January is a great time to explore new opportunities so here’s a post about… job hunting. 🔍
There’s no doubt about it. Product marketers are in demand right now. Companies of every shape and size are understanding the benefits of the discipline and looking to recruit top PMM talent.
So it’s very much a candidate’s market. Product marketers have never been in a better position when it comes to choosing and negotiating their next role.
You could really feel this at the Product Marketing Summit last year. Everyone was joking about how many inbound messages they were getting from recruiters. And one of the stand-out questions during my talk was when someone asked how to go about deciding their next move when there are so many options out there.
So, I thought I'd write a post - I'll focus on:
- Why you need to make it about you
- Filling in gaps
- Why team size is important
- The size of the company
- Picking the right industry
- Choosing a great manager
How to pick your next product marketing job
Like any big decision, there are a number of considerations to factor in when deciding your next move.
Make it about you
Base your choice on what’s right for your career. There isn’t one single destination that us product marketers are all heading towards.
We don’t all have to end up as PMMs at Google and Meta, so think about yourself and what you enjoy about product marketing. Where do you want to be in five, ten, or fifteen years? This will help guide the rest of these considerations.
Fill in the gaps
Look for where the gaps are on your product marketing resume. Is it an experience of being the lead PMM on a product launch? Is it sales enablement and working with commercial teams? Or is it user research and a proven ability to gather insights from ?
Think about the areas you haven’t yet got experience in and see if you can find a role that’ll tick off these boxes.
Consider the size of the PMM team
I’ve interviewed a lot of product marketing candidates over the past year and this comes up regularly as a priority. There’s no right answer here (it’s down to your personal preference) but the size of the product marketing team you’re joining will be important.
Do you want to be the first product marketing ‘boots on the ground’? This will give you tons of experience, especially with launches, and perhaps more exposure to C-Suite. Plus you’ll get to point to ways that you directly made an impact on the business, which is something hiring managers often look for.
But the trouble with being the first PMM at a company, if you haven’t done it before, is that you can end up not really being a product marketer. I speak with a lot of product marketing candidates who are actually doing what I’d describe as performance or growth marketing, either through not understanding what their role should be or because product marketing has become a dumping ground for miscellaneous workstreams. So tread carefully if you’re going down this route!
A recent trend I’ve spotted is that many PMMs are actually looking for the opportunity to be part of a team and learn from more experienced product marketing leaders - and there isn’t a huge amount of these in Europe (yet!).
(I feel like this is the perfect time to point out I am actually hiring at the moment… 😉)
And the size of the company
There was an audible gasp in some parts of the room at the Product Marketing Summit when one of the speakers mentioned their company was so big it had its own regional product marketing teams. This idea seemed wild to the PMMs currently at startups and scaleups, some of whom were at companies smaller than the speaker’s product marketing org.
This is more general career advice, but you’ll have a very different PMM experience depending on the size of the company.
Big companies come with a ton of perks, great learning infrastructures, and if you get an Amazon or Apple on your CV it often opens up a lot of opportunities. But they’re also trickier to navigate, harder to make an impact at, and come with a lot of bureaucracy and unnecessary politics that you might not want in your life.
Whereas smaller companies offer you the chance to be a part of something special, and pick up amazing experiences, but can be more stressful and riskier i.e. the chance of redundancy.
Pick your industry
Of course, it’s ultimately all about the product. You’ll need to be passionate about the product you’re working on so make sure it’s an industry you care about. I always like to make sure I’ve tried, understood, and found value in the product before considering a role.
Product marketing can also mean something different depending on the industry you’re in. A day in the life of a PMM for a portfolio of products at P&G is probably different from that of someone at Stripe or Salesforce.
However, product marketers are very lucky. At the heart of what we do is a set of transferable skills (copywriting, research, analysis, communication, etc.) which means we can move between industries relatively easily if we so wish.
Sure, there’s a considerable difference between B2B and B2C, but not enough that you wouldn’t be able to make a move from one to the other in a reasonably smooth manner. So have a think about the industry or problem area that gets you fired up and don’t be afraid of taking a leap in that direction.
Choose a great manager
This is just basic advice now, but having a good rapport with your hiring manager is essential. If anything in your gut is telling you it’s not a great fit, then I’d encourage you to dig deeper into that feeling.
Managers are the number one reason people decide to leave a company so do everything you can to find someone brilliant, who is going to be committed to your development. And ideally someone with deep product marketing experience who can really show you how it’s done.
In short, there’s never been a better time to make a move. So be picky and think about what kind of role is going to set your product marketing career up for success in the long run.
P.S. I’m also getting asked a lot about how to get into product marketing. I’ll try to write something about this soon but, until then, feel free to get in touch if you’re also curious about this one.
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