The Complete Hiring Guide for Product Marketing Jobs

Written by Matt Dodgson - Product & Growth

If you’re thinking of hiring a product marketer into your B2B Tech business, then it’s a smart move.

Today, product marketing is making an even greater impact on the growth and success of all  types of companies. 

Why? 

Well, put simply, product marketing is a key lever to help you understand what the market needs, help define what those products should look like, and then how to take those products to market in a way that makes it irresistible for your prospects to buy.

But that doesn’t mean ‘doing’ product marketing is easy. And product marketing can mean many different things, depending on what stage of growth your business is at. 

The best way to move forward with product marketing is to have a clear strategy. And in this guide, we’ll help you understand what product marketing is, what it can do for your business, and how to hire a product marketer to transform your business’ results.

In this Guide we’ll cover;

What is product marketing?

Product Marketing vs Product Management 

Why is it important to hire a product marketer?

What does a product marketing manager do?

What makes a good Product Marketer?

What interview questions should you ask a Product Marketer?

What salary should you pay a Product Marketer?

The Challenges of Hiring for Product Marketing Jobs

What is product marketing?

Product marketing is responsible for bringing new products to market, which includes understanding the competitor landscape, developing product positioning, creating the product messaging and then setting the go-to-market while supporting sales with the tools they need to sell better. 

What is product marketing?


It may seem like a lot, and in truth it is. And that’s because product marketing is the linchpin between sales, marketing, customer success and product management.  

Because of that, good product marketing and a good product marketing professional, will have a big impact on the success of your product and your business. 

Product marketing vs product management 

Now, some of you might be scratching your head and thinking, ‘well, we’ve got a Product Manager that does most of that’. 

And it’s certainly true that Product Managers are responsible for product launches.

However, the two roles are very different.

At a top level, Product Managers are responsible for creating products, whereas Product Marketers are responsible for taking those products to market. 

It’s not uncommon in smaller companies for someone to perform both roles. There may be a Product Manager by title, who also conducts product marketing tasks, and vice versa.

But in most successful B2B Tech companies, there will be two separate roles.

Why is it important to hire a product marketer?


For a B2B Startup, we’d go so far as saying a Product Marketer needs to be the first hire into your marketing team.

And that’s for a few reasons;

  • Product marketers have broad skills across market / user research, competitor analysis, strategy, pricing, messaging, demand generation, content creation, onboarding, retention and these skills are critical for getting your first 100 customers to establishing true product-market fit. 
  • Product marketers can do the work while building the frameworks. And these frameworks - think messaging, competitor intel, pitch decks, sales collateral, go-to-market - can be used by future hires into your marketing team once you’ve identified your ideal customer profile and what channels to use to acquire them. 
  • Product marketers are specialists so you can’t fudge it. And you can’t hire a product marketing agency to fix the gap in the short term. Mainly because they don’t exist, but primarily because you want a specialist like this sat within your business. 


What does a product marketing manager do?

product marketing team working together

A Product Marketer’s responsibilities can vary depending on factors such as a company’s growth stage, the seniority of the role or the particular product you’re marketing.

However, there are seven core responsibilities that Product Marketers have.

Research

Research is a critical part of product marketing because it’s impossible to launch and  market a product successfully without it. 

And that research needs to be a balance of qualitative and quantitative research. The best product marketers are those that are regularly talking to prospects and customers. 

Research that a product marketer will do includes;


  • Win-loss interviews - it’s important to understand why a customer chose your business, or why they chose a competitor instead
  • Customer feedback - talking to your customer at all stages of the lifecycle helps you understand what they think of your sales process, onboarding and product
  • Competitor Analysis - a product marketer will constantly keep up to speed about what your competitors are doing - product, features, pricing, messaging, marketing - to help you build a SWOT analysis 

Pricing

Getting the price of your product is crucial. Because if you charge too little, you’re leaving revenue on the table, and if you charge too much, you’ll be losing out on sales to your competitors. 

Pricing doesn’t always form part of a Product Marketer's responsibilities. Sometimes this responsibility does sit with other teams.

However, if you’re thinking of adding it in, there are four core pricing models to think about.


  • Cost Plus Pricing - once you know your costs, you can add a percentage to your prices to ensure you make a profit 
  • Competitor Based Pricing - you use your competitors pricing and either match it, undercut it, or keep it the same 
  • Value Based Pricing - you price your products based on the value your customers get from them
  • Dynamic Pricing - you set a flexible pricing strategy based on demand for your products

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

A Product Marketer will take responsibility for setting the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Setting these objectives help a business understand what it’s trying to achieve from a particular activity, and more importantly how they know they’ve achieved it. 

The Product Marketing Alliance, in their flagship Product Marketing Course, breaks down OKRs across the various responsibilities of a Product Marketer and gives some examples to help you determine what yours might be.

OKRs for Product Marketers

Persona Development 

Persona’s are a fundamental part of product marketing, and any marketing for that matter.

And that’s because it’s important to understand your audience before you start to market to them or even create products for them. 

Persona’s are fictional characters that you create based on segments of your market. 

And they help in a number of ways;


  • Help you create products and features your persona’s want 
  • Help you market your product in a way that resonates with them and increases conversion rates 
  • Help wider teams (account management, customer success, customer support) understand why a customer may have bought your products 

Positioning & Messaging

Positioning should be done before you move onto your messaging. A Product Marketer will define the clear benefits your product brings to the market.


image of messaging in product marketing

Whereas messaging is focussed on what’s said externally to prospects and customers about your product. 

The messaging uses those key benefits from your positioning work in the marketing used to create demand. 

And good positioning helps you answer some key questions early on;


Which market segment is best suited to our product?
What characteristics do our ideal customers have?
How do our products compare to competitor solutions and why will our ideal customers care?

Once you’ve answered those questions it’s much easier to build an effective Go-To-Market strategy. 

Go-To-Market

A Product Marketer’s job is to take everything we’ve discussed so far and then build a Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy. 

And a GTM strategy will encompass three main areas;


  • Target Audience
  • Marketing Plan
  • Sales Strategy 

A key aspect of this process is to communicate the GTM strategy with teams across sales, marketing and product. 

And Product Marketer’s will involve sales leaders early on in the process, to jointly develop the Sales Strategy, to help with buy-in and execution. 

Sales Enablement 

sales enablement

Again, depending on the structure and size of your business, sales enablement may fall under the responsibilities of a Product Marketer, or lie with a dedicated sales enablement team or even with the marketing team.  

The role of sales enablement is to provide sales teams with the information, content and tools to engage prospects throughout the buying journey and help convert them to customers. 

And typically a Product Marketer will create (or oversee the creation of) sales enablement assets to be used internally or externally.


Internal Sales Enablement Assets


  • Battlecards
  • Product Sheets
  • Sales Scripts
  • Competitor Comparisons 

External Sales Enablement Assets 


  • Guides e.g. Ultimate Guide to [Insert Product Topic] 
  • Blogs
  • Case Studies
  • Product Demos
  • Webinars 

Ideally, a Product Marketer will be able to work with a Copywriter or Content Marketer to help with the execution of this after giving them a detailed brief. 


What makes a good Product Marketer?


Knowledge is one thing, but being able to use that knowledge effectively is another.

And that’s no different for Product Marketers. 

As well as the technical knowledge we discussed earlier, there are a number of soft skills and characteristics you should be looking for too.

  • Passion and Energy - there’s so much work for Product Marketers to do that without it they simply won’t get the work done.
  • Resilience - anything new is often met with resistance. And Product Marketers are inevitably responsible for creating lots of new stuff - markets, messages, strategies, tactics - so a Product Marketer has to be able to deal with resistance from colleagues. 
  • Adept at using Data - Product Marketers must be comfortable with analysing data and more importantly, interpreting that data to extract the value. 
  • Natural Storytellers - the best Product Marketers think more about the story, narrative, solution and differentiators rather than features and functionality. They’re good at talking and writing. 
  • Business Acumen - they must understand and be curious about how companies make money. 
  • Vision for a good Campaign - being able to spot and create a great marketing campaign.
  • Empathy - showing empathy to internal stakeholders and external customers / prospects will make ‘getting the work done’ easier.
  • Collaborative - Product Marketers will naturally want to work with others and bring them on early to ideas.
  • Persuasive - whether it’s when working with the product or sales teams, presenting to the C-suite, it’s important for Product Marketers to be persuasive. 

What interview questions should you ask to assess a Product Marketer?


What do you think great Product Marketing is?

What makes you a great Product Marketer?

Give me an example of the impact of your Product Marketing

How do you measure the success of Product Marketing in your current role?

How do you collaborate and communicate with your colleagues?

Talk me through a recent product or feature that you launched. What did you do, why did you do it and how did it go?

How would you go about communicating a price rise to existing customers?

As a Product Marketer, how have you been able to influence revenue?

How do you ensure sales are able to present the product in a way that engages the prospect?

What attracts you to our Product Marketing job?

Imagine you were in your first week working with us, what would you want to accomplish in the short term?

What salary should you pay a Product Marketer?

Depending on the size of your company, salaries will vary for Product Marketers. As an example, in early stage Startups and Scaleups it’s not uncommon to have a reduced basic salary in favour of equity and options.

However, reducing a base salary in favour of options does make it more difficult to attract and hire someone.

In our experience here are typical salaries. 


VP of Product Marketing Salary

£110,000 - £120,000

Director of Product Marketing Salary

£100,000 - £125,000

Head of Product Marketing Salary

£85,000 - £95,000

Senior Product Marketing Manager Salary

£80,000 - £90,000

Product Marketing Manager Salary

£75,000 - £85,000

Product Marketing Job Descriptions

The Challenges of Hiring for Product Marketing Jobs

Product marketing is, and will continue to be, one of the hardest disciplines in B2B marketing to recruit for.

Why?

Well, there isn’t a pure product marketing career path.

In most other areas of B2B marketing, you’ll typically follow this career path.

Assistant / Executive > Senior Executive > Manager > Senior Manager > Head of > Director...etc.

In product marketing, that doesn’t happen.

Because you don’t typically see candidates in Product Marketing Executive or Senior Product Marketing Executive roles. 

And because you don’t have candidates doing pure product marketing in those early learning roles, it means there’s a much smaller pool of candidates to choose from.


Why are there no junior Product Marketers?

Generally speaking, if you look at the full role of a Product Marketer, it’s highly influential and requires someone who has the gravitas, experience and ‘know how’ to make a success of it.

Junior candidates neither have the experience, ability to think strategically or the ability to influence key stakeholders. 


So, what’s the answer?

Well, if you’re hiring for a Product Marketing Manager role (in essence an entry level product marketing position), you’ve got to think about why someone is going to move sideways into your role.

If you’ve got a convincing story then it may not be an issue. 

But if you’re less well known, you may have to increase the salary and also increase the responsibilities of the job to attract the right volume and quality of candidates. Hiring a Senior Product Marketing Manager in this instance, is more achievable.

Or, you could think slightly outside the box, and look for candidates who have the necessary skills and knowledge, but who haven’t been in a pure product marketing job.

Profiles to think about when hiring for your first Product Marketing Job

  • Content Marketing Manager > Product Marketing Manager - works well if the content marketer has worked for an early stage Startup
  • Senior Marketing Executive (mid-stage+) > Demand Generation Marketer (early stage Startup) > Head of Content / Customer Marketing - this person can make the transition to Product Marketing
  • Sales > Marketing > Product Marketing - ex-sales people make good Product Marketers 

Hopefully that gives you a few options to widen the talent pool for your Product Marketing job.

And if you have any questions on this bit, we’re always more than happy to have a non-salesy conversation to help you.

Ready, set, go

So, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and start hiring for your next Product Marketing superstar. Every B2B Tech business needs a solid product marketing strategy to help them drive growth. 

Your business will win by marketing smart - hiring really switched on people with energy, ideas and enthusiasm and pairing that with a product marketing strategy that brings the right solutions to the right market segment in the right way. 

Matt Dodgson
Matt looks after our Product and Growth here at Marketpool and is semi-obsessed with marketing and cycling.