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Guest Column: There Are Not Enough Product Marketers in the World

Guest Column: There Are Not Enough Product Marketers in the World

There Are Not Enough Product Marketers in the World

But the work still needs to get done

by Harvey Lee

Product marketing (PMM) has become sought after in recent years because of its deep strategic insight into the go-to-market process. It sits at the intersection of product, marketing, and sales, choreographing the business’s growth engine.

The product marketing scene is like a blockbuster with a plot twist nobody saw coming.

Remember the mad scramble for headcount during lockdown? During the tech layoffs, many were first out the door. Talk about whiplash. As we went from a seller’s to a buyer’s market within three years, things are normalizing despite 2.6% fewer PMMs in jobs globally.

Herein lies the paradox:

  • Fewer numbers of product marketers year over year.
  • More interest in the function’s value (there are nearly half a million subscribers to LinkedIn’s PMM skills articles, and the number is growing at a rate of 5,000 per month).
  • Unfilled roles that lay open for six months or more.

Leaving the undeniable fact that the work still needs to be done.

This impasse is not just a challenge for product marketers; it also impacts organisational operations and progress. It’s a familiar story, and it usually goes like this: Projects slow or stall, the CFO reclaims the unused budget, and the team loses faith that anything positive will happen. I hear it often.

A product marketing consultant can be the key to unlocking this impasse. Their expertise and strategic insight can provide a straightforward solution to a complex problem, offering progress in the face of the current scarcity.

Not so fast.

Only 1.5% of product marketers identify as PMM consultants (I’m one of them), and 70%+ of the current crop are moonlighters between full-time gigs. When the next full-time gig comes up, our moonlighters will vaporise. But scarcity isn’t the only hurdle. Shockingly, most organisations are unaware that PMM consultants exist. In an exit survey from my recent talks in San Francisco, New York and London, 70% of attendees said they’d consider a product marketing consultant when they realised it was an option.

Yet, pre-talk, only 10% realised it was an option. Most do not realise it’s even a possibility. This highlights a critical blind spot for businesses.

The work can get done if you think differently.

Amidst budget cuts, headcount reductions, and hiring delays, a product marketing consultant can be a game-changer for any business or project. Discretionary funds often open up for such opportunities, not affecting your marketing or headcount budget. Most consultants (including the one writing this) work on an advisory, project or fractional basis and deliver value in multiples vs the investment.

Opportunity Knocks.

Let’s say you are among the 70% who would consider a product marketing consultant, and now you know it’s an option. What should you do next? You have two choices:

  1. An individual
    1. Cost-effective
    2. More flexible
    3. Hard to find
  1. An agency/company
    1. More expensive
    2. Scalable
    3. Easier to find

Fact: 70% of all PMMs are in North America, the UK or Europe and unsurprisingly, most of the consulting options are in the States. Although I’m in London, I work worldwide and would be delighted to advise you on your options if you contact me. I coach, advise, and get the work done. I also partner with clients to speak at kick-offs and other events.

Time to finally get the work done?

Harvey Lee is a Global top-ten Product Marketing Consultant (cited by the PMA), author of Backstage Pass, and founding member of the Product Marketing Alliance (where he was VP). Contact; [email protected] or visit https://harvey-lee.com/
©️ 2024 Harvey Lee.
Data source: With permission of Product Marketing Alliance (PMA).

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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