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Lindsey Weinig
Director of Product Marketing at Twilio March 14

Each role, level, and business requires a some nuance for product marketing hiring, but I generally focus on a few key characteristics. First, successful PMMs need to be able to prioritize in complex environments. Through ambiguity, constant change, and conflicting stakeholder pressures, effective PMMs have some sort of framework they use to weigh and decide rapidly what they should focus on and what goes in the backlog. Second, PMMs need to be influencial communicators. They need to build strong relationships with their stakeholders and collaborators, navigate conflict, and drive to results cross functionally. Finally, a core quality in great PMMs I've worked with and hired is their ability to build a narrative. Whether building a launch messaging framework, a pitch deck, or a webpage, engaging storytelling with a keen understanding of their target audience is paramount. 

Steve Feyer
Product Marketing Director at Eightfold April 5

We use a formal leveling rubric to evaluate levels. This is used across all market-facing roles, other than sales reps. To summarize a few of the key differences across levels:


  • A Senior Manager independent works cross-functionally; a Manager does not.
  • A Senior Manager can independently update their task list to reflect company/department goals; a Manager cannot without help.
  • A Senior Manager can independently learn and reflect industry best practice; a Manager has to be trained.
  • A Senior Manager can deliver feedback; a Manager cannot.
  • A Senior Manager can work with colleagues cross-functionally to share tasks according to expertise; a Manager cannot identify new ways to share tasks.


  • A Director works with departmental leadership to develop processes and partnerships for cross-functional work; a Senior Manager only works within existing structures.
  • A Director turns strategic goals into tasks shared across their team/department and can aggregate tasks into a project delivery; a Senior Manager works at task level.
  • A Director can motivate, engage and coach teammates; a Senior Manager does not have this skill or expectation.
  • A Director proactively seeks and uses industry best practices; a Senior Manager can use this information independently but may not seek it.
  • A Director learns and reflects differences across geographies and cultures; a Senior Manager may not operate outside their regional office.
  • A Director defines and gains approval for initiatives that can deliver company/department goals; a Senior Manager works from a task list that flows from such initiatives.
  • A Director can evaluate talent performance and assist in placing staff in appropriate roles, even if the individual does not have direct reports at this time; a Senior Manager is not expected to have talent management skills.

In general, I would not consider giving someone a director title if they haven't managed staff before; they're just not experienced enough. This doesn't mean they'll have a team here (which describes me--I'm in an IC role now and have managed people in the past).

Something I look at when interviewing people: Someone who is talking about their work exclusively at a task level ("I wrote a great white paper") is probably a Manager, possibly Senior. Someone who can connect that to the strategy ("I needed to increase demand, so I wrote a white paper which provided the necessary increase") is a Senior Manager/Director.

There's a lot more to think about in this discussion--just some of my key notes.