Name: Sarah Fiola
Company: Tri Lite, Inc.
Location: Chicago, IL
I started my career at Tri Lite as a part-time consultant designing an informational packet for distributors about our LED Loading Dock Lights and the energy rebates they could qualify for if the customer’s purchased them. It was a complex task but with my background as a marketing-communication specialist for an international B2B business, I was able to handle it. After that project, I was brought in full-time to be Tri Lite’s Product Marketing Manager. The majority of my day is spent writing for our company website or designing marketing materials but I always am sure to devote time keeping myself current with the challenges that our customers are facing.
So much of my job involves looking at a computer screen so I try to break up that time by reading print magazines every day to understand the issues and concerns that our customers are facing in their respective segments. I also regularly meet with Tri Lite’s engineers, purchasing agents, production, sales and customer service staff to understand product regulations, issues or questions customers may have to ensure that I am representing Tri Lite’s product in a positive and accurate way.
As a marketing professional, it is natural that a lot of my communication takes place online via email. However, whenever possible, I try to meet with sales contacts either in person or by telephone. Often, I’ll go on sales calls with our lead salesperson and attend trade shows to educate customers and potential customers in person about our products and answer any questions they may have. Above all, I think product marketers have to care about people in general and the customer in particular.
To stay current with industry trend and form the personal connections necessary to succeed, a product marketer must be naturally curious. In my position, I am constantly looking to learn how things work and making sure that every small detail is correct. You have to be able to identify what about your product will work for a certain market and enjoy researching and learning about things that you aren’t necessarily ever going to do. I have to be fluent not only with our products but with our customer’s applications as well. If you don’t have that thirst for knowledge, it could be a big task to learn.
I wear a lot of hats at Tri Lite and so my to-do lists can be quite lengthy. I treat items on that to-do list as if they are mini projects, so organization is key. I use Microsoft Project to keep on top of everything and provide some accountability with deadlines and assignments. In addition to email and the entire Microsoft Office suite, I also use e-blast software and survey software very often when putting together marketing material.