All related (13)
Marcus Andrews
Director of Product Marketing at Pendo.io
It certainly depends but I'd say it's more important to have the right soft skills. Specifically for product marketing teams. What PMMs do can really vary company to company. So while it's likely your hard skills will at least "sort of" transfer, there is no gaurentee.  So, communication, flexibility, hunger, transpartnecy, honesty, curiousity, etc. Those are the skills you'll be leaning on for a while till you figure out how to apply your hard skills.  Also the more senior you get the more I like it flips. If you're brand new to PMM you have to be really strong on soft skills, more sr. s...more
Eric Chang
Director, Product Marketing at 1Password
If I had to choose one I would (slightly) lean towards soft skills. Having the right soft skills is what I believe enables a PMM to find the biggest opportunities and drive buy-in/alignment so that they can have the most impact. That being said, the main variable that would make me prioritize hard skills or soft skills is the level of ambiguity that you'll have to deal with on that new team. Contrasting two extreme examples: If you join a large team, with a mature product marketing function, for a highly technical/specific product in an established category, with a clearly scoped role, an...more
Marcus Andrews
Director of Product Marketing at Pendo.io
Here are the biggest 2 - communication and teamwork.  PMMs are one of the most cross functional roles in marketing / most companies. You have to be able to bring teams together and create momentum where none exists. This is hard to do if you're not a good collaborater / teammate. Skills like empathy, low ego, enthusiasm, transparency, and more come in real handy here.  The other big one is communication. Maybe it's controversial but PMM is a communications job. A huge part of our value is taking product updates and packaging and positioing them so they are easier to understand and sell or...more
Valerie Angelkos
Product Marketing Lead at Plaid | Formerly Google

I think it depends ultimately on what the team needs. In a highly technical area, I'd value industry and product knowledge highly, as long as the person is then coachable and open to learn on other areas within the PMM world. In a not so technical area, I'd prioritize PMM skillsets over other areas. Soft skills should be part of the package either way, aligned with the value of your team and company.

Ultimately the goal is to find the right balance and bring different perspectives so the team can learn from each other as well.

Robert McGrath
Vice President Global Marketing at CalypsoAI

A lot depends on the type of role. In general hard skills is where a lot of hiring managers would edge towards as it ensures the technicality of the role can be carried out. Soft skills are also vitally important and shouldn't be ignored. For soft skills, in a cross-functional role, it's virtually important but is also an area, with the support of a good manager, can be coached and developed. 

Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach

I suppose that answer varies for everyone. For me, it was simply about being more comfortable with marketing than with product management. I didn’t really know what product marketing was until a few years into my marketing career but once I got into it, I loved it. In hindsight, I don't regret it for a second. Having said that, there is obviously an overlap and each position must intimately understand the other. 

Liz Tassey (she/her)
VP of Marketing at Blueocean.ai
I think it's a balance, but if I had to choose, leaning in to those soft skills is a great strategy when you are starting out.   It's really important to go into a new team / company with a really strong growth mindset and a relationship building / collaboration ethos. Be curious, meet with your key stakeholders to really understand how PMM can be a good partner, learn about the business and what's working / what's not (this will lean in on data/business acumen for sure), learn the customer and the product, and start to build a view of where the business could best use your help. (To be ...more
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach

The ideal candidate will have both but that’s often not possible. For me personally, I think the soft skills are far more important. Especially at the more junior and even mid-management levels, the hard skills can be taught. The soft skills are much more difficult to teach.

As an executive, you should really be proficient in both.

Valerie Angelkos
Product Marketing Lead at Plaid | Formerly Google

Messaging for me is both an art and a science. I've seen very good narrative building frameworks and courses around that can you help you nail basic concepts (e.g how to structure a well written value prop) but it needs constant practice and iteration.

As an immigrant whose first language is not English, I have also found general writing courses and workshops very helpful.

Robert McGrath
Vice President Global Marketing at CalypsoAI

Having a culture of openness and transparency across the team. Strong support in the development and alignment with each individual PMMs career & skill development roadmap. Finally, you offer interesting and stretching projectsthat spike passions and, as a manager, give your team the guardrails to operate and then, get out of their way!

Liz Tassey (she/her)
VP of Marketing at Blueocean.ai
Wow I love this idea! A couple of thoughts: 1. Customer-obsession: This is probably the #1 skill/perspective that we can help other teams embrace. Is this driving value for the customer, is this something they can easily understand, are we solving the pain point in a unique and differentiated way, etc. 2. Value orientation: This is captured a bit in the customer-obsession point, but if the entire company can have a great focus on value (building value, communicating value, helping the customer realize the value), that can be a powerful turning point for a business...more
Ryane Bohm
Director, Product Marketing at Gong | Formerly Salesforce, GE

I tend to keep my communications short, sweet, and to the point while keeping the mentality of "what's in it for them" at the top of my mind. Bullet points and a TL;DR summary help with this. Make sure there is a crisp ask or offering at the end if you are hoping for a next step And as you would with anybody you work with, be respectful of their time!