Abdul Rastagar

Abdul RastagarShare

GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach
Customer advocacy is everyone's responsibility
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Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

Product marketers are bound to get the “describe a successful product launch you’ve done” question (or some other iteration of it). Be prepared to answer with outcomes rather than going through a checklist of activities. What were you trying to achieve and how did you measure progress?

I think Sharebird is a great resource for learning. I’d try to absorb as much as possible here. But honestly, the best thing you can do to prepare for interviews is to practice over and over again with more senior marketers, someone who has a lot of experience in conducting interviews. I cannot overstate the value you will get out of it. Find a colleague, an old boss, or a mentor to work with you. By the way, I do these types of practice interviews with people all the time so find me on LinkedIn if you want, happy to help.

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

I am going to provide a highly opinionated answer. Please forgive the strong tone, but I hope it will be more helpful for you than a generic response: 


For any question I ask, I want a short, succinct, and direct answer that tells me within the first 3-5 sentences what outcomes you achieved. If you can do that, you’ve already impressed me so just stop right there. Any additional info I need, I will follow up with more questions and then we can dig into the details.

If I’m interviewing you, I want to know - what was your goal, and how did you make progress to that goal? I am not looking for a lot of background info or stories. What I am really asking is, can you deliver? If the answer is a long and rambling response, you’re inadvertently communicating that you are not focused on outcomes.

I’ve come across very few marketers who actually give outcomes-focused responses during interviews. If you can train yourself to do that, you’ve instantly set yourself apart from the competition.

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

Usually, they're testing to see if you understand how to launch a product but you are right, different hiring managers look for different things. 

My recommendation is that rather than listing a long list of activities to try to catch every single item, you focus on the ones that you believe will drive the most impact. Start with trying to understand the goal (it's not always revenue) and then define the relevant KPIs and metrics. You'll want to show that you understand the difference between the strategic aspects of the plan (personas, messaging, segmentation, competitors) vs. the tactical execution components (comms, demand generation, content, etc.) 

Whatever you do, ensure that you include measuring performance. How will you know that you are actually making progress to the goal that was set out? 

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

There seems to be a common thread among talented marketers who don’t do well in their interviews - responses sound generic, answers are often way too long and provide too much background information, and there is little to no focus on outcomes. 


For product marketers, outcomes are the number one priority of their job so, in an interview, you must also be able to clearly articulate your own value and the outcomes you’ve achieved. Be specific. That signals to me that you get the strategic nature of product marketing. Otherwise, you’ve just positioned yourself as a tactical taskmaster instead of a strategic product marketer.

Just like my previous answer to a related question, I am purposefully giving a strongly opinionated response because I hope it will help readers up their game: don’t tell me any stories, show me your results. 😊

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 11

Personally, I don't consider those two examples as being "above and beyond" - I consider them as a baseline for any marketing candidate. Ironically, I recently spoke with a former colleague about this very topic and he was in full agreement. 

If you want to prove to the prospective employer that you can add value, then you should be prepared to cover these things without even hesitating if it comes up during your interview. 

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

Love this question! 


Obviously, always protect your employer’s confidential information. However, if you have done your work correctly, your messaging will inform all of the material and content you’ve developed. It would be reflected on your website, on your datasheets, on other public-facing content (press releases, blogs, etc.)

But far more important than showing what you have produced is proving the impact that it had. Showing success metrics for messaging is one of the most difficult challenges for product marketers. One problem is that messaging success depends on the collective action of all of your sales and marketing efforts - from your website to your content, campaigns to SDRs to sales reps, and much more. It requires everyone to work in unison, which does not always happen.

But to truly answer the question, we first need to understand the goal. What are you trying to achieve with your messaging? It could be more revenue, winning a larger share of opportunities, gaining greater market share, reducing churn, managing a PR debacle, differentiating from competitors, repositioning your brand, product or functionality adoption, etc.

Without knowing that, I’m afraid I can’t give you a solid answer. So go back to what it was that you were trying to achieve and then think about what the relevant success metrics are. A couple of examples: 

  • if your goal was to win a higher percentage of open opportunities, then measure this in terms of whether there was an uptick in won opportunities compared to the old messaging. 
  • if your goal was functionality adoption in your install base, start with a relatively small but representative subset of customers to educate them, then see if adoption has increased relative to the control group. (It might take some time to get results, depending on the complexity of the customer and your product...)

One final thing, it's rare that you would try to achieve your goal only through adjusting messaging. It's usually a cross-set of activities and stakeholders that drive impact. 

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

I started out my career as a medicinal chemist doing research on breast cancer. There was only one success metric for me - did the novel compound I synthesized kill the cancer cells without killing healthy ones? Success was incredibly complex to achieve but quite straightforward to measure. 


Conversely, as marketers, we often fall into a trap of measuring operational metrics that don’t actually measure outcomes. We get so wrapped up in reach and frequency that we often fail to answer whether we actually achieved our goal.

Just like a medicinal chemist is held to an extremely high standard of success based on scientific outcomes, a product marketer’s success should be based on business outcomes. Depending on your original goal, it might be ARR, greater closed-win rate, reduced churn, lowered CAC, market share, etc. It’s not about how many people downloaded your white paper but how many deals were closed because of it. There is your ROI.

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

The ‘product marketing skills’ question has been answered really well by a lot of others on Sharebird already so I will focus my answer specifically to the interview itself: 


I always look for candidates who have a strategic mindset and who can articulate what success in their current role looks like. I interviewed one candidate once who really impressed me with her ability to paint ‘before and after’ pictures. It’s less common than you would expect and she completely differentiated herself because of it.

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 8

 It's a legit question though I need more context to give you specific feedback. When you say 1st interviews, I assume you mean with the recruiter rather than the hiring manager. Sounds like your resume is good enough to entice them, but there's something going on in your interview answers that's not connecting the dots.

How do you respond to questions - do you convince them that you have done the work you claim, do you provide enough depth and detail, do you show results and outcomes, do you persuade them that your past experience translates to future results? Without knowing any of that, I can't really provide you a good answer.

Please respond below or if you want to do it privately, feel free to ping me directly on LinkedIn, maybe we can dig into this.

Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

Every resume you submit needs to be uniquely tailored to the job for which you are applying. Two product marketing roles at two competitor companies will still have different keywords in the job description. Your resume should be crafted specifically for each job. 


A good hiring manager will spot a generic resume in under 10 seconds. If you finely tailor and differentiate your resume, you signal to the boss that you’ll be able to apply that skill to the job as well.

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GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Lives In California
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