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Jon Chang - The Global Product Marketing Manager For IBM Watson Marketing


John Chang is the Global Product Marketing Manager for IBM Watson Marketing which is IBM’s suite of enterprise-ready AI services and applications. Recently, he’s been named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for marketing and advertising and he is an Adjunct Faculty of Social Media and Web Analytics at New York University. 

Prior to his current role, John worked at companies such as General Assembly, Kickstarter, and Stack Overflow. 

Show notes

Getting Into Marketing (02:18) 

I have a degree in existential philosophy and what I have found very early is that the track to the professional world is very narrow with that degree. Some of the things I was doing outside of University included running a music venue and without even realizing, I was doing marketing in that role. Later on, when I was being interviewed for jobs, people who were interviewing me wanted to focus on that part of my experience. 

The First Roles (04:02) 

The beginning was very difficult because I didn’t know where to turn to figure out what marketing was. During my first position I was doing just direct mail and the scope of marketing that we had defined was so narrow. The second role was an internship. 

This second experience was very important because I needed to figure out how to solve the same problem from multiple angles and multiple channels. 

Mentorship (05:51) 

My mentor was the CEO of the company. The best managers are also mentors. We also connected on a personal level because the beginning of his career was similar to mine. 

The company was called Pricing Engine. It was a startup helping small to medium-sized businesses advertise. My role was to increase the pipeline for the clients, but I also ran some client campaigns. 

Core Competencies (11:03) 

I consider myself an expert on growth, although I know product, brand, and traditional marketing too. 

Early Experiences (11:37) 

Being at a high growth organization is an amazing and accelerating experience but also a very stressful one. This was especially the case with a company such as Makerbot. 

We had a lot of product vision challenges and I was put on multiple teams to work around these solutions. Originally I was hired just to create content for social media. 

Work At The More Stable Companies (14:19) 

At the General Assembly, I was responsible for launching new products, as well as new campuses in new marketplaces. After this experience, I have moved to Stack Overflow. 

The Right Way To Do Digital Marketing (18:40) 

The way I generally explain this is that digital marketing focuses on your numerator and denominator of opportunity. The numerator represents your objective and all of your KPIs. Those absolutely need to be set. The denominator is your opportunity size. 

The Adjunct Track on New York University (24:06) 

My curriculum advisor at General Assembly was the one who recommended me to Dean at New York University. 

The Current Role At IBM Watson Marketing (26:33) 

I am a product marketer for one of Watson’s solutions. Watson is gigantic and they have over 100 product marketers. Here I learned so much about the possibilities of AI. 

The Long-Term Goals (29:11) 

There's an increasing amount of opportunities for practitioners to teach and that should solidify a safe career for me doing both. 

My current goal is to do more practitioning than teaching. 

Advice For The Younger Marketers (30:17) 

Get as many hands-on experiences as possible and diversify those experiences as well. My assumption is that you don't necessarily know what kind of marketing fits best for you and it's going to change with the time.