Mike Berger

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VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp
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Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

If you are looking for key Product Marketing metrics to determine success, here are some ideas:

  • For a mature product: new users, adoption (usage), active users, daily active users, monthly active users, retention, net retention, pipeline, revenue, deal size, win rate, close rate, velocity
  • For a very immature product: # of early customers, # of customer demos, # of trial signups, adoption (usage)
  • For going after a new buyer: # of new relevant titles added to the database, # of wins in a new vertical

The key is to determine what the objective is given where the product is in its lifecycle, and come up with the right metric accordingly.

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

Maybe I'm unique but I've been in Product Marketing for a long time and I've never been asked to present a "marketing portfolio". I have, on the other hand, been asked to present on specific topics or share specific experiences on many occasions.

If someone is asking you to present a "marketing portfolio" and you are new to product marketing, I would ask the person asking you to provide more detail on what they are looking for. 

If you don't have a portfolio, then I would tell them that you are very interested in the role and I would ask them whether or not they can think of a specific exercise you could do to prove you have the right skills for the role.

For hiring I've done, I always have candidates go through an exercise designed to prove that they are a good fit for the role. The exercise usually involves either relating past experiences relevant to the role, or to analyze content and make recommendations for improvements. In some of the roles I am hiring for now, I am asking candidates to tell me what they like and dislike about our messaging versus a few key competitors, and what changes they would make and why.

If you were previously on the creative side, or the campaign side of marketing, then maybe they are looking for previous examples of your work? Hard to say without more info.

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

Great PMMs really understand the nuances behind messaging and are able to create simplicity out of complexity. 

They are framework-driven. 

They connect their work to strategic company initiatives, especially those tied to growth. 

They are "drivers" with a strong bias to action. 

They are phenomenal communicators and are able to hold their own in discussions and debates with senior leaders. 

They use the right mix of instinct and data to make decisions. 

They make others "want" to work with them on projects. 

Their work is memorable. 

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

Short answer, yes. If it's a job you really want, go above and beyond. Now, if a company says they want you to prepare a 5 slide presentation on something, I wouldn't simply decide that 10 slides is fine, because they might want to see whether or not you can create a concise deck. So if you plan to go above and beyond, and you have questions around it, just ask the hiring manager or recruiter.

When I ask candidates to prepare an excercise, some candidates proactively request time with me prior, which is really smart, and puts them at an advantage. But many don't.

I also just had a candidate who didn't think they put their best foot forward in a presentation, and this person asked me if they could prepare some additional thoughts over the weekend and go over it with me the following week. I said "of course". When people go above and beyond, not only is it a sign that they really want the job, but it's also a strong indicator of their work ethic. 

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

I can tell you based on quite a bit of experience that this is the easiest question I'll ever answer on the topic of building a successful PMM career. It isn't even close. When you are early on in your career, forget about the role, title, pay, etc. Instead, jump into any seat on a rocketship. 

When you are on a rocketship, if you perform well, there will be plenty of opportunities for growth as the company grows, and the experience you gain will be highly valued by other companies hoping to achieve similar growth. 

I know it can be hard to see this when you are early on in your career, but in hindsight it will be clear as day.

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

Here are some ways to think about the move from Sr. PMM to Lead:

Skills

  • Sr. PMM - You have advanced product marketing skills and significant experience in the field. Based on your expertise, you regularly work to define the scope of your role and build on your skillset.
  • Lead - You have mastery of all product marketing skills, which you not only apply to your own work, but also to teach others on your team.

Judgement

  • Sr. PMM - You work under limited direction and lead clearly defined initiatives from strategy through execution. 
  • Lead - You work without appreciable direction and lead increasingly ambiguous initiatives with significant financial impact to the business from strategy through execution.

Problem Solving

  • Sr. PMM - You regularly work on complex, cross-functional projects that require you to solve challenging problems through evaluation and analysis of multiple variables.   
  • Lead - You develop clear solutions and a simplified narrative for complex problems requiring the regular use of ingenuity and innovation, and may serve as precedent for future decisions across the organization.

Teamwork

  • Sr. PMM - You work with, or lead, a cross-functional team on strategic initiatives in a collaborative, effective and efficient way.
  • Lead - You often lead larger or more complex cross-functional initiatives you drive from strategy to execution in a collaborative, effective and efficient way. 

Influence

  • Sr. PMM - You interact with senior and executive-level employees and external representatives. You can easily explain complex ideas at the appropriate altitude for each audience to provide context, educate, build alignment, drive decisions and execute.
  • Lead - You serve as consultant to management and act as both an internal and external spokesperson for the function, and you represent your team or the organization as a primary contact on initiatives and projects. You educate and influce functional leadership on decisions effecting your function.

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

For those of you who are earlier on (first ~8 years) in your career, here is the framework I'd use:

  1. People (and Culture) - You should feel energized about working with the people at the company, ESPECIALLY your manager, and the culture should feel like a fit.
  2. Company - Join a rocket ship with a brand that has buzz, and you'll have a lot of options when you're ready for whatever comes next. Join a slow growing company no one has heard of, and far fewer doors will open. Like it or not, that is the reality.
  3. Learning Opportunities - Are you going to be surrounded by people that will help you grow as a PMM, or not? For your first few PMM jobs, don't join a company where you'll have few people to learn from, or where you'll be the only PMM. 
  4. TAM - this is something I learned the hard way. Join companies going after large total addressable markets. It's no fun when growth becomes restricted due to a small TAM. 
  5. Product - look for a product that provides an excellent user experience with clear differentiation and strong product market fit. Picture yourself pitching the solution to a prospect. If you feel like you'd have to spend days in front of the prospect simply to convince them that they might need it...run.
  6. Wealth Creation - obviously you need the salary that allows you to pay the bills, but things get complicated on the equity side. For equity, I personally wouldn't focus on it earlier in your career. Earlier in your career the odds are stacked against you making life changing money. So focus on the things higher up on this list.

Obviously many of these things are interrelated. 

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

I'll answer this by conveying what I look for when I hire product marketers:

  1. Messaging skills - can you take complex things and make them seem simple and easily digestible
  2. Writing skills - writing is an art form, and is the most important foundational skill for a PMM in my opinion
  3. Storyteling - can you turn a customer use case into an interesting and memorable story
  4. Influence - can you rally people around your ideas and vision
  5. Collaboration skills - PMM is obviously an incredibly cross-functional discipline

Notice I didn't put in "Organizational skills" while many likely would. I think there are tools we can use to stay organized (hello ClickUp!), and I can always hire people that are super organized to project manage launches, etc. While organizational skills are clearly important, they don't make my top 5 list. 

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoDecember 20

My current favorite shoes are the UltraRange EXO from Vans. 

https://www.vans.com/en-us/shoes-c00081/suede-ultrarange-exo-se-shoe-pvn0a4uwmlkv

Because they are:

  1. Comfortable
  2. Cool yet subtle design that isn't over the top like many other sneakers today
  3. Lots of color choices
  4. Well built
  5. Reasonably priced

Great question! :-)

Mike Berger
Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoDecember 20

Someone once said that the best messaging joins the conversations already happening in your prospects' heads. Or something to that effect. With that in mind, I always start formulating messaging by talking to prospects and customers. Then I validate it with internal teams, including sales, customer success and product.

Credentials & Highlights
VP, Product Marketing at ClickUp
Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, Marketo
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Knows About Consumer Product Marketing, SMB Product Marketing, Enterprise Product Marketing, Infl...more