Thanks for this awesome question! The great news is that there are many pathways and many skillsets that can lead to a successful career in product marketing. In my case, I started my career as a financial analyst and consultant. These skills have been invaluable for me as product marketing requires you to quickly understand large customer data sets and distill insights as well as being able to think strategically about short term and long term market trends. As I've gone deeper into product management and marketing, this fundamental training has still served me well. This is all to say focus on the transferable skills that you want to develop in your career trajectory to get into product marketing or that you want to demonstrate in your interviews for a product marketing role.
For product marketing, here's what I emphasize:
* Customer empathy and insights
* Synthesizing data into action steps
* Communication and influencing
* Project management
* Building business cases
Additionally, product marketers thrive on enthusiasm for products, ideas and communication. Come to your interviews prepared with ideas on how you would change their product and why. Conduct your own mini-market research exercise by asking friends and family who use the product for input. The interview is the first opportunity to put your product marketing hat on and show what you are can do.
It seems like there aren’t that many entry level PMM jobs, outside of established associate PMM programs at larger tech companies. If you don’t get one of those (or another PMM role), try looking for other marketing roles that put you in a highly cross-functional position. This could be a program manager, marketing manager, or even brand manager; if there are opportunities for you to do research and run a go-to-market campaign in these roles, do it! From a B2B lens, I’ve seen many people make a successful jump from customer success to PMM, because both involve a lot of customer empathy and communication.
The problem is that there still aren't too many good entry-level PMM roles out there (assuming you're talking about coming out of undergrad). My best advice (as someone who didn't come to PMM until they were in their mid-30s) would be: Find a role that allows you to develop the skills PMMs ultimately need to bring. Don't worry too much about industry, just make sure it's one where you're curious enough about the products, customers and problems to keep you intellectually motivated. That will serve you well when making that jump to PMM.
- Find relevant internships or part-time work experience to enhance your resume. e.g market research, sales, digital marketing
- Start a side-project, e.g blog, podcast, freelance services etc. to gain hands-on experience in launching a product
- Enhance your resume by taking in-demand courses with recognised certifications that will complement your practical experience
- Check established PMM LinkedIn profiles for relevant courses/certifications and keep your LinkedIn profile updated as you learn
- Use LinkedIn to check for connections, ask for an introduction to a Product Marketer and find out about the team and opportunities
- Look for established Associate Product Marketing Manager programs where les experienced PMMs join structured programs