What does it take to successfully launch an ad product—like Facebook Shops or Instagram Stories—in a new market, region, or across the globe? At the Facebook company, members of the Product Marketing team in APAC play a key role as trend experts and storytellers.
“We often work with teams that are physically far from us, like those in Menlo Park, California. And when you don’t live here, it’s difficult to know what life is like. We channel our creativity to paint a picture for product teams so they can really understand what’s happening and what Asia is all about,” explains Kay L., a product marketing manager based in Hong Kong.
Kay and her teammates have more than a knack for tracking trends and representing those who use Facebook’s products. They also know how to talk about emerging technology in a way that inspires brands and businesses to use it, and speak passionately about bringing the world closer together. Alexander D., Product Marketing Lead at Instagram—who was also recently named a Top 50 Influencer
— is inspired and driven by having “thousands of amazing ideas to work on” all the time.
In this interview, Kay and Alexander, along with James T. and Neha S., share what it’s really like to help shape and share some of the world’s most popular products.
James T., Director of Product Marketing
From Facebook Shops to Instagram, James and his team enable advertisers to tell their business stories and meet their goals.
Can you explain what your team does?
The Product Marketing team is both the voice of the market in product and the voice of the product in market. We lead the go-to-market efforts for Facebook’s ads and monetization products, helping advertisers grow their businesses. We also advocate for the needs of the region to our product and engineering teams.
What kinds of problems are you solving?
We work across Facebook products to help advertisers understand and adopt better strategies so they can tell their business stories and meet their marketing objectives.
For example, we recently launched Facebook Shops
, which emphasizes the company's commitment to support the growth of commerce for small and medium businesses globally. My team played a pivotal role in coordinating the launch plans for APAC, and helped equip businesses with product knowledge. On Instagram, we've seen businesses of all sizes find success with Ads in Stories. Recently, we've been working with brands and agencies to launch new creative tools and automated solutions to improve the performance of campaigns.
What’s most surprising about Product Marketing at Facebook?
I think the extensive range of products we cover is most surprising. For example, a product marketing manager will have to manage a number of ad features, and there’s always something new to explore or work on.
Our work is innovative and it’s constantly evolving. We’re challenged to learn new things all the time, and we need to learn them fast. People who thrive on our team can handle the steep learning curve, master a product very quickly, are comfortable with ambiguity, have the ability to influence people, and the capacity to manage programs at scale
“The Product Marketing team is the voice of the market in product and the voice of the product in market.”
Alexander D., Product Marketing Lead, Instagram
You came to Facebook as a product marketing manager. Why this company and role?
I previously worked at a large technology company and I wanted to do something different that wasn’t a total career shift. Facebook offered an exciting opportunity because the Southeast Asia business was growing incredibly fast. We were transitioning from managing everything centrally in Singapore to setting up local offices in each of our markets. The role was a great fit for me because there was so much to learn.
How has your job evolved over the years?
After two and a half years working across Southeast Asia, I transitioned into product marketing for Instagram. At the time, it was considered an emerging product and I was asked to help businesses and brands figure out the best way to use it.
Now, we have so much to do—and I mean that in a good way. It’s a luxury to have a thousand new ideas about products we should work on. We think about things like should we go more into Stories, Shopping, branded content, or AR effects?? Our team’s biggest challenge, which is also exciting, is having to focus on just one amazing idea at time.
What sets Facebook apart from other companies?
I admit that when I first joined, I didn’t fully understand the emphasis people here place on bringing your authentic self to work. I remember thinking, “I'm not bringing anything to work except my work.” So when everyone started Facebook-friending me, it made me pause as it was a bit out of my comfort zone. But then I realized the idea of connecting with my team members on Facebook is really a glimpse into what they’re like outside of the office. People post pictures of their family and articles about things they care about. It goes way beyond water cooler talk at work, and it really helped humanize my teammates.
Neha S., Director of Product Marketing
Neha and her team are driving innovation to ensure advertisers have the tools they need. Art by Sophia Ong through Facebook Open Arts
Where do you see the greatest impact in your role and the markets you’re focused on?
Across the region, we have a leading voice in how we enable growth for business, as well as the kind of feedback we pass from a region back to product teams to influence a roadmap. The breadth of what we cover is huge, and the market opportunities we represent become priorities. We need to be storytellers at heart because the visibility we share about what our advertisers want and need is one of the most important aspects of our work.
What’s most exciting about working in APAC?
APAC is a unique region and it’s our job to understand what advertisers need. This leads us to innovate with things like click to message—a feature that connects people directly to advertisers to chat—which started after observing how businesses talk to their customers in a messaging environment. You might have heard of conversational commerce, which was initiated in Southeast Asia. Seeing things that started in pockets of APAC catch on elsewhere is very exciting, as well as impactful.
What else stands out about your experience at Facebook in Singapore?
We have a flat working structure here, which I find liberating. I also love working with people from different cultures. It’s fascinating to learn how they work, leverage different processes, and adopt unique approaches to achieve amazing results.
Knowledge is open and accessible at Facebook, too. From day one, you have access to so much and can learn from anyone. I love that everyone is empowered to know more about our ad products.
“We need to be storytellers at heart because the visibility we share about what our advertisers want and need is one of the most important aspects of our work.”
Kay L., Product Marketing Manager, China Export Advertising
Kay, who focuses on China export advertising, speaking on stage at the China Export Summit in 2018.
How does your team help shape product development and strategy for new products in APAC?
Working in a dynamic region like APAC, we frequently come across exciting opportunities. As product marketing managers based in Hong Kong, we focus on identifying unique market needs and understanding what they mean for businesses and people through market research, data, and competitive analysis. It’s our job to synthesize the information to offer product recommendations. We work with teams across the world to help them understand the region’s needs, how APAC fits into their product strategy, and to find product-market fit.
Once we launch a product, we work closely with business teams to prioritize feedback from our customers and drive further iterations of the product.
What is the impact that you bring to the export businesses in China?
Businesses in China are looking for new ways to reach people around the world, but many of them aren’t familiar with Facebook yet. We have to constantly think about what that experience is like from their perspective to make the process easier.
For example, we’ll look into how Chinese businesses use local media channels and tools to market their products. From there, we help businesses serve their customers and achieve their goals. It’s all about putting ourselves in our advertisers’ and partners’ shoes to create a strong connection.
How do you get outside of your comfort zone to challenge yourself?
I’ve been at Facebook for nearly 10 years and people often ask if I feel bored after a decade within the same company. My answer is always no! Looking for bigger challenges—like collaborating with cross-functional teams and working on projects outside of my domain—is a sure way to get outside of my comfort zone and ignite my passion. At Facebook, this looks like finding the next opportunity to feel excitement and passion about whatever you’re doing. We also have the autonomy to choose what we want to do here and there are many opportunities to drive impact. Being bold keeps me feeling motivated and excited.
Learn about open roles in our Product Marketing team here