Be a product marketing manager

Based on What is a product marketing manager? - CXL by Tom Whatley.

Business benefits

Establish an effective product marketing strategy, define messaging, and product positioning.

Define your responsibilities as product marketing manager, like team leadership, go-to-market strategy, customer research, and defining messaging and positioning for the product.

Some common responsibilities include:

  • Communicating the why, what, and when of the product to potential buyers, as well as to internal teams, often the sales team.
  • Launching the product.
  • Announcing new product features.
  • Expanding reach and identifying new audiences.
  • Creating product positioning and messaging that resonates with the brand’s target audience.

Set short-term marketing goals, including target customers, product naming, and messaging, with the product manager. Set long-term marketing goals, including product positioning and vision, with your team.

Clearly communicate product marketing strategy motivations to your product marketing team. Do this is by involving your team in building the vision itself. When everyone in your team has contributed to the product marketing strategy, they’re more committed to the goal you’ve defined.

Put together a marketing team with a range of skills. Identify gaps in your own skill set, and hire people with those missing skills.

Rank your ability in each discipline. Then fill those gaps with complementary hires with strengths in other disciplines.

Consider important skills like:

  • Market research.
  • Copywriting.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Email marketing.

Develop your people management, team motivation, and conflict resolution skills to help you lead your team effectively.

Write a product marketing brief to ensure team members are aligned on the features and goals of the product.

Consider using Harvard’s 6 styles of leadership to understand which persona you most strongly embody. This allows you to connect with the individuals in your team on a personal level and understand their larger goals outside of fulfilling their duties.

Focus on individual strengths, and provide opportunities to develop these skills to their maximal potential.

Understand your products, talk to customers, monitor competitors and market conditions, and track performance regularly.

Top traits for successful PMMs include:

  • Having passion about and knowledge about your products.
  • Being the voice of your customer.
  • Keeping an eye on your competitors.
  • Not attempting to market to everyone.
  • Reacting fast when things go wrong.
  • Creativity with your marketing.
  • Identifying the best moment to plan a product launch.
  • Reassessing product performance regularly.
  • Meeting often with product stakeholders.
  • Marketing internally to build buy-in.
  • Having a marketing project management plan.

Identify what captures customer attention to make the market aware that your product exists and acquire new customers.

Common tactics include blogs and long-form content, search engine optimization, PPC advertising, and social media marketing strategies.

For example, ClickUp’s product marketing team might have discovered that social proof is a key driver for conversions among their target audience of agile developers. They used their ad copy space to include big brand names, using that influence in an effort to persuade users to sign up for their free trial.

Increase engagement through in-person and virtual events, special offers, email marketing campaigns, social media group engagement, and mid-funnel content.

For example, CXL generates engagement from marketers interested in CRO, analytics, and growth by posting industry-specific questions on social media.

Increase conversions and retention rates by focusing on tactics that reduce friction.

Conversion and retention efforts are focused on turning leads into paying customers and keeping paying customers around.

For example, take Cozy Earth, retailer of premium bamboo bedding. Having performed extensive customer research to understand prospects’ main buying objections, they came to understand that price is a barrier to purchase.

Cozy Earth removes the friction from this decision by providing a 100-night trial, where customers can return their purchase within 100 days if they’re unconvinced the product is right for them.

@chadrwyatt This one seemed difficult to pull out the actionable steps, so I’ve outlined a suggested basic structure for you and added some links to other playbooks that would be useful for you to link out to. This should be fine as a basic playbook (rather than a hub).

@naomik Step 2 - I can’t find anything in the post directly about short term and long term goals. Not sure if I am missing something here, am I just meant to be adding a short sentence then linking out to the playbook provided? Or am I on the right point with the info I have added? (I haven’t edited it yet, I just pasted the whole section in there to show you what I am referencing to)

missing the link to the blog and original author byline

Also lets remember rule #1 in playbooks. Specific steps. Not a list of titles.


Define your responsibilities
Set short and long term marketing goals
Put together a marketing team
Lead your marketing team harnessing people management, team motivation, and conflict resolution skills
Build your own skills by wearing many hats

Summarize this info in the step itself. At the moment the step is just a heading.

You got all the relevant info - good! Now you need to massage it into the format we use for playbooks. Look through this passage for short- and long-term goals, and include them in the step. Along these lines:

Set long-term marketing goals, like your product positioning and vision, with your team. Set short-term marketing goals, like your target customer, product naming, and messaging, with the product manager.

Remember that everything is action-focused and reader-focused in a playbook. Don’t say The PMM is also responsible for clearly communicating their product marketing strategy motivations to their product marketing team — instead say Clearly communicate your product marketing strategy motivations to your team. Talk directly to the reader.

The step itself needs more information. Assume that the reader won’t check the step explanation. Pick out the key points from the explanation that the reader needs to know – add those points to the step. In this case, the key points are:

  • range of skills
  • especially ones that you’re lacking in.

This is all the important info - good! Just flip it to make it more actionable - Lead your team is very vague, but something like Develop your people management, team motivation, and conflict resolution skills to help you lead your team effectively gives immediate options for people to follow up.

Remember the whole ‘playbooks are action-focused, reader-focused’ thing.

This isn’t actionable (unless taken literally). What is the reader supposed to do here? You need to find a way to usefully summarize the information in this section of the blog post. Hint: A PMM needs to learn a lot about the product, its customers, competitors, market conditions, and how to track performance.

@chadrwyatt Any progress on this one?

@naomik I didn’t actually get notified for this one, I did all the others over the weekend. It might because the playbook is under your name, and I wasn’t tagged? I will have a look at it tonight

@chadrwyatt You should be seeing notifications in Discourse at least, though?

@naomik @chadrwyatt

i think this is indeed the case. a tag or original author is needed for automatic notifications.