I recently had the chance to sit down with the CMO of Mozilla - Jascha Kaykas-Wolff. If Jascha's name sounds familiar it's because he has written one of the foremost books on digital marketing, and has run marketing departments at some of Silicon Valley's top technology companies (including BitTorrent, Mindjet and Involver).

I asked Jascha about his perspective on the discipline of marketing and what is and is not working. Here is what he had to say:

Sunil Rajaraman: What do companies not understand about marketing?

Jascha Kaykas-Wolff: As crazy as it sounds, and I've built a great career out of understanding digital marketing extremely well, there needs to be a focus back on the basic blocking and tackling associated with customer marketing.

Marketers need to go back to school and understand the 4 Ps, and all of the basics associated with running a successful marketing campaign, and marketing department.

Know the basics - who your customers are, the size of the audience, and understand what problem your product is solving.

Interesting - so are you saying that digital marketing is not good?

Not at all. What I am saying is that there are all sorts of tools out there available to marketers that focus on optimizing the funnel and increasing conversion rates.

That's wonderful, and I love having that data for myself at Mozilla, but the goal of the marketer is not simply to get the customer to the next step in the marketing experience.

The goal of the marketer is for the customer to have a wonderful OVERALL experience. Marketers need to put down their digital tools and work with the product team to ensure the whole experience is fantastic and useful.

On that basis, what is the most critical hire a marketing department needs to make?

Without question, product marketing.

A good product marketer understands how to work with the product team to develop collateral for the customer, has a good eye for product (so can understand and provide useful and actionable feedback to the product team), and knows how to translate the way the product works in a condensed and understandable way.

If I were a marketer re-starting my career, I would start in product marketing.

Tell us about your current role?

I absolutely love Mozilla. It was founded as a global not-for-profit to protect and support the Internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all.

That mission has not changed for 15 years and is even more important today. Part of the reason I love marketing at Mozilla it the organization, the user base, and the community as a whole are extremely passionate about what we do.

That passion becomes feedback and contributions to the project and the more diversity in ideas the healthier the project is.

What companies do you particularly admire from a marketing standpoint?

Two come to mind: change.org, which similar to Mozilla is very mission-driven and passion driven. Everything they exude to the user is about being part of the mission. And then the second is less a company per say but 'The Internet' as a whole.

The beauty of the Internet is that single purpose services like the "Pizza Estimator" can and do exist- I know it sounds crazy, but it's a single purpose product that solves a hard problem for parents (how to order the right amount of pizza for your kids parties).

That singular focus is what makes them so good at what they do, albeit it's not a big business or anything of that nature, it really highlights the power of the internet and how well it can serve an infinite number of users.

Published on: Jun 29, 2016