The role of product marketing managers has grown in importance in recent years. As businesses become increasingly digital, the need for skilled marketers who can drive adoption and usage of new products is greater than ever before. In addition to the usual responsibilities that come with being a marketer, this specific type of marketer must also work closely with engineers, product designers and software developers to create effective marketing strategies and tools. With the right skills, product marketing managers can thrive in this fast-paced environment by bringing their own unique blend of creativity and analytical thinking to the team. In this blog post we’ll discuss 5 key skills that will set you apart as a PMM and help you thrive as a member of your organization's product marketing team.
Skill 1: Write Compelling Content
An effective marketer needs to be a strong writer. It’s the foundation of all marketing activities; if you can’t communicate your message effectively, you won’t be able to drive adoption of your product. Your writing needs to be clear and straightforward, and it should address the needs of your specific audience. That could be investors, current customers, prospective customers or other stakeholders in your product. If you have a unique product, you’ll also need to come up with ways to explain its value proposition, highlighting how it stands out from the crowd. Product marketing managers write product descriptions, sales materials, blogs, emails and many other types of content. Depending on the nature of your product, any one of these items could be a critical piece of the marketing puzzle. Your goal with all of this content should be to clearly and compellingly get your message across. Think about how you can position your product to stand out from the crowd.
Skill 2: Be a Data Detective
Product marketing managers should be able to dive into data and draw conclusions that will help drive product adoption. What’s your product’s retention rate? What’s your customer’s conversion rate? What’s the lifetime value of a customer? These are all questions that you need to be able to answer, so you can make data-driven decisions and adjustments to your marketing strategy. Product marketers need to be familiar with many different data tools and have the ability to understand how to use them to glean insights into product usage. You’ll likely use tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Tableau, and others. You’ll use this data to inform your strategy and maybe even adjust your product roadmap based on what you find. You’ll use data to identify trends and make better business decisions, which will help you to excel in your role.
Skill 3: Be a User Experience Expert
You’ll need to have a good understanding of user experience (UX) best practices and be able to apply that knowledge to your product. What features and functionality do you need to build into your product in order to ensure that it’s easy to use? How can you help people to realize the value they get from your product? What can you do to make the product stick out from the crowd? Apart from being familiar with the core concepts and best practices of UX design, you’ll also need to understand how your specific product works and how users interact with it. That can mean testing prototypes with real people, running usability tests, or collecting feedback from your users through surveys, or focus groups. You’ll use this data to make informed decisions about your product, as well as to create effective marketing tools that help people understand how your product works and why they should use it.
Skill 4: Be a Strategic Marketing Partner
As a product marketer, you’ll work closely with your team members, and those on other teams, to help drive product adoption. You’ll constantly be communicating with your engineering and product teams to implement your marketing strategy. Are you able to create the right marketing assets to drive product adoption? What types of content do you need to create? What tactics do you need to employ? What are your team’s KPIs (key performance indicators)? How will you contribute to those metrics? What is the overall product strategy? How does your role fit into that strategy? You’ll also need to know your marketing efforts are aligned with their goals. You’ll need to be a good listener who’s able to absorb a lot of information, synthesize it, and come up with a marketing plan that works for your product.
Skill 5: Be a Change Agent
Product marketing managers are creative people who can think outside the box, but they also need to work within the confines of their organization’s culture and best practices. How do you encourage collaboration when your team members are used to working autonomously? What do you need to change about the way you do things or the way your team operates to achieve your goals? What can you do to make your organization more effective? The bottom line is that product marketing managers have a lot on their plates. They need to be strong communicators, data detectives, user experience experts, strategic marketing partners, and change agents. If you’re looking to break into this field or advance within it, it’s important to know that you’ll need to develop these skills in order to be successful.