as I am. I feel that when you extend that trust and understanding, it’s reciprocated and creates a better work environment.
And the last key component is Flexibility. Keep things like time-zones and other responsibilities outside of work in mind when scheduling meetings or project deadlines.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections. Strong connections are built with Hailey.
How do you make sure your team is happy and engaged in their work?
Letting people be involved in the creation of quarterly goals gives employees a voice and sense of ownership over the work they’re doing. Routine check-ins help keep projects on track and eliminate roadblocks before they become serious issues.
Messages through email or apps like Slack can lack context and tone, so I like to let others know my outreach is just to share an update or ask a question but is rarely if ever some sort of fire drill requiring an immediate response.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
My Remote Manager Toolbox
MikMak has been great in giving teams the budget to host virtual-events allowing teams to socially interact and get to know each other like virtual escape rooms, cooking classes, cocktail making classes, and trivia. We also just had an in-person company offsite, and meeting co-workers in person after a year and a half at MikMak was great!
MikMak has several Slack channels dedicated to specific interests or hobbies. The gaming channel for interest will hold weekly game nights or online Mario Kart tournaments. The Baking-channel will share recipes or join together on zoom for a cookie demonstration led by a fellow MikMaker with a panache for baking.
Something as simple as asking what people are binge watching can lead to great debate and discussion. A lot of strong opinions on Euphoria and Love Is Blind.
Products & Tools
We use Donut, an app that will automatically assign two-coworkers to schedule an informal “Coffee-chat”. It’s a great way to meet people outside your team and outside of those you frequently cross-collaborate with.
Resources for remote leaders
I like to keep my ear to the ground on books or podcasts co-workers listed to. When one is mentioned or shared I’ll try to read/listed. It helps connect you better to your coworkers, and you pretty much always learn something new.
Some recent books I’ve grabbed are Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.
Podcasts I’m subscribed to are more related to increasing industry knowledge than they are leadership, but some I enjoy are Brave Commerce and The CPG Guys.
Make your company a great place to work
"Adding Hailey has been by far the lowest effort, highest impact thing we’ve done to bring our globally scattered team together!" - Mary Grace Reich