Previously in the How I Got My Job series, we spoke with Martin Bakal, Head of Product Marketing and Evangelist at OpenLegacy.
This month, we caught up with Jennifer Bunting, Head of Product Marketing for EMEA & LATAM at LinkedIn.
A company synonymous with the world of social media, LinkedIn offers a huge platform for professionals from all walks of life with the opportunity to connect and network, and with approximately 740 million registered users in 200 countries and territories, the organization is showing no signs of slowing down.
We caught up with Jen, who discussed:
- Her route to her role at LinkedIn,
- Her roles and responsibilities at the company,
- How product marketers can follow in her footsteps.
But first, let’s learn a little bit about Jen… 👇
Jen Bunting, Head of Product Marketing for EMEA & LATAM at LinkedIn
Jen Bunting is a product marketer with a plethora of skills amassed across her 20-year career.
A Product Marketing Alliance ambassador for London, Jen’s an experienced practitioner and has honed her skills working in digital marketing, as well as product marketing.
She's been there right from the very beginning of humble start-ups, and led fully-fledged teams at accomplished household names like LinkedIn - she’s the epitome of versatility.
Jen’s pitched her tent at LinkedIn in 2010 when the company was in its infancy. Since her arrival, the company has seen its employee count rise from 650 to over 15,800, and the product marketing function has grown exponentially.
In her current position as Head of Product Marketing for EMEA & LATAM, Jen’s going from strength to strength and has overseen the launch and adoption of digital ad products in EMEA & LATAM across a staggering 150 products and features each year.
Check out How She Got Her Job… 👇
Jen’s journey to Head of Product Marketing for EMEA & LATAM
What was your dream job growing up?
When I was a kid, my dream job was to be a writer. But writers often starve for their art, and since I love to eat, that wasn’t an attractive future!
During my teens, I decided to pursue advertising as a career path because I gravitated to the ads in magazines rather than the articles. I liked how ads used imagery and concise wording to tell a story and inspire action (buying a product).
Does your current role resemble what you wanted to do growing up?
Not really. I was not thinking about digital advertising in the ‘90s. But as a marketer, I am telling stories – it’s just not about space travel and flying monkeys with lasers.
How did you get into product marketing?
I took a circuitous route into PMM. I didn’t know that product marketing was a job until I started doing it. My early career was on the ad agency side and then ad sales for online publishers. But I grew up in Silicon Valley and the most interesting opportunities were at start-ups.
What I learned about myself working at start-ups is that I wanted to be more involved in creating the future of digital advertising products rather than creating campaigns. I also wanted international experience, so I prioritized pivoting into roles based in APAC and EMEA over promotions in what was then my existing roles at the time.
When I retire someday, I want my career to feel like an adventure. So that was always in my mind when I would apply for a new role.
What challenges did you face en route to securing your current position at LinkedIn?
I’ve been at LinkedIn for 11 years and held a variety of roles. My biggest challenge was knowing when I was ready to become a people manager.
Managing is one of the biggest responsibilities you can have, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. It means you must let go of things you’re good at and love doing. And instead, coach others – and that’s something that requires different skills to do well. I sought advice, took loads of courses, and did a lot of introspection before deciding that was the path I wanted to take.
With the power of hindsight, is there anything you’d do differently, at all?
I would have taken more vacation time! As an American from a working-class single-income family, I wasn’t raised to view time away from work as a requirement - it was considered a luxury and actively discouraged.
I wish I had recognized that being “always-on” was toxic for both productivity at work and personal health. I could have avoided a lot of stress by taking more time for reflection, recharging myself, and being fully present for the people I care about.
Jen’s role as Head of Product Marketing for EMEA & LATAM
What does your role entail?
My current position is Head of Product Marketing for EMEA & LATAM. I work on LinkedIn Marketing Solutions – so for those unfamiliar, that includes all the ad products available on LinkedIn.
My team looks after regional GTMs, Product Adoption, and Customer/Field Voice. Like many PMMs, my role is focused on building and executing strategies based on commercial relevance. LinkedIn launches many products each year, so I collaborate with the global PMMs based in the US and regional sales leadership to identify opportunities that drive revenue.
Compared to my job when I was in the US, my role today offers a unique perspective by nature of being outside the US.
Because regional marketing teams are much smaller, I get to stretch into projects that aren’t typically for PMMs. I love that about my job. It gives me a broader appreciation for how important Product Marketing is to the wider business.
If you had to explain your job to someone with zero knowledge of product marketing, how would you explain it?
Product marketing is a specialism within marketing. It focuses on the products or services that a company offers.
PMMs solve business problems like getting users to understand what products a company offers, helping sales teams drive revenue, and existing customers to continue using the company.
How is your product marketing team structured? Has this changed since you entered the role?
There was no PMM role when I joined LinkedIn 11 years ago! Today we have global PMMs based in the US. They’re each aligned to a specific product or product group. Global PMMs have deep expertise in their products.
In the region, I partner with the global PMMs and the regional sales teams. My team provides expertise on market dynamics, sales challenges, and customer feedback that we turn into regional strategies to support the global product vision and business goals.
Jen’s top tips
What does an entry-level PMM aspiring to eventually work in your role need to do so?
Product marketing is a life of polar opposites. One minute, you are working on strategy. Then you coach a sales rep about customer objections. Then you’re writing a blog post or a case study.
So, it’s key for aspiring PMMs to be good at prioritization and multitasking. Listening and communicating. Strategy and execution.
What advice would you give to a product marketer plying their trade in the current circumstances?
Make sure you are aligned with the business goals. There’s no room for passion projects in 2021. You must demonstrate the value that your work provides for business growth.
What would you consider to be the most important quality needed to succeed in your role?
Collaboration. PMMs are not successful alone. We must flex different muscles to partner with diverse teams and ways of working – engineering, product, sales, marketing. These teams often don’t have visibility into what the others are doing. PMMs need to work seamlessly with each other. They should feel like PMM is an extension of their team.
In terms of extra-curricular activities, is there anything someone who may want a role similar to yours can do to improve their knowledge? Any recommended books/podcasts?
When I first got into Product Marketing, there weren’t many specialized resources. It’s great that the Product Marketing Alliance is available now. I use many of the resources published here.
I also think PMMs need to stay up to speed on wider marketing industry trends so you can proactively be a good collaborator with the wider marketing org. Find what interests you.
For me, outside the PMA, I read studies in eMarketer and WARC. I listen to podcasts like Jay Baer’s Social Media Pros and The IAB UK Podcast. I’m a member of the IAB UK and attend their webinars and read their content. I read publications like Campaign. When I lived in Sydney, I read B&T and Campaign Asia. I attend conferences like Advertising Week, VidCon, and DMEXCO.
And finally, which product marketers have inspired you the most and why?
I get inspired by PMMs who take risks, excel at narratives and storytelling, ask challenging questions, and understand customers. PMMs I’ve had the pleasure of working with who do this include Sudeep Cherian and Andrew Monu at LinkedIn. Sandeep Bhara at Entain (and fellow PMA London Ambassador). Selin Tyler at Dolby Laboratories. Candace Marshall and Zendesk.
And shout out to Bree Bunzel at Dropbox. I haven’t worked with her, but her CAB Masterclass available through PMA is brilliant.
Product marketing career resources
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