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What skills of a Product Marketer are easier to improve or less of an importance? And what skills are harder to improve and have more significance?

2 Answers
Shabih Syed
Shabih Syed
Square Product Lead, Ecosystem DiscoveryJuly 8

I see the product marketing function as a mix of strategic and tactical work streams. Strategic work streams are harder to improve on and naturally have a significant impact. Tactical work streams are easier to improve on.

The strategic work streams may include developing GTM messaging, pricing methodology and sales playbooks which require cross-functional alignment. To lead these projects you need to gather opinions from multiple stakeholders and be able to drive consensus. You can only achieve this if you design and follow a strategic framework. Depending on the project your framework might change. I usually have found this HBR article a good place to start to discover potential strategic frameworks: https://hbr.org/2015/06/navigating-the-dozens-of-different-strategy-options

On the tactical side you need to develop better writing skills if you want to contribute content, be a great project manager if you want to launch products and be able to create and deliver effective visual presentations to communicate messaging and value propositions.

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Adam Kerin
Adam Kerin
Truepic VP of MarketingJanuary 19

Perhaps surprisingly, I believe the core deliverables and thinking of a PMM are easiest to improve. These are strategy frameworks, effective messaging and positioning, etc. You’ll learn most by doing, and get better with time, especially with retros to look back on previous launches and strategies.

The most important and hardest skill to improve is influencing stakeholders outside of marketing. This skill will only grow importance the higher you go in the organization.

I’ve seen excellent marketers and otherwise great leaders struggle to influence the technical orgs which, depending on company culture, may hold more sway in a tech-led organization. Delighting internal stakeholders and delighting customers are not always perfectly aligned. For example, I’ve seen a situation where a PM wanted us to announce a product pre-maturely, so they could list it for their performance review.

The best marketing leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with are able and willing to challenge internal thinking to always put the user first.

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