What is a Product Marketing Manager (PMM)?
Product Marketing Managers (PMM) have a deep understanding of a product or service, their audiences, and how their offer can fill a need. Their work includes product positioning, messaging, and market/competitor insights. They strive to communicate how a product works and what it can do for its users. They’re responsible for researching the competition and developing positioning statements as well as defining qualified audiences and writing key messages to be used in all marketing. They own sales enablement production, which means are often the ones creating some of the collateral - slide decks, cold emails, brochures, and presentations - that convert qualified leads. Often, it’s Product Marketing Managers who determine how the product is perceived - as useful, inspiring, efficient, or fun.
There is generally one PMM per product line. If the enterprise has more than one distinct product or service line, there will be multiple and they will generally work as a team. They often answer to the Marketing Director or VP of Marketing, though sometimes they are nested in Sales. The role requires an intimate knowledge of the product, and an agility to new developments in the product or market. For this reason, the Product Marketing Manager often works closely with developers or other product owners.
What's in a name?
Product Marketing Managers also help sell other things, like services and subscriptions. So don't let the title fool you - many PMMs are actually selling services nowadays.
When should you hire a Product Marketing Manager?
Many enterprises hire Product Marketing Managers out of deficit - their sales teams have been activated to move a product or service but they don't have enough collateral to support their offer. In this case, the PMM is usually expected to ramp up quickly and start producing the most-needed materials - sales slide decks, cold email campaigns, and brochures.
Sometimes, it's a product or service change that necessitates a new or expanded Product Marketing team. If your enterprise is launching a new app, service, or product line, you should consider a Product Marketing Manager.
Another circumstance is driven by market forces. When a competitor launches a product or service in your company's space, and when the market explodes or otherwise changes dramatically, the intelligence-gathering insights of a Product Marketing Manager can come in handy.
Product Marketing Manager Compensation
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What are a Product Marketing Manager's responsibilities?
A Product Marketing Manager’s daily responsibilities include:
- Manage the positioning and key messaging of a product or service, understanding key audiences and developing resources for their particular segment.
- Focus on the pain points and motivations of their ideal customers, and use those to plot the best conversion techniques.
- Develop the unique value proposition and tools that support sales - through the development of B2C materials like advertising, in coalition with sales teams, or both.
- Create compelling materials like slide decks and brochures, often with support from the content team.
- Own market intelligence for their product and conduct competitive research.
- Understand customer trends, buying cycles, motivations, market position, and more.
What does success look like for a Product Marketing Manager?
Your Product Marketing Manager will be successful if:
- Product, marketing, and sales teams all understand, and are on the same page about, the product or service and its unique value proposition.
- Sales teams have the necessary collateral to meet their conversion targets.
- The product or service is gaining new customers in new segments all the time.
- It is the market leader, or is growing every quarter.
- Customers have a product that delivers on its promise.
What skills does a Product Marketing Manager need to possess?
Starting Product Marketing Managers generally have upwards of five years' experience in a related marketing or sales role, especially in Software as a Service or product sales environments. They generally have a Bachelor's degree in Business, Marketing, or a related field, or equivalent experience.
They have good content development skills in order to produce a range of materials to support sales. Even if they are working with a content team, they should understand content marketing best practices and be able to adapt existing materials to new segments or expand materials in a pinch.
And they must be good with people. They should be able to consider and articulate the motivations of their customers, understand deep market insights, and share what they know with other teams. Generally, they will have good or excellent market analysis skills.
New Needs for a Modern Market
In recent years, demand has increased for new types of sales enablement content. Think less slide deck and more interactive 360° walkthrough.