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What are the most important skills for someone who wants to get into product marketing?

2 Answers
Lauren Craigie
Lauren Craigie
Cortex Head of Product MarketingAugust 31

Curiosity and a desire to be understood. These two qualities over nearly everything else. You can easily learn the frameworks--steps for a successful launch, format for a battle card, considerations for pricing... you can also improve your writing to align with brand and write high impact choppy copy. But it's not easy to teach someone how to be curious about how a user ACTUALLY feels about your product. How to dig into data to find which features aren't being touched. How to keep iterating on sales enablement until they REALLY get it. How to ship surveys to test messaging because you really care about connecting with your target audience. These qualities are worth their weight in gold when you find them in a PMM candidate.

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Linda Sonne-Harrison

There’s no single career path that leads to a product marketing position. In B2B SaaS companies, I have seen successful transitions to product marketing from product management, sales engineering, consulting, corporate marketing, consumer brand management, and customer success. I have also seen failed transitions from all of these roles.

Regardless of your prior work experience, I think a successful product marketer will need to exhibit all of these skills:

  • An interest and ability to understand the product you’re marketing. You don’t have to know how to code it; you don’t always have to be able to use every capability; but you have to be able to demo it and deeply understand the problems it addresses.
  • Empathy, especially when it comes to being able to look at the world through a customer’s eyes. Product marketers also need to have empathy for their sales teams, development teams, and the rest of the marketing organization.
  • Strong communications skills, both written and verbal. No matter how big the organization is, product marketers are constantly having to win over customers and internal stakeholders, verbally and in writing. And they’re constantly having to align their stakeholders on competing priorities.
  • Perseverance: Success in product marketing depends on the success of others in the organization—sales, demand gen teams, product management, and engineering. You’re often fighting some strong headwinds.
  • Critical thinking: Product marketing has to be able to turn “what” into “so what.” It can be like solving a 3D puzzle with 10 people handing you pieces from different sections in random order.
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