Previously on How I Got My Job, Francisco Bram, Head of US & CA Marketing and Global Product Marketing, Uber Eats, discussed how he landed his current product marketing position at one of the worlds’ leading brands.
This time, we’re switching our focus to the world of social media and catching up with Samantha Wu, Global VP Consumer Brand and Product Marketing at Facebook.
Since its launch in February 2004, Facebook has established itself as one of the leading social media platforms, with 51.15 million users registered in the UK alone as of July 2021.
In her role at Facebook, Samantha Wu plays a fundamental role in helping the company maintain its reputation as a market leader.
In this article, Samantha will reveal:
- Her route to her role at Facebook
- Her roles and responsibilities at the company
- How product marketers can follow in her footsteps
We've even included some product marketing career resources, for good measure. 😏
Samantha Wu, Global VP Consumer Brand and Product Marketing at Facebook
Samantha Wu is a marketing leader with experience building brands, scaling, and navigating teams through change to deliver business results.
She has experience in both brand and classic tech product marketing and has delivered integrated multi-channel campaigns, launch/GTM plans, and experience in crisis management marketing and comms.
Samantha is passionate about managing and developing strong-performing teams and considers her product marketing superpower to be her ability to toggle seamlessly between leading and executing.
In her role at Facebook, Samantha drives strategy, understands how to operationalize and mobilize teams to get things done.
Samantha’s route to her role at Facebook
What was your dream job growing up?
I always thought I would be an architect and interior designer because I wanted to build and loved the idea of designing with different materials, colors, and textures to create different experiences.
Does your current role resemble what you wanted to do growing up?
At face value, no, but in reality many similarities. Both as a leader and working in product marketing you are building teams and ensuring the product that is being built addresses consumer needs, that the product delivers delight to consumers. How we build products should be informed by the experience we want to deliver.
How did you get into product marketing?
I joined Facebook because I wanted to work in tech, and for any tech company, product marketing is the foundation. I was recruited to help them build a new vertical of business and define what marketing and specifically product marketing should look like.
What challenges did you face en route to becoming Global VP Consumer Brand and Product Marketing at Facebook?
I would answer this question slightly differently, I think it’s less about the challenges but more about how you turn them into opportunities. I think at the core, the marketing function and PMM in themselves were nascent and not well understood when I first joined the company.
The opportunity was how do you best educate and influence what you do, the impact of marketing in terms that are relatable and understood to your core audience, which in my case was largely PMs and engineers. And ultimately drive to shared goals.
With the power of hindsight, is there anything you’d do differently, at all?
In hindsight, don’t over-index on being perfect and knowing all the answers. Be braver on what you know, what you don’t know, and invite people in to help solve the issue.
This fundamentally changes the dynamic and the culture of partnership you build. When everyone has skin in the game you can be more effective in landing solutions or drive alignment faster.
Samantha’s role as Global VP Consumer Brand and Product Marketing at Facebook
What does your role entail?
I oversee the Facebook App consumer marketing department which spans brand building and product marketing. In a nutshell, my job is to fundamentally transform how people feel about and use the Facebook App.
The work spans across the consumer lifecycle to expand the value and build trust with consumers and I do this by developing a brand vision and ensuring the product and experiences we build and market deliver against this.
If you had to explain your job to someone with zero knowledge of product marketing, how would you explain it?
I make sure we build products and product experiences that are valuable to consumers and I work on how best to communicate what that value is.
Do your family members and friends understand what you do?
Not really, my kids think I do conference calls, travel on a plane (pre-covid), and interview Public figures.
How is your product marketing team structured? Has this changed since you entered the role?
Product marketing has always been structured to support specific business or product pillars where the PMM spans work that is inbound, launch/GTM and outbound.
The structure continues to evolve based on business needs, and we also have PMMs who are also less aligned to a specific vertical of the business and span across various initiatives.
Samantha’s product marketing advice
What advice would you give to a product marketer plying their trade in the current circumstances?
I would say, understanding consumer trends is critical since ultimately it’s all about building products to drive value for consumers and knowing how to effectively communicate that. A keen understanding of the competitive space, and bring passion and curiosity to what you do.
What would you consider to be the most important quality needed to succeed in your role?
Product acumen, strong communication skills, and the ability to influence outcomes
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?
Following and listening to the content from Product Marketing Alliance is a good start. I also think about just being a power user and experimenting with different products in your space or vertical. Your experience can be very useful in understanding what is working and what is not.
Product marketing career resources
You can hear more expert insights from Samantha during her appearance on 48 Hours to Lead, in which she joins host Josh Lory and discusses how product marketers can build consumer trust at their company.
Add to that, our specialist resource PMM Hired offers everything you need and a whole lot more to climb the product marketing career ladder.
Unlock stacks of interview advice, vetted and tested resources from respected PMMs, and exclusive articles, with invaluable insights also available to PMMs with a PMA Membership.Get PMM Hired