Profile
Melinda Chung

Melinda Chung

ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing Bootcamp
About
I am an entrepreneurial and people-first marketing and business leader with over 15 years of experience growing and scaling businesses across startups and SaaS companies including Yahoo!, StumbleUpon, Locu (acquired), GoDaddy, Adobe, and VSCO. For...more

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Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
The key differences in Sr PMMs and PMMs come down to ownership, self-sufficiency and complexity. As a Sr PMM, you will be expected to self-sufficiently drive projects on your own without significant guidance from your manager. You will also be expected to be able to lead and own more complex initiatives than as a PMM and to work amongst more ambiguity to figure situations out. You are influencing at higher levels, not just contributing and taking orders.
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Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
Required Hard (Functional) Skills: * Analytical — both quantitative and qualitative. From financial modeling to behavioral analysis to awareness campaign tracking to focus group findings, you’re going to need to be able to dissect data, interpret it, and figure out what the implications are. * Strong communicator — can clearly explain rationale for decisions as well as tell stories to persuade * Able to influence — can shift mindsets in peers as well as senior leadership. This includes peers and leaders in all types of cross-functional teams, including product management, design, operations, sales, business analysis, and more. * Strategic — can see the big picture amidst changing company, customer, and competitive dynamics and make choices about where, when, and how to focus to succeed * Curious — wants to understand the business, competition and customer and develop better solutions based on new information Required Soft Skills: * Resilient — able to push through barriers and just keep going, in spite of ambiguity and power dynamics * Resourceful and solutions-oriented — able to think creatively to identify alternative people and methods to reach your objectives. * Able to develop relationships — relationships are currency. Make friends so you’ll have an inside track to getting things done * Flexible — able to roll with the punches. Conditions will change, and your leadership will drop in requests that you didn’t anticipate; you will be respected for keeping a positive attitude and being willing to change course as needs arise. * Able to act amidst ambiguity — there is often no defined path for the projects you are undertaking. You need to be able to structure the opportunity, chart the path, and then move the organization towards the goal. The level of importance of each of these skills may vary depending on the particular company and the growth stage you’re in. For instance, being able to influence may be more important in a large company (vs a startup) because you’ll be working with many more groups and stakeholders. Being able to influence is important in either case, but the level of intensity is likely greater in a bigger company.
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1062 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
With every new job, you have a period during which you need to prove yourself. As PMMs, we gain influence and prove ourselves by knowing the customer, market, business, and product better than others in the company. Figure out which one of those matters most to your company and your leadership, become an expert, and drop it anecdotally in your conversations. Also, align yourself with the people who have influence and power and make sure your contributions are valuable to them.
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1046 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
Great question. I haven’t focused on this, but here are three actions that I’ve intentionally done: 1. Show up on video in meetings where important leaders are present so I get visibility (literally) 2. Set up virtual 1:1’s with people I haven’t seen or connected with in awhile 3. Comment and interact with more people’s posts on LinkedIn
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966 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
Yes, this is a tough one. I would suggest doing the following to gain some more recent “management” experience: 1. Hire an intern - either summer or part-time 2. Manage agencies or contractors 3. If side projects are possible at your company, see if anyone wants to work on a PMM side project with you While you do need to acquire management experience somehow, you’re more likely to get the opportunity to do it (with less experience) if you go to a small company. And don’t completely discount your cross-functional leadership experience - if you manage large groups of cross-functional team members, that management experience also helps in terms of communicating your strategy or vision, getting people committed and excited towards executing against the plan, etc.
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899 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
People often say that you can get into organizations by either function or domain. If you haven’t been in SaaS before, get into a SaaS company through your functional expertise - perhaps marketing, demand generation, or operations, for instance. From there, you can move around. The core competencies for operating in SaaS as a PMM are not that different from any other company, but I’ll highlight one difference - you should definitely understand the business model and how the company makes money. The motions around gross new, net new, attrition, and ending are fundamental financial notions that you’ll need to understand.
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848 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
Here are two opposite examples of people getting promoted to more senior product marketing roles: 1. “Nancy” was extremely motivated and driven to get promoted. She proactively raised this in our regular check-in’s, and I asked her to create a plan with milestones against her annual objectives that would demonstrate her ability to be at the next level. She regularly achieved against the plan, I put together her promotion case, and she was promoted. 2. I recognized during our work together that “Linda” was acting at a higher level than what her title dictated. She never asked for it, but I proactively talked to her about getting promoted, and we put her promotion case together. She was promoted. We all wish our manager would do No.2, but that’s usually not the case. If you know you want to get promoted, do No.1 and get active in your conversations with your manager about what you need to demonstrate in order to be promoted. And then get cracking.
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779 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
For myself, I track based on completions of specific milestones (specific deliverables we planned for - i.e. sales play development, enablement, strategy completed, etc) that were led by myself and/or my team. I also track my team’s engagement score in our annual surveys and work towards improving against the opportunity areas that I’m not as strong on.
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778 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
1. Ensure that your focus areas are aligned with what is most important to the company. For example, if Enterprise is the core segment, you might not get the support and interest you need/want if you are focused on B2C. Doing what is most important to the company means that you are delivering value where it matters and where people have investment and attention paid. 2. Ensure that you are doing what you are most passionate about. I always say that we manage against two objectives in any job: doing what's best for the company but also doing what's best for you. So in the example above, maybe B2C is just your passion. You've tried Enterprise (which I always recommend anyways) and you still want to grow your career in B2C. That's fine - perhaps then it means finding another group or company that is aligned on that value, and grow from there. People typically give more in areas that they are passionate about.
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623 Views
Melinda Chung
Melinda Chung
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing BootcampJanuary 14
People often say that you can get into organizations by either function or domain. If you haven’t been in SaaS before, get into a SaaS company through your functional expertise - product marketing. I would recommend moving into a SaaS company that does both B2C and B2B. You have the product marketing functional expertise to land in B2C there, and then you can network and move into a B2B function from there.
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Credentials & Highlights
ex-VP Marketing at VSCO; ex-Dir at PMM Adobe; Founder at Product Marketing Bootcamp
Formerly Adobe, GoDaddy, VSCO, 3x startups
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Studied at Kellogg School of Management, Pomona College
Lives In San Francisco, CA
Knows About Product Marketing Career Path, Stakeholder Management, Building a Product Marketing T...more