I'm a digital marketing specialist looking to transition to product marketing
4 answers
All related (52)
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki, Cisco | Formerly Tellme Networks, Microsoft, Box, Vera, Scout RFP, and Sisu Data, to name a few.August 16

I'm a little biased here, but I don't believe that there are courses or certifications that are a prerequisite or requirement to jumping into product marketing. If you haven't done any marketing before, or worked alongside a good marketing team, Pragmatic Marketing by the Pragmatic Institute is a solid framework for twisting your head around what marketing is really about. 

But the best way to learn is on the job. If you have a PMM function at your current company, get to know them. Ask about what they're working on, why it's important. What are the biggest challenges they're trying to overcome. In general, we love to talk about what we're really up to - because we still carry a bit of a chip on our shoulder, feeling that most people believe marketing is just pretty decks and presentations. 

If someone ever asked me to to through the messaging framework, I'd jump at the chance! Why did you talk about the last product launch this way? Prepare for a 30-minute monlogue. But you'll learn a ton. And, I bet they'll be a problem you could help with. It's truly the best way to learn, and to build some faith. 

Jason Perocho
Vice President, Product Marketing, BrazeMarch 10

I am not aware of any one key certification for product marketers. I work with PMMs that come from backgrounds in campaigns, sales, engineering, and product management. Each of those backgrounds lend themselves to a specific function in product marketing. 

In my experience, there are three types of product marketers: 

  1. Technical PMM
  2. Market Programs PMM
  3. Go-to-Market PMM. 

An aspiring product marketer should identify their entry point into one of the aforementioned functions. If there was one skill that unites each type of PMM, it is their ability to diagnose a market, create a positioning statement, and craft messaging that is clear, concise, and relatable. This skill can be picked up in intro marketing classes undergrad, MBA, or MOOCs. 

  • Technical PMMs - I would look for certifications or experience in the functional area of the product. Solution Engineers are usually the perfect fit because they can create demos and deliver messaging.
  • Market Programs PMMs - I would look for someone who is intimately familiar with the customer or who has experience demand generation programs. Customer marketing or campaign leads are usually a great fit because they understand the customer journey.
  • GTM PMM - I would look for someone who has sales experience. Sales has no time for marketing BS. Those who were on the front lines remember what training works and what doesn't. I've also hired folks who have a teaching background because in the end, that's what sales enablement is.
Shuchi Mehta
Sr. Product Marketing Manager and Consultant, Growth PropellerFebruary 19

I am aware of just a few

1. Pragmatic institute - I took it. However, I found that to be specific to B2B enterprise sales.

2. 280 Group: I recently found out about this institute, I am looking to connect with someone who has been to this program.

3. AIPMM: Seems to offer courses similar to Pragmatic Institute. I am looking to connect with someone who has been to this program to understand more.

Outside of these, I am looking for more engaging courses, especially where we can learn how to influence PLG in low touch product environments, and contribute to strategy comprehensively.

Shuchi Mehta
Sr. Product Marketing Manager and Consultant, Growth PropellerFebruary 19

I have taken the certification offered by Pragmatic institute foundations and launch certification. I found them to be good courses for PMMs in enterprise companies. They have used their generic framework for GTM. I got some clarity on a few concepts, but overall I was expecting to come back with many more actionable frameworks, learnings from instructors' experiences. I am looking to engage with an alternative program that may be focused on PLG and low touch sales programs where we can learn about how marketing has influenced growth more comprehensively.

Priya Gill
Vice President, Product Marketing, Momentive
First off, I'll say that I'm never a fan of making someone create messaging/positioning and defining a GTM plan about the interviewing company's product because you're never going to get to the level of knowledge as someone in the company...and it takes way longer to do it right. OK, rant over. :) Typically when I ask candidates to give a presentation, it's less about the specific products they're presenting, but rather HOW they present it. Can the candidate articulate how they effectively approached their GTM strategy, from ideation to execution and beyond. Can they clearly understand t...
Claire Maynard
Marketing, Magical
At Atlassian, we use many methods for understanding customers both qualitatively and quantitatively.  The most standardized, larger-scale tool we use across all of our cloud products is our Happiness Tracking Survey known as HaTS (developed by Google). Our research teams sends out weekly emails to employees who subscribe that give the overall customer satisfaction score and short clips of customer feedback such as what customers find frustrating about our products or what they like best. This is a helpful way to keep customer feedback top of mind.  For more in-depth research on a particul...
Carrie Zhang
Product Lead (fmr Head of Product Marketing), Square
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: 1. Develop product or feature launch/ GTM strategy and plans, including positioning and messaging 2. Quarterback marketing and sales partners (e.g., paid marketing, SEO, content marketing, lead generation) to execute GTM and growth plans 3. Lead customer research and collaborate with PMs on product strategy and roadmap 4. Lead pr...
Christy Roach
Head of Portfolio & Engagement Product Marketing, Airtable
The most important thing to keep in mind is this: having the product marketing title doesn’t automatically mean you get to influence the roadmap. You have to put in the work and show your value to get a seat at the table. There are three big levers to pull here to help you shift the way product marketing works from a team that’s just responsible for the launch of a product to one that’s involved in the entire product process. 1. Create a partnership with your PM: When you’re thinking about how to influence, you’re probably thinking about managing up and influencing people who are more se...
LeTisha Shaw
Director, Product Marketing, UserTesting
Yes, this is a pretty standard PMM interview question. When I ask, I am typically looking to see if the candidate understands product launch and go-to-market fundamentals. I'm also interested in which parts of the launch they led (i.e. was it a specific marketing channel or soup-to-nuts?).  I also like to ask different variations of this question, like "tell me about a product launch that did not go well and you had to get back on track" because let's be honest, not every launch goes exactly the way we plan :)
Ross Overline
Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Fivestars
Not trying to deflect this, but this depends on your role, organization size, team structure, budget, target customer, and goals. That list sounds solid to me if you're a midsize company with some startup bend still. Some other tools to consider: * Leadpages or Unbounce are solid tools for building lead generating landing pages fast. * Mixpanel for instrumentation. * Marketo for scaled lifecycle communications (SFDC integration is helpful) * Mailchimp for scrappy email work. * Redash.io is a solid SQL interface. * Get Adobe suite if you can. Makes content collaboration easier sinc...