Every job role needs someone with a particular set of skills. But you don’t just need to add them to your resume to land the job.
A day in the life of a product marketer is varied. You might start the day working on your new product’s positioning, and end with sales enablement. There’s a specific set of skills that can help you master both of those key tasks—and everything in between.
In this guide, we’ll share the seven product marketing skills you’ll need to develop including:
- Strong communication
- The ability to listen
- Strong writing skills
- Problem-solving and analytics
- A desire to help
Are hard or soft skills more important?
There are two types of skills you’ll need to develop as a product marketer:
- Soft skills: These skills aren’t specific to a role; they relate more to your personality. Examples of soft skills are the ability to work in a team, flexibility, and dependability.
- Hard skills: These skills often require more practice and relate directly to a role or industry. Examples of hard skills include computer programming, data analysis, and web design.
You’ll need a combination of each to succeed. Why? Because you’ll be able to handle small day-to-day tasks with soft skills—and also create bigger picture campaigns with the hard skills you’ve developed.
…But what skills do you need to master, anyway?
Here are the most important for product marketers.
Empathy is a basic life skill you’ll need to succeed as a product marketer. That’s because in your role, you’ll be communicating with customers—and more importantly, convincing them to buy (or continue using) your new product.
You’ll need to rely on empathy to make that happen. It’s a skill you can use to build a rapport with your audience, and help them solve a customer’s pain points with your product.
Let’s put that into practice and say you’re selling ballpoint pens. Without empathy, you might struggle to see why your target customer needs your product. But when you consider their frustration for pens that run out of ink mid-meeting, you can convey that empathy in your product marketing campaigns to close the sale.
2. Strong communication
Modern marketing teams don’t work in silos. They’re broken down into several types of marketing (like product marketing).
You’ll need to collaborate with other departments (like sales) when planning your campaign. And, you’ll need to report back to your product marketing manager.
You won’t just be communicating with your co-workers; you’ll also need to communicate with your customers. You’ll hop on phone calls to chat with customers. You’ll send surveys to get feedback on a product pre-launch, and find out why people love your product.
…But you can’t do any of those effectively without strong communication skills.
Following on from the ability to communicate with your staff, you’ll need to actively collaborate with your team members.
For example, strong collaboration skills helps you:
- Ask sales teams for their feedback on your leads
- Talk to PPC departments to see how you can support their ads
- Plan bigger-scale marketing campaigns with your content, SEO or social media teams
Each of those three tasks are crucial in your day-to-day role as a product marketer. But if you shy away from collaborating with your team members, you won’t be able to get the job done.
4. The ability to listen
There’s a science behind selling. People don’t hand over their credit card information for a company they’ve just seen on a Facebook ad. You’ll need to convince them that you’re the best company for the job.
Product marketers need the ability to listen because of this. Buyers will have questions before they trust you with the sale. You’ll need to listen to those questions, then take time to answer them—whether that’s in a one-on-one user testing session for market research, or in-person chat with your existing customers.
(Plus, remember how we said you’ll need to collaborate with other team members? The ability to listen comes into practice here, too.)
5. Strong writing skills
Content is how you communicate online. And with a huge proportion of your product marketing strategy being digital, it’s important that you develop strong writing skills.
However, don’t just tick this off your development list if you’re comfortable writing long-form content.
Product marketers need to know how to communicate:
- A product’s features
- The price
- Your value proposition
- Technical terms in plain English
…in their copy, and that doesn’t always warrant a 2,000-word piece of content. The ability to write short, succinct copy is a key skill.
6. Problem-solving and analytics
Just like any other job, you’ll come across problems that need fixing—fast. (Especially if they have the ability to taint your customers’ reputation, or lose a few customers.)
You’ll need to be able to have strong problem-solving skills to succeed as a product marketer. You’ll be the type of person who digs into your website’s analytics to investigate a spike in website traffic. Or, jumps on the phone to chat with customers who’ve canceled their subscription to find out why.
The bad news? It’s tough to develop this skill on purpose. Problem-solving skills often come with experience. But whenever you get the chance to investigate, jump on it!
7. A desire to help
Earlier, we mentioned how your customers have pain points. You’ll need to communicate how your product can solve those with empathy—while also having a genuine desire to help.
An example of that in practice is when creating buyer personas. Pain points are a key part of these documents, but you shouldn’t make them up off the top of your head. You’ll need to talk to your customers one-on-one to dig deep into the things they’re struggling with.
That isn’t possible without a genuine desire to help.
How do I start building my skills as a product marketer?
Now you’ve got the list of skills to develop, it’s time to start working on them.
But how do you build your skills? It’s tough to build on things you don’t enjoy (like writing)—and even tougher if you don’t have a product marketing role to practice in.
Here are some quick tips you can use to develop your product marketing skills:
- Find a mentor: This could be your product manager or someone with experience in the industry. Use them as your guide, and ask them to share real-life stories of when they needed a skill. Can you put yourself in the same position?
- Take product marketing courses: Some marketing courses help you build hard skills like writing or analytics—like Product Marketing for Technology Companies or Product Marketing Bootcamp. Spend some time going through those courses.
- Ask for feedback: Have you planned a marketing strategy? Helped with a new product launch? Ask the people you’ve worked on it with for feedback. (This aids with building collaboration and communication skills, too; you’re asking other people for help!)
Start building these product marketing skills today
Ready to kick off your career in product marketing?
By building these fundamental skills, there’s no reason why you can’t become one of the best product marketers your company has ever hired.
Remember to set aside time to regularly develop these skills. You can take courses, try new experiments, or simply experiment. It’s the best way to continue growing.