7 Essential Product Marketing Skills & How to Nail a Job in Product Marketing

product-marketing-skills
7 Product Marketing Skills + Product Marketer Resume Tips

Product marketing closes the gap between product developers and customers, helping to meet changing consumer needs and stay competitive. It enables businesses to position their product in the market more effectively, driving sales and customer engagement. Product marketing is increasingly important for companies who may have shifted their focus away from traditional marketing. 

Traditional marketing utilizes all aspects of marketing, with broad strategies that are usually offline, like print ads and TV. Product marketing, in contrast, focuses exclusively on the promotion of a product, by emphasizing its benefits and targeting a specific consumer after thorough research.

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Who are product marketing managers, and what do they do?

A product marketing manager spearheads the marketing strategy for a particular product.  Product marketing managers narrow the gap between product developers, whose expertise is specific to the product, and marketing, by understanding the opportunities in the market and the potential of this new product.

Some of the product marketing manager skills needed for the role include doing market research, managing a product launch, creating content and marketing materials, and developing a market strategy. Marketing managers may coordinate with teams of content creators, product team, and market researchers on a daily basis. Not only does it demands great digital marketing knowledge and skills, product marketing roles also demand strategic thinking, great communication skills, presentation skills and competitive positioning.

While these two roles are sometimes not clearly differentiated, product managers and product marketing managers have different roles. A product manager focuses on the product’s development, its features, and its function. A product manager’s role focuses more on product management and the product development process, and product managers work closely with the product teams. On the other hand, as part of the marketing team, a product marketing manager’s job is more focused towards creating and executing a marketing strategy for that product, a task which involves specific technical skills for product marketing managers, which we will explore in more detail. Product marketing managers also work closely with cross functional stakeholders, including product teams, sales teams, and other marketing functions.

7 Essential Skills: Soft and Hard Skills for Product Marketers

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In this article we’ll explore seven different product marketing skills and include advice on improving your product marketing skill set. We’ll also examine tips to include product marketing skills in a resume and interview.  

Understanding the Consumer: Market Research and Customer Insights

The first step in crafting a marketing strategy is to do thorough market research. This product marketing skill is essential to understanding the customer and adequately meeting their needs with your product, something which will benefit a company immensely. 

A good product marketing manager will collect data so as to understand their consumers, meet consumer needs, look for gaps in the market, identify market trends, and understand their competition. This is a crucial component of product marketing, and it’s easy to see why a marketing strategy crafted without this information is doomed to fail. 

One aspect of this technical skill for product marketing managers is using customer feedback and data. This data will give you an insight into consumer needs and preferences, and it will quickly highlight potential areas of improvement for your product and brand. Good consumer data will also inform and improve your marketing strategy, allowing you to promote your product to customers in more meaningful ways. 

Understanding Opposition: The Importance of Competitive Analysis 

Competitive analysis is a product marketing skill that involves identifying the competitor in your market niche, researching their marketing strategies, and examining their approach to your shared consumer base. This is important in a dynamic business landscape, where companies face stiff competition and sometimes unpredictable trends and disasters. 

By thoroughly examining your competition, you can identify market gaps and opportunities. The data you gather allows you to adjust your strategy and differentiate your organisation from others. In addition to planning your marketing strategy, competitive analysis can also impact your pricing and distribution as well, further enhancing your competitive edge. 

One example of successful competitive analysis is Amazon. They monitor competitor pricing and update their prices accordingly, ensuring that people turn to them for their consumer needs, over their competition. As the world’s largest e-commerce company, it’s hard to ignore that their approach to competitive analysis gets results. 

The Art of Content Creation and Storytelling in Marketing

Storytelling is an often-overlooked product marketing skill. It involves using a central narrative to convey your brand’s message and product, and it works because it helps consumers to connect to your company, using emotion and an engaging story.

Storytelling is also an important part of your brand’s overall message. It’s necessary to be conscious of your company’s image, as consumers can identify that messaging quickly, and those associations are hard to shake. A powerful narrative in line with your brand’s image can be memorable and engaging, and can help you reach the right customers.  

Good storytelling requires that you convey a clear and memorable message, and there are a number of ways to clarify your branding through storytelling. Using simple language is one technique, as carefully chosen and concise wording can help solidify your brand image. Another technique is to use focused content. Avoid unnecessary information that dilutes your narrative and concentrate on your product’s benefits. You can also clarify your message with a call-to-action, such as to visit your site, sign up for a free trial, or make a purchase during a sales window. 

Go-to-Market Execution for Product Marketers

A GTM strategy is a short term, focused plan to bring a product to market. In can include competitive analysis, content planning, and a strategy for sales and distribution. This product marketing skill is used for launching a new product, or an already existing product in a new space.  

It’s important to have a comprehensive product launch or market entry strategy well in advance. A good launch strategy will help avoid some of the risks of selling a new product or selling in a new market. Your strategy informs your decisions, such as marketing material and the avenues you use to market your product. Without a strong GTM strategy, your product is much less likely to achieve early success.  

Some of the product marketing manager technical skills needed for a GTM strategy include timeline management, which is essential for managing tasks and involves meeting deadlines and adapting to change. Another skill for GTM strategy is budgeting, to allocate sufficient resources to personnel as well as marketing materials for the length of the project. A GTM strategy also involves collaboration and coordination, as a manager must organize and connect with different teams, including creators, researchers, and product developers. 

Data Analysis for Product Marketing

Data analysis is an important product marketing skill for managers. The data you analyze might be on consumer problems and preferences, market size and trends, and opportunities and risks. Your data can help you understand your consumer, mitigate the risk of launching your product, optimize your marketing strategy, and measure your marketing campaign’s success. 

Using data to analyze consumer behaviour has benefits like predictive analytics, which allows companies to predict a consumer’s future behaviour and market demand, helping you market your product more effectively. Data also helps you understand consumers’ preferences and needs when it comes to brands, products, and purchasing. Consumer behaviour analysis further provides an opportunity to customize and personalize your offerings and messaging, which will increase sales and engagement. 

Data analysis is critical for making informed decisions on your marketing strategy. The insights your data provides on customers, the market, and your competition will shape your choices when it comes to strategy. 

There are countless tools for data analysis in marketing, and your chosen tool depends on your unique goals. For example, Smaply and FullStory can help you analyze data on your consumer journey, while software like SEMrush is great for competitor analysis. Google Analytics is an all-in-one platform for consumer demographics, and traffic and search data, but there are many more. 

Sales Enablement: An Essential Product Marketing Skill

Sales enablement is a group of content and tools you’ll provide the sales team in order to align their goals with the marketing strategy at play. Using your consumer insights and market knowledge will allow the sales team to sell more effectively. It also includes your marketing strategy to generate and manage leads, which will equip sales with the best possible tools to reach potential customers. 

A major component of sales enablement is mapping the customer journey. This will help you identify different points in the customer lifecycle where sales might have the best impact. For example, your marketing strategy might focus on the reactivation stage, where consumers are more likely to become disengaged. Equipping the sales team with what you know will help them re-engage their customers and encourage another purchase. 

This product marketing manager skill requires collaboration with several cross-functional teams in order to achieve a shared goal. Given the need for teamwork, this task requires strong interpersonal and communication skills, to connect with various team members.    

Market Adaptability for Product Marketers

Flexibility is an important product marketing skill for many reasons. The marketing landscape is dynamic and trends come and go quickly, so your marketing strategy should be adaptable to new trends and changes. Tools of the marketing trade are always evolving as well, making it crucial to keep up with technological advancement. 

While you may be committed to your market strategy, and confident in your existing product marketing skills, it’s nonetheless important to have a mindset of openness and adaptability. Focus on continued learning and growth to stay competitive and maximize the success of your product. 

Adaptability is an important product marketing manager skill as it helps you see the market potential in any circumstance. Great products excel in previously unexpected ways and opportunity exists in new spaces. A great product manager uses creativity and adaptability to maximize their success in any situation. 

Tips to Improve Your Product Marketing Skills

If you fear you are missing some crucial skills to become a successful product marketing manager, consider the following tips to help you improve: 

Online Courses and Certifications

There are countless online courses available in product marketing, some of which offer certifications. Sites like Coursera, Skillshare, and Udemy are great low cost resources for online classes.  Hubspot Academy has free certification courses, and edX provides courses at the university level.  

Practical Experience and Internships

One of the best ways to improve your product marketing skills is with hands-on experience. Look for internships in your area or try some freelance projects online. 

Networking and Learning from Industry Experts

Networking is not just a means to finding work but can also be a great way to build soft and hard skills for product marketing. Establishing connections with other industry professionals provides an opportunity to learn new information. Following other professionals online can increase your exposure to new tools and techniques. 

Continuous Learning and Skill Enhancement

No matter where you are in your career, it’s important to maintain your skills by continuously learning. Marketing is a dynamic landscape whose tools, platforms, and trends are always changing, making it important for you to never stop learning new marketing skills and keeping up-to-date with industry trends. 

How to Nail a Job in Product Marketing

It’s essential to highlight your best product marketing skills on a resume and in interviews, to let the hiring manager know of your specific relevant abilities and experience. 

Prepare a Personalized Product Marketing Resume

It's essential to write a snappy resume to catch the hiring manager's attention. Here's what you can do to emphasize your skills on a product marketer resume:

  • Your resume should include specific, results-oriented language around your achievements in product marketing. 
  • Indicate your proficiency in or familiarity with standard tools and platforms used in product marketing, such as data analytics tools, market research softwares, demand generation channels, and more.
  • Use your resume to underscore what you’ve learned in product marketing. Even if you have no paid professional experience, you can point to projects done during your learning courses or internships. 

There are several technical product marketing skills for managers, like data and competitive analysis, or go-to-market strategizing. Product marketers should also have soft skills like adaptability and storytelling to achieve greater success. If you’re searching for a job, don’t forget to spend some extra time emphasizing your product marketing skills on a resume. 

Be Well-prepared for Your Interview

If you’ve highlighted product marketing skills on a resume and secured a meeting with the hiring team, here are a few ways to showcase your skills in the interview:

  • Use the STAR method to illustrate how you can apply your product marketing knowledge into real-life scenarios. Explain the setting or situation of your previous experience, the task or problem you had, the action you took, and the result of your action. 
  • No matter your experience, it’s important to brush up on your knowledge before an interview, so relevant product marketing skills are fresh in your mind. 
  • Bring samples. Come to the interview armed with product marketing samples from your past projects, such as market research reports and previous go-to-market strategy plans
  • Certain personality traits can be a great advantage for someone looking to become a product marketer. This can include creativity, customer empathy, or entrepreneurial mindset. Be sure to be your true self and show your personality during the interview.

Conclusion

No matter if you’re looking to transition into the product marketing field, or if you are currently still in lower level marketing positions looking to advance your career and become a senior product marketing manager or director of product marketing, there will always be new product marketing tools, strategies or skills to learn. The best thing you can do for yourself is to continuously learn and grow.

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— Originally Written by Tiffany Quinn —

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