Heart vs. Hands vs. Head: The Top Product Marketers Rank the Most Important Traits

Abby Barsky
Dec 24, 2020 · 2 min read

And the results may break your heart, hurt your head, or cramp your hands.

The Product Marketing Alliance, a rapidly growing community of nearly 30,000 product marketing managers (PMMs), recently published their Top 100 Product Marketing Influencers of 2020. The report details the answer to a question on a lot of those 30,000 PMMs’ minds: What makes a great product marketer?

Before I could dive in to the report (it is 100+ pages after all), I received Lenny’s Newsletter, “A comprehensive survey of Product Management.” In it, he asks 1,000 product managers, a field intrinsically linked to product marketing, to rank the importance of Heart (e.g. empathy, culture) vs. Hands (e.g. execution) vs. Head (e.g. intelligence).

I couldn’t help but wonder (okay, I’ve been watching some Sex and the City recently — sue me!), how would product marketing managers answer this same question? How would impactful product marketers rank Heart, Hands, and Head in their qualities that make up a great product marketer?

As I went through the profiles and advice of the 100 influential PMMs, I tallied each trait they mentioned as one of these three Hs.

Heart was by far the most popular, with empathy and storytelling being the most frequently mentioned traits. Other popular traits in this category were being customer-centric (I stopped counting once the fourth person used the expression “take a walk in their shoes”), collaboration, and being able to work cross-functionally across the organization. I was tickled that a few people said trustworthiness, but one person said gossip. So maybe the best PMMs have some duality in them. Big Gemini energy.

Following behind was Head, which had curiosity and strategic thinking cited most often, and in last place was Hands, which occurred half as often as qualities related to the Heart. The most common Hands qualities were the ability to pivot and multitask, or juggle, as one PMM called it.

How are you balancing your skills as a PMM between Heart, Head, and Hands? Do you agree that execution is less important than matters of the heart?

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Abby Barsky

Written by

Product Marketing for Cord.com | Previously: NBA Top Shot, CryptoKitties, PayPal

Products by Women Journal

Since its inception in 2019, Products by Women has strived to create an inclusive community that offers women to connect and learn from peers from around the world, get matched with recruiters, and network with mentors to accelerate their career.

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