There is often a huge emphasis on analytical skills, instead of brand marketing skills, when it comes to product marketing job descriptions.
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Jason Perocho
Vice President, Product Marketing, BrazeMarch 10

Analytical skills tend to be the preferred skill set of a product marketer because they are "running the business". Product Marketers own a product's P&L and must have the business acumen to drive revenue. Important the ones trying to size and segment the marketplace. Additionally, they'll probably be on the front lines trying to determine what segment, region, or geo to invest their budget. 


Brand marketing's closest overlap is with the Marketing Programs PMM function. They will ensure that the outbound messaging of the product ladders up to company's overall messaging. Additionally, they will ensure that customer facing presentations, events, and content stay true to the company's look, feel, and messaging hierarchy.

John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

It's funny, I've been working on a deck looking at exactly this question. It's fascinating how much it varies from company to company. We're moving to a place where the distinctions between product marketing and brand marketing are becoming increasingly blurry. Think of it as simply different problems to solve, that map to different parts of the funnel.

 

Some product launches need broad awareness and call for high-funnel, or what we often call brand marketing. Whereas some launches are updates to features within existing, already known products, in which case they need more low-funnel, iterative test-and-learn attention. Sometimes you need all of the above! As long as you have a diverse Product Marketing team with different strengths, you'll always be able to send in the right hitter for the right moment in the game. 

Suyog Deshpande
Sr. Director | Head Of Product & Partner Marketing, SamsaraNovember 19

First, you can not decouple analytical skills from brand marketing skills. They are not mutually exclusive. You are right that there is more emphasis on analytical skills in job description for product marketers. Primarily because analytical skills are easier to evaluate. They are also critical because analytical mindset helps you have a solid foundation for your marketing strategy (including brand marketing). However, these strategies come to life with creativity. You can not undermine creative skills and just focus on analytics skills while hiring.

Examples of brand marketing playing a role in product marketing -

 
Brand campaigns - they are planned jointly between demand gen, product marketing and brand marketing

Positioning - brand helps reinforce your product positioning. Think of ads that support company positioning.

Non technical content marketing - producing interactive and engaging content

Customer community - Depends on what your community needs are build if it building creative ways to engage the community, then you could play a vital role. Salesforce did an amazing job with Trailhead.

Many B2C and B2B2C companies are seeing that these two marketing streams are coming together. So, if you are planning to switch from brand to product marketing, those comapnies can provide you a good platform for success. 

Elain Szu
VP Marketing, SentryApril 8

You've hit upon one of the reasons why marketing in tech is a neverending challenge (and the fun part IMO). I think the best marketers have both strong analytical skills and grasp how to build long-lasting brands based on an emotional connection with their customer. If your goal is to one day lead marketing more broadly, you absolutely need to demonstrate that you can build a brand beyond the product marketing itself. 

I think a strong brand requires a consistent identity and tone that emphasizes:

  1. Specificity (what)
  2. Resonance (why)
  3. Emotional connection (how)

But the foundation of your brand can't be disconnected from your product. And product marketing in B2B tech at least, requires that you can deeply understand your customer's problems (based on both quantitative and qualitative data), evaluate fast-moving industries that evolve super quickly, and get deep on complicated products. You also need those analytical skills to understand what's working with your output and be curious about what to improve. So I'd argue, as a foundation for marketers, analytical skills are a requirement but brand marketing skills are what will set you apart longer term!

Valerie Angelkos
Product Marketing Lead, Plaid | Formerly GoogleMay 23

Understanding how Brand Marketing works is critical to succeed in Product Marketing as these two teams work closely together to bring any Marketing and Product work to life.

Brand Marketing thinks about creating a long-term, strategic plan to continuously boost a brand's recognition and reputation. It involves creating and maintaining brand-consumer OR brand-customer relationships and marketing brand attributes—the traits that people think of when they picture a particular brand. I see this as the overarching umbrella of any company -- and often categories and/or products within each company (for example -- YouTube or Google Workspace). 

In tech companies, brand marketing represent this higher-level hierarchy. They generally invest in marketing the higher-level brand (e.g. Google) and this has positive halo effects on the product portfolio for that specific company.

Product Marketing comes in at the second level of this hierarchy. It benefits from brand halo effects of positive and well-done brand marketing, but it's core is to focus on communicating the benefits of what the product delivers to its users. It leans more into the functional and emotional aspects of a particular product or set of products, vs. a set of high-level, aspirational attributes. 

The combination of these two can yield in positive brand awareness, consideration, and intent, as well as long-term usage and retention of products with our core audiences. The most successful teams I've worked at have Brand + Product working hand-in-hand to nail what exactly the user wants, how to properly message it, and how to creatively bring this idea to life.

Anthony Kennada
CEO, AudiencePlusJanuary 28

I definitely appreciate this tension -- and in a perfect world you find the right mix of both on the team. Analytical skills will benefit our understanding of market sizing and opportunity, pricing and packaging decisions and so on. The "brand" or creative skillset would aid in storytelling around messaging, content efforts, etc.

I think it depends on your role within the PMM org. A Head of PMM, ideally, would be able to balance both analytical and creative capability, and hire to his/her weaknesses.

But an appreciation for the power of brand marketing is a superpower in product marketing or any GTM motion. Look no further than Simon Sinek's iconic TED Talk to break down why -- "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." A PMM that can connect the product (the what) to the brand promise (the why) will be a huge asset to any company.

Liz Tassey (she/her)
VP of Marketing, Blueocean.aiJuly 8

Brand is more than just a logo or color palette or tag line. Brand is the combination of customer touchpoints that create meaning and belonging for that customer...Brand attracts the customer in the first place, for sure, but brand shows up in how the product delivers on its promise, how customer support handled your issues, how easy it was to purchase. Imagine if you had expectations of a Nordstrom experience, but then got Wal-Mart. It's not that Wal-Mart is bad, but the misalignm of expectations and experience creates dissonance for the customer that can damage the relationship. Now, if you had set Wal-Mart expectations, and got Wal-mart experiences, then the customer is happy - they got exactly what they expected and wanted.

So to that end, I think it's important the product marketing and brand marketing are tighly connected. Brand marketing will be setting the expectations in the marketplace for customers, and PMM should be a big part of helping to inform those expectations so the experiences are aligned. Then, PMM via working with product, sales, other marketing touchpoints, can ensure there is a consistent experience for that customer that delivers on those expectations.

Savita Kini
Director of Product Management, Speech and Video AI, CiscoJanuary 19

Just a feedback on the last comment, as I reacquaint myself to the "new" bay area. I have noticed more emphasis on demand gen skills amongst many startups. If there are stakeholders in the company already like product management and technical marketing who are also good at writing, messaging, positioning - then this might work. However, a good product marketer who has enough knowledge of demand gen mechanism is probably a better fit versus demand gen being forced into product marketing. Easier to pick up demand gen skills versus the opposite - in my view. It offers a career growth path for product marketers, who also make for better CMOs as messaging and positioning is critical and also drives brand strategy downstream. 

Feng Hong
Global Product Marketing Manager, TikTokDecember 21

For companies of a certain DNA (Bay Area, technology), brand marketing is not a priority compared to being able to measure the performance of your own marketing, with a philosophy of investigating what works and what doesn't. That's because the company likely has a demand problem, not a brand problem. So if product marketing wants to support demand generation and growth, then the product marketer needs to have an analytical foundation or analytical acumen.

 

Brand marketing comes into play with a product marketer's natural audience intuition. How is the brand received by the audience? How are the words that are used also being received by the audience? Product marketers with brand marketing skills have a mastery of language and intuition of audience to be able to convey. This is the other half of the product marketing skillset required. But still, without analytical skills, the intuition is full of bias and can often times be wrong without the know-how to shift gears.

 

For most growth-focused tech companies, if I had to pick between a demand gen background or a brand marketing background to shoehorn into product marketing, I'd hire the demand gen person to do a product marketer's job rather than a brand marketing person 9 times out of 10. Outside of that, and outside the Bay Area, I'd perhaps think a little differently.

Felix Huang
Senior User Acquisition Manager, Hopper | Formerly Skillz, Telus Health,January 2

100% agree with Suyog. Nothing we do exists in a vacuum and all of the positioning and messaging we bring to market should be looked at from a brand lens to ensure consistency. Ultimately, the consumer is not going to differentiate what’s brand marketing and what’s product marketing. It’s all the same to them!