Technically Marketing

I’ve been working in Technical Marketing for a little while now, long enough to realize how much this job rocks. Before getting into Tech Marketing I was a Sales Engineer and was finding myself worn down and unsure of what I could do next. That’s when my buddy Adam mentioned that I would be a great fit for our TME team at Nutanix. So I reached out to the director and we started talking.

He told me all the things that a TME does on a daily basis, but more than that, he told me what he saw the future of a tech marketing department could look like. Historically, TMEs write a lot of documents, a LOT of documents. They participate in webinars, present at conferences, write blog posts and work with customers as Subject Matter Experts in a particular area.

“I can do all of those things”, I thought to myself. But then he went on. Where the industry needs tech marketing to be is more on the forefront of content delivery. Just writing docs that might see the light of day provides much less value than figuring out how to deliver information about your product to your customers in ways that they are excited to consume it: hands-on labs, videos, deep-dive content, etc.

I was sold. I joined the team in December of 2019 and immediately had a family emergency that kept me unavailable for a month. The team had my back and when I was able to return to work, I jumped in head first with the team in trying to build Nutanix Test Drive.

Our products at Nutanix can be complex, not from an end user perspective, but when you try to deploy them in not-so-normal ways. Our platform wasn’t designed to be deployed on Google Compute, it wasn’t designed to have us automate a bottom to top deployment of AOS to Objects without any user input, it wasn’t designed to have walk-throughs built into the interface, but our TME team made it work.

We reverse engineered APIs that weren’t well documented, we wrote scripts and abstractions, our cloud engineering team built a cluster deployment management platform, we integrated Walk-Me to help us walk a customer through the interface, and so much more. In a matter of months we deployed over a dozen Nutanix products in the cloud, consumable nearly instantly (most competitors have a manual review process to get access), with just a click of a button. The customers, potential customers, and SEs that used Test Drive were loving it and spent more and more time using it.

When you can go to your marketing team and show them engagement with a user of more than 20 minutes, you’ve definitely done something right.

There’s still work being done on Test Drive today and will continue to be for a long time in the future. But after releasing it, we shifted to another project, videos.

For previous video content, someone from my team would fly to one of our offices to record in our video studio with someone on our media team. The media team would put the video together, then release it. For pandemic times, that wasn’t going to work. So Jason and I spent some time building templates in Camtasia, so each one of our coworkers could record themselves using their iPhone and then put together a video that had the same look and feel as the rest of the team. Bumpers, background music, lower thirds, everything.

We’ve published dozens of videos in the last six months, resulting in 10’s of thousands of views on our YouTube channel, outpacing the corporate content for number of views very quickly. We have a Trello board with proposed content, with columns for video status. Trello board updates show up in our Slack channel, ensuring everyone is aware of what is happening with the content. Once a video is deemed ready for peer review, the TME drags the card into the Peer Review column, where another TME (or multiple) watches the video and makes any comments they may have. Generally the TME will go back and make a couple of tweaks, ask for further review, then push to publishing. It’s a highly effective process that produces extremely high quality video content for a nearly $0 budget.

It’s important to build a good team around you to support you in your efforts, a team with diverse experiences and skillsets, so you can deliver on multiple forms of content over time. There are few TME roles in most companies and they’re likely highly sought after, but I recommend you at least reach out to existing TMEs in your company and talk to them about what they do and where they need help. TMEs interact with peers and executives in groups like Product Management, Marketing, Engineering, Sales, Sales Enablement, and many more.

All of this to say, Technical Marketing is an awesome job that you should absolutely look into if any of the above is interesting to you. You get to be a Subject Matter Expert in a product, build your company brand (as well as your own), and do cool stuff most days.