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Josh Bean
Senior Director Product Marketing at Zendesk January 25

I've had a bit of a unique journey including leading a small marketing team responsible for everything, as well as focused PMM teams.
I don't believe in general blueprints like "your first hire should be competitive and second should be core product" since every business is different. More complex or technical products likely need more "product" PMMs as a early hire and a simpler product in a competitive market may need more PMM muscle around messaging to stand out and competitive marketing. 

In regards to strategic hires; having a strong biz ops or analytics PMM who can help build a team that's metric driven will be useful in the long run.
If I were to build out a PMM team from scratch today, I'd probably just look for the strongest person I could find and continue to make a case for more headcount.

Natala Menezes
Global Head of Product Marketing at Grammarly | Formerly at: GOOG, MSFT, AMZN, SFDC + startupsFebruary 8

When I started at Grammarly, I did an audit of how PMM mapped to the product organization, our consumer acquisition and growth teams, and our B2B sales teams. The audit revealed that we were significantly understaffed (did I mention we are hiring?) And as a result, PMM was focused on launches more than product strategy and messaging. My first cut of the org chart focused on coverage – ensuring that our product partners had identified partners and that we aligned to the sales org. I also developed different PMM roles within our organization to deliver lateral growth. Our PMM team has 4 flavors of PMM: 

  • Segment. Consumer PMMs focused acquisition, retention, and growth of a specific segment of users. 
  • GTM. B2B PMMs focused on a segment (enterprise, mid-market, or self-serve/smb) and aligned to a sales org. 
  • Core. PMMs focused on a specific product or set of features. For example, mobile or desktop experiences or our core writing experience. Features that are cross segment and cross line of business. 
  • Specialists. Specialist PMMs are unique in that they provide expertise across the PMM org. For example, competitive intelligence or monetization/pricing&packaging. 

These specialist roles have helped me bring unique skills into the team as we grow and invest in our relationships with product and sales.

I also reorganized my leadership team to map to product and built out an 18-month growth plan. It was straightforward to identify significant gaps in current coverage – but going through and understanding the roadmap and growth of partner organizations helped develop a long-term growth plan. It also allows us to be a bit opportunistic in hiring. We know which roles are critical today and which ones will be important soon. So, suppose we meet a fantastic candidate that meets the criteria for a position we might hire in the next quarter. In that case, we have some flexibility to pull that headcount forward. 

Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, Insights, Copy & Content at Bluevine August 11

Since ManyChat is a younger company, we don’t yet have a lot of product lines that merit the traditional squad PM <> PMM structure. Today the Product Marketing team is structured based on target customer personas with each PMM also responsible for a functional area like research or competitive intelligence. As we grow, I could see us moving to the squad model.

Also we are a global company with diverse english language proficiencies and as a result product marketers ended up acting as copy editors for the team. The most strategic hires I’ve made so far is a roster of copywriters who have taken on the editing so the PMMs can maximize the value they bring to our customers and PMs.

Tamara Grominsky
VP Product Marketing & Lifecycle at Kajabi May 9

In the beginning, you'll most likely have a smaller PMM team - maybe with just one PMM. That means you'll need a well-rounded PMM generalist. Someone who is comfortable taking on everything from product launch to sales enablement to segmentation. Prioritization will be key to make sure the team is working on the highest-impact projects. 

As you scale, I'd recommend that you start structuring the team in a way that enhances and amplifies the partnership between product marketing and product management. This will usually mean aligning product marketers with product portfolios or value streams. It won't always be a 1:1 match of PM to PMM though. 

For this type of role, you're looking for PMMs who can go deeper, rather than broader. As the "owner" of their portfolio, they'll need to deeply understand the customer problem and opportunity space, and then identify go-to-market strategies throughout the entire product development lifecycle, leading into launch.

In addition to portfolio PMMs, I always invest in one really strong growth product marketer. This role should be portfolio agnostic (ie. they support all PMMs on the team, think of it a bit like a consultant), and usually drives market research, segmentation and pricing initiatives across all product lines.