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AMA: Okta VP, Industry Solutions, Christiana Rattazzi on Developing Your Product Marketing Career
November 02 @ 10:00am PST

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Product Marketing With Christiana Rattazzi, VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
Top Questions
When moving from a Sr PMM role to ‘lead’, what are those attributes that person should embody?
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
A Lead should be able to drive a strategic, cross-functional effort and solve issues without any defined structure. Some things I might look for: * Messaging - can independently define product (and cross-product) positioning and secure the right buy-in from cross-functional stakeholders to ...more
How does industry solutions look different that product marketing? How does this role work with product marketing?
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
I love this question, as I've spent time across these related organizations in my career (Product Marketing, Solutions Marketing and Industry Marketing).  Typically, Industry and Solutions Marketing consider the audience and business outcomes related to the combination of multiple products (and ...more
What do you look for when promoting a Product Marketer from individual contributor to people manager?
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
I touch on this a little in another question. That said, a Manager should have a solid grasp of major PMM skills alongside leadership abilities. Some attributes I look for are: * Evangelism - whether promoting core value proposition or the work of the PMM team, this person should be skilled ...more
How do you drive alignment across the exec team on messaging
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
Every executive team is different, so I would encourage you to think through the culture (and sometimes - quirks!) of the members of that team as you craft your own approach. That said, I've found a couple things particularly effective in my experience.  * Bring along key lieutenants for the ri...more
Product Marketing can end up being a catch-all in terms of responsibilities. What would you say are the top 3 - 5 areas PMM should always be focused on that can make the biggest impact at a growing start-up?
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
Totally agree with this comment. The response varies a little based on the stage of the business and GTM motion (e.g. self-serve vs sales-lead). That said, I think the top areas would be (in no particular order)  1. Messaging and positioning  2. New product introduction (launches)  3. A core ...more
I am actively interviewing for PMM opportunities and in at least 4 out of 5 scenarios hiring managers went ahead with internal candidates. What can I do to improve my interview performance?
An additional complexity in my case is that I need visa sponsorship from the company to take up any role.
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
Ah, that's tough. When you're competing with an internal candidate, you're up against someone who has considerable product, market and organizational intel. They won't take a long time to ramp, and they have minimal cultural risk too.  So - to counteract this, you have to come prepared - and I'm...more
What separates a great from a good product marketer at the IC level?
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
The best IC PMMs I've seen do two things amazingly well:  1. They are masters of positioning - keeping it concise, relevant and void of fluff. They get to the heart of why it matters for that audience.  2. They cross the finish line - reliably delivering their projects on-time and with high-qua...more
How do you perform extensive competitive product research? I've been tasked with it but I'm missing the mark. This research is for the CEO and Product/Engineering teams who want to know how our tech stacks up in the market. Do you have any tips?
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
The best competitive research I've seen goes beyond the competitor's website, press releases and YouTube videos. They might include competitor customer interviews and tailored sales demos. I've personally worked with great small businesses and consultants who are experts in doing this analysis an...more
What comes after head of PMM, e.g. if you want to move to VP of a marketing team, how to do that? And how to ensure that you're getting knowledge of other marketing functions (e.g. paid) so that you are equipped to lead an entire marketing team (vs. just a PMM discipline)?
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
First of all - I don't think you HAVE to become a VP of Marketing from Head of PMM. You can choose to take on bigger PMM roles at bigger companies.  That said, I've made the move to be a VP of Marketing at an earlier-stage company. I personally believe that PMM leaders make great VPMs for certai...more
If your product marketing team is only or two people responsible for covering multiple products with complex features, how would you recommend dividing the workload in the short-term so as best to support long-term growth and expansion of the team?
(context: small company, still establishing product marketing function, no senior marketing leader to guide, lots of room to carve own path, looking for best ways to support success!)
VP, Industry Solutions at Okta
I think there are a couple ways I'd think about it - and it would depend on what the PM organization looks like and the individual skills of the folks on the PMM team (if already in-seat).  Approach 1 - Make one of the PMMs Product-facing (handling predominantly new product/feature introductions...more