What are some examples of different projects that Product Marketing Managers at different levels would own? For example, a PMM vs a Senior PMM vs a Director of Product Marketing?
This very much depends on the company and individual team lead vision so I will just chime in with what it is like at Square.
In general, PMMs at Square cover a wide range of responsibilities regardless of level. These responsibilities include:
- Develop product or feature launch/ GTM strategy and plans, including positioning and messaging
- Quarterback marketing and sales partners (e.g., paid marketing, SEO, content marketing, lead generation) to execute GTM and growth plans
- Lead customer research and collaborate with PMs on product strategy and roadmap
- Lead pricing and packaging recommendations
Square is a multi-product company, so our junior PMMs tend to focus on one product to learn how to excel at the role. Senior PMMs start to cover more products. Additionally, junior PMMs are empowered on tactical executions, but important, strategic decisions like tent pole product launch strategies and pricing decisions are led by senior PMMs. As a team lead, I focus more of my time building and coaching my team, elevating the reputation of the function within our company, and weighing in heavily on product and business unit strategies.
This can certainly vary depending on the company! Here are some examples of areas that would be owned by different product marketing levels based on my experience:
Messaging & Positioning
- PMM: Crafts messaging and positioning at capability/feature level with some coaching
- Sr. PMM: Drives messaging and positioning at the product/feature level and coaches others on product/feature level positioning
- Director: Drives messaging and positioning at the category level and ensures alignment across teams
- PMM: Creates materials and conducts enablement sessions on sales fundamentals (e.g. first call deck, demos)
- Sr. PMM: Orchestrates enablement initiatives and programs at the product level or across multiple features. Identifies opportunities to increase pipeline by collaborating directly with reps and sales leadership.
- Director: A mix of strategic/tactical partner to sales leadership for their functional area. Ensures execution of sales-facing content and training.
GTM strategy & execution
- PMM: Plays a specific role in building GTM strategy and execution for area of focus (e.g. buyer, competitors)
- Sr. PMM: Drives GTM strategy work across multiple products, features, or initiatives (e.g. pricing, narrative). Makes recommendations to optimize methodologies and processes.
- Director: Ensures the success of the development of GTM strategy and responsible for their teams’ execution of GTM programs. Considers the portfolio strategy (e.g. where a particular launch strategy fits in amongst other launches). Makes recommendations to optimize methodologies and processes.
This is going to vary widely by organization, and you'll find Jr. PMMs doing the same work in one organization that a director or even VP would in another.
That said, as a general rule, the more junior PMMs typically take on more tactical work. This can take many forms, but content creation, ghostwriting, babysitting the demand gen team and refreshing existing collateral are all at the top of the list.
At the other end of the spectrum, more senior folks are likely to be out of the office - evangelizing the company, meeting customers, influencing analysts and training senior sales people. They will spend more time interfacing with the executive team, both on portfolio messaging and corporate messaging and brand.
Your head of PMM will also spend a lot of time hiring, mentoring and training the PMM team. I've spent as much as 75-80% of my time doing that at various points in my career.
Rather than projects, you can link seniority to the type and complexity of the projects.
The more Senior the PMM, the more complex and strategic projects they will be expected to handle.
This can be defined based on a few things:
How complex the projects are: a short single project or a long one with multiple workstreams?
How business critical the projects are: a small feature announcement vs a major product launch?
The number and seniority of stakeholders they have to work with: a simple Product Manager or the company's management board
The number of products/projects to be handled at the same time
As an example, I expect a fairly junior Product Marketing Manager to be able to handle a simple, non-strategic product launch involving a limited set of stakeholders. But I wouldn't expect to be handle to defend a new strategy to the Management Board.
But a Senior PMM should be able to drive progress on a full-on strategic Go To Market involving multiple workstreams and senior stakeholders.
Another avenue that some companies take, is the TYPE of PMM you are. So you can be a product marketer, a solution marketing, a segment marketer, a vertical marketer - these all still fall under the role of Product Marketing, but rather than focusing specifically on tacitical to strategy, they're also segmented more granularly on their individual focus. So a vertical PMM, may focus on everything across the portfolio, that relates to the banking industry, and tailors messaging, GTM motions, and enablement for that specific vertical.