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Employee Q&A: Genny Orser
Nov 8, 2022
7 min read
Genny is the VP of Product and Marketing at Mappedin. In this Q&A, we discuss some of the exciting initiatives she’s working on, the qualities and skills that are important for a job in either product or marketing, and advice for someone looking to become a leader.
Genny, thanks for chatting with me today. To begin, can you tell us about your current role at Mappedin?
My role at Mappedin is VP of Product and Marketing. I lead both Product and Marketing teams. On the marketing side, I’m responsible for the overall marketing strategy and plan, and ultimately ensuring that our plan helps Mappedin achieve its annual goals.
On the product side, I’m responsible for the overall product roadmap and ensuring that it is solving market needs along with customer demands and the vision of Mappedin.
You’ve been at Mappedin for six years now, congratulations! How has your journey been, and what is your perspective on how Mappedin has changed over time?
It has been an incredible ride. I can’t believe it’s been six years! I’ve gotten to work with and learn from so many talented people, wear several hats, and gain experience in every facet of a business you can imagine.
Since joining, the company has changed so much in terms of the number of people that we have, the way that our teams are organized, and the overall market opportunity for indoor mapping. We had a very niche use case for our business, and that has expanded so much over those six years which is incredible to see.
The one thing that really hasn’t changed is the ultimate vision of Mappedin — “One Map Everywhere''. It was the vision from the day that I started until now.
What does a typical workday look like as the VP of Product and Marketing?
No two days are ever the same. It’s a lot of problem solving, building out the marketing and product strategy, focusing on alignment, and identifying new opportunities. I have some days that are entirely focused on higher-level strategy, and others where all hands are on deck and I’m building out a website page or writing a piece of content.
Primarily, my role boils down to enabling the amazing and talented group of people we have at Mappedin to do their jobs the best that they can, but I’m definitely not afraid to jump into the weeds when necessary.
What aspects of your job do you find the most rewarding? What do you find the most challenging?
Most rewarding is definitely all the people I get to work with. We have such an amazing group of people at Mappedin and I truly learn something new every day. One of the things that I love about Mappedin is our willingness to help people discover new skills, or take their skills to a whole new level by working on another team.
The challenging part of my role would be juggling a lot of priorities, which I think everyone has experienced, especially when you’re moving fast and trying to grow as a company and as a team. For me, it’s important to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. My default is always to take a step back, assess the situation and know that there’s always a solution regardless of how big the problem may be.
What are some of the exciting initiatives that you’re working on right now?
Two big things we’re developing right now are a new partner program and the strategy for the platform side of our product and self-serve capabilities. We hired an awesome VP of Partnerships to spearhead the partner program, which has been and will continue to be a cross-functional effort with involvement from marketing. I’m really excited to see it come to fruition and launch early next year.
We’re also growing into the next phase of Mappedin, specifically the platform side of our product (i.e. Mappedin SDKs and developer tools) and self-serve capabilities. It’s a new challenge for us that requires a shift in not only our product but also the way we market Mappedin. It will be exciting to see this evolution come to life over the next year.
How would you describe the culture of the Mappedin Marketing and Product teams?
The two teams are made up of incredibly talented people that are very specialized in their crafts. They’re really good at what they do, are willing to run with new things, test and learn constantly, and communicate with each other.
If I boil it down, it’s a fun and autonomous culture. Both teams have a lot of trust within each other's talents and responsibilities, and communicate when they need something from someone else. People really get to hone their skills, run with their own projects, and regroup in morning standups, weekly team hangouts, and company events.
What qualities and skills do you think are important for a job in marketing?
Marketing tactics change every year, but what remains constant is figuring out your target user group, how you’re going to communicate with them, and making sure that you’re telling them a compelling story in the way that they want to consume it. This concept alone is really important for a job in marketing.
Getting a grasp on a business as a whole is also extremely important. In marketing, our job is to convey our business and what we sell in a compelling way to our audience. Taking an interest in the company and the product as a whole will make you a better marketer, regardless of your specific craft. You need to understand what the business does and what you are ultimately selling.
What qualities and skills do you think are important for a job in product?
Again, understanding the company and product as a whole along with your target user. Your job is to make decisions that factor in market demands, customer needs, and the ultimate vision of the company. Being able to marry these priorities to solve the most important problems are key. In product, you’re never going to make everyone perfectly happy. You have to be comfortable having those tough conversations, asking the right questions, and having product sense as it relates to that.
Interpersonal and communication skills are also important. You have to be able to work cross-functionally with several teams including technical development, design, customer support and success, sales, and marketing. It’s a skill that transcends every role in product, regardless of what kind of product manager you are or what product you’re responsible for.
What advice would you have for someone looking to become a leader?
I would say for anyone looking to become a leader, lead by example and do the work. It’s very compelling as a leader and as a people manager to have an understanding and have empathy for what people on your team do on a day-to-day basis. To have done the work yourself, or at least have a solid understanding of it.
I also think it’s important to define what being a leader means for you. We used to associate being a leader with leading a team, however I think that’s becoming less the case today. You can also be a leader as an individual contributor, and grow in seniority which I think is a great shift overall in business.
My advice would be to define what a leader looks like to you, and again, do the work and lead by example, and naturally people management and leadership will fall into place.
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