Product marketing is still relatively unknown to the general public, yet it’s essential for a company like Sopra Banking Software (SBS). Why? It enables us to understand the market, strategically position our products, communicate effectively, and foster continuous innovation. It also helps with demand generation and team alignment. In other words, product marketing directly contributes to the growth and overall success of SBS.
Rabia Zakir is a Sopra Banking Software’s Product Marketing Manager. Hailing from Pakistan and based in Dubai, Rabia shares the challenges of her role and travel anecdotes that have brought her to where she is today.
You’ve lived in many places – Pakistan, Singapore, Australia, Dubai… What is the most impactful lesson you have drawn from these experiences?
Rabia Zakir: Coming from a different culture, country, and professional background, I’ve constantly had to prove myself. Whether living in Singapore, Australia, or Dubai, it’s challenging to integrate into a new culture, because I had to start from scratch each time.
Those experiences truly took me out of my comfort zone and made me grow. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to work hard and not hesitate to take on challenges – keeping those things in mind has helped me achieve personal and professional goals.
You started your career as a radio host and photographer. Do you miss that artistic experience?
Rabia Zakir: I do!
Do I miss it enough to leave what I’m doing now? Absolutely not! I really enjoy what I do.
That being said, I still get the chance to use my creative side every day. As a product marketing specialist, I come up against unusual scenarios that require creativity. Every day, we refresh and adapt message development and product positioning. We craft stories that prompt action from our peers, customers, and of course, our competitors. We’re constantly asking ourselves what we can do to benefit our customers, and that means thinking outside the box to find the best solutions.
What is your role as a Product Marketing Manager?
Rabia Zakir: I bridge the gap between technology and the value SBS brings to the customer. As a software company, we produce products that people can’t see, feel, or touch. To bring them to life, my team and I develop the right messages and strategy. In other words, we help our clients understand how our offerings can meet their unique needs.
What does the daily life of Product Marketing Managers entail ?
Rabia Zakir: As product marketing specialists, we’re experts in SBS’s products and the markets they operate in. Our daily routine involves studying and understanding the market, identifying what sets our products and offerings apart from the competition, and analyzing what we can do better.
We work to strengthen the company’s strategy by defining the right product positioning, and we also provide the right messages, enabling the sales team to add value to our customers! The goal is to increase the proportion of marketing qualified leads (MQL) and convert qualified prospects into customers.
What do you mean by “the right message” ?
Rabia Zakir: How individuals perceive your product is down to the message. The right message showcases the value of your product and how it solves their problems. For example, if I am addressing a chief marketing Officer, my message will focus on how our solution will help them obtain MQLs, generate revenue, and provide the best customer experience for their business.
Conversely, I wouldn’t convey the same message to a risk manager. With them, I’d address how our solution reduces financial risk and allows them to stay on the right side of the regulators, without having to take corrective measures. We develop the right messages by working closely with our sales team, who can then address customers more effectively.
The right message guides all teams, including operational, digital marketing, and especially sales. When we all use the same language, our message becomes powerful and distinctive.
It’s a real challenge! What are the other challenges you face?
Rabia Zakir: There are plenty! Firstly, we’re storytellers, so our challenge is creating engaging content that resonates with all audience levels, from internal teams to customers. Developing a story is tricky – we’re always ready to iterate to improve it.
In the changing banking landscape, we must react quickly to evolve at the same pace.
But I’d say the biggest challenge is educating people about the value and role of product marketing – many still don’t quite understand it.
What do you like most about your job?
Rabia Zakir: Being in the thick of the action. It’s quite magical when you feel like you’re in the eye of the storm, making things happen. It’s even more enjoyable when your work pays off. Who wouldn’t love that? Plus, I work with brilliant colleagues who motivate me to do better every day!
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