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Your Company's First PMM

January 10, 2022

Today I had a lively email exchange with a friend about the difference between Product Marketing and more general Brand Marketing in growth-stage SaaS startups.

I was outlining the types of tasks that product marketing typically owns (messaging, positioning, launches, product adoption, competitive analysis, sales enablement, and so on) and they communicated back to me, “In my previous job, I was totally doing all of those things, but my marketing department was a team of three, so we wore all the hats.”

When you’re wearing all of the hats, it can be tricky to even realize you’re wearing the PMM hat vs. the Demand Gen hat vs. the Marketing Ops hat.

Product Marketing is a strategic specialization.

Before your company had a specialized Product Marketing department, somebody was getting the product marketing work done.

Maybe it was a whip-smart copywriter who truly understood the language of the audience;

Maybe it was a fiery product manager who liked to run their own product launches;

Maybe it was the first marketing hire, who wrote their own messaging maps before running their campaigns;

Before all of them, it was the company founders, doing the original product marketing to sell the vision and win over the first customers.

Which is to say—if somebody wants to hire you to be “their first product marketer” I think it’s fair to call bullshit.

There was always a PMM there before you.