Expert Spotlight with Jami Ferguson | How the Product Management Director guides SMG’s product roadmap

Expert Spotlight with Jami Ferguson | How the Product Management Director guides SMG’s product roadmap

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Expert Spotlight with Jami Ferguson | How the Product Management Director guides SMG’s product roadmap

Today we hear from Jami Ferguson—Director, Product Management—to learn which SMG tech enhancements she’s most excited about, why successful companies put product at the forefront, and how Wayne Gretzky impacts her team’s work philosophy.

You have a wealth of experience and background in product management. How has the principle evolved and changed since your first role in the field?

Product management has been around for a long time (Google says it was first introduced by Proctor & Gamble in 1931), but I think what has changed most over the last decade is that it’s no longer an afterthought as more companies are becoming product-led.

My first role in product came about because the company I was working for was going through an agile transformation and needed to fill the role of product owner for the scrum teams. I was running a group that led customer implementations, so we had a lot of project and business analyst skill sets—and we knew a whole lot about our products and our business. But creating the product group was an afterthought to changing how we develop product.

Now I see companies leading with product management and filling prominent roles with product professionals. I think SMG has done a great job evolving its product team—and I feel lucky to work amongst some of the best product professionals out there.

COVID has certainly changed the perceptions and expectations for how a consumer engages with a brand. How has this expedited trajectory for themes such as digital transformation or employee experience changed how you think about product development and serving evolving brand needs?

In product management, Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been,” is one we live by. COVID has amplified the need to do this and taught us the puck is moving faster than ever before.    

What innovations in experience management or feedback collection most excite you moving forward?

The advancements we are making in text analytics and the explorations we are doing with social listening are really exciting to me. Like I said, we need to be able to pivot and move faster than ever before. With social listening, I think there is a huge opportunity to get an even better view into what consumers are saying about our brands and about the market in general. Coupled with advancements in text analytics that include predictive analytics, we will be in a unique position to have more insights to share with our clients so we can respond quickly and more accurately.

The technology market is highly competitive. What advice do you have for people looking to break into the market?

I think the great thing about product management is that some of the best practitioners come from various backgrounds. I’ve found that once you choose product as your profession, you aren’t likely to leave. But every product practitioner’s journey is different. I’d say if you want to get into product, make sure you get some solid client service and project-based experience. Understanding diplomacy through customer service and prioritization through project management will give you a solid base for building a career in product management.

In light of this week’s holiday, what are you most grateful for as an SMG employee?

There are so many great people in the company—across departments and locations—who I love working with. But most of all, I am grateful for our product team. I am surrounded by incredibly smart and talented people every day, and I learn so much from them.

Interested in becoming part of our team? We’d love to have you! Check out our open opportunities.