What is a Product Marketing Manager?
A Product Marketing Manager (PMM) grows existing products and launches new ones to meet customer needs. PMMs bridge the gap between the product and the market, craft compelling messaging, position the product, and devise launch strategies.
The Role of a Product Manager
What does a Product Marketing Manager do?
A Product Marketing Manager (PMM) occupies an incredibly interesting and varied role that sits at the intersection between Product, Marketing, and Sales.
Like Product Managers (PMs), PMMs help launch new products and grow existing products that meet customer needs. While PMs and PMMs have shared goals of filling user needs, driving business impact, and creating great products, they tackle those goals in different ways.
For example, whereas PMs execute their strategy principally through engineering and design teams, PMMs don’t typically manage engineering and design tasks. Instead, they collaborate with marketing, communications, and sales to amplify product messaging.
However, just because PMMs don’t typically manage engineering and design tasks doesn’t mean they’re not involved in defining what product teams should build. From defining the audience to articulating value propositions, building creative frameworks, and crafting marketing plans, Product Marketers synthesize various elements into a coherent strategy. This multifaceted approach ensures products are not only aligned with organizational objectives but also resonate deeply with consumers, creating a dynamic balance between analytical insights, collaboration, and creativity.
Working as a liaison between product teams and consumers, PMMs also craft irresistible messaging, define eye-catching positioning, and engineer captivating launch events. They analyze what the market is buzzing about, figure out what makes competitors tick, and then weave that intelligence into strategies that make their product the star of the show.
In short, they're the hype-builders, the storytellers, and the strategy maestros who make sure a product isn't just built but adored.
Why are Product Marketing Managers important?
Product Marketing Managers serve several essential functions including the following:
PMMs are amazing storytellers: Ever fallen in love with a product you didn't know you needed? Thank a PMM. Product Marketing Managers don't just list features; they’re the ones who tell a compelling story that highlights the product's value, making it relatable and irresistible to consumers.
Market analysis: PMMs keep an ear to the ground, understanding market trends, consumer needs, and competitor moves. This intel helps refine the product and its positioning, ensuring it stands out in a crowded marketplace.
PMMs are strategic planners: PMMs decide the 'when,' 'where,' and 'how,' to orchestrate a product launch that maximizes impact and reach.
Increasing revenue: Through targeted campaigns and promotions, PMMs drive customer acquisition, retention, and ultimately, revenue. They're often the reason a good product turns into a bestseller.
Team Unifiers: Much like Product Managers, PMMs bring cross-functional teams together, aligning everyone from engineering to sales around a common vision for the product.
Keeping the product customer-focused: By championing the voice of the customer, PMMs ensure that the product evolves in a way that continues to solve real-world problems.
What kind of companies are investing in Product Marketing Managers?
A growing number of companies are creating Product Marketing teams, though they’re still not present everywhere. But generally speaking, Product Marketing functions exist at companies where…
Product Management is an established function, and Product Marketing is a natural companion to bring in
The market opportunity is proven, but new product innovation or dedicated marketing support is needed
A specific PMM function is required, such as Sales Enablement, etc.
How do you develop a product marketing mindset?
Developing a product marketing mindset involves a multifaceted approach that blends both hard and soft skills. Here are just some of the things you can do to start thinking like a PMM.
Observe and learn: Product marketing is all around us. It’s the promoted Tweets on our Timelines. It’s the billboards we see around town. It’s the subtle nudges we get to activate product features. It’s in-app surveys asking for feedback. And it’s pop-ups promoting product features. Start to take note of all the product marketing you see every day, what works and what doesn’t, and what you could use to enhance your product.
Be customer-centric: Always put the customer at the center of your decisions. Understand their needs, pain points, and how your product can address them. Practice empathy by actively listening to your customers. Use their feedback to fine-tune your strategies and solutions.
Think strategically: Learn to align your product marketing goals with broader business objectives. Be able to formulate and execute plans that both introduce and sustain products in the market.
Be adaptable: Be prepared to change course as market conditions, customer preferences, or business goals change. Flexibility and a willingness to pivot are key.
Stay curious Keep an open mind and stay updated on industry trends and best practices. Continuous learning is a vital component of a successful product marketing mindset.
Be self-aware: Know your strengths and weaknesses. Seek feedback and be willing to adapt and grow in areas where you can improve.
Build your PMM skill set: Equip yourself with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to excel in A PMM role by taking a formal certification in Product Marketing Management.
How can you get a job as a Product Marketing Manager?
PMMs come from a wide range of backgrounds, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to breaking into product marketing, but here are a few tips to get you started.
Find a mentor: Find a mentor, either inside or outside of your company who can guide you through the maze of product marketing. Learning from someone else's experience can save you time and missteps.
Learn: Learn as much as you can about product marketing. Product School has plenty of free resources you can use to learn about the field and the skills you need in the form of blog posts and webinars, in addition to our Product Marketing Manager Certification (PMMC)™ to help you land your first Product Marketing Manager Job.
Nail the Interview: Know the industry, know the product, and most importantly, know how you can add value.
What is the typical Product Marketing Management career ladder?
Exact leveling structures vary by company, but Product Marketers generally have a similar career trajectory:
1. Associate Product Marketing Manager (APMM): This entry-love role is generally the starting point for anyone looking to break into the world of Product Marketing.
2. Product Marketing Manager (PMM): Congratulations! You’re a PMM. As a junior Product Marketer, you’ll focus more on supporting work for individual products & preparing the fundamentals for Go-To-Market. Your responsibilities will increase with more experience.
3. Senior PMM: As a Senior-Level Product Marketing Manager, you’ll be able to execute multi-channel GTM plans start-to-finish. You’ll also be responsible for mentoring junior PMMs, owning larger, more complex products, and even influencing product strategy.
4. Principal Product Marketing Manager: In this individual contributor role, you’ll be responsible for aligning multiple products with business objectives and might even manage a small team.
5. Group/Product Marketing Director: On this rung of the career ladder, you’ll be overseeing multiple PMMs, setting marketing strategy, and influencing the organizational direction. You're also likely interfacing with C-level executives.
6. VP of Product Marketing: As VP of Product marketing, you’ll be leading the entire product marketing function, shaping the narrative for all products and ensuring alignment with the company's strategic goals.
As you ascend the Product Marketing Career ladder, you'll need to acquire new skills, from data analytics and strategic thinking to leadership and team management. Each level has its challenges, but also its rewards: more impact, more influence, and an exhilarating view from the top. Happy climbing!
Product Marketing Manager in action
“Hiring a product marketing manager made a significant impact on our ability to communicate the value of our product to consumers.”