Congratulations Alex McDonnell, Market & Competitive Intelligence Lead at Airtable, for being awarded Product Marketing Alliance's title of "Expert of the Month" for March.

Alex's exceptional marketing skills and in-depth knowledge of product marketing have earned him this recognition. It goes without saying that Alex has endless generosity as an esteemed instructor for Product Marketing Alliance, where he shares his expertise with product marketers across the globe.

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

Alex's journey into product marketing

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

I started my career in a general market research role. Shortly after starting down that path, I had the opportunity to take on competitive intel (CI) and support our sales team as they dealt with a tough competitor. I was nervous about it at first since I had never been in a sales role.

But I got hooked! Competitive intel has a much tighter feedback loop than traditional market research. For example, I could be digging into competitive research in the morning, a sales rep sitting beside me in the office could test it that afternoon, and we could refine it before the end of the day.

From that start in CI, I eventually broadened my scope to include other PMM responsibilities.

A critical area of expertise for product marketing success

You teach the Competitive Intelligence Certified: Masters course and taught the last CI workshop. If you had to pick, what do you think are the critical areas of expertise for a PMM's success?

Storytelling and messaging

For me, this is at the heart of everything we do. PMMs live through stories. There’s a story in every new product, campaign, or internal pitch.

Influencing and enabling

As a PMM, you typically don’t have formal management authority over the team you’re working with.

Great PMMs can take command of discussions with product managers, web designers, PR managers, and others while making space for each unique voice. You can have a huge impact by influencing and enabling those teams, without having formal authority over them.

Shifting between strategic and tactical

Great PMMs can go from a meeting about a three-year strategy to one about landing page copy and contribute just as well to both. In fact, PMMs can make better contributions to strategy because we’re connected to the tactical reality – and vice versa.

What you can learn from Alex’s course

What can students learn from your course?

In Competitive Intelligence Certified, you’ll learn how to become the go-to person at your company for how to beat the competition. We start with the foundations of competitive research and positioning, then offer templates and skills for how to bring that CI to every major team in your organization.

You’ll learn about:

  • Web research
  • Win/loss research
  • Battlecards and sales training
  • Product analysis
  • Competitive news briefings
  • And more!

What motivated Alex to become a coach/mentor

What motivated you to become a coach/instructor?

When I started in CI, I learned everything by trial and error. I want to help the next generation learn way faster than I did. Creating the course was about taking everything I’ve learned in 10 years of CI and condensing it down to under two hours.

Also, I love meeting with people who are new to the field. They always ask fresh questions and share ideas that challenge my thinking.

Alex’s key career advice

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

As a PMM, you usually are not the person closing the sales, building the landing page, or owning the roadmap. But you might be underestimating the impact you’re having by connecting and enabling all those people. They’re moving faster and more confidently because of you.

How to see Alex in action...

If you’re looking to enhance your CI game, we encourage you to consider enrolling in the Competitive Intelligence Certified: Masters course that Alex teaches.

This course will equip you with essential CI skills and by the end, you’ll be able to:

✅ Build a tech stack for competitive intel.

✅ Conduct win/loss and primary research.

✅ Visualize your competitive position with a market map.

✅ Enable sales and customer success to deliver crisp competitive positioning.

✅ Bring CI to the table in strategy and product decisions.

Get CI Certified

Not sure whether you're ready to take the leap and pay for a course just yet? Tune in to Alex's episode of Meet the Masters: The Product Marketing Podcast, where we discuss how to communicate findings to your team to get a proactive response, the ethics and legalities of CI, Alex's biggest CI success, and more.