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Hiring Product Marketing Managers (PMM) - a comprehensive guide

Product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market and overseeing its overall success by driving demand and usage. It involves a variety of activities such as market research, product positioning, pricing strategy, packaging, and promotion.

Product marketers work closely with the product development team to understand the features and benefits of the product and then communicate that information to the target market. They also work with sales teams to develop the go-to-market strategy and create marketing materials to support the product launch.

Additionally, product marketers are responsible for monitoring the product's performance in the market and making adjustments as needed to ensure its success.

Overall, product marketing plays a critical role in the success of a product by bridging the gap between product development and sales, and driving demand and usage of the product in the market.

What is product marketing exactly?

A common misconception around Product Marketing is shown in the Venn Diagram below:

Product marketing is essentially a subdivision of marketing. It’s not as interdisciplinary as the first Venn diagram depicts it to be. It’s not sales + product + marketing = product marketing.

Doing product marketing is basically doing marketing that’s focused on everything directly related to making a product successful in the market. And that responsibility has been a part of marketing since the conception of the four Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) with a specific emphasis on the product and its positioning in the market.

It is responsible for bridging the gap between product development and sales and ensuring that the product is successful in the market by driving demand and usage. Overall, product marketing is a critical function within the larger field of marketing that helps ensure the success of a product in the market.

What are examples of great product marketing?

Some examples of amazing product marketing include:

  1. Apple's iPhone: Apple's marketing strategy for the iPhone, with its sleek design and intuitive user experience, set a new standard for smartphone marketing and helped establish the iPhone as one of the most popular devices in the world.
  2. Nike's "Just Do It" Campaign: Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, launched in 1988, is one of the most iconic marketing campaigns of all time. The simple yet powerful slogan, combined with high-impact advertisements and celebrity endorsements, helped turn Nike into a global brand.
  3. Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" Campaign: Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign, which started in Australia in 2011, allowed customers to personalize their bottles and cans with the names of friends and family. The campaign was a huge success, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty.
  4. Red Bull's Content Marketing Strategy: Red Bull has become synonymous with extreme sports and adventure through its highly successful content marketing strategy. The company creates and shares engaging content, such as documentaries, video series, and social media posts, that showcase its brand values and resonate with its target audience.
  5. Tesla's Electric Vehicle Marketing: Tesla's marketing strategy for its electric vehicles, with its focus on environmental sustainability and cutting-edge technology, has helped establish the company as a leader in the electric vehicle market and set a new standard for automotive marketing.

These examples show how effective marketing strategies can help companies build brand awareness, increase sales, and establish themselves as leaders in their respective industries.

What about product marketing in the software industry?

Here are some examples of great product marketing in the software industry:

  1. Slack's Business Communication Platform: Slack's marketing strategy, which emphasizes the ease of use and collaboration features of its business communication platform, has helped the company establish itself as a leader in the crowded workplace collaboration market.
  2. Hubspot's Inbound Marketing Platform: Hubspot's inbound marketing platform provides a comprehensive suite of tools for marketers, salespeople, and customer service professionals. The company's marketing emphasizes the power of inbound marketing and the value of its all-in-one platform, making it a popular choice among businesses of all sizes.
  3. Salesforce's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: Salesforce's marketing strategy for its CRM software, with its emphasis on data-driven sales and customer insights, has helped establish the company as a leader in the CRM market and made it a go-to solution for businesses looking to improve their sales and customer engagement processes.
  4. Zoom's Video Conferencing Software: Zoom's marketing strategy, which emphasizes the ease of use and reliability of its video conferencing software, has helped the company establish itself as a leader in the rapidly growing remote work market.
  5. Asana's Project Management Tool: Asana's marketing strategy, which emphasizes the flexibility and collaboration features of its project management tool, has helped the company establish itself as a leader in the project management software market and made it a popular choice among businesses and teams of all sizes.

How can product marketing go wrong?

  1. Overpromising and Underdelivering: A company might make bold claims about the capabilities and benefits of its software, only to fail to live up to those promises. This can lead to disappointed customers, negative reviews, and a loss of credibility.
  2. Lack of Targeted Messaging: Some companies might fail to understand their target audience or create messaging that doesn't resonate with the people they are trying to reach. This can result in ineffective marketing campaigns and low adoption rates.
  3. Failing to Address Customer Pain Points: Some companies might neglect to address the specific problems and challenges faced by their target audience, instead focusing on features and benefits that are not relevant or valuable to the customer. This can result in low adoption and limited success for the product.
  4. Poor User Experience: Some companies might launch software with a confusing or difficult-to-use interface, causing frustration and making it hard for customers to get the most out of the product.
  5. Ignoring Competitor Analysis: Some companies might fail to adequately research and understand the competitive landscape, resulting in a product that doesn't stand out or offer a compelling advantage over its competitors.

Here are some examples where things went wrong dramatically!

  1. BlackBerry PlayBook: BlackBerry's marketing of its PlayBook tablet, which promised a cutting-edge device with a sleek design and advanced features, failed to live up to expectations. The tablet had a limited app ecosystem, poor battery life, and a lack of basic features like native email and calendar apps, which led to disappointing sales and a loss of credibility for BlackBerry.
  2. Microsoft's Windows 8: Microsoft's marketing of Windows 8, which promised a revolutionary new operating system with a modern design and touch-based interface, was criticized for being confusing and difficult to use. The radical changes to the user interface, combined with a lack of compatibility with legacy software and hardware, led to a poor reception among consumers and businesses.
  3. Google Wave: Google's marketing of Google Wave, which promised a revolutionary new communication and collaboration platform, was met with disappointment due to the product's complex and difficult-to-use interface. Despite early buzz and high expectations, Google Wave failed to gain traction and was eventually shut down due to low adoption.
  4. HP's TouchPad: HP's marketing of its TouchPad tablet, which promised a high-quality device with cutting-edge features, was criticized for being overpriced and underpowered compared to its competitors. Despite a heavy marketing push, the TouchPad failed to gain traction and was eventually discontinued due to poor sales.

What is the difference between Product Marketing and traditional Marketing?

Credit: userpilot.com

Product marketing and traditional marketing are both important functions within the larger field of marketing, but they have some key differences:

  • Focus: Product marketing is focused specifically on the product and its success in the market, while traditional marketing is focused on the overall marketing strategy for the company.
  • Audience: Product marketing is focused on the target market for a specific product, while traditional marketing is focused on the overall target market for the company.
  • Responsibilities: Product marketers are responsible for market research, product positioning, pricing strategy, go-to-market strategy, and performance monitoring for a specific product, while traditional marketers are responsible for overall branding, advertising, and promotions for the company.
  • Collaboration: Product marketing works closely with cross-functional teams such as product development, engineering, sales, and customer success to ensure the product meets the needs of the target market and achieves success in the market, while traditional marketing works with different departments such as marketing, sales, and customer service.
  • Timeframe: Product marketing is often focused on a specific product launch or product line, while traditional marketing is focused on the long-term strategy and branding for the company.
Overall, Product marketing is a specialized function within the larger field of marketing that is focused specifically on making a product successful in the market.

What is the difference between Product Marketing and Product Management?

There’s a lot of ambiguity around both roles, so people usually confuse Product Managers (PM) with Product Marketing Managers (PMM).

There are certainly some similarities, PMs and PMMs are all-rounders, who can effectively work across product, marketing, and sales. Both are responsible for product launches and both roles need to coordinate different teams within an organization to ensure that the product release is successful which includes pricing, strategy and product analysis.

However, there are clear distinctions between Product Management and Product Marketing, therefore Product Managers (PMs) and Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) roles should not be combined or confused as one as shown below:

Credit: Medium

Product Management is focused on defining and overseeing the entire lifecycle of a product, from idea to launch to post-launch. It involves conducting market research and customer interviews to determine customer needs and requirements, defining product specifications, and working closely with cross-functional teams such as engineering, design, and sales to bring the product to market. Product managers (PMs) are responsible for ensuring that the product meets customer needs and company goals, and for making decisions about product direction and internal roadmaps.

Product Marketing on the other hand, is focused on understanding and communicating the value proposition of a product to the market and customers. It involves conducting market research to determine target customer segments, developing positioning and messaging strategies, and creating marketing materials such as brochures and product demos. The goal of Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) is to ensure that the product is positioned effectively in the market and that customers understand its value and how it meets their needs.

In summary, Product Marketing is concerned with promoting and selling a product, while Product Management is concerned with creating and improving the product itself.

Both functions are critical to the success of a product, and a strong collaboration between Product Marketing and Product Management is essential for a product's success in the market.

What are the roles and responsibilities of Product Marketing Managers?

The roles and responsibilities of a product marketer can vary depending on the company and the specific product they are working on, but generally they include:

  • Market research: Conducting research on the target market, competitors, and industry trends to inform product positioning and strategy.
  • Product positioning: Developing the messaging and positioning for the product to ensure it resonates with the target market.
  • Pricing strategy: Determining the optimal pricing for the product based on market research and the product's value proposition.
  • Go-to-market strategy: Working with the sales and marketing teams to develop a strategy for launching the product and bringing it to market.
  • Marketing materials: Creating marketing materials such as brochures, presentations, website content, and case studies to support the product launch and ongoing promotion.
  • Sales enablement: Working with the sales team to ensure they have the necessary tools and information to sell the product effectively.
  • Product launch: Leading the product launch efforts, including planning and execution of launch events and campaigns.
  • Performance monitoring: Continuously monitoring the product's performance in the market and making adjustments to the positioning, pricing, and go-to-market strategy as needed.
  • Competitive analysis: Keeping a close eye on the competition and staying up-to-date on industry trends to ensure the product remains competitive in the market.
  • Collaboration: Collaborating with cross-functional teams such as product development, engineering, sales, and customer success to ensure the product meets the needs of the target market and achieves success in the market.

What tools and technologies do Product Marketers use?

Credit: storiesonboard.com

Product marketers use a variety of tools and technologies to research, plan, launch, and promote products. Some common tools and technologies used by product marketers include:

  • Market research tools: Surveys, focus groups, and analytics platforms like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Qualtrics are used to gather data on target markets, customer needs, and competitors.
  • Product management tools: Platforms like Asana, Jira, and Trello are used to track and manage product development, launch plans, and roadmaps.
  • Marketing automation tools: Marketing automation platforms like Pardot, Marketo, and HubSpot allow marketers to automate and track email campaigns, lead generation, and customer engagement.
  • Content management systems: Platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Squarespace are used to manage and publish content for product websites and landing pages.
  • Social media management tools: Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer are used to manage and schedule posts across multiple social media platforms.
  • Advertising and promotion tools: Platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads are used to create and manage online advertising campaigns, and track their performance.
  • Web analytics and A/B testing tools: Tools like Google Analytics, Optimizely, and VWO are used to track website traffic, conversion rates, and to test different versions of website designs or marketing messages.
  • Product launch tools: Platforms like ProductHunt, HackerNews and Reddit are used to announce and promote new products to early adopters, and gather feedback.
  • Email marketing tools: Tools such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor are used to create and send email campaigns to customers and prospects.
  • Surveys and feedback tools: Tools such as SurveyMonkey, UserTesting, and Qualtrics are used to gather customer feedback and insights to improve products and messaging.

These are just some examples of the tools and technologies that product marketers may use. The specific tools and technologies used will depend on the needs of the project and the preferences of the product marketer.

What are examples of good Product Marketing profiles?

Here are just a few examples of exemplary product marketing profiles.

  1. Robbye Routman: Robbye is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn. She has a wealth of experience in the tech industry and has held senior marketing roles at companies such as Adobe, Yahoo, and Mozilla. You can view her LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbie-routman-7ab1474/
  2. Gabrielle Toledano: Gabrielle is a Product Marketing Manager at Tesla, where she is responsible for product marketing initiatives for the company's electric vehicles and energy products. She has a strong background in product marketing and has held senior marketing roles at companies such as Electronic Arts and Yahoo. You can view her LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabrielletoledano/
  3. Karthik Balakrishnan: Karthik is a Product Marketing Manager at Google, where he is responsible for the company's cloud computing and productivity products. He has a strong background in product marketing and has held senior marketing roles at companies such as Microsoft and Adobe. You can view his LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karthikbalakrishnan/
  4. Tony Qin: Tony is the Director of Product Marketing at Zoom, where he is responsible for the company's product marketing initiatives for its video communication and collaboration platform. He has a strong background in product marketing and has held senior marketing roles at companies such as Salesforce and Oracle. You can view his LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-qin-6a631617/
  5. Margie Chan: Margie is the Head of Product Marketing at 8x8, Inc, a cloud-based communication platform provider. She has a strong background in product marketing and has held senior marketing roles at companies such as Salesforce, Oracle, and WebEx. You can view her LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/margiechan/

What is a good boolean search for finding Product Marketing Managers?

Boolean search is a powerful tool for finding highly relevant candidates for a specific role, such as product marketers. By using specific operators, you can combine keywords and phrases to build a search query that returns only the most relevant results.

To find product marketers, you could start with a search query like this:

("product marketing" OR "product marketer" OR "product marketing manager") AND ("strategy" OR "launch" OR "positioning")

This query will return results for individuals who have experience in product marketing and have mentioned specific skills related to product marketing strategy, product launches, or product positioning.

You can further refine your search by adding in additional keywords and phrases that are relevant to your specific needs. For example, you could search for product marketers who have experience in a specific industry or who have a certain level of education or experience.

Tips for recruiting Product Marketers

Recruiting the right product marketers can be a challenging task, as they play a crucial role in driving product success. Here are some tips to help you find the best candidates for the job:

  1. Define the role: Clearly define the job responsibilities, expectations, and qualifications required for the product marketing role. This will help attract the right candidates and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  2. Look for relevant experience: Look for candidates who have experience in product marketing or related fields, such as product management or marketing communications. This will help ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the role.
  3. Look for a mix of skills: Product marketers need a mix of technical and marketing skills. Look for candidates who have experience in both areas and who can effectively communicate technical information to a non-technical audience.
  4. Find candidates who understand your target market: Product marketers need to understand your target market in order to create effective marketing campaigns. Consider candidates who have experience working with similar target markets or who have a deep understanding of your industry.
  5. Consider their passion: Product marketers need to be passionate about the products they are promoting. Look for candidates who are excited about the products they have worked on in the past and who are eager to take on new challenges.
  6. Consider their ability to collaborate: Product marketing is a collaborative effort that involves working with many different teams. Look for candidates who have experience working with cross-functional teams and who have good communication skills.
  7. Assess their analytical skills: Product marketers need to be able to analyze data to make informed decisions. Consider giving candidates a data analysis test to assess their skills, or ask them about their experience using data to drive marketing decisions.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding the right product marketers to drive the success of your products.

What is the compensation for Product Marketing Managers?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary range for a Product Marketing Manager in San Francisco is $120,000 to $160,000 per year, with a median salary of $140,000. However, this may vary based on the company size, industry, and individual experience and qualifications.

Phone screens for Product Marketing

Here are some top questions to ask a product marketing candidate in a recruiter phone screen:

  1. Can you tell us about your experience in product marketing?
  2. Can you give us an example of a successful product launch that you led or contributed to?
  3. Can you explain your approach to market research and analysis?
  4. How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends and competitive offerings?
  5. How do you work with cross-functional teams, such as product development, sales, and marketing?
  6. Can you tell us about a particularly challenging product marketing situation you faced and how you handled it?
  7. Can you describe your experience with product pricing and positioning strategies?
  8. Can you tell us about a time when you had to make a difficult decision regarding the marketing mix for a product?
  9. How do you measure and analyze the success of a product marketing campaign?
  10. Can you give an example of how you have used data and insights to inform product and marketing decisions?

These questions can help you assess the candidate's experience, skills, and approach to product marketing.

About Rocket

Rocket pairs talented recruiters with advanced AI to help companies hit their hiring goals and knows technology recruiting inside out. Rocket is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley but has recruiters all over the US & Canada serving the needs of our growing client base across engineering, product management, data science and more through a variety of offerings and solutions.

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