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What is a Product Marketing Specialist?

Are you gearing up to launch a new product? Hope you’ve done your homework. Of the 30,000 products introduced every year, only 5% (or 1,500) will actually succeed.

There’s no such thing as too big to fail. Look at Google Glass, New Coke, or Colgate Beef Lasagna

Even if your products are positively game-changing, failing to position them will result in failure.

This is where product marketing specialists come into play. Well-versed in business intelligence and fast on their feet, they do the heavy lifting of researching, proof-testing, and positioning your products.

And best of all, they get results. It’s one of the reasons why they’re so in-demand:

Product Marketing Specialist

But product marketing specialists don’t just market products. There’s a wide variety of tasks and skills required to get the job done right. 

So what exactly do product marketers do? And how can they benefit your organization? 

Let’s break it down.

What Is Product Marketing?

Businesses define product marketing in all sorts of ways. 

Let’s start with some definitions from actual product marketers:

“Liaisons between product engineers and end clients.”

Marvin Chow, Vice President of Global Marketing at Google

“Imbuing meaning into the company’s brand through developing a cohesive product portfolio.”

Priya Doty, Ex-Vice President, Product Marketing at IBM Z and LinuxONE

“Expressing the value of your solutions to customers.”

Carol Carpenter, VP of Product Marketing at Google Cloud

“The voice of sales teams and prospective customers during product development and release.”

Meghann York, Global Head of Product Marketing at SAP CX

“Product marketing changes from business to business and is more executional than strategic.”

Aaron Brennan, Product Marketing Ambassador and Mentor at PMA

How do we condense all these quotes into a simple definition?

Said simply, product marketers position products to attract leads, satisfy customers, and encourage long-term growth.

💡Note: Expectations for product marketers may look different from one organization to the next.  But if a company is hiring for a role that focuses on product development and positioning, you can assume it’s a product marketing specialist role.

Examples of Product Marketing

Corporate giants use product marketing specialists to find the right pitch (and market) for new releases. These Fortune-500s spend millions of dollars finding the perfect differentiators for their products.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • For New Balance, it’s about selling classic sneakers that ‘reinvent’ athleticism. 

New Balance

  • For Evernote, it’s a focus on ease of use for personal users.


  • For MailChimp, it’s reinforcing that their software makes life easy for ‘growing businesses.’


Types of Product Marketers

This article mostly discusses product marketing specialists, but there are a few other product marketing roles you should know.

They include:

  • Associate product marketing specialists. As a rule of thumb, product marketing associate positions are for entry-level professionals (below two years of experience). Product marketing specialist positions are for those in their mid-career (three to six years of experience).
  • Senior product marketing manager. These are typically specialists with seven to 12 years of experience and are generally in charge of the product marketing team.
  • Freelance product marketers. These are usually contract professionals with mid to senior-level experience, which makes them a great fit for short-term gigs.

Who Works With Product Marketers?

Product marketing specialists execute most strategies by working alongside other sales and marketing titles

The most common ones (based on how closely-together they work) are:

  • Customer success teams (3.1%)
  • Sales enablement crews (6.2%)
  • Sales departments (15.4%)
  • Marketing professionals (like Heads of Growth) (32.5%)
  • Other specialists on the product marketing team (38.7%)

What Does A Product Marketing Specialist Do?

Good question.

Since the product marketer is a relatively new role, definitions and expectations differ from business to business. Because of this, it’s often misunderstood — only 5% of product marketers today believe their roles are fully understood by employers, despite the amount of literature circulating on the web. Because these experts may be required to take on different tasks according to the company, it’s difficult to know what to expect.

Product Marketing Specialists Responsibilities

Product marketing specialists primarily assist in the development of pre, go-to, and post product launch strategies. This typically leads to A/B testing, KPI tracking, and other measurements of success.

In PMA’s State of Product Marketing Leadership 2023 report, product marketers say they’re most responsible for:

  • Product positioning
  • Go-to market strategies and execution
  • Sales enablement
  • Product vision
  • Achieving revenue goals
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Pricing and packaging
  • Product design
  • Product design

Most product marketing specialists are employed to support the product marketing manager, although smaller organizations may not use the same titles. 

Ultimately, these experts help marketing teams, sales teams, and product developers align their work effectively.

Product Marketing Specialist Skills

With such extreme variance between employers and projects, the product marketing specialist needs a wide range of skills.

Here are the ones most PM specialists value most:

  • Go-to market strategy and execution
  • Messaging
  • Value prop development
  • Positioning
  • Writing skills and content creation
  • User experience
  • Sales enablement
  • Competitive analysis
  • Persona creation

Keep in mind pricing and packaging knowledge is also a part of this matrix, although it may be more or less relevant depending on the specific role.

How Much Do Product Marketing Specialists Make?

Average Product Marketing Specialist Salary

In-house product marketing specialists have a salary range of $63,000 to $126,000 depending on skills and experience. 

Freelance and part-time workers also charge based on experience. These may vary according to your country or location, but you can typically expect:

  • Entry Level: $25 to $50 per hour)
  • Mid-Level: ($50 to $100 per hour)
  • Senior: ($100 to $150 per hour)
  • Executive: ($150+ per hour)

Does Your Company Need A Product Marketing Specialist?

Product marketing specialists are a net positive in almost any industry. They’re perhaps most hired by growing startups, established brands, and enterprise SaaS companies.

Even developer tools and cloud platforms need positioning before launch, which is why tech and engineering firms hire product marketers in droves.

But not every company needs to hire a full-time product marketer, especially not if their funds are stretched thin. 

Product marketers might not be the best investment for your company if:

  • You don’t have a fully formed marketing department.
  • You have a small or nonexistent sales team.
  • You’re relying on another professional (like a Head of Content) to manage your product marketing strategy.
  • You only have one product and don’t plan on launching more.
  • You’re not changing your sales cycle in the future.
  • You don’t have space in the budget for a new hire.

In contrast, you may be ready to hire a product marketing specialist if:

  • You have a long sales cycle. Product marketers are exceptionally good and streamlining B2B sales cycles.
  • You already have a Chief Marketing Officer (or at least a head of marketing). Corporate decision-makers are complemented well by top-level product marketing strategies, especially when they are holistically incorporated across multiple channels and touchpoints.
  • You’re interested in starting an omnichannel or multichannel marketing schema. Product marketing specialists can help you juggle the specifics.

At the end of the day, choosing to hire or not hire a product marketing specialist is entirely up to you. 

Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons, consider future opportunities, and position yourself for sustainable growth.

Choosing The Right Marketing Specialists

If you’re ready to invest in a product marketing specialist, expect to reap the rewards in very short order. 

Where can you find professionals like these? We suggest looking in less traditional places:

Of course, hiring full-time internal roles isn’t possible for every company. It might make sense to start small instead.

First, look at who’s already on your team. Maybe your Head of Content or Head of Marketing has the experience to manage small tasks for now.

Then, consider a consulting firm. They may be pricey, but they’re cheaper than hiring a full-time professional.

Finally, explore professional ghostwriters and content marketing agencies. These experts can help you position your content and drive product campaigns on an ad-hoc basis.

On that note, if you’re looking for video tutorials, technical guides, and social media collateral, Draft.dev may be an interim partner for your product marketing needs. By working alongside thousands of SMEs and experienced marketing professionals, we help technical decision-makers, software developers, and platform engineers find value in your product.

You can schedule a Discovery Call with our team and chat more candidly about your needs.

Meagan Shelley

By Meagan Shelley

Meagan is a professional writer in VA that specializes in content marketing, research, and SEO. If she's not helping people craft their own stories, she's working on some of her own. When she takes time to step away from the laptop, she enjoys hiking, farmer's markets, and occasional thru-hikes.