Product Marketing is probably the best job role I’ve held during my career. I’ve been a PMM (product marketing manager) at Dell, EMC, Dell-EMC (ok, just for 1 day!), and now at SolarWinds.
What is Product Marketing?
PMMs are responsible for messaging for a product. This means we develop the words that describe a product internally and externally. We are usually responsible for the product pages on a website, the datasheet, and other product-centric content. We are also responsible for training and enabling sales. This means we plan and execute training, as well as any content sales may need to better sell the product (battle cards, competitive analysis docs, etc).
PMMs also run product launches. They plan launch messaging, advise marketing teams where and how to do campaign, partner, demand gen, and any other type of corporate marketing. They make sure sales is ready for the launch, and ensure all the existing content gets updated with the new launch materials.
Product marketers have to keep their pulse on the market to understand which levers to pull to make a difference with their product. They have to have a very tight relationship with their Product Managers (PMs) to understand the roadmap and direction for the product, and to keep the expectations of sales and marketing in check. PMMs also help their PM by letting them know if planned features even have a market.
As you can see, there is so much to do!
How is product marketing different than technical marketing?
Sometimes PMMs also do technical marketing, especially if they are working on a very technical product. But it’s always really nice if a PMM has a tech marketer on her team. Tech marketers go deep into the tech, writing content that explains the nuances of products. They often are also evangelists at trade shows and in customer meetings. They also have good relationships with PMs, and can act as the voice of the customer and of reason when it comes to making product decisions.
Considerations if you choose this path
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “hey! I’d like a job like that”! Here are something to think about. First of all, Product Marketing is different in every single company. I prefer to work in organizations where Product Marketing reports up through engineering vs through marketing. In my experience, if you report to marketing many times you’ll end up being a content monkey vs driving the messaging and strategy.
Most of all, if you don’t like getting your hands dirty in every part of communicating about a product, this may not be the job for you. If you need a certain type of document, you may have to write it the first time and model what is needed for your marketing organization. You may have to really push back on your PM or a marketing executive about messaging or product release timelines.
Personally, I love being in the middle of everything. I love being connected to customers, and love being connected to the technology. I hope y’all understand now why I remind everyone I’m not a marketer, I’m a product marketer!