Lots of people in your business influence how a product is marketed. So isn’t anyone who helps bring a product to market technically a product marketer? Well, yes and no. Plenty of people have a hand in it, but being able to market your product to your audience in the right way demands clear direction. That’s why one person leads the charge: the product marketer.
A product marketer unites three worlds: product, marketing and sales. They’re vital to identifying and understanding your target market, determining how to position a product, creating product marketing strategies, and measuring the campaigns.
So if you’re hiring a product marketer, it’s crucial to get it right. In this blog, we’re going to give you the lowdown on how you can hire the product marketer that’s right for you.
What skills does a product marketer need?
Product marketers need various skills in their arsenal to help them succeed. Here are some of the essential skills you’ll find in a product marketer’s job description:
- Communication: Communication is one of a product marketer’s most powerful weapons. They need to be able to communicate their vision, delegate tasks, and get people on board — that means colleagues and potential customers. Data from the Product Marketing Alliance show that 79.8% of product marketers understand that communication is a core skill to be successful.1
- Relationship building: Product marketers call the plays and lead the charge within their teams. To do this product marketers have to effectively delegate tasks and collaborate cross-functionally to drive results. Strong relationships within the team and with other departments help to create a cohesive and innovative marketing strategy, which ultimately leads to successful product launches and increased revenue.
- Project management: A product marketer’s job is to bring a product to market that meets your customers’ needs and delivers value to your business. But, as anyone who’s been through a product launch knows, it’s not a one-person job. There are many moving parts, and they’ll need solid project management skills to keep track of them. Project management is the key to getting the right things done at the right time and in the right order — this includes organising workloads, managing deadlines and leading team members.
- Customer and competitor insight: Product marketers require a deep understanding of their customers and competitors. Having insight into customer needs, behaviours and preferences will allow a product marketer to effectively communicate with them and position your product in a way that addresses their specific needs. And by clearly understanding what your competitors are doing, product marketers can identify opportunities for differentiation and create a unique value proposition for your product. This requires good research skills and being able to get into the mind of the customer.
Best product marketer interview questions
1. How do you define the product marketer’s role?
Product marketing doesn’t have a clear definition. No two companies will use the role in the same way. So the candidate’s answer to this question will tell you what they think is important in the role. It will also provide insight into their experience so far and help you judge whether your definitions and ideas of how to be successful in the role match up.
2. Why did you pursue a career as a product marketer?
This straightforward question can help you gauge the candidate’s enthusiasm and passion for the role and how they might align with the company’s mission and values. It further provides insight into their background and level of experience — they might have limited experience and are making the shift into the role for the first time or have a wealth of experience and seek to explain what got them into the role in the first place.
3. What was the last product you launched? And how did it go?
Product launches are a key responsibility of a product marketer, and the main focus here is process and outcomes. How the candidate answers this question will clarify their specific role in the launch and the results they achieved. It can also show their ability to plan, strategise, and work cross-functionally with different teams, such as product developers, sales enablement, and marketing.
4. Tell us about how you link product marketing to a business’ wider marketing strategy.
Growing your brand, unlocking new opportunities and boosting revenue are crucial objectives for an effective product marketing strategy. Asking this question will help you evaluate the candidates’:
- strategic thinking (especially about how product marketing fits into your organisation as a whole)
- ability to align product marketing with business objectives
- ability to measure the impact of their efforts on the company’s overall success.
5. Tell us how you think business strategy impacts product marketing.
This can help you canvass the candidate’s ability to think strategically about how they can align product marketing efforts with the company’s goals and objectives. It will also tell you how they see the relationship between different business functions, how strategic decisions can affect the target market, how pricing and positioning can impact product marketing, and how they can adapt to these changes.
6. What product do you believe is poorly marketed?
This question is designed to assess the candidate’s marketing knowledge and creativity. It’s also an opportunity to test their ability to critically analyse and improve existing marketing strategies. Their answer will reveal if they can communicate their ideas effectively by clearly explaining their proposed marketing strategy and its reasoning.
7. What project or product launch that you’ve been involved in are you most proud of and why?
This is a chance for the candidate to brag a bit and share specific examples of their work and accomplishments. This will likely reveal their level of passion and enthusiasm for the project or launch they’re most proud of. And their level of engagement and commitment to their work (and your work if they’re the right fit).
Follow-up: What’s the project you’re least proud of and why?
Nobody’s perfect. By talking about a less successful or failed project, the candidate can show you that they can acknowledge mistakes and learn and grow from them. It’s a good question to assess self-awareness and honesty.
8. Tell me about a time you influenced a project when you weren’t the leader.
This question assesses the candidate’s ability to work as part of a team and make an impact even when they’re not the leader. It might reveal their ability to drive change, their leadership skills, their understanding of customer needs, and if they can take initiative. It’s also a good indicator of their ability to articulate their views clearly and convincingly to persuade people.
9. Tell me some of the ways you build relationships with colleagues.
It gives insight into their interpersonal and communication skills. It will show you how well they can collaborate, communicate, and negotiate with other departments. And how successful they are at establishing trust between parties. The answer to this question can also provide insight into the candidate’s ability to network and build a supportive team effectively.
10. Tell us about your process for launching products.
Answering this question, the candidate can demonstrate their:
- understanding of product launch best practices
- ability to think strategically and plan ahead
- knowledge of the different stages involved in a product launch
- ability to develop and execute a product launch strategy.
It could also reveal their ability to handle deadlines and tasks, allowing you to assess if they can manage multiple projects efficiently to achieve successful outcomes. And, importantly, it can tell you whether their vision of launching a product offers something fresh or something you’ve seen before — and which of these fits your needs.
11. How would you inform customers of new feature launches?
This question will demonstrate the candidate’s understanding of customer engagement, communication and marketing strategies. It will provide insight into their ability to think strategically and creatively when it comes to communicating new product features and updates to customers. And it could also provide information on the candidate’s ability to understand key metrics and goals of a new feature.
Follow-up: How would you respond if there’s low adoption of new features?
This is a good question to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills and how they will collect and analyse data to formulate recommendations to improve the adoption rate going forward.
12. How do you measure the success of a product launch?
Asking this question will allow you to see which metrics the candidate prioritises and why and how they create measurable goals for a product launch. It could also show you their ability to use data and metrics to make informed decisions, drive results, and iterate based on those results.
Follow-up: How do you measure the success of product marketing more generally?
Here the candidate can display their knowledge of the metrics that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the product marketing team, their strategies and the overall performance of the products. These include sales and revenue, market share, customer satisfaction, brand awareness, product usage, return on investment, performance in the market, and feedback from the sales team and stakeholders.
13. Tell us about a product marketing campaign that you like.
This is a great question to evaluate intellectual curiosity. It provides a glimpse into their ability to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions — invaluable qualities in any successful product marketer.
14. What do you think about the messaging on our site?
This doesn’t have to be your website, but it’s a good way to get some fresh perspective. The most obvious purpose is to see if the candidate researched your company and its products.
But this question can also be used to assess their thoughts on messaging as a key component of product marketing. It can reveal whether they understand your target audience well and how to communicate with them effectively.
15. How do you keep up to date with market and industry trends?
It shows that the candidate is proactive in staying informed about the industry. It’s a great way to see if they have a growth mindset and are always looking for ways to improve and stay ahead of the curve. And it can reveal whether they have a good understanding of the market and competition, which is critical for a product marketer to stay relevant and effective.
16. What is your market research process?
Their answer here will tell you a lot about their approach to understanding the target audience and competition, as well as what they think is important to look for, and how they look for it. It’ll give you a sense of whether they have a strong process in place or are just winging it.
17. What do you most like about the role?
The candidate’s answer to this will give you a feel for their enthusiasm and passion for the job. It provides an insight into how dedicated they’re to the role and how much they enjoy it. It’ll also tell you if they truly understand the role and all its complexities.
But let’s face it, nobody loves every part of their job. So this is also a good opportunity to see which part the candidate prefers, and why, and whether that fits with your business.
18. How do you handle customer retention and churn?
The churn rate for a large B2B SaaS business is around 1-2%.2 But for smaller companies, it’s 6-7%. Retaining customers is a crucial task for any product marketer. This question can show you whether the candidate:
- understands the importance of engaging customers
- can respond quickly to customer feedback and take measures to ensure that customers stay invested in the product or service
- can identify and address problem areas that may lead to customers leaving
- stays on top of the metrics related to churn and retention
- has experience successfully retention customers.
19. How do you ensure everyone in your team communicates effectively?
It shows that the candidate understands the importance of clear communication within a team. Their answer will reveal if they have experience with tools and techniques for keeping everyone on the same page and can identify and resolve communication breakdowns. Ultimately, you want someone that has clear communication methods so that you can solve barriers quickly and get work done efficiently.
20. How would you justify a price change to customers?
The candidate’s answer will show their ability to think strategically and to consider the long-term implications of a price change on the business and customer relationships. It will also reveal if they can explain the reasoning behind a price change effectively and if they have the skills to handle potential pushback. This question will show if the candidate can turn lemons into lemonade.
21. What do you know about our company’s customers?
Product marketers represent the voice of the customer. Their answer will show that they’ve done their homework and understand the importance of knowing and understanding the target audience and their demographics, pain points, and purchasing habits.
22. What do you believe is the most important aspect of a product marketer’s role?
This can reveal a lot about the candidate’s priorities, strategic thinking and how they align with the company’s values. It’ll allow them to showcase their understanding of the product marketing role and what they believe is most important to success. Plus, it’s a great way to gauge if they have their head in the game and are ready to hit the ground running.
Marketing your product in the right way
You’ve spent time and effort making sure your product or service is the best it can be. You’ve made sure it addresses customer pain points in the right way. Your website is set up and ready to go. You’ve got it to the stage where it’s ready to go out into the world. So if it’s not marketed right, all that hard work might mean nothing. That’s why it’s so important to hire the right person that will market your product correctly. A well-executed marketing strategy can mean the difference between success and failure.
But bringing in a product marketer isn’t the one and only way to market your product successfully. From product-led growth strategies to spreading a product marketer’s responsibilities across a team within an agency, finding the right way to bring your product to market might be as unique as your product itself.
So don’t leave anything to chance. Book a free growth audit with Gripped, a digital marketing agency with a wealth of experience successfully marketing products, to see what help you might need.