Jun 17, 2024

PMM Role: What Does a Product Marketing Manager Do?

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer

What does a product marketing manager do?

This is the question on the lips of many marketing professionals browsing through opportunities at B2B tech companies.

And as a specialist product marketing recruitment agency, we’ve recently seen a surge in B2B tech companies hiring product marketers in the last 12 months.

But why?

These companies see the value in finding individuals who bridge the gap between product management and marketing. Often, this career path begins with an associate product marketing manager role, which serves as an entry-level position to build foundational marketing skills. A dedicated product marketing manager will ensure product, sales, and marketing teams are all aligned and working closely together towards a shared goal.

You can think of these as hybrid roles.

So, what does this entail?

What is product marketing?

At its most basic, product marketing is responsible for the go-to-market strategy of a product or solution. This includes everything from market analysis and research to messaging and positioning, launch plans, pricing, and sales enablement. The goal of product marketing is to ensure that the value proposition of the product fully aligns with the needs of the target market.

Creating and executing a practical marketing strategy is crucial, as it involves working on a marketing engine and encompasses various detailed tasks.ashley wood talking product marketing on the market mentors podcast

Is product management a product marketing role?

In companies which don’t have a product marketing person or team, a product manager will fulfil some of the responsibilities of a product marketer. However, the two roles are different.

A Product manager is responsible for the product strategy, which includes understanding the market, the competition, and the needs of customers. They work closely with engineering to bring products to market that meet those needs. Product managers are primarily focused on the product itself rather than the marketing around it. That’s where product marketing comes in.

The product marketing manager job entails planning out, guiding, and taking accountability for marketing campaigns, strategies, and other marketing-related initiatives of new products. This role includes conducting market research, devising and executing a marketing strategy, and ensuring a stable product launch.

Product Manager vs Product Marketing Manager (what’s the difference?)

While a product management role is focused on strategic oversight, a product marketing role works in parallel on message creation. At effective B2B tech companies, product managers and product marketers work closely together to get products to market. The complementary responsibilities held by a PM and a PMM make them a powerful combination.

Product marketing managers are the voice of the customer. They work to ensure that products solve real problems for customers and that those solutions are communicated effectively. To successfully achieve this, product marketing managers must have a deep understanding of the market, the competition, and the needs of customers. They collaborate with sales teams to identify new product opportunities and capitalise on them.

Product managers are focused on understanding the customer, the market, and the competitive landscape to develop products that meet customer needs. Product marketing managers pour their time into developing an effective marketing strategy around the product to drive awareness. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the two. One cannot exist without the other.

At the end of the day, both product managers and product marketing managers are responsible for driving growth and ensuring that products are successful. However, they each have their own distinct focus and skillset. Let’s take a closer look at some of their responsibilities.liza collin discussing product marketing on the market mentors podcast

What does it take to be a Product Marketing Manager?

In order to become a product marketing manager, you first need a good amount of work experience. This is because product marketing managers work across all areas of the business so you need the ability to collaborate and influence. Hence, it’s very rare to see junior product marketing manager jobs. Communication skills are crucial in this role, as you need to maintain consistent communication with stakeholders, project management, team members, and multiple stakeholders. This is a strategic role, so you need a good amount of experience behind you and some gravitas with it.

And because people don’t move up through the ranks in product marketing, they will come from other areas of the business. The most common areas are demand generation marketing, PR, customer success, product management or even sales.

However, the key difference with a lot of those roles is that you’re supporting other teams. You’re doing work that helps make their jobs easier. So a lot of the time, product marketers can be the unsung heroes in a business; just keep this in mind if it’s something you’re considering.

What does a Product Marketing Manager do?

Through written documents and presentations, a product marketing manager will outline the marketing strategy and marketing campaigns for a product launch and detail the execution of this strategy. They will typically participate in the creation of the overall marketing plan for the business.

To succeed in their role, a PMM will need to do the following:

  • Analyse sales data to understand customer needs.
  • Develop messaging and positioning around products.
  • Conduct market research to understand the competitive landscape.
  • Write engaging copy for different forms of marketing and sales collateral.

What skills does a PMM need?

Here are five product marketing manager skills that every product marketer must have to make a success of it:

  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Strategic planning and business administration skills
  • Research and analytical skills
  • Digital marketing skills
  • Communication and interpersonal skills

Currently hiring? Watch this short video where Vakis Rigas describes what skills and attributes he looks for when hiring product marketers

Can a Product Manager become a PMM?

Many product managers make the switch to product marketing. The skill sets required for both roles are similar. Those working at startups will often see more of an overlap between the roles of PM and PMM. Product managers and product marketing managers can collaborate in different ways. Ultimately, it depends on how they choose to structure the hierarchy.

Acting as both a product manager and a product marketing manager is a daunting task. Product marketing managers who successfully fill both roles often find themselves in high demand. They are rare and highly sought-after individuals with broad skill sets. A savvy product marketing manager is skilled and adept in forging connections, establishing liaisons, and navigating the intricate landscape that spans marketing, sales, product development, and customer insights. If you have the skill set and the drive, working at an emerging startup in this role could be immensely rewarding.

Is being a product marketing manager stressful?

If you have the necessary experience to fulfil the duties of a product marketing manager and are supported by a positive work environment, the role should not be overly stressful. Product marketing managers must juggle many different tasks and responsibilities. Strategic thinking is crucial in leading the team and handling these tasks effectively. They need to have a deep understanding of the market, the competition and the needs of customers.

Is product marketing a good career path?

If you enjoy strategising over product launches and working alongside a variety of stakeholders (product management, marketing, sales and customer success) to develop value propositions, positioning and sales tools, a product marketing role might work well for you. A PMM role is typically well-suited to professionals with ambitions of eventually becoming CMOs. Although, progressing to a CMO is not the only path you can take. You could potentially make your way to the very top.

What does a product marketing manager get paid?

Salaries for product marketing roles vary depending on the stage a business is at, the location of the job and the number of years experience they require. As a general guide, salaries in the B2B Tech & SaaS sector are as follows;

Director of Product Marketing – £127,000

Head of Product Marketing – £110,000

Senior Product Marketing Manager – £89,000

Product Marketing Manager – £76,000

For a more detailed overview, check out our salary survey

vakis rigas talking about when you should hire your first product marketer

Product Marketing Manager Jobs (Getting Started)

Feeling curious about the prospects of becoming a product marketing manager? If this article has raised your interest in this type of position, we can help you get the ball rolling in no time at all. There is no shortage of B2B tech companies looking for product marketing managers with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. There are many routes into this type of role.

Job hunting? book a call with one of our product marketing recruitment experts to discuss your career and how we can help.

Talk to our hiring experts today.