Learn / Guides / Product marketing guide

Back to guides

PMM 101: what is a product marketing manager and what do they do?

Your company’s developed an amazing product—but how do you get the right people interested in it? This is a job for the product marketing manager: an expert who defines the positioning, messaging, and launch strategy for your product.


  1. What is a product marketing manager? A product marketing manager (PMM) defines a product’s positioning and creates its go-to-market strategy.

  2. What do PMMs do? PMMs use a range of data-driven processes to plan and execute marketing strategies for the product.

  3. What skills do they need? Successful PMMs require various skills, including storytelling, customer empathy, project management, data analysis, and communication.

  4. How are they different from product managers? Product managers oversee the development roadmap of the product internally, while PMMs focus on how the product is presented outside of the company.

  5. What qualifications and experience do they have? PMMs usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in business or marketing, along with three to 10 years of experience in product marketing or related disciplines.

What is a product marketing manager?

A product marketing manager (PMM) is responsible for bringing a product to market. A critical role in any company that invests heavily in developing its products, the PMM’s main objectives are

  • Defining the positioning and messaging of the product

  • Creating a go-to-market (GTM) strategy that attracts ideal customers

These jobs are closely intertwined with what the product does and how the company describes itself. Accordingly, the product marketing manager’s role is cross-functional, sitting at the intersection of the product, marketing, sales, and customer success teams.

In terms of organizational structure, the PMM usually sits within the product or marketing team.

What does a product marketing manager do?

PMMs must ultimately deliver results in the form of acquisition, engagement, conversions, and retention through their campaigns. Achieving this can involve a wide range of activities:

  • 📋 Conducting user, competitor, and market research 

  • 💡 Defining a value proposition and product positioning that sets the product apart from competitors

  • 👩 Creating buyer personas

  • 💵 Contributing to decisions on product pricing

  • 🚀 Planning GTM strategies and marketing campaigns

  • 🧑‍🏫 Educating the sales team on product positioning

  • 📚 Creating promotional and educational content 

  • 🛒 Driving upsells and cross-sells to existing customers

  • 💬 Analyzing customer feedback and user behavior to optimize marketing efforts 

  • 🤝 Overseeing other members of the product marketing team and delegating tasks to colleagues

Level up your marketing strategies

Use Hotjar to make data-driven decisions with user insights from Surveys, Interviews, Recordings, and more.

PMMs organize their efforts around the three main stages of product launches

1. Research and strategy

Before an important launch, product marketing managers will conduct market research to determine the best way to position the product. This involves various data-gathering activities, such as interviewing customers, identifying search engine trends, and analyzing competitors.

PMMs interpret findings from the research and share them with colleagues to help inform the development process.

Every marketing strategy is built on the basis of the market and customer's insights. It's this blend of qualitative and quantitative data that gives us the whole picture of the field, where we are playing, and how to launch the product effectively there.

When we share these insights with colleagues, it's not just data—it's the voice of the market, guiding us to refine and perfect our product for a successful launch. Our research doesn't just inform our strategy; it shapes the very trajectory of our product.

Kristina Rekunova
Product Marketing Manager, Printify

2. Launching campaigns

Following their research phase, PMMs will define the product’s value proposition and positioning. They will also develop and execute a go-to-market strategy, promoting the product in specific channels to reach best-fit customers.

Executing this strategy often involves crafting the product’s messaging and ensuring campaign materials appeal to the right audiences. In addition, the PMM may contribute to creating content such as blogs, videos, web pages, and ads.

3. Responding and refining

Following a product launch, the PMM evaluates the results of their campaigns, troubleshooting any underperforming assets. For example, if the product page is not converting well, the PMM might use heatmaps to understand which page elements users pay attention to and ignore. The PMM also seeks feedback from customers who have engaged with the company. 

They will then share their findings with the product team to help inform future development work.

🔥 How Hotjar’s PMMs refine results

When our PMMs refine campaign materials, they use Hotjar (no surprise there!) for a complete understanding of our users, and iterate accordingly.

For example, they might start with heatmaps—color-coded visual representations of aggregated user behavior—to discover which parts of a campaign page grab (or lose) users’ attention. 

To further investigate an unexpected finding, like a non-clickable element getting too much attention, they jump into session recordings for a closer look at the individual user journeys behind those heatmap hotspots. 

Finally, they analyze feedback and survey responses within the recording’s timeline for additional context into why users behaved as they did.

Engagement Zones (left) combine scroll, click, and mouse movement data for an advanced heatmap that pinpoints which elements users interact with most. Click the ‘View recordings’ button to view a list of companion session replays (right), and sort them by ‘engagement’ or ‘frustration’ signals for even more context.

6 essential skills for product marketing managers 

The PMM’s work combines technical and marketing skills, complemented by tools that help them make data-driven decisions. Let’s check ’em out.

1. Storytelling

Product marketing managers need to paint a picture of how their product will fit into users’ lives—and enhance them.

To achieve this, PMMs get to know their customers intimately via user research, which may involve conducting user interviews or surveys to ask users what blocks them from completing specific tasks. 

Once they understand their customers’ perspectives, PMMs go on to create a product narrative to appear in marketing campaigns and attract best-fit prospects.

📋 When in doubt, send a survey

With Hotjar Surveys, ask your users about their experiences at any point in their journey—and generate summary reports automatically. Set surveys up in minutes using our free templates or our AI-powered survey assistant. ✨

2. Project management skills

PMMs often have complex workflows and are under pressure to meet important deadlines in the run-up to a product launch. At the same time, they may need to manage other members of the product marketing team and collaborate closely with other departments. 

That’s quite the juggling act! Accordingly, project management skills can be advantageous to PMMs, helping them to meet deadlines on time and on budget.

3. Customer empathy

To create effective marketing materials and strategies, PMMs need to put themselves in their users’ shoes. Of course, genuine empathy isn’t about guessing what users might be experiencing. Instead, PMMs engage with users directly to understand their views.

Empathy isn’t just vital in B2C contexts—it’s perhaps even important in B2B. The business world, often perceived as more rational and less emotional, is still a human-driven domain. Decisions are made by people, shaped by their experiences. In B2B, we're not just addressing a company's needs, but speaking to the individuals, each with their own set of concerns and aspirations. 

Foster empathy by practicing active listening and cultivating curiosity about others. And, of course, communicating regularly with your customers is crucial for every PMM.

Kristina Rekunova
Product Marketing Manager, Printify

🎙 Run better interviews with Engage

Holding regular user interviews is one of the best ways to develop customer empathy. Hotjar’s user interview product, Engage, helps you streamline the time-consuming process of organizing and analyzing user interviews by recording the conversation, creating an AI-powered transcript, and enabling you to share comments and clips with teammates.

Find existing users willing to join an interview session with Hotjar Surveys’ free ‘recruit participants for user interviews’ template. Or, connect with people who match your ideal customer profile (ICP) within Engage’s 200,000-strong participant pool.

4. Data analysis

The beauty (and challenge) of digital marketing is that it gives you all sorts of data about visitors and users. PMMs use this data to learn more about users and their journeys, building a complete picture of the audiences they target.

For example, a PMM might look at

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ad clicks: click rates in Google Analytics help PMMs understand what marketing messages resonate most with potential customers

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores: if the company is running surveys in a product experience (PX) insights tool like Hotjar, PMMs can gather quantitative data like CSAT scores to determine how scores vary between different audience segments, or across different parts of the user journey.

  • Product usage metrics: PMMs might analyze important product metrics in platforms like Mixpanel, Amplitude, or Kissmetrics. For instance, they can view free-to-paid plan conversions and feature usage metrics to gauge which features are most important to paying customers.

🔥 How Hotjar’s PMMs streamline data analysis

To simplify complex workflows involving multiple tools, our PMMs have created a fully integrated tech stack that revolves around—you guessed it—Hotjar. 

The Hotjar suite integrates with a range of best-in-class tools for PMMs, including

👀 And a lot more where those came from.

5. Communication skills

Product marketing manager is a collaborative role often carried out in companies with hybrid or fully remote working practices. What’s more, PMMs will often need to ‘pitch’ their ideas to colleagues so they can get buy-in.

Not surprisingly, good communication skills will help the PMM to work effectively with their colleagues and get their ideas across. Communication skills are also helpful when carrying out interviews—a vital aspect of the user research process.

6. Product management skills

Even though a product marketing manager is not a product manager, it’s helpful for them to understand how a product meets users’ needs. 

By understanding how the product fits into the technology ecosystem—for example, what products it integrates with—the PMM can create more effective marketing messages. For these reasons, some basic product management skills are advantageous for PMMs.

Product managers vs. product marketing managers: a breakdown

These two jobs have similar titles, and, depending on the company, either might be responsible for determining new product features. However, they’re distinct roles with vastly different responsibilities:

  • Product managers direct the creation of the product itself. They create a roadmap for development and guide the engineering team through the product life cycle. Because their role impacts activities internally, the product manager is often thought of as the voice of the product within the company.

  • Product marketing managers are responsible for bringing the product to market. They define its positioning and create a launch strategy to bring in leads and sales while differentiating it from competitors. In contrast to product managers, PMMs are the product’s voice outside the company.

Both roles center their work on understanding the user—and because of this, they’ll often work together. However, they both apply their knowledge of users in different ways, as we see below.


Product manager goals

Product marketing manager goals

Understanding user needs and experiences

Build new features to help users achieve their goals

Create marketing messages that will resonate with prospects’ pains, desires, and perspectives

Analyzing the competitive landscape

Differentiate the product to get an edge over the competition

Improve on or differentiate from competitors’ marketing messages to attract best-fit customers

Observing customer journeys

Learn where customers get stuck to make informed product roadmap decisions

Learn where prospects get stuck to improve marketing materials and convince more of them to try or buy the product

Planning for the future

Creating a product roadmap that prioritizes new features to be developed

Creating a go-to-market strategy to sell the product

👉 Want to know more? Read our in-depth breakdown of product marketers vs. product managers.

The roles of product manager and product marketing manager are closely aligned. Both of them have a direct impact on a product's success and should have a deep understanding of the market and the product itself.

The PMM, in particular, serves as the customer's voice within the product team, because they have an unparalleled understanding of the audience and their worlds. Because a PMM determines which customer pains and gains to address, they must also discern which customer needs can be met by the product. Equally, they must understand how the product can effectively satisfy these needs or resolve the customer's problems.

PMMs bridge the gap between customer expectations and the product's capabilities, ensuring that the product not only meets but exceeds market demands.​​

Kristina Rekunova
Product Marketing Manager, Printify

PMM qualifications and experience

🎓 Qualifications: most companies will expect candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing, or a similar field. Employers will also look favorably at candidates with advanced degrees in sales, marketing, or advertising.

While they’re not essential, you can also further your career opportunities by obtaining a certification in product marketing management from a training institute.

🛠 Experience: employers will look for candidates with several years of experience in related junior roles, such as product marketing specialist, product marketing associate, and associate product marketing manager.

Employers may also appreciate experience in other marketing disciplines, such as social media, brand marketing, content marketing, and copywriting.

Finally, because product marketing manager roles are highly data-driven, employers will appreciate experience with popular PX tools:

  • Advertising analytics (like Google Analytics, Fathom, Adobe Analytics)

  • Product analytics (like Mixpanel, Heap, Segment)

  • SEO tools (like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz)

  • User behavior analytics (like Hotjar!)

How much do product marketing managers make?

As always, salary will vary according to the industry, company, and the employer’s location. For 2023, Glassdoor states that the median salary in the USA is $120,811, while Salary.com puts the figure at $141,523.

To win at product marketing, dive into the right data

Product marketing is a highly rewarding job, as you play a key role in ensuring the success of a product. However, it’s also a complex role—and one in which you’ll be under pressure to produce results.

So, when it’s time to make important product marketing decisions, equip yourself with the right data. Use Hotjar to get granular insights on individual user perspectives or zoom out for a bird’s-eye view of user behavior trends. With the right insights, you’ll tackle product marketing challenges with confidence, and get the results you need.

Get your teams aligned on user needs

Gather user data with Interviews, Surveys, Recordings, and more—then share the best insights with a click.

Product marketing manager FAQs