It’s no secret that the Product Marketing (PM) field is in high demand.
Just about every marketing team requires a PM to execute their product launch strategy, and with good reason: this role involves bringing products to market and managing the entire customer experience across all channels.
But what does it take to become a Product Marketer Manager? What are some typical career paths? And what are some possible roles and titles along the way?
But before all that, what is Product Marketing, even?
What is Product Marketing?
Product Marketing is the process of bringing a product to market. This includes everything from understanding the market, defining a product positioning and messaging, launching the product, and managing the product’s life cycle.
Keep in mind that the process of marketing a product doesn’t stop once it’s launched.
Product Marketing also includes understanding the customer’s experience related to the product and using that information to find out how the product evolves over time.
Product Marketing is a complex and challenging process, but it can also be extremely rewarding: there’s no better feeling than successfully launching and growing a new product.
Why Choose a Career in Product Marketing?
In recent years, Product Marketing has become a highly sought-after field.
This is mostly because of the increasing expectations of today’s customers.
They want more personalized experiences, they demand high-quality products and services, and they expect companies to engage with them across many different channels.
This means that it’s becoming more important than ever for organizations to have a strong Product Marketing function in order to effectively bring products to market.
This is why the role of Product Marketer Manager has become so popular.
As customers’ expectations continue to rise (and as they gain more influence over the buying process), the role of Product Marketing will surely keep growing in demand.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, here are a few more reasons:
- Product Marketing is a fast-paced, dynamic area that requires constant learning.
- It’s extremely challenging and rewarding at the same time.
- Product Marketing Managers are often responsible for leading cross-functional teams, which means you get exposure to many different areas of work.
- Product Marketing is a career that lets you make an impact, and gives back meaning to your work.
- Product Marketing is a creative field that lets you think “out of the box,” and come up with innovative solutions.
What are the responsibilities of a Product Marketing Manager?
A Product Marketing Manager is responsible for four main areas:
- Understanding the market and customer needs, creating product positioning that resonates with customers, managing the product’s life cycle to maximize ROI.
- Developing go-to-market strategies based on marketing plans, developing marketing deliverables, measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
- Developing product positioning and messaging, identifying market opportunities, managing a product roadmap based on customer feedback and business goals.
- Creating customer acquisition plans (such as launch/event strategies), developing sales enablement tools, conducting go-to-market training for customers or channel partners.
PMM Roles and Career Path
Let’s now look at the roles and titles throughout the Product Marketing career path.
Associate Product Marketing Manager
Associate Product Marketing Managers are typically recent college graduates. In this role, they will support a more senior member of the Product Marketing team.
This means that Associate Product Marketing Managers generally assist with day-to-day tasks such as product presentations and materials, data gathering for reports or webinars, and trade shows.
The role of the Associate PMM is all about learning: you’ll be involved in a wide variety of projects, and will get exposure to different areas within organizations (i.e marketing, sales)
- Assist in developing go-to-market strategies, product positioning.
- Develop and maintain product presentations, datasheets
- Assist with market analysis, gather data for reports.
(Keep in mind that responsibilities may vary depending on the organization so in this article I’ll list the main ones)
According to Glassdoor the national average salary for an Associate Product Marketing Manager is:
- $85,474 per year in the US
- £47,576per year in the UK
- CA$96,109 per year in Canada
Product Marketing Specialist
A Product Marketing Specialist’s job is to help a Product Manager or marketing team to meet their goals, by supporting them with day-to-day tasks such as prospecting for new leads, preparing reports, managing events, and webinars, etc.
They may also conduct competitor analysis, create messaging and positioning documents, or help with product launches.
In some cases, Product Management Specialists should also have a technical background that comes in handy when they need to work on data gathering for market research projects.
- Assist the marketing team by supporting them in day-to-day tasks such as prospecting, preparing reports, managing events, and webinars.
- Conduct competitor analysis; create positioning documents for products/services; help with product launches.
- Use their technical background and contribute to data gathering for market research projects.
According to Glassdoor The national average salary for a Product Marketing Specialist is:
- $71,347 per year in the US
- £46,666 per year in the UK
- CA$60K per year in Canada
Product Marketing Manager
A Product Marketing Manager is responsible for developing and executing the go-to-market strategy. They are usually involved in all aspects of the product life cycle, from the early stages of product development to finalizing how it will be presented in the market and promoting its success.
As a Product Marketing Manager, you’ll often collaborate with the sales team to help drive product adoption. You’ll also work closely with your cross-functional peers in marketing and customer service to ensure the product is meeting customers’ needs.
You’ll do a lot of customer research, develop messaging and positioning, and launch plans for new products.
Speaking of messaging and positioning, your job will also include keeping documentation around buyer personas and internal messaging documents updated, and then ensuring that the messaging is used in key external-facing assets, such as whitepapers, blog posts, case studies, etc…
- Develop go-to-market strategies for products or services.
- Work closely with sales teams to help drive product adoption; collaborate with the cross-functional team in marketing, customer service and other areas as needed.
- Conduct research on customers’ pain points/needs/wants (to understand where the product or service fits in the market).
- Develop messaging and positioning, and launch plans for new products.
- Keep documentation around buyer personas up-to-date; ensure that the message is used in key external-facing assets such as whitepapers, blog posts, case studies, etc…
According to Glassdoor The national average salary for a Product Marketing Manager is:
- $120,208 per year in the US
- £53,349 per year in the UK
- CA$92,082 per year in Canada
Senior Product Marketing Manager
A Senior Product Marketing Manager has a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the industry and has worked on plenty of products.
This is the person to ask for in an organization if you want a deep understanding of your product, its positioning, and how it’s perceived by customers.
Senior PMM’s manage teams that develop product messaging and positioning & launch plans.
They’re responsible for uncovering new opportunities in the market that could be attractive for your company to pursue.
As a Senior PMM, you’ll work on more strategic tasks and be involved with the bigger picture of your company’s product roadmap.
- Oversee or work directly with product messaging and positioning, and launch products.
- Manage a team that works on developing these assets.
- Work on more strategic tasks and be involved with the bigger picture of a company’s product roadmap.
- Develop consumer-based marketing and branding strategies.
- Develop and launch new product lines and identify new customers.
- Establish targeted customer and industry partnership networks.
- Integrate user-experience feedback in product updates and innovation.
- Perform competitor analysis toward an increased market share.
- Develop consumer-oriented marketing products and branding strategies.
According to Glassdoor The national average salary for a Senior Product Marketing Manager is:
- $147,883 per year in the US
- £77,879 per year in the UK
- CA$115,949 per year in Canada
Director of Product Marketing (Executive level)
A Director of Product Marketing is the ultimate product expert – they have an in-depth understanding of their market, customers, and competitors.
At this level, you have extensive expertise in all elements of PMM’s key duties and, ideally, a PMM “superpower” in one of the areas (for example the best for product launches, expert for messaging, or positioning).
In this position, you are a people manager and lead a team of PMMs. Leading the team entails setting priorities, developing metrics that align with those priorities, clarifying your team’s responsibilities, scoping projects for them, and then giving continual coaching and direction to ensure the team’s success.
- Oversee or work directly on product messaging, positioning and launch for products.
- Lead a team of PMMs.
- Directly manage or oversee new product launches.
- Monitor key marketing metrics and develop market segmentation models.
- Identify new opportunities for products/services that line up with the company’s strategic initiatives.
According to Glassdoor The national average salary for a Director of Product Marketing is:
- $170,903 per year in the US
- £98,885 per year in the UK
- CA$140,289 per year in Canada
VP of Product Marketing (Executive level)
A VP of Product Marketing is the most superior PMM within an organization. They have a deep understanding of their market, customers, and competitors.
At this level, they are responsible for the strategic direction and tactical implementation of product messaging and positioning across all products/services your team works on.
VP of Product Marketing is also in charge of the product marketing team or in some cases multiple teams. They set strategy, goals, and KPIs, provide coaching to their team members and resolve issues that arise.
In addition to running a team, they’re expected to be hands-on and involved in the day-to-day activities of product marketing.
VPs typically have a big picture mindset – understanding how all pieces fit together within their organization’s overall strategy.
- Lead and manage a team of marketers to ensure the success of product placement and adoption
- Hire and train new team members
- Regularly give feedback to the team
- Do employee evaluation based on previously determined KPIs
- Make data-driven decisions to hit company goals
- Develop and implement the strategy for pricing, messaging, packaging, promotion, and selling of products
- Train and support sales and customer support teams
- Serve as an evangelist for products through thought leadership and blogging, social media, and speaking
- Keep the company up-to-date with market trends and competition
According to Glassdoor The national average salary for a VP of Product Marketing is:
- $193,239 per year in the US
- £107,130 per year in the UK
- CA$157,507 per year in Canada
A Product Marketing Manager’s career is dynamic and ever-changing.
PMMs are responsible for some of the most critical strategic decisions in a company, so it makes sense that their career paths are equally dynamic.
The journey is never easy – there will be lots of juggling and tough decisions along the way – but if you’re passionate about marketing and love taking on new challenges, this is a career path worth considering.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What do product marketers do?
Product Marketers are responsible for developing and executing product strategies, including messaging, positioning, pricing, promotion, and distribution across all touchpoints. They also develop marketing plans and lead execution, including developing content for blogs or social media, presentations to sales teams, press releases, etc.
How do I become a good Product Marketer?
In terms of specific skills, the most important thing to become a good product marketer is being interested and excited about learning new things. You can’t be an expert in every area of marketing, so your ability to quickly learn what you don’t know is critical. That said, there are also 4 more specific skills that Product Marketers need to have in order to be successful which are Strategizing, Positioning, Marketing analytics, and Content creation and optimization.
What does PMM mean?
PMM stands for Product Marketing Manager.