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Defining the Role of Product Marketing

Pragmatic Marketing Magazine, Fall 2018

If I’ve learned one thing after spending almost a decade in product marketing, it’s that it looks a little bit different everywhere you go. Given the cross-functional nature of the role, it’s critical that proper planning and ‘pre-work’ is done before installing your first product marketer.

A major mistake that occurs here is a failure to ensure that product and marketing have a shared definition of product marketing. Much of what will fall into product marketing’s domain is sand from someone else’s sandbox. And if they’ve used the sand to build (what they think is) a beautiful sandcastle over the years, it’s often hard for them to let go. They may dig moats instead.

Product marketing must be given the tools, authority and altitude to succeed. I often see misalignment between what is expected of product marketing and what product marketing is given to work with. I have also lived this nightmare, and know it is an area where executives and hiring managers make critical mistakes.

This situation will be frustrating for everyone, but it’s especially disappointing, and ultimately infuriating, for your product marketer. When this situation unfolds, and a product marketer loses confidence, they usually leave the company within a year. Not only will your company lose money on the hire, it will slip back into the swamp of chaos and misalignment you were trying to escape.

Here’s what you can do to set your first product marketer–and your organization–up for success. Click the image at right to read my article.