When it’s time to hire a Product Marketing Manager

Yasmeen Turayhi
Jan 19, 2017 · 4 min read

Based on the number of endless conversations I’ve had with product managers, founders, engineers, marketers, investors and beyond, this much is true: there remains an incredible amount of confusion around the role of “Product Marketer” and I’ve often hear the same questions come up:

  • What is a Product Marketer?
  • How are they different from Product Managers?
  • Why should you hire a Product Marketer?
  • The type of Product Marketer one should hire at various growth stages

Based on my experience coupled with discussions with other Product Marketers and startup ecosystem players, I attempt to provide some answers around these questions.

First off, what the heck is a Product Marketing Manager (PMM)?

But wait, how do they differ from Product Managers and why are Product Marketers important?

At a high level, a Product Manager is mostly focused on gathering the right set of requirements and feature sets for building the product, and working with engineers to ensure the product roadmap is on track to become generally available and adopted by users. A Product Marketer’s role is focused on customer research & validation from alpha to launch, the go-to-market plan, building out the value prop, competitive intel and the marketing programs that are necessary to launch the product.

A Product Marketer’s ability to communicate and translate product requirements into a compelling story is normally

A Product Marketer is responsible for full funnel activities.

Product Managers and Product Marketing Manager’s generally share the responsibility of strategy and research but as a Product Manager becomes too busy to focus on customer research, a Product Marketer will step in to do a comprehensive and robust iterative customer research & validation process.

When should you hire a Product Marketer?

The major reasons for hiring a Product Marketer are as follows:

  • Complexity of the product: When you have added features to your product, or your product becomes too complex to purchase without additional sales or enablement and is not purchased online.
  • Changing sales cycle: You’re moving upstream, or you’ve hired a new sales team and they need material to message customers and position themselves against alternatives & competitors in the market
  • Limited Product Manager bandwidth: The Product Manager you’ve hired doesn’t have time to talk to customers, and you’re in need of a robust marketing program

The different types of PMM’s

There are three stages of product growth — from the early developments of creating an MVP to launching a new feature set or vertical for an existing and successful product in market.

The majority of Product Marketers will have had exposure to 1–2 of these stages, but not all. This is a critical question to ask during interviews as not all products are created equal, and you want to ensure you’re hiring a Product Marketer who has been successful in the product stage that you’re currently in.

Since Product Marketers sit at the intersection of Sales, Marketing, Product, Engineering, Business Development and every other function in between, they play an incredibly important role at every stage, and startups cannot discount the importance of hiring the right person for this role.

This only scratches the surface of all the questions that have come up around why and when to hire a Product Marketing Manager and what they’re responsible for. As always, I welcome feedback and comments.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this and are interested in more articles like these, please stay in touch! ! And if you’re seriously interested in go-to-market, check out my online class on Product Marketing & Go-To-Market, which has frameworks and templates that you can use for your next launch.

My book “Product Marketing Debunked. The Essential Go-To-Market Guide” is available on Amazon!

The Product Launch: Go-To-Market & Product Marketing Tips

For Product Managers, Product Marketers, Go-to-market…

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