Interview with Jason Knott, Co-Founder & VP Product & Marketing at Observian
Jason Knott is a creative who also loves to code. He started his career in software engineering but began to develop a passion for design and marketing after seeing the value it can bring to products and services. Currently, he is the Co-Founder & VP Product & Marketing at Observian, it offers cloud services in Utah such as Cloud Migration, Disaster Recovery, Security, Compliance, Big Data, DevOps, Cost Optimization, and more!
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.
I enjoy wearing many hats at any company I work for. I’ve always been interested in technology so I started my career in IT and Web Dev. I eventually joined a startup as a software engineer and evolved into product design. Long story short, I saw that tech is great but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t articulate the value you’re going to bring in a concise way. Design and marketing help to articulate that value proposition.
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
Because I’m not a traditional marketer, I don’t seek traditional marketing channels. I look for areas of high return and high opportunity and sometimes that’s simply providing a solid brand that provides more value than your competitors. I think a huge advantage is to try and start your own brand/company that’s bootstrapped. This will make you very scrappy and force you to think outside the box.
My current industry involves long sales cycles and building long term relationships so it’s hard to name a particular marketing channel that works best. I can say that part of starting a new company is getting the community familiar with your name/logo/brand and what you represent, so for the initial touch point we often utilize Reddit/Google/LinkedIn as digital marketing channels. I think there is a lot of organic marketing potential on reddit if you utilize it to provide value to the community more than approaching it as a direct marketing tool.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
We currently use Hubspot. It has its limitations but because we are all engineers at Observian so we can craft our own tools to help supplement Hubspot’s weak points.
Hubspot is our main digital marketing tool and as I said before it’s useful to a point, but everyone has their own custom needs. Luckily, we are a team of software engineers at heart so we can write custom applications utilizing Hubspot’s API’s. For example, for our sales reps, we wrote a custom “intake” mobile application. It allows them to go to client meetings and log customer information that will be important for our engineers in the follow-up meetings. Sales reps can also create “deals” within the application so they can track the status as engineers respond and move the deal through our pipeline. This application is constantly evolving to meet our needs, but I see it being very useful to us, especially as we begin to expand.
Would you like to share a few words about any marketing software that you absolutely love and always recommend it to others?
Use whatever you’re comfortable with, tools evolve and it’s a constant shuffle for who’s on top. The tool doesn’t make or break you, it’s the execution.
Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.
Do whatever you can to get a unique perspective on the market you’re trying to serve. Just as an actor will study for their role by immersing themselves in the shoes of those they are trying to portray, you need to immerse yourself in the role of those you are trying to market to.