In the previous installment of How I Got My Job, Matt Dehaty discussed how he landed his role as Head of Product Marketing at sporting apparel company Gymshark.
This time, we’ve spoken to Martin Bakal, Product Marketing Director and Evangelist at OpenLegacy.
OpenLegacy helps organizations to develop a composable enterprise by extending their core systems to the web, mobile, and cloud.
During this article, we’ll be focusing on:
- Martin’s route to his current role,
- Martin’s roles and responsibilities,
- How PMMs can follow in his footsteps.
Martin Bakal, Product Marketing Director and Evangelist at OpenLegacy
Through a career spanning almost thirty years, avid product marketer Martin Bakal has accumulated a real wealth of experience.
Martin’s appetite for knowledge has seen him work within multiple industries and across a variety of companies, including globally-recognized multinational IBM.
A versatile practitioner, Martin has mastered an array of indispensable skills, including thought leadership, modeling (UML/SysML), programming (C/C++, object-oriented programming), pipeline development, and content creation, to name just a few.
Martin’s journey to Product Marketing Director
What was your dream job growing up?
I didn’t have a specific one. However, I always enjoyed designing and building things.
Does your current role resemble what you wanted to do growing up?
Somewhat. I always liked computers and understanding technology, so this fits it.
How did you get into product marketing?
I was in sales engineering and wanted to work in a broader role so I moved into product management.
In that role, I always seemed to write articles, documentation, and train sales teams, so it was a natural move into product marketing.
Psst. Wanna make the transition from PM to PMM too?
Set aside 10 minutes and check out Martin’s guest appearance on PMA Take 10, where he provides invaluable advice on how to successfully alter your path.
What challenges did you face en-route to your senior PMM role?
Learning about mainframes, how mainframe developers think, and how development is different in enterprises like banks, insurance companies.
With the power of hindsight, is there anything you’d have done differently in regards to your career?
I would’ve perhaps not stayed as long through two acquisitions. Although my roles changed, there weren't necessarily any changes to my overall responsibility.
Martin’s role as Product Marketing Director and Evangelist
What does your role entail?
In my role, I write data sheets, product sheets, and white papers. I also do competitive intelligence, work with analysts, on webinars, and support product releases. I lead many aspects of sales enablement.
How would you explain your job to someone with zero knowledge of product marketing?
I explain to customers and prospects what our product does and focus on how it helps them solve their integration challenges.
Do your family members and friends understand what you do?
Not really although that’s because my product is a developer platform. Many of them understand what product marketing is.
How is your product marketing team structured? Has this changed since you entered the role?
I am the only product marketer and have been since the beginning.
Martin's top tips
What does an entry-level PMM need to do to climb the ranks?
Understand the broad aspects of the role, know how to write, work on developing strategic initiatives, work closely with sales, and be flexible.
What advice would you give to a product marketer plying their trade in the current circumstances?
Stay flexible, be responsive to sales and focus on the delivery of content that people need. Also, keep reading and practice writing as much as possible.
In terms of extra-curricular activities, is there anything someone who may want a role similar to yours can do to improve their knowledge?
I like reading about sales - the recent one was Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell The Challenger Sale but I also like books about technology since I am in a technology-focused industry.
What would you consider to be the most important quality for success in your role?
Flexibility and project management. I work closely with all facets of the business and need to keep up with many tasks and make sure nothing gets dropped.
Looking for more product marketing career advice?
Our specialist resource PMM Hired offers everything you need and a whole lot more to climb the product marketing career ladder, including interview advice, vetted and tested resources from respected PMMs, and exclusive articles, with invaluable insights also available to PMMs with a PMA Membership.