In order to add value, you need to first consider the priorities of the business and the leadership team. You could be doing some pretty great work, but if it doesn't advance the business's priorities it will likely get wasted. Once you're doing work which aligns to the business goals, its a good idea to set goals on a quarterly basis.
At the end of each quarter or project, put together a summary of the improvements you made, and review it with business leadership. If you have a team be sure you're setting your team up for these opportunities too. Often times these presentations become very long and wordy. Avoid this. A simple deck with key results and objectives should get the job done.
Once you're ready to go to your next job and want to highlight everything you accomplished, you will have all these decks to look back on as a reminder.
Communicate communicate communicate. PMM/GTM/PRODUCT need to be constantly communicating. Here's a sample cadence to get you started:
PMM <> Product
PMM <> GTM
There's lots of other checkpoints but this will hopefully get you started.
If you're chasing titles, you might want to be concerned. I prefer to think about the long term plan and look for opportunities that further my career ambitions. Its ok to take a short term hit on title if you're going to be on a team where you earn lots of experience, credibility and get to work with some strong PMMs. In the long run this will set you up for the rest of your career.
From a hiring managers perspective, if there's a recruiter screening resumes, you might get filtered out by title. I prefer to go through the resumes personally to avoid missing strong candidates who might have misaligned titles. Usually a hiring manager will be aware of leveling across the industry.
I've had a bit of a unique journey including leading a small marketing team responsible for everything, as well as focused PMM teams. I don't believe in general blueprints like "your first hire should be competitive and second should be core product" since every business is different. More complex or technical products likely need more "product" PMMs as a early hire and a simpler product in a competitive market may need more PMM muscle around messaging to stand out and competitive marketing.
In regards to strategic hires; having a strong biz ops or analytics PMM who can help build a team that's metric driven will be useful in the long run. If I were to build out a PMM team from scratch today, I'd probably just look for the strongest person I could find and continue to make a case for more headcount.
Try to find an introduction to the hiring manager. If you can't find an intro, reach out to the hiring manager directly. Someone who reaches out saying "I saw you're job, I'm very interested, here's why I'm a good fit" will definitely get some extra attention when it comes time to review resumes. Also find a way to highlight PMM work on your resume.
Nobody is ever fully prepared to take that next leap. The fact that you're here on Sharebird learning is a good first step. In regards to building courage, the worst thing that happens is you apply and don't hear back from the employeer, there's only opportunity. If you've managed 4.5k employees you probably have some relevant experience that will get you a call back.
I always think of PMM as the glue that connects the various functions of a business (product/sales/rest of marketing/etc). A PMM's responsibility is to understand the needs of prospects and customers and communicate that internally. Additinoally, it's PMMs job to take all the innovation and programs a company is creating and wrap that in an easy to consume message/narrative for prospects/customers/employees/analysts.
Hoever, if you're in product marketing and find yourself reporting to Product, that could be a challenging situation. I believe Product and Product Marketng should be peers who work together.
In my experience, being a people manager doesn't change much across disciplines. The priorities should always be to help your team grow and develop their career (the output is great work and team success). If you've demonstrated you're a strong people leader that should be enough.
I know formal people mangement opportunities can be hard to come by in a small company. Try to informally mentor some of the less experienced PMMs on the team. Also recognize that management skills is just one part of becoming a Director. You also need to work on exec presence, story telling, strategy, leveraging data, etc.
Find a way to get the experience. For example, launch a personal blog or Medium. Put together a plan to socialize it to your network. Alternatively you could hit up folks on product hunt who would definitely be open to someone who's willing to assist on a launch in exchange for experience.
If that's not an option, switch the question around. "I haven't had an opportunity to do this yet, but I've thought a lot about my approach. Here's what a launch would look like."
Its important to have a maanger who believes in you and supports your career. I'd break the meetings apart into weekly tactical conversations about what needs to be done, blockers, etc. Monthly convos around areas for improvement and then quarterly convos regarding career development. If you have a manager who's not willing to support you, there's plenty of others out there who are actively hiring and will help you develop your career. Hang in there!