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Leah Brite
Head of Product Marketing, Core Product at Gusto September 30

I’d start by doing a listening tour. Understand where they are in their PMM learning journey (have they worked with PMM before? How much do they know about the role?), needs or pain points they have, and their expectations of you in the role (not all of which will be correct nor need to be fulfilled). This will help you understand how much education and alignment you’ll need to build.

Then, get to work crafting your PMM lane. Clearly specify what you will (and won’t) do, where the handoff points are, what the engagement model looks like and how people can reach out to you with requests, and who to go to for work that falls outside of your scope. Get alignment with your manager, and then do a roadshow so that all your stakeholders are aware and aligned.

Jenna Crane
Head of Product Marketing at Klaviyo | Formerly Drift, Dropbox, UpworkJune 27

I actually did a Wynter talk on that very topic! You can watch it here:

It focuses on building a product marketing org in a hypergrowth startup, but a lot of the principles apply to any first PMM hire.

The tl;dr: there is no one playbook. I outline a process you can go through to identify the most important areas for you to focus, how you can think about establishing a baseline, and how to get cross-functional partners and leadership onboard with your strategy. 

Naman Khan
Chief Marketing Officer at Blend July 7

1. Goal Alignment: Given the broad span of PMM, its important to align on the specific areas that you will focus on with your stakeholders (and by default, the areas where you will not). You might need to focus on re-defining core differentiation, value proposition, content and enabling the sale team. This means, you won't spend any time on the SKU plans that apparently need a complete revamp according to your sales partners.

2. PM/PMM Operating Model: Since Product is the first word in our function, you'll want to have a clear operating model with PM. This is basically way of defining what PM will do and what PMM will do. For example, when a new feature is going to be shipped, who determines naming? What is the model for naming? Do we use descriptive names or abstract names? Should that feature carry a revenue goal or an adoption goal? Who drives early adopter programs? What tier of launch is it? There is a ton of ambiguity here and a fair bit of overlap so defining this early and aligning with PM is a good investment.

3. Longer Term: Many of the decisions you make in year 1 will only be good decisions if they are part of a longer term plan of PMM. Although the market is constantly changing, its important to have a vision for PMM across perhaps a 3 year timeframe. Maybe year 2 is when we get into quant research and focus groups to refine messaging and year 3 is when you go big on press/analyst outreach. Your plan will show the way.