Product Marketing Manager roles are inherently multifaceted. Is there one particular area of focus you recommend developing more than others? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Ah, it's hard to pick just one! If you'll make me, I'd say messaging and positioning. Every PMM needs it, it's a hard skill to build, and it will take you far. I recommend getting feedback on your writing, learning from your content marketers how to craft a story, and being open to tweaks and edits as needed to continue to hone your craft.
100% agree - there are so many areas that you get pulled into as a product marketer. If you think PMM is the path for you, I'd recommend you start with the age-old question... What are YOU passionate about? What gets you up in the morning and drives you? Focus on that first. Like you said, PMM is multifaceted and can take you in a lot of different directions, but you will be the most successful if you're doubling down in the areas that you enjoy :) Do you like the strategy? The writing and content? The positioning? Start honing those skills and become an expert there.
One area of focus? Yes, absolutely.
PMM functional skills can be learnt relatively easily and over time. Cross-functional leadership take more effort, and yields 10x the returns on investment.
I routinely invest in developing different parts of my communication/people skills toolkit, it doesn't come naturally to me, but with effort one can improve.
Here is a set of very common human situations that require tact, emotional awareness, and communication.
- How do you motivate the team that just lost half its strength due to departures or layoffs?
- How do you deal with very demanding senior stakeholders who might rat hole on a particular tactic?
- How do you deal with a product team that's operating in a silo?
- How do you build trust with your Sales team so they start coming to you for deal support?
- How do you build momentum for a large initiative that may cut across 10-20 people, keeping everyone's needs in mind?
Seth Godin uses a term in his book, Linchpin, that I resonate with. It is 'emotional labor'. Once you understand how to put in this labor correctly, you will get results.
You unlock the people, you unlock the results.