There’s so much that product marketers must juggle within their day-to-day responsibilities, including competitive intelligence, project management, customer and market research, and sales enablement, to name a few...
With product marketing continuing to evolve and develop into such a multifaceted industry, there are an array of industry-specific skills PMMs need to master to reach the peak of their powers.
Product Marketing Alliance reached out to the product marketing community to see what skills they thought were absolutely essential for every product marketer to have. Based on all this feedback, they refined the list to 25 of the most important skills that PMMs should be taking into 2022.
“Product Marketing Managers are, and always should be, customer-centric. We value the voice of the customer, and are proud to advocate for their wants, needs, and pain points. It’s our responsibility to make them feel heard, so always find time to speak to your customers.
“Put your customer at the heart of everything that you do.
“With research, ensure you get a blend of both quantitative and qualitative insights to cover all bases and provide the best possible solutions to their problems.
Also, with your team, be your customers’ internal representative, and always bring these insights to the table. Consistently remind your internal stakeholders the importance of customer intelligence. They are the most important part of your business, after all.”
Product Marketing Manifesto
“I've always been a "product person'' and I thrive on unlocking previously untapped opportunities for consumers through a product offering, like helping our users understand how they can listen to Spotify in their car, or how to listen to their favorite playlist in the background while playing the latest console game.
“For me, a good product marketer understands, and puts the customer at the forefront of everything they do, and then works meticulously to help unlock those opportunities.” - Rupert Englander,Global Consumer Product Marketing Lead - Platform and Partner Experiences at Spotify
Your product and your customer are the two most important elements of being a product marketer, and must always be your primary focus.
“We need people who can deeply understand these products because for all intents and purposes, they are the subject matter expert internally for the marketing and the sales organizations. So, they need to be intensely curious, they need to be able to break down this product, and they need to be able to articulate it concisely to peers and customers. So strong product orientation and curiosity is a must.” - Francis Larkin, VP of Product Marketing at Clockwise
“Given how marketing has moved from an ‘art fest’ to a ‘science fair’ the ability to find, analyze and interpret data is a critical skill set to master.” -Axel Kirstetter, Vice President of Product Marketing at Datasite
“PMMs need the ability to make hypotheses and run experiments at scale with an optimized framework for priority across the user journey. Testing, iterating and repeating (answering from a more hands-on day to day execution).” - Malav Warke, Founder and CEO at Creatosaurus
“They must be storytellers. All other skills can be taught, but if you can’t tell a good story you can’t be in product marketing” - Jason Friedlander, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Edgecast
“Product marketing’s about telling stories that connect the technical value of a product or service to the desire to want to use it. A good product marketer helps drive this narrative through content creation, digital campaigns, sales enablement, and launches.
“A better product marketer helps thread a consistent story arc through these marketing motions, so your audiences hearing a familiar story grow and become familiar. This requires skills like stakeholder management, excellent communication, strong writing, organization, and some creativity.” - Holly Watson, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Amazon Web Services
“A good product marketer’s empathetic. They’re able to put themselves in the shoes of someone else and see the product through their eyes.”- Phill Agnew, Senior Product Marketer at Hotjar
“The best product marketers are people who have deep customer empathy - once you know the deepest fears, passions, and concerns of your customer, you're able to do anything!” - Madison Leonard, Product Marketing Lead at ClickUp
Multi management/working cross-functionally
“The job of a product marketer’s like sitting in the center of the universe. You can influence each stage of the customer journey because the customer lifecycle is intrinsically tied to whether (and how) they use your product.
“This means you have the potential to create strategies that power the growth of your entire organization. You’re the first to know about new products, inform sales and customers, and you can partner with many cross-functional teams.” - Jennifer Bunting, Head of Product Marketing for EMEA & LATAM at LinkedIn
“A good product marketer will be able to work well with any team within an organization – the role spans from product to delivery/customer success and understanding that your role as a product marketer is a keystone role will serve all product marketers well. “ - Melis Carroll, Vice President of Product Marketing at Majesco
“I think good product marketing is the foundation of good marketing. A good product marketer has their finger on the pulse of the entire market - both the vendors within it, as well as the needs and behavior of buyers.” - April Dunford, Founder of Ambient Strategy
“I think today’s product marketers should be big-picture thinkers. They should know their customers, know their business and how it makes money, know their products, and then lastly know how sales effectively position and sell them.
“In my opinion, outside of that, the criteria for a good product marketer can vary. All should be passionate about their customers and advocate for them, but some product marketers enjoy going deep on products, while others prefer to focus more on supporting sales and distribution. Neither is right nor wrong.
“So, identify your passion and go for it. Whichever path you take, the most important thing is to make sure you can always put yourself in the shoes of today’s customers and sellers, and be able to visualize and/or orchestrate the experience and journeys you want them to have. And then, of course, be able to tell a great story.” - Tiffany Tooley, Head of Product Marketing at HubSpot
“Advocacy - representing our customer, representing the business goals, and the skill to navigate around to drive the best outcomes.” - James Doman-Pipe, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Remote
“I think the best PMMs have an excellent grasp of product development, customer needs, business strategy, and have the creative ability to distill this knowledge into simple and effective communications.” - Eve Brill, Director of Product Marketing at Farfetch
“I believe a good product marketer has the ability to understand the complexities of the product and the complexities of the market and customers and translate it to a language everyone understands. It's imperative that this person has great communication skills to be able to take a product and help people buy it with the best possible experience.” - Felipe Cardoso Barbosa, Product Marketing Manager at VTEX
“Product marketing’s central to the success of any tech company. It's truly the "hub of the wheel" connecting many teams like sales, customer success, community, product, and other marketing functions.
“A good product marketer understands this position within the company and can speak the different languages of the many stakeholders required to successfully drive feature positioning and adoption. It’s a multidimensional role that requires a lot of context shifting and information management.
“These are also the reasons why I love product marketing and think it's such a vital role in any tech organization's success.” - Sean Lauer, Head of Product Marketing at MURAL
“‘I got your back.’ How many jobs get to say that about their customers, sales teams, marketing teams, and product teams? I love product marketing because it makes all four worlds better. Each group needs the other to be successful, and product marketing ties them all together. That's the magic of a true partnership.
Awesome product marketers understand their needs, bring them together, and help them solve the problem as a team.” - Alyce Erikson, APAC Product Marketing Lead for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
“In essence, product marketing is a central nervous system of companies. So, interaction with everybody is equally important. I think product marketing is kind of an aggregator in many ways. You're aggregating what's going on from the product side of the world.
“For example, you’re helping enable the sales teams by doing the sales enablement, talking to customer experience and understanding what's going on with customer experience, what's going on with the consumers and customers, whether it's a B2B buyer, or whether it's a B2C buyer, what are they really giving the feedback on? So every different department is important in this case.” - Su Simha, Chief Marketing Officer at Morressier
“The role of a good product marketer is to dig into and decode the ‘why’. For me, curiosity comes naturally – in former roles, ‘why’ was always the first question I asked when I was assigned a new task, sometimes to the annoyance of my manager. When that level of curiosity meets with the required empathy to do the job day-in and day-out, that’s where the impact of product marketing’s really felt.“ - Laura Foster, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Innovid
“I truly believe that product marketing is the linchpin to sustainable business growth, and that product marketers will be the next generation of CEOs.
“For me, a great product marketer has an unsatiated curiosity about customers and the market, a high level of business acumen, and the ability to build and share a compelling narrative.” - Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer at Unbounce
“Whether you’ve spent a year or two in product marketing or are completely new to the field, it’s important to establish that you enjoy products and are generally curious about them. Curiosity’s one of the most important skill sets to cultivate as a product marketer, and it’s something that drives my interest in the role today.” - Yasmeen Turayhi, Founder of Modern Product and Product Marketing Consultant and Advisor
“Product marketing, as a discipline and a mindset, allows me to bring my full self, every day, into my work. There are no wrong answers, just better experiments, all in an effort to tell just the story that has yet to be told, to just the audience that has yet to hear it. So to me? A good product marketer simply looks like that: someone whose natural curiosity, insatiability, and drive to find gaps and solve problems brings them closer and closer to their (and their product's) why, every day.” - Aubyn Casady, Principal Product Marketing Manager at G2
In a world brimming with products and companies fighting to be seen and heard, product marketers must continue to think outside the box and help their products and organizations stand out from the crowd. So, using your creative skills is essential as you’ll need to explore and implement multiple ways to continue to differentiate your product- particularly in a saturated market.
“Creativity - being able to think beyond templates, frameworks and copy-pasting.” - Anatolii Iakimets, Senior Manager, Product Marketing at Bold Commerce
Motivation and productivity are two skills that are essential to the success of the role. As a product marketer, you need to have a passion for what you do and what they’re selling. After all, if you don’t believe in your product, how can you expect your consumer to?
You must push yourself to continue working, refining, and improving your products, and your product marketing strategies to continue to grow in a market that is constantly changing and evolving.
Use your work ethic to get ahead of the competition, and refuse to settle for less than what you are capable of.
"A good product marketer is a strong problem solver who can analyze a problem, come up with creative remedies, and ruthlessly prioritize the solution to pursue.”- Jana Frejova, Product Marketing Lead at Spendesk
“Product marketing is not just about the high-level mission and vision planning. You need to understand where you are now, the intended outcomes, and make choices that’ll move you from A to B.” - James Doman-Pipe, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Remote
“Product marketing’s such a central and strategic role, interacting with almost every part of the business. Plus there's a lot of problem-solving involved, which is really satisfying.
“For me, a good product marketer’s someone who gets a genuine kick from collaboration and has a knack for great storytelling and strong copywriting. There's a lot more to it, but those are the standout factors.” - Rory Woodbridge, Head of Product Marketing at Pleo
“[A good PMM is] A natural leader who drives collaboration inspires others to dig in behind a common goal, but also someone who’s not afraid to speak up to senior stakeholders.” - Jana Frejova, Product Marketing Lead at Spendesk
“Without a strong PMM, innovative products may never find their audience. We can end up with technical "solutions" that are searching for a problem to solve. A PMM gives products a better chance of finding traction and building momentum.
“A great PMM is able to: 1) lead and inspire without formal authority, 2) tell stories that build identity and community, and 3) operate at every level of thinking from strategy to implementation.” - Alex McDonnell, Marketing Intelligence Lead at Airtable
“I believe that a good product marketer should be curious, self-motivated, and self-manageable. They should also be very empathetic to customers' and internal teams' needs and always listen to their feedback. A good product marketer should be able to prioritize things and should always know how to say "no" to people.” - Natasha Katson, Product Marketing Manager at Bananatag
“I’ve always been a generalist at heart. Call it work FOMO if you want, but I’m happiest when I get to have an impact on all aspects of the business. Product marketing allows me to strategically influence the success of product, marketing, and sales.
“The downside to this is that a product marketer’s time is in high demand—there is always an abundance of projects to tackle. But just because a product marketer can do it all, doesn’t mean they should. An excellent product marketer recognizes this and works with their leadership team to ensure they are working on things that will have the greatest business impact.” - Morgan Molnar, Director of Product Marketing, Global Insights Business at Momentive
“Product marketing’s exciting because it’s strategic and lies at the intersection of many teams. Product marketing requires an awareness of the market, competitors, and customers to build informed strategies and launches.
“A successful product marketer’s someone who factors in all of these broader realities into their plans, while also managing and influencing the many cross-functional stakeholders.”- Adam Kerin, Vice President of Product Marketing at Truework
Sales writing impacts audience engagement, and engagement impacts your direct sales. So, this is a particularly important skill for product marketers to master.
“The world’s getting more complex, more technical, and more distributed. Generalists that can collect, distill, collaborate and effectively communicate this information to make different stakeholders care is only getting more and more important.
“Product marketers are almost like a swiss-army knife for an organization - they can lean in closer on sales strategy, product strategy, marketing strategy, and generally always can bring different perspectives and voices to most meetings and viewpoints - always focused around the customer.” - Nick McLachlan, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Amazon
“Product marketing, when done right, is really the glue that connects together otherwise quite detached organizations. A good product marketer spans the diversity of skills required within the function, though everyone will have a natural penchant towards one side or the other. Whether it's inbound research, product strategy, GTM operations, or creative storytelling, identify your strengths within that and capitalize on them.” - Samer Ragheb, Product Marketing Lead at TikTok
“Active Listening - whether it’s listening to a prospect, user, analyst, or internal teams, you need to fully understand the information that you’re getting and be able to play it back in your own words
“And being able to effectively communicate (written and verbal) is essential for bridging internal teams (product, sales, marketing, etc.) with external audiences (buyers, users, prospects, etc.)” - Jeff Rezabek, Director of Product Marketing at Testlio
“Product marketing has become essential to every company's strategy and execution. We are the glue between our internal stakeholders (sales, product, customer success, exec team, the rest of marketing) and our external ones (customers, prospects, partners, analysts, reporters, influencers, etc.).
“Because of that highly cross-functional aspect, great product marketers tend to be connectors - they are able to listen, synthesize, educate and liaise the different parties in a seamless and strategic manner.” - Julien Sauvage, Vice President of Product Marketing at Gong
Strategic and tactical thinking
“A good product marketer’s equally strategic as they are tactical. They must be able to both define and understand the vision, as well as break it down into an action plan to execute against that’ll bring it to fruition.” - Cody Bernard, Head of Product Marketing at Dooly
“PMMs need the ability to build relationships and influence. If you can't do that, you won't get anything done.” - Maureen West, Vice President, Product Marketing Strategist at Publicis Groupe
“A good product marketer is very clear about the benefits and strengths of his/her product and understands the competition in & out. They’re sharp, analytical, lead with confidence and have an ability to influence their peers, assertive and comfortable taking the back seat when the time comes.” - Syed Azharuddin, Marketing, Strategy, and Growth Manager at Luminous Power Technologies
“A mix of both hard skills and soft skills is required to be an effective product marketer. Unlike engineering, or roles that require logical and analytical thinking entirely, product marketing requires both analytical and logical thinking as well as emotional and intuitive intelligence.
“You need both reasoning, intellect, emotional intelligence, and intuition to master the first principles of Product Marketing.”- Yasmeen Turayhi, Founder of Modern Product and Product Marketing Consultant and Advisor
When running big projects and launches, it’s essential to be organized so that:
- Things run as smoothly as possible,
- All the right people know what they’re doing,
- Your stakeholders are happy, and
- You’re not having to waste time repeatedly explaining processes, or finding things that aren’t organized correctly.