I'm a product specialist at Meltwater and I'm looking to move into product marketing but would prefer to look externally. I currently support the sales team by setting up and demoing customized environments to prospects, sparring use cases, and doing some enablement work. I've been doing some small projects with both the product marketing team and the broader marketing team - most recently a competitive VS style landing page and vertical-specific landing page copy. For a side project, I'm in the midst of starting a podcast for aspiring marketers where I interview people from different disciplines so students and others looking to get into the field can see what best aligns with their interests. Is there anything else I should be doing? Am I looking two steps ahead and I need to get more experience first? Feel like I wouldn't even get an interview if I applied to a PMM job in the tech space.
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Jason Oakley
Senior Director of Product Marketing, KlueJanuary 2

I'll start by saying that I love the initiative you're taking to break into product marketing. It sounds like you are doing a lot of the right things. A lot more than most who are in your shoes. 

I think my first question would be why are you preferring to look externally for your first PMM role? If joining your PMM team is a possibility, I would definitely encourage you to consider it. It sounds like you're already helping out on some projects, and you clearly understand your product, customer, market, etc. Even if you were to join their team for 6 months to gain some experience and the title of PMM. 

I don't necessarily agree that you wouldn't get an interview if you applied to a PMM job in the tech space. It's hard to hire great junior PMMs so a lot of leaders are broadening their search to people with different backgrounds. I think your experience in product, paired with your marketing and sales experience makes you a great candidate. That said, there will always be some recruiters who will only look at people with "Product Marketing" job titles, which is why I would suggest getting that at Meltwater if you have the opportunity. 

One other thing I'd suggest is joinging a product marketing community like PMA and taking one of their courses. A lot of great companies are looking to scoop up new grads from these programs and the PMA network is a great place to find orgs looking for junior PMMs. 

Last piece of advice is to just start connecting with PMM leaders on LinkedIn. Chances are, 50% or more of them are looking to hire in 2022 and would love to chat. Me included!

Angus Maclaurin
Director of Product Marketing, Bill.comFebruary 1

First off, I would say that Product Marketing is in demand in the market and the most critical skill set is a passion for understanding the customer and crafting messaging. If you can show a deep empathy for customers and research how a product actually matches a specific customer need, then you have a strong start for interviews.

I would start with talking with PMMs or “shadowing” a PMM at your company. Find out what skill sets they recommend you develop further. Find out what you already have from your current role.

One of the benefits of Product Marketing is it’s breadth. PMM does everything from market analysis to messaging to sales enablement. Rarely will anyone be an expert in all aspects of Product Marketing in the beginning. The most important thing is to leverage the skill sets and expertise you have. If someone is transitioning from sales to PMM, I recommend that they start with developing Sales collateral and materials. They can hit the ground running while learning more about personas, market research, and working with product management. The transition is definitely possible, you just need to market the existing skill sets you have and be clear which areas you plan to tackle on the job.

Shabih Syed
Director, Product Marketing, Datadog | Formerly MparticleJuly 8

Thank you for your question. It's true that sometimes hiring managers look for the steretoypical background markers such as years of experience when evaluating candidates for product marketing. But in my experience I don't find those to be strong indicators of how well you are going to perform as a product marketer. My own career curve is a testament to that where i was a developer then a product manager and finally a product marketer.

You have already demonstrated that you have gained experience in some areas of product marketing. If you want to enter the tech industry my suggestion would be to shore up your technical skills. Take a few courses online to learn basic coding principles or how JSON data models work or get yourself familiar with modern data platforms such as Kinesis, Kafka, and Snowflake.

In terms of what type of companies you should target. My suggestion would be to look for start-ups that need help with a particular aspect of product marketing where you can lend your expertise based on your experience. 

Tamara Grominsky
VP Product Marketing & Lifecycle, KajabiMay 10

It's a great time to get into Product Marketing - demand is high, and supply is low. 

In my experience, great PMMs and PMs come from a wide variety of backgrounds, so there is no "one perfect path". They key is to take your existing skills and knowledge and position it in a way that matches the demands of a PMM role (positioning is a key component to PMM, so this will be a good exercise for you to go through!).

Also, Product Marketing really is a large umbrella term. Product marketing looks different everywhere, and the role takes different shapes company to company. I would recommend that you take the time to assess what type of go-to-market motion and PMM role would align best to your skillset and interests. If you have a solid background in sales, it might be easiest to get your start in PMM at a sales-led company. If you're more knowledgable in product, a PLG motion will probably be best!

Once you've identified this criteria, make a list of the companies that would fit the bill. Even if they don't have roles open, reach out to folks on their PMM team to start building relationships and learning about the company. It's much easier to land a role in the future if you can get someone to refer you, and you'll be able to demonstrate your thoughtful interest in the opportunity.

Priyanka Srinivasan
Head of Product & Partner Marketing, QualiaAugust 13

You might considering pitching yourself for a technical PMM role - or a technical associate PMM. My guess is you have a lot of experience with the more technical aspects of the product (and you’re certainly not afraid of it!) and, depending on the company, there is often a need for a technical product marketer on the team to build out materials on things like platform architecture, integrations, security, etc.

In general my advice is - find your angle in what you have already. You have an interesting one.