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Expert of the month, Feb 2023 | Div Manickam

Case studies | Courses

We’re excited to announce that this month's "Expert of the month" award goes to one of our course instructors, Div Manickam. She’s a dedicated and passionate teacher who has consistently demonstrated exceptional expertise in her field.

Div's teaching approach has made a significant impact on countless learners, providing personalized feedback and thought-provoking discussions. She has a remarkable ability to connect with her students, creating a positive and engaging learning environment.

Through her commitment and willingness to go above and beyond, Div has helped many students achieve their goals. Her expertise in her field is reflected in the quality of her work, and we’re proud to have her as part of our team.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Div on this well-deserved recognition, and we look forward to her continued success in the future.

Let’s take a moment to celebrate Div, and take a look at our chat with her where we looked at:

Div’s journey into product marketing

Tell us a bit about your career to date and how you got into product marketing.

As a PMM leader with a discipline for the customer journey, I’ve led product marketing efforts in startups and Fortune 500 technology companies for over 10 years.

Roles such as Marketing Communications -> Sales Enablement -> BI Analyst -> Technical PMM -> PMM -> Director Product Marketing taught me a golden rule - we win or lose together. And I’ve instilled the winning together mindset ever since.

An image of the sea with three values written in text over the top. It reads: Inspire - trust, we respect each other, irrespective of level. Influence - ownership, we own the good, bad, and ugly. Impact - relationships, we win or lose together.

I’m grateful for the recognition as one of the top 100 Product Marketing Influencers (2019-22) by Product Marketing Alliance.

I enjoy sharing my PMM leadership experiences on Substack and this shaped my thinking and decision-making with the frameworks. And I self-published my book in 2022, Product Marketing - Mastering the art and science of PMM.

I find the most value as a mentor connecting with my teams, mentees, and students who are growing in their PMM careers. This is my ikigai - my meaningful work.

Text that reads "10+ years career journey - Div Manickam" - Continuous learning, with the logos amrita, university of calcut, cal state east bay, university of minnesota and goodreads. Winning together, with the logos applied materials, panasonic, lenovo, UBM, GoodData, and Dell Boomi. Community, with logos PMA, LocalGuides, and ADPList.

When I ventured into product marketing 10 years ago, I found my passion for creativity and technology come to life. An engineer’s mind meets a creative heart and I knew this is right where I need to be.

Everyone comes into product marketing from different roles and that’s the pure beauty of the PMM discipline. We bring diverse perspectives and challenge the status quo. I was thrilled when I got to share my journey with the Product Marketing Insider podcast in 2019.

And now I'm blessed to teach and share my learnings with PMMC Core: Live + Online as well as Certified: Masters' courses with PMA.

A critical area of expertise for product marketing success

You teach on our Core course and across different Masters’ courses. If you had to pick, what do you think are the critical areas of expertise for a PMM's success?

To master product marketing, there are key elements that can be your PMM signature skill - messaging and positioning, buyer persona, product launch, competitive intelligence, and sales enablement. And a rockstar PMM embodies curiosity, empathy, and openness.

  • Curiosity: Like an alchemist, find the magic in serendipity and every day will be a new day.
  • Empathy: Put yourself in the other person's shoes and be curious, ask why you feel differently.
  • Openness: We need to work together to bring out the best in each other and be open to new ideas and perspectives.

As a PMM leader, building a rockstar product marketing team means understanding the core business as well as the interlocks across product, sales, and marketing. And to be effective, we need to foster meaningful relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Crafting the right product marketing OKRs can shape the PMM team’s success.

  • Leadership is a privilege, let's not take it for granted. And we're blessed to have this opportunity in a lifetime to lead teams and make it count.
  • We're not born as leaders - we learn as we go. We also learn what we like or don't like - which environments we thrive in, and which hurt our creativity.

What you can learn from Div’s courses

What can students learn from your course?

Everything from the essentials to advanced skills in product marketing is included in the PMA courses. As a Product Marketing Leader, you’re on a rollercoaster, learning new skills on the go and refining core PMM skills, and learning from the experts in the industry.

When I first got the chance to teach with PMA in 2022, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me and kept thinking ‘how could I teach like Harvey Lee, the guru’? And then I made it my own - I brought my true authentic self into my class - fully present.

And I’m blessed to have a solid PMA course content and support team, who are with me every day to make sure I’m ready for the best class every time. Thank you Emi, Sophie, and PMA folks for allowing me to do what I do best.

In the PMMC Core and Scholar program classes, along with product marketing content and B2B SaaS experiences, you’ll find a 2 min mindfulness practice.

It involves intention, focus, creativity, love, kindness, and photography to soothe the eyes and music to feed the soul. Plus, it involves TED Talks to inspire your mind and breakouts for brainstorming to spark new ideas and collective thinking.

What motivated Div to become a coach/mentor

What motivated you to become a coach/mentor?

I like to think more as a mentor vs a coach, a guiding light (aka Yoda). The word coach feels distant. ‘Mentor’ feels more approachable to me. In 2020, I looked back at my career, and I realized I enjoy bringing out the best in people and decided that is my ikigai, my meaningful work.

I started to join mentoring communities - PMA, ADPList, GrowthMentor, etc. and found my true calling. As a team leader, I was passionate about empowering each team member’s success with GROW and personal OKRs.

Key career advice

What's the one piece of advice you would give to PMMs looking to further their career?

I'll share the top three with y’all.

  1. Time is your biggest wealth - Think about where you're spending your time and whether you’re spending time on what really matters. Money comes and goes, time only moves forward. Make every second count.
  2. Do what you love - If you've heard the concept of ikigai: it's finding what that meaningful work is, where it's not work for you, but something that you’re truly passionate about. For me, that is mentoring. I exist in this world (aka my purpose) to help and serve mindful folks to be their best selves and always be true and authentic to themselves. You can create a facade outside to meet societal norms, but you cannot fool yourself for too long.
  3. Define success on your own terms - Success is a loaded word. It can mean different things to different folks. I thought success was achieving the next goal I had set for myself. I was chasing the next dream every time, only to realize that success now has a new meaning. Since childhood, society had conditioned me to believe that if I got good grades, good education, and good jobs, that was all I needed to be successful.

    During 2018-20, as I started to read more to learn how to be a good leader, I realized success for me meant bringing out the best in each other — whether it was my team members, other teams, or peer leaders. I enjoyed and gave my all when I knew we could collaborate together to achieve a new possibility. This made me happy, and it helped me build trust and credibility across the organization.

See Div in action…

If you’re looking to enhance your skills in product marketing and advance your career, we encourage you to consider enrolling in one of our courses at Product Marketing Alliance.

Our PMMC and Master’s courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge and practical experience needed to succeed in the dynamic field of product marketing.

With instructors like Div, who are passionate about teaching and dedicated to helping their students succeed, you can be sure that you’ll receive the best education possible.

Our courses cover a wide range of topics, from sales enablement and positioning to customer research and competitive intelligence, so you can choose the ones that align with your interests and career goals.

Join our community of product marketing professionals and learn from the best in the industry. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your career to the next level, we have the courses and resources to help you succeed.

Discover the possibilities



Written by:

Charley Gale

Charley Gale

Charley is the Content Lead at Product Marketing Alliance. She has a passion for creating new content for the community. She's always open to new ideas, so would love to hear from you!

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Expert of the month, Feb 2023 | Div Manickam