In initial PMM interview screens I always ask the same question (partially because it just works and partially because it sets a nice running baseline for me); 'Describe to me your favourite product to me. Tell me what is it, why you like it, and what sets it apart.' This gets to the fundimental heart of what a good PMM should be able to do... articulate value, distill a product description in a few moments, and tell a story to get someone interested. Very strong PMMs will not only be able to do it but will know to chose a product that is within the same realm of products/services that your company delivers (trust me I've heard some absolutely insane answers).
I've seen it work in many different ways. It's usually dependent upon where the PMM org lives, and what the other organizations look like along side of it. If it's in Marketing, it's very dependent on who the leader of marketing is. If it's in Product Management, it's usually broken out by product or vertical. I'm currently building up the team at Socrata, so we're broken out more by strategy vs. execusion and a person who owns the website. We'll go to a more verticalized approach as we expand. We live within Marketing, but I report to the SVP of Marketing/Biz Dev and there's a separate Director of Marketing who runs Demand Gen and Customer Marketing.
It can work in many places, but I find it to be the most effective if it is either within Marketing or on its own entirely so that marketing is properly on message. I often draw a venn diagram of product marketing. Product marketing has changed dramatically since the days when the Pragmatic framework was the be-all and end-all of a product organization. At the end of the day, product marketing inspires marketing, enables sales and influences product.
I'm going to focus on just one part of that equation: Solution. This is an often misrepresented piece of the product marketers toolkit. I have found that so many companies put together a list of products an call it a solution, I would consider this a 'bundle' 'package' or 'toolkit.' A solution, as the name implies, should SOLVE a very specific set of problems for a specific audience type. It will generally include both product, services, and even best practices or expertise from the offering company.
Definitely good old Google Alerts is key. Also, social media monitoring with Social Mention. Key: Read their blog.
For product updates; keep tabs on their website changes with Visualping.io.
Retaining talent is one of those things that has no magic bullet. I believe keeping talent, begins with hiring the right talent in the first place. Obviously you need to be hiring for someone who aligns with your company culture, mission and is talented and make sure you pay them well, give them good benefits, have growth opportunities and all that... but someone else can cover off on hiring for culture.
For me, when hiring a team, I looked for people who not only met the ability to do the functional product marketing day-to-days, but also how they would fit within the team dynamics. My team had a rockstar (someone stable, capable, and will stay in for the long haul as long as they're supported), someone status-quo, and two open reqs. I knew I needed another rockstar to give the team a firm foundation, but I also needed someone to really propel a few projects forward quickly. So I hired my superstar. I'm fully aware that I'm going to get 18-24 months out of her, but those will be full of highly productive, stellar work that pushes the team forward. As anticipated, hiring people with grit made the status-quo team member bow out, giving me the opportunity to find my next rockstar to round out the team. *IF* I end up finding a super star in the process, I'm not going to shy away from having two on the team of four, we've got a lot of work to do. Attrition is a part of tech. You can be the best boss, best company, best team, and still people are going to want to move on eventually.
Keep them motivated, working on interesting things, help them continue their growth even if that growth means they're leaving the company. And the harder part in some ways... tell them your own aspiratations for growth and the potential for you to move up (and/or on) yourself.