If you are preparing for the role of a product marketer and wondering what employers might ask you, then understand this, product marketing interview questions are not easy to find because the product marketing role hiring process tends to be one of the toughest interview sessions.
In most companies, product marketers have a significant area of responsibility and a high level of cross-functional transparency. Sales, marketing, product, executives – almost all of them depend on product marketing.
This cross-functional transparency makes qualified product marketers even more valuable.
Because of this, both employers and applicants struggle with the product marketing interview process. Hiring managers have a hard time determining whether a candidate has the wide range of skills that product marketers should bring.
Conversely, product marketers can have difficulty verbalizing all of their skills appropriately in a short amount of time.
There are five main pillars of product marketing in most organizations: product launches, messaging / positioning, competitive intelligence, pricing/packaging, and sales support.
These questions in the product marketing interview will help you study each of the important skills and use the answers to help you figure out what you are looking for.
What is Product Marketing?
Product marketing is responsible for developing positioning, messaging, and competitive differentiation, and allows the sales and marketing teams to ensure they are aligned so they can work efficiently to generate and close opportunities.
Product marketing is strategic marketing at the product or product line level.
What do companies look for when hiring product marketers?
Product marketing can look slightly different in every company, but it is often at the intersection of a number of disciplines and functions, including but not limited to customer success, marketing, product management, and sales.
If you are considering moving into a career in product marketing, experience working with these teams or in these roles can be extremely valuable and marketable.
Regardless of where you’re from, there are certain skills and competencies that can make you a great product marketer:
Communication Skills: Product marketers need to be effective communicators. Whether it’s setting up launch communications, writing a great new blog post, putting together a customer presentation;
or working with a cross-functional team, product marketers need to know their audiences and communicate with them in response.
Product marketers also need to know how to create crisp, clear, and compelling messages that sell products or convey a vision to stakeholders.
Customer insight and empathy: Product marketers need to know the customer inside and out. You need to use empathy to understand what your customers are doing, what is important to them, and what challenges they are facing.
And they need to use that research and the customer’s knowledge to work with product and development teams to create products that solve these customers’ challenges and create messages that resonate.
They also need to understand the market or industry as well as the competitive landscape so they can help the team stay one step ahead.
As you develop customer insights over time, you can also bring empathy as an entry-level candidate.
Collaboration Skills: Product marketers are constantly working with stakeholders in all organizations and need to work effectively with different groups of people to achieve a goal or objective.
To do this, they must have a practical understanding of the various roles.
Process and project management skills: PMMs must be good at managing processes and projects. There are many different activities and deadlines to meet during a product launch.
Good project management skills – including organization, time management, and leadership – will ensure that you can stay on track and help others do the same.
Prioritization skills: Product marketers often have multiple projects and requirements on their hands. Whether it’s launching a product, doing customer research, or working on sales training, there will always be several competing priorities.
Knowing what is most important and how to focus your efforts is critical to success.
If you have or can develop these skills and have a desire to become a product marketer, then how can you master your interview and win the first role in product marketing?
As the saying goes, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail,” which means you need to start with all of the major aspects of interview preparation, such as:
- Conducting thorough research on the company
- Conducting informational discussions with employees in order to get to know the corporate culture and the team
- Review your previous experience and skills and develop some stories to bring to the interview
Finally, you want to make sure that you prepare to answer general interview questions as well as questions specific to product marketing.
What are the Product Marketing Interview Questions?
Hiring the right product marketer can be a long, frustrating process, but it’s well worth the effort. A great product marketer serves as the linchpin of your product and go-to-market organizations.
If you ask the right questions, you will make sure that everyone you hire is able to handle the multiple critical functions of product marketing.
Let’s take a look at some of the questions in the product marketing interview that you should expect
1. How would you define product marketing?
This question will help you understand how much the respondent understands the product marketing profession and gives you a good idea of their level of experience and competence.
Since the definition of product marketing is still such an ambiguous topic, your answer will also help you determine if the candidate shares your perspective and approach.
2. How do you understand the role of the product marketer?
Like the product marketing function in general, the role of the product marketer remains ambiguous and diverse.
We encourage you to ask your interviewee for their opinion on this issue so that you can find out how deeply they understand the role of PMM.
Again, this gives you a chance to find out if you’re on the same page so you don’t end up hiring someone who doesn’t meet your expectations.
And it’s not a one-way street – you don’t want someone to end up taking a job that they didn’t fully understand and which ends up not being right for the company.
3. What was product marketing like in your previous job?
The roles in product marketing can vary from company to company. This question is intended to help the interviewer understand how you previously did product marketing and what you are hoping for in your next role.
It’s also your chance to showcase your skills as a product marketer.
4. Which good product do you think is badly marketed?
This is a classic marketing question that is often asked in job interviews. The purpose of this question is to get a feel for your marketing knowledge as well as your creativity and thought process.
5. How do you measure the success of product marketing?
Without measuring your impact, it’s hard to tell how effective you are as a product marketer. This question relates to your understanding of how to A) identify the right metrics to measure your work and B) get results.
6. Can you take me through your last product launch?
Bringing new products/features to market is a fundamental responsibility for product marketers.
Go-to-market requires product marketers to use their product, messaging, sales enablement, and competitive intelligence skills at the same time.
The ability to successfully bring a product to market conveys expertise in all of these areas. Almost every team in a company is involved in product launches, so candidates should have strong communication and collaboration skills.
The ability to evaluate a product and the associated message/positioning is a core competence in product marketing. This question tests a product marketer’s ability to do so in the field.
7. “What steps would you take to improve the win rate of a troubled sales team?”
Good product marketers know that product marketing and sales must work well together to be successful.
Great product marketers take it a step further and know that key sales metrics like win rate can be influenced by product marketing materials like battle cards.
Try to deal with certain tactics rather than nebulous strategies. Improving the messaging used by the sales team is an admirable notion.
Getting started with specific tactics such as training, supporting materials and new software demonstrates the ability to both develop and execute strategies.
8. “How do you measure the success of product marketing?”
Compared to other marketing disciplines, product marketing is known to be difficult to measure. However, the ability to evaluate and iterate is important regardless of the difficulty involved.
Qualitative and qualitative measurements are equally valid. Strong product marketers shouldn’t be afraid of showing some level of ownership over quantitative metrics like product adoption, sales win rate, customer/dollar churn, or anything else that makes sense given the nature of their business.
This is a particularly important trait of product marketing executives who work closely with results-oriented leadership teams.
9. How do you build relationships with colleagues?
Building relationships in the workplace is critical for many jobs, but it’s even more important for product marketers as they regularly work on projects with team members from other parts of the company.
“The best product marketers spend time building relationships with their peers. So when they work together, there is a sense of trust and credibility.
10. How do you determine if an onboarding process is working?
Onboarding is an important part of product marketing. Those who do not convince their customers to stay after they have given their credit card details have no chance of turning them into lifelong fans.
Because of that, this is a great interview question for product marketers. Answers can range from “asking customers what they would improve” to “measuring churn”.
But as long as your candidate knows how to measure the success of an onboarding sequence, you can consider hiring them.
11. What steps would you take to promote the acceptance of an unused product function? “
While product adoption can be a more accurately measured metric for by-product management, product marketers are better able to actually influence that metric through their work with sales, marketing, and customer success/support.
Given the myriad of angles from which PMMs can approach adoption, make sure a candidate offers several tangible tactics.
Better training sales reps pre-sale, providing better news for after-sales relationship managers, and working with marketing to educate customers are great tactics.
12. “How would you ensure that a price increase or a change in packaging would be well received internally and externally?”
Price or packaging changes can be disputed. Customers need empathetic communication about why prices are changing.
Your own sales and customer success/account management teams need a thorough understanding of the change, its impact on the existing business, and the logic behind the change.
Make sure each product marketing candidate understands the severity of these needs and is prepared with tactics that will ensure understanding and avoid backlash.
13. What metrics are most important to you when launching a new product?
Successful marketing campaigns are created through monitoring and improvement. It is important that your prospective project marketing manager knows – and this interview question can help you find out.
The introduction of new products or features will be a big part of their role. So ask them what metrics they would measure if they did a new product launch. Your answers could be:
- Product usage
- New customer sales
- Demos requested
14. How would you encourage customers to use our new feature / update their software?
Your product marketing strategy doesn’t end with the launch of a new product. They’ll likely add new features and updates over the months. Your new employee needs to know how to market these.
Use this question in the product marketing interview to assess whether you are capable of doing this. Keep track of candidates who can confidently come up with ideas on how to work with existing customers as they develop your product.
15. Which other team members would you need to collaborate with?
One of the most important skills a product marketer must have is communication. Chances are, you have multiple departments that fall under the marketing umbrella. It is important that your product marketing teamwork with them.
Ideally, your candidates will prove that they are team players. You should also be willing to communicate with other departments, such as:
- Customer support: Product marketers can chat with support teams and find out the right questions, bugs, or problems from your customers. Your job is to prevent new customers from asking the same questions.
- Sales: Do leads ask specific questions before they buy? Product marketers need to know this so that they can answer these frequently asked questions in their marketing campaigns.
16. What resources do you use to learn more about product marketing?
Product marketing best practices are constantly evolving. Just as an SEO strategy from 2012 doesn’t work today, go-to-market strategies will be very different in ten years.
You can ask this interview question to make sure your prospect is future-proofed. It’s good to hire someone who already has knowledge – but even better if they always have their finger on the pulse.
For example, your candidate could say that they have read books on product marketing or subscribed to podcasts like PIMtalk to keep up with the latest in the industry.
Regardless of the answer, be sure to keep your potential hiring up to date. It doesn’t matter whether blogs or books are their sources of information – as long as they are committed to learning.
17. Tell me about a time when you were able to influence a decision made by another manager.
One of the challenges as a product marketer is that you don’t always have the authority to make a decision even though you are responsible for achieving a goal, which means that you have to influence a decision-maker or an executive in your company.
For example, as a product marketer, you may not be responsible for developing the product as that is the job of the product manager, but you may need to influence the product manager on the functions that go down with a customer.
Your interlocutor wants to see if you can convincingly articulate your point of view and accurately reproduce the customer’s voice to represent their specific needs.
Most of the questions in the product marketing interview are marketing-oriented rather than product-oriented. Therefore, you should brush up on your marketing knowledge.
Additionally, product marketing is more about how a product is perceived and identifying the reasons for that perception. After all, these reasons are used for effective marketing measures.
Real product marketers use this perspective to address the challenges of product marketing.
Recruiters should tailor their questions in the product marketing interview accordingly.
Alternatively, product marketers should commit themselves to product marketing from the user’s point of view; that would automatically help you resolve your questions in the product marketing interview.
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