Div Manickam, Director of WW Services Marketing and Portfolio Management (Data Center Group) at Lenovo
, has led B2B SaaS initiatives in startups and Fortune 500 technology companies for 10+ years. With disciplined product marketing across the buyer journey and cross-functional relationships, she empowers mindful teams and fosters a vulnerable culture where everyone's voice is heard.
She enjoys sharing her experiences on authentic leadership and evolution of product marketing in Forbes Communications Council and Product Marketing Alliance. Just as committed and passionate, she enjoys traveling, is a foodie at heart, and a proud Google Local Guide exploring the world. And one day, she aspires to share her passion and story on TEDx.
Winning together starts with the perfect pitch from a product, its sales, and marketing. When done right, we can see the synergy flow in the right direction.
MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? What led you to your position as the Director of Service Marketing and Portfolio Management at Lenovo?
DIV MANICKAM: Here is a picture-perfect introduction.
I am extremely passionate to empower a mindful team and foster a vulnerable culture where everyone feels their voice is heard and can truly be themselves in a safe environment. I have led product marketing efforts in startups and Fortune 500 technology companies. I hold a Masters in Cyber Security, Bachelors in Information Technology from India, and an MBA in Marketing from California State University East Bay.
I have been recognized as a 2019 40 under 40 CSUEB recipient for contributions toward her workplace and community, as well as one of the top 50 Product Marketing Influencers in 2019 by Product Marketing Alliance for redefining standards, helping shape the evolution of PMM, and elevating awareness among the C-suite.
Collaborating with sales leaders and champions is the key to make sure they are part of the narrative. The perfect pitch needs to bring the right feedback to make sure the narrative resonates with customers and partners.
M7: How do you ensure that your sales team delivers a perfect pitch for the services offered by Lenovo?
DM: Collaborating with sales leaders and champions is the key to make sure they are part of the narrative. Winning together starts with the perfect pitch from a product, its sales, and marketing. When done right, we can see the synergy flow in the right direction. And the perfect pitch also needs to bring the right feedback to make sure the narrative resonates with customers and partners.
M7: How do you identify investment risks for effective portfolio management? How do these risks affect your investing strategy?
DM: Portfolio Management is an art and science. Not every feature and product are important for every customer. So, it’s important to prioritize and focus on the right investments. With the right investment risks, we balance the portfolio management of service offerings to meet the maximum customers’ needs and build a competitive edge. We have the offering launch process to make sure the right stakeholders are involved and approved.
M7: What do you think is essential to stay competitive in a market that is going through constant digitalization?
DM: We try to not think about competition, but look at what the market needs and how we can serve the market better and move it forward to the next transformation. This is key to bring the balance as we can be quickly focused on competition but it’s important to look ahead and not just try to catch up to the competition.
Digitalization is a start for every transformation and only brings the world together in ways we cannot imagine. We should foster growth and innovation through the right mindset and business models for the future. What worked in the past is not going to take us to the future.
Prioritizing investment and budget has always been a challenge and even more so right now when all budgets are cut to zero. We need the resources to focus on the initiatives that will bring confidence to the teams that we are supporting them in times of need.
M7: What do you believe are the top three product marketing challenges in the post COVID-19 era?
DM: Prioritizing investment and budget has always been a challenge and even more so right now when all budgets are cut to zero. We need the resources to focus on the initiatives that will bring confidence to the teams that we are supporting them in times of need. So, building the momentum and not trying to do more with less. This has to stop and as leaders, we have to be the voice to help our teams.
M7: You are extremely active on social media and frequently write articles for Forbes. What is your secret to maintaining a healthy balance between your work and such productive commitments?
DM: I recently stopped posting on social media (Jan 2021) as it was taxing and counterproductive – I felt like I was contributing to the noise. So, I streamlined my efforts and I will continue to write my experiences on Medium – divmanickam.medium.com as it helps to share my learnings with the world. Finding the balance was critical for my personal wellbeing and reading has been the bibliotherapy this year that helped me with stress and anxiety.
M7: What is your advice to young women considering a career in marketing and technology?
DM: I was fortunate to find the mix of technology and marketing to flex both my technical and creative skills. I encourage everyone passionate about portfolio marketing to reach out and find their dream job. I have been lucky to mentor some amazing women who are teaching me every day something new as part of the Career GROW and personal OKRs career conversation.
Lenovo is a US$50 billion Fortune Global 500 company, with 57,000 employees and operating in 180 markets around the world. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society. By designing, engineering and building the world’s most complete portfolio of smart devices and infrastructure, we are also leading an Intelligent Transformation – to create better experiences and opportunities for millions of customers around the world.