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How can I effectively answer "tell me a time when you launched a new product/feature" if you are new to PMM and have never actually done that?

Leandro Margulis
Leandro Margulis
Prove Head of ProductSeptember 7

Have you help others launched products or features and you can talk about what exactly you did in that process? Or have you launched any type of campaign, event, etc where you can showcase the skills that are transferable to a product launch that you can talk about? A lot of the skills needed to launch products are transferable from other disciplines.

662 Views
Ryan Van Wagoner
Ryan Van Wagoner
Forethought Senior Director, Head of MarketingSeptember 15

What the interviewer really wants to know by asking this question is how you would handle a product launch, and you don't need direct experience to ace this question. You DO, however, need to do your homework and genuinely understand the launch process.

I would highly recommend talking with several other PMMs (either at your company or elsewhere) to hear various points of view on what it's like to launch a product, and make sure you have a detailed answer prepared on what *you* would do if you were in charge of a launch. An example answer might go something like this:

"My colleague recently launched X product at our company, and I've spent a lot of time learning everything about the launch and the nuts and bolts of the process so I can be prepared for our next launch. Generally, this is how I would approach a product launch: [shamelessly repeating one of my answers from my previous AMA question below]

Start with the "why". Why are we launching the product? What do we hope to gain? Is the goal primarily to generate leads? Drive revenue? Gain awareness? How will we measure success?

Once the purpose and goals of the launch are made clear, the next steps I would take are:

1: Nail the messaging and positioning (get this into a doc as a single source of truth, and ensure every single deliverable and piece of content ladders up to it)

2: Make a list of the deliverables (internal and external content that needs to be created, the customers who need to be involved, approvals and buy-in, etc.)

3: Build the launch plan (specific activities that need to be completed by certain dates by specific owners)

4: Establish a regular cadence to execute on the plan and ensure everyone is aligned."

I would wrap up your answer by asking the interviewer's opinion: "What do you think? Is there anything I left out?"

325 Views
Josh Bean
Josh Bean
webAI Head of MarketingJanuary 27

Find a way to get the experience. For example, launch a personal blog or Medium. Put together a plan to socialize it to your network. Alternatively you could hit up folks on product hunt who would definitely be open to someone who's willing to assist on a launch in exchange for experience. 

If that's not an option, switch the question around. "I haven't had an opportunity to do this yet, but I've thought a lot about my approach. Here's what a launch would look like."

704 Views
Chris Glanzman
Chris Glanzman
ESO Director of Product Marketing & Demand GenerationAugust 25

This is a standard Product Marketing interview question, so you should think through your story in advance. For cadidates who don't have this experience yet, I have been impressed by two different types of answers:

  • Describe how you would: A hiring manager should really be looking to evaluate how you approach and think about product introductions. If you don't have one of those in your background, you can still demonstrate your understanding of the process and desired outcomes. To really knock this question out of the park, be sure to build your answer based on the company's go-to-market model. Especially when it comes to measuring launch success, the metrics will vary greatly based on the go-to-market flow. It's also worth noting that this approach to answering the question may be discounted by Behavioral Interview subscribers because it is based on a future hypothetical instead of experience. If that's a concern, the next approach may be a better strategy.
  • Share an analogy: Remember your goal is to articulate your approach about launches. At its core a launch is introducing a new concept or idea to an audience with the goal of gaining behavioral or financial buy-in. With a little creativity, you can likely find examples of that in your life. The most memorable example of this is a candidate who organized a large (and relatively expensive) international trip for a dozen of their friends. This approach can be a great way to leave a lasting impression but be sure you attach the different parts of the story to important launch concepts instead of counting on the interviewer to make the connection.

Regardless of which of these strategies you may choose, I suggest starting the answer with candor. Let the interviewer know that you haven't owned a product launch before, then start the rest of your answer. If you don't do this upfront, they'll spend the duration of your answer waiting for you to get to the launch instead of paying attention to the details of your approach.

289 Views
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