I don't want to just be a launch project manager or a new releases copywriter.
9 answers
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Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Webex Suite, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 16

Build relationships with your stakeholders in Product Management, Sales and other Marketing teams (Content, Digital, DG, Integrated, etc.). Ask them to invite you to meetings and listen intently to identify areas where they need help, and volunteer to help with with those areas - e.g. market trends analysis, customer segmentation, competitive analysis, content creation, sales enablement collateral, etc. In short, take the initiative to rise above your title and rank and prove to your stakeholders that you have what it takes to deliver meaningful impact on the business.

Christine Sotelo-Dag
Director of Product Marketing, ModeMarch 16

My advice is to work on building relationship with the Product org. Proactively find ways you can bring them value - whether it be through market or competitive insights, product teardowns, industry knowledge, customer insights, etc. Find out what information they wish they had more of, and figure out how you can bring that to them. 

This partnership is so important for PMMs - and will help break down the metaphorical wall that stands between product and marketing, that products are tossed over to be shipped. This relationship should be bi-lateral. 

Suyog Deshpande
Sr. Director | Head Of Product & Partner Marketing, SamsaraNovember 20

Know your ARR/Pipegen numbers and analytics tools: Get comfortable with building reports and dashboards. Know how to run reports and play around with that data. You will start uncovering interesting things - ex: we are weak in a certain market segment or we tend to have higher win rate for certain industries or deal cycles are longer for certain regions - Each of these insights can lead you to move from being tactical to being strategic.

Learn, experiment and gain new skills: So, am I suggesting you to do project management product launches? Yes. It is ok to do that if that is the business need. I will worry when it starts becoming a pattern and you do more project management that product marketing. In that case, have a conversation with your manager. Understand why this is happening? Is it because the company doesn’t have a project manager and you are the best one to do it OR is it because you are seen as a better fit for the project manager role. Both of these are solvable but your course of actions would be very different.

Focus on some initiatives that may not be urgent but are very important: You will have unique advantage when these initiatives become urgent. Don’t think only about this quarter, think of the next and the one after that. Don’t compromise your on-going projects but still give some thoughts to the company priorities for the upcoming quarters. I am sure your management would be happy to discuss company priorities for the upcoming quarters. Company priorities are typically set 90 days in advance so that the rest of teams can craft their’s based on the company's priorities.

A lot of people say know your customer but it is not easy for a junior PMM to ask to be part of a customer visit or CAB or sales call (been there!). One way to learn about your customers and in fact the most efficient way I found is to do win-loss interviews & analysis. Get your hands on as many win-loss reports as you can. Don't know where to find - go to Salesforce and run report and add loss reason (or something similar) field. Learn why customers buy or don't buy our products. Ask sales, what went well or what went wrong?  

Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, SendBird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 23

Having consulted for PMM teams, and built/run one from scratch, it's safe to say the areas of responsibility for any PMM is on an ever-evolving continuum. However, I see a difference between a junior PMM vs a first PMM hire... in that the first PMM hire should NOT be junior.

That's not a knock on the junior role. In fact, I'm urging early stage Founders/CEOs/VP Marketing to have some semblance of a career path for PMM if your natural inclination is to maximize value from a high performing yet low cost junior PMM unicorn. It's possible, but unless that individual is truly exceptional the situation will quickly erode into lack of equity and anxiety. Why? Because it's easy to staff a PMM on any (and many) projects and not everyone can handle the load without prior exposure.

To actually answer your question -- my advice to a junior PMM and first marketing hire: It was nice knowing you? Godspeed? Jokes aside, have an honest and mature conversation with your manager on the expectations if you see the mound of projects transform into a mountain overnight. A critical skill to becoming a successful PMM is stakholder management, so it ought to start early in your career whether it's with your manager, his/her boss, or your peers. Finally, don't hesitate to ask for help to prioritize when you're overwhelmed 

Sina Falaki
Head of Industry Marketing, Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin) | Formerly ProcoreNovember 23

Product Marketers should always be thinking of ways to contribute directly to revenue. In my mind, if it doesn't move the needle, its not meant to be worked on. Prioritization needs to be ruthlessly put into check.

Product Marketers should always key in on:

  • Driving pipeline and top-line revenue growth, inclusive of new logo and cross-sell / up-sell (land & expand growth)
  • Partner with Enablement to ensure quota-carrying teams know what to say to whom and when
  • Develop strategic sales plays

Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseJanuary 20

Does not matter if you are a junior PMM or a seasoned PMM leader - owning/coordinating launches and copywriting will always be part of your job in one way or another so embrace those, be the best at it, and use the experience to hone your craft. But you also don’t want to be pigeonholed into JUST being a project manager or copywriter - that’s when you need to make sure that you are working on a variety of projects in your role, and there are multiple ways to make that happen.

  • Have an open discussion with your manager and make sure that you have at least 1 big strategic initiative to own per quarter, whether that is helping define a new use case, building messaging or buyer personas, defining your ICP, helping sales with Win/Loss, etc - whatever the need is in your organization
  • Don’t wait to be told what to do. If you have ambition and want to grow in your role, just look at where the gaps are and take the initiative to fill them. For example, Market research or competitive analysis are usually things that get left on the back burner for a lot of orgs unless you have a large team to divide the work - so just go ahead and do that and share those insights with the relevant teams like the product or sales team.

In order to be a more strategic PMM and for you to get a seat at any table, junior or not, you have to bring something of value to other teams - so figure out what is missing and just do it!

JD Prater
Head Of Marketing, ArcadeJanuary 8

That's an interesting question. I see the PMM role as the GTM strategy which includes a success launch. And I see PMMs as the owner of product messaging. Not sure I can help here.

Now if you're looking to move beyond those tasks and elevate your role then that's different question with a different answer.

Natalie Louie
Head of Product Marketing, Reejig | Formerly MobileCoin, Zuora, Hired, Oracle, ResponsysJanuary 12

Being a launch project manager is part of the job – PMMs own product launches, the creation, strategy and management of it.

Being a strong copywriter for releases is also part of the job. We write a lot of content or partner with writers and clean up their content so we can use these for our product launches. If you don’t like writing, then being a PMM may not be for you, it’s a core skill set and PMM leaders pass on candidates that tell us they don't like to write.

Both these skills are needed in a full stack PMM.

If you are asking how to be more strategic and be seen as more strategic, please look at my phases of success for a PMM in my first 100 days here. And look here for the best skills and traits I think a PMM should have

Lisa Dziuba
Head of Product Marketing, LottieFiles | Formerly WeLoveNoCode (made $3.6M ARR), Abstract, Flawless App (sold)December 4

If you are a junior product marketing manager who is the first product marketing hire, you may be facing some unique challenges and opportunities. To succeed in this role, here are some pieces of advice to keep in mind:

  1. Deeply understand the product and market: Take the time to thoroughly understand the product that you are marketing and the market it is targeting. This will help you position and promote the product effectively and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to others. You should become the product, market, and users Wikipedia. 
  2. Build relationships with other teams: As the first product marketing hire, you will need to build strong relationships with other teams, such as Product Management, Sales, and Marketing. This will help you understand their perspectives and priorities, and will also make it easier for you to get the support and resources you need to succeed.
  3. Be proactive and take initiative: As a team of one, you will need to be proactive and take on all PMM initiatives because no one else will do them :)
  4. Seek guidance and support: As a junior product marketing manager, you may not have all the knowledge and experience you need to succeed. Seek help from more experienced colleagues in cross-functional roles (PMs, sales, marketing), PMM mentors, and product marketing communities like Sharebird or Product Marketing Alliance.
  5. Be patient and persistent: Building a successful product marketing function from scratch can be a challenging and rewarding process. Be prepared to learn from your mistakes and adapt your approach as needed.

Good luck to the junior PMM who asked this question ❤️