All related (41)
Marcus Andrews
Director of Product Marketing, PendoDecember 15

I think to be a great PMM leader, it's really important to have done the work. So to have owned massive product lauches, designed narratives, led sales trainings, etc. PMM can be an ambigous job so a leader that hasn't been there done that usually isn't succesful. 

The hard skill then left to learn is management. Coaching, support, leadership, alignment. That's a hard skill that you can't overlook. Just becuase someone is a great PMM doesn't mean they will become a great PMM leader. It takes knowledge, practice, and time to acheive that just like anything else. 

Lindsay Bayuk
CMO, PluralsightOctober 27

I’d say that a great product marketing leader needs to be great at the basics: research, positioning, messaging, enablement. They also need to be able to lead strategy for both marketing and product, clearly talk about their space, the competitive landscape and communicate with Executives and customers. A great product marketing leader is someone others follow. They are influencer and a thought leader. They push their teams, companies and products forward. They are exceptionally proactive and energetic about their work. 

Naman Khan
Chief Marketing Officer, BlendJuly 7

I approach competenices in 2 areas: Functional and Core.

  • Functional competenices are specific to the role, so for PMM these would include messaging, pricing, content etc. I actually did a session on these last year
  • Core competenices are applicable across roles and are usually defined at the company level, like collaboation, managing ambiguity, decision making etc.

For PMM, there are a handful of competenices I think are "foundational" in nature across both areas:

Functional:

  • Target Market & Audience Definition: A building block of PMM is identifying the market and the audience that is the target for your product. This involves working with market research, customers, support, sales and more to learn about the customer, build behavioral, demographic and firmographic data to define a clear segment & persona. This is a ton of work and takes time to do well.
  • Product Positioning & Messaging: Ability to define clear positioning and messaging framework that’s hardened and thoroughly backed by data. If you can remove your companies logo and replace with a competitor, it's not quite there yet.
  • Core Content: Delivery of the core bill of materials needed to communicate your product value to your audience. This can include web copy, email templates, pitch decks, lead gen assets and more. You actually need to be able to write a bit of copy or work with a copywriter than can extend your messaging.

Core:

  • Cross Group Collaboration: An awesome attribute of PMM is the exposure this role has across product managers, engineers, finance, legal, brand, sales & more. With this comes the challenge of establishing strong collaboration across teams that are quite different.
  • Communication Clarity: Although we might not be communications specialists, as marketers we do need to be able to communicate clearly and succinctly. Proposing why the upcoming feature should only go into the enterpise SKU plan shouldn't take more than 30s to explain.
  • Planning & Organization: Any PMM that has ever been through a launch moment knows its like orchestrating 5 weddings that take place on the same day. Will the images in the product video match what we'll release on GA? Will the demo scripts have the latest messaging? Will the registration app send reminders to peole who already registered? Will there be road contruction that day? All of this requires strong planning & organization skills.
Robert McGrath
Vice President Global Marketing, CalypsoAIMay 10

Presentation & communication skills are at the top of my list as must-haves. In Product Marketing, you're forever positioning your team and its value. Whether that's within sales enabling a narrative or USP, or in your day-to-day communications with internal leaders. Being clear, empathic to the audience and telling an interesting story will set you apart and allow you to be even more persuasive in building a coalition of support for your team and the individual projects they're working on. 

Marissa Hastings
Group Product Marketing Manager, CodecademyMay 7

These are the skills I screen for in PMM interviews:

  1. Cross-functional teamwork: especially experience working with product and bringing together teams from various parts of the org (marketing, creative, sales, etc.)
  2. Go-to-market experience: demonstrates successful track record of executing successful launches and hitting goals
  3. Insights + strategy: user and competitive insights development. Familiarity with executing various qual + quant research methods. 
  4. Positioning: can develop clear and compelling product + feature positioning and communicate it in a way that's usable by stakeholders
  5. Communication: PMMs are often the quarterback and responsible for communicating upward and across teams to keep everyone aligned. Ability to anticipate stakeholder needs/concerns and communicate clearly and with the right level of detail for various groups is a crucial skill
Marcus Andrews
Director of Product Marketing, Pendo.io
This is my version of the "T-Shaped marketer". It's how I coach PMMs to develop their skills.  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1NhRmE4pf96M--bih_MSoT-7YpKW3p51i9_-yBhKhIZo/edit#slide=id.p I think starting by developing a great generalist base of knowledge is key. From there getting good at a set of skills more particular to PMM (writing, sales enablement, market research, creativity, product knowleged, presenting, etc) Those are the things we should be really good at.  Then finally there are few things unique to PMM , Positioning, product launches, Narrative design, cross-function...