Why not apply to be “product marketing manager” if you have no direct experience? And, five reasons to take this counterintuitive step instead.

Zach Roberts
Break Into Product Marketing
4 min readJul 26


Be “the big fish” to make your break into product marketing. (Credit: Midjourney AI)

Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers the concept of being “a big fish in a small pond”. The idea to accelerate growth, then it’s more advantageous to do so in a tailor-focused, supportive environment. Why does it matter to product marketing?

If you want to break into product marketing with zero “direct” experience, then you may feel how the odds are stacked against you. The applicant pool is more competitive than ever. More so if you choose to dive into those product marketing manager job openings.

Remain steadfast on the finish line. Your goal is to break into product marketing. (Credit: Midjourney AI)

Take it from someone who’s done it — faster career growth and higher success to be a product marketer if you apply to associate product marketing manager roles.

This sounds like a lateral movement (or worse, a step back). But, it is better to stand out as a big fish in a small pond, than a small fish in a big pond. Take your guess which is which between PMM (product marketing manager) and APMM (associate product marketing manager).

Here’s five reasons why to consider APMM to finally break into product marketing…

#1 Skill Development and Mentorship

Associate product marketing manager roles often come with well-structured training programs and mentorship opportunities. These programs are designed to help individuals grow their marketing acumen, understand product marketing strategies, and develop essential skills for success in the field. You’ll have the chance to learn from experienced professionals and gain practical insights, setting a strong foundation for your future career growth.

#2 Less Experience Required

PMM roles typically demand a higher level of experience, often including a proven track record in product marketing. On the other hand, APMM roles are tailored for entry-level candidates or those with limited experience. You’re competing on a more level playing field with other early-stage marketers, giving you a better chance to showcase your potential and passion for the industry.

Have not been to an office in awhile; not sure how much has changed since then. (Credit: Midjourney)

#3 Opportunity to Prove Yourself

APMM roles allow you to demonstrate your abilities and commitment to the organization. As you contribute to various marketing projects, product launches, and campaigns, you’ll have the chance to showcase your skills and make a tangible impact. This hands-on experience can speak volumes when it comes to future opportunities within the company or when applying for higher-level product marketing roles elsewhere.

#4 Versatile Exposure

As an APMM, you’ll likely be involved in a wide array of marketing projects. This was an incredible opportunity in my first year at Tanium to work firsthand across competitive intel, analyst relations, messaging, product launches, and analyst relations. Breadth I may have not gotten if I went direct to PMM.

This exposure will allow you to work closely with cross-functional teams such as product management, sales, and marketing communications. Such collaboration broadens your skill set and provides a holistic understanding of the product marketing landscape, ultimately making you a more well-rounded marketer.

The road may seem long but for what you want in the end, it is always worthwhile. (Credit: Midjourney)

#5 Faster Career Progression

Again, this sounds counterintuitive (I know). Starting as an APMM first can accelerate your career growth in product marketing. This foundation will better equip you to handle the challenges that come with higher-level roles. I could not imagine my skillset today without taking that approach. Your increased skills and experience will give you a competitive edge when transitioning to PMM positions in the future or even exploring leadership roles within the product marketing field.

In conclusion…

Your goal is to break into product marketing. You are gonna face resistance doing so without direct experience. Lower that friction wherever you can. APMM is one lever you can pull to do that. If you are ready to take that leap, explore open APMM roles on www.stillhiring.today/. This awesome resource created identifies open product marketing roles in real-time. Use the appropriate filters to target for those opportunities. Strive to be the big fish wherever you can to stand out. Product marketing is within you reach — take it!

Need a last-mile push across the finish line?

  • Check out more free micro-lessons on Break Into Product Marketing Medium blog!
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Zach Roberts
Break Into Product Marketing

Demystify product marketing. 2022 Product Marketing Alliance Newcomer of the Year. Living in San Francisco.