You've perfected that resume. You hand it in – eagerly anticipating a response. Days go by. Tick tock, tick tock, tick... and then you receive the email. They want to talk. Game time.
It's no secret that job interviews can be as nerve-wracking as they are exciting. But don't let the butterflies in your stomach take control just yet.
To ensure you ace that product marketing interview, I’ve compiled a list of five questions you're likely to face – along with guidance on how to answer them like a pro.
Ready? Let's go.
What Are Companies Looking for In Their Next Product Marketer?
While product marketing may look a bit different for every company, there are certain skills and qualities that all successful product marketers share.
Here are some important assets and competencies that make a great product marketer – ones that you can show off in your responses to interview questions.
- Excellent communication skills. A product marketer's job is to communicate the value of a product to both internal and external stakeholders. To ensure everyone’s on the same page, you could co-develop product and marketing goals, organize regular debriefs, and use a shared comms platform to promote cross-functional teamwork.
- Creativity. A good product marketer is able to come up with new and innovative ways to position and market a product. They're also the ones responsible for creating catchy taglines and eye-catching ad campaigns. For example, while Wix targets designers and agencies and Squarespace targets small businesses and companies, Webflow, while similar in its core function to the others, rose to stardom by focusing on the sweet gap between designers and developers, which was a refreshing value proposition for a niche market.
- Strong ability to empathize with customers. Product marketers must know the customer inside-out. This means being able to understand their needs, motivations, and challenges. You must be able to use this knowledge to accurately position your product and craft messaging in a way that resonates. Drift serves sales and marketing teams as a live chat tool. They realized that most businesses rely on emails, phone, or video calls to close deals which all have their own set of flaws slowing teams down. So instead of the gazillion other live-chat competitors targeting customer support teams, they were able to draw out a missed communication opportunity for sales and marketing teams and their customers.
- A knack for analyzing data (and the willpower to act on it). Being able to analyze data is crucial for any product marketer. After all, you can't improve what you don't measure. Data analysis skills with tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel come in handy when crafting marketing strategies, assessing the effectiveness of campaigns, and making decisions about product features. If you see that one version of the copy is raking in more clicks, then you’ll need to accept that your “favorite” line is not the most effective, and say goodbye to it.
Tips for Warming Up for a Product Marketing Interview
There's a saying: "failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
So before you walk into that product marketing interview, take some time to prepare. How do you do that, exactly? Here are a few pointers:
- Review your past experiences and skills to develop stories to bring to the interview.
- Conduct thorough research on the company. Know their strong suits, find out what they're up to via social media and Google, identify and match with the company culture, and learn about their competitors.
- Have chats with their in-house employees. Through informational interviews, get some first-hand insight on the position, expectations, and company culture. Find their employee profiles on LinkedIn and introduce yourself and your interest in their company.
- You could say: “Hey John! I’m interested in applying as a POSITION at COMPANY NAME. We might be colleagues soon! Could I trouble you with a few questions?” Once they reply, ask about their onboarding experience, current projects, and opinions on industry news or trends. Remember to also chat about yourself – it's a conversation that can help you make an impression.
Interview Response Frameworks
When thinking of a strong answer to your interview question, it’s a good idea to speak truthfully and follow the frameworks below that have proven reliable time and time again:
- STAR (Situation, Tasks, Actions, Results). When using the STAR framework, you'll want to first provide some context or background on the situation. Then, describe the tasks and actions you took to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Finally, finish up with the results of your efforts – remember to show numbers to really wow interviewers.
- SOAR (Situation, Obstacles, Actions, Results). This framework is perfect for behavioral questions that ask when you've faced challenges and had to come up with creative solutions. Again, start by providing some context on the situation. Then, describe the obstacles you faced and how you overcame them. Finish up by sharing how much you improved the state of things with numbers if possible.
- CAR (Challenge, Action, Result) framework. In this, you'll want to start by describing a challenge you faced at work. Then, detail the actions you took to address that challenge. Finally, finish up with what happened as a result of your efforts and how it positively impacted the company.
Five Product Marketing Interview Questions and Answers
1) What's the last product marketing strategy that caught your attention?
When interviewers ask this question, they're looking to see if you have your finger on the pulse regarding latest industry trends. They also want to gauge your intellectual curiosity – like what kind of campaigns spark your interest and what a "good campaign" looks like for you.
To answer this question, provide some context on what drew you to the campaign, and then explain why you thought it was effective.
You might say:
"I recently saw a great campaign from Bellroy for a product launch for slim wallets. I was really intrigued by it because they took the "men's need for portability" to another level by implementing an interactive scale that shows how thick their wallets are using various cards and then compared it to a regular bulky wallet.
I thought it was effective because it spoke to their target audience directly by showing how their product can make men's lives easier. Plus, the use of humor and interactive elements made it memorable."
2) What's a good product that you think should be marketed differently?
This question is designed to see if you have strong opinions on marketing and whether or not you're able to back them up. The interviewer is also looking to get a sense of your ability to be critical and provide constructive feedback.
When answering this question, be sure to first explain what you think makes the product good. Remember that your goal isn't to be "right," but rather, it's to share a unique point of view that you can back up with supporting details or insights. Your goal should be to demonstrate your understanding of a product, its marketing, messaging, and product positioning.
You might respond with:
"I think Nike makes great clothing products, but I feel like they miss the mark when it comes to their target market. I think they try to be everything to everyone, which muddies their message. A lot of their advertising focuses on celebrity athletes, which I think alienates the everyday person who just wants to get in shape. I think they could connect better with their target market if they focused on telling stories of how regular people use their products to improve their lives."
Here you demonstrate critical thinking skills and confidence in your abilities by critiquing a worldwide established brand, where many wouldn’t think twice about their strategy.
3) How do you measure the success of product marketing?
This question is meant to test your ability to set objectives and KPIs, as well as track and measure progress against those goals. The interviewer wants to know if you're able to identify what success looks like, and then take the necessary steps to achieve it.
When answering this question, start by sharing how you would set up a product marketing plan. What objectives would you set? What key performance indicators (KPIs) would you track? How would you measure progress along the way?
Be sure to include both quantitative and qualitative measures in your answer. For example, you might say:
"When setting up a product marketing plan, I always start by identifying specific goals I want to achieve. For example, my goal might be to increase brand awareness by X% or to drive Y number of sales in a given period of time.
From there, I'll identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help me measure progress towards those goals. For brand awareness, I might track metrics like social media engagement, website traffic, or media mentions. And for sales, I would track the number of leads generated, conversion rate, and revenue.
I think it's important to track both quantitative and qualitative measures because they give you a well-rounded view of progress. For example, even if sales numbers are down, qualitative measures like customer feedback can give you insights into why that might be and how to improve."
4) Describe a time when you had to pivot your product marketing strategy.
This question is designed to test your ability to think on your feet and adapt to change. The interviewer wants to know if you're able to be flexible in your approach and make quick decisions when necessary.
When answering this question, share a specific example of a time when you had to make a major change to your product marketing strategy. What was the situation? What did you do? Why did you do it?
Be sure to include details about what worked and what didn't so that the interviewer can get a sense of your thought process.
For example, you might say:
"I remember when we first launched our cooking app, Cookeria, that scans ingredients in your fridge to intelligently generate healthy recipes. We thought it would be most successful with young college students living on their own. But after doing some market research, we realized that students are in love with takeout and partying. They simply don’t have the time, interest, nor discipline in making their own meals regularly with what’s in the fridge. We realized that our target market was actually working millennials ready to take responsibility for themselves and their finances.
We quickly pivoted our strategy and started marketing the product as a way for busy parents and Millenials to quickly and easily get dinner on the table. We changed our messaging, target market, and even our advertising channels. And it worked! We saw a significant increase in sales after making these changes."
5) What do you think is the most important trait for a product marketing manager?
This question is meant to test your ability to identify the key skills and qualities that are necessary for success in the role. The interviewer wants to know if you have a good understanding of what it takes to be successful in product marketing.
When answering this question, try to be as specific as possible. What specific skills and qualities do you think are most important? Why? How have you seen these qualities contribute to success in the role?
For example, you might say:
"I think the most important trait for a product marketing manager is the ability to think critically and solve problems. In this role, you're constantly faced with challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome – especially when dealing with advertising metrics that may not always turn out as you thought. The best product marketing managers are able to quickly assess a situation, identify the problem, and come up with a solution.
I've seen this critical thinking skill set lead to success time and time again in my career. When faced with a difficult challenge, those who are able to think critically and solve problems always seem to come out on top."
Interested in some other product marketing questions? Reddit and Quora are gold mines for actionable information and first-hand experiences without the fluff.
Need Some Extra Practice? Get FAANG-level Pointers
Now that you know the critical questions that interviewers may ask, rehearse it all in a power-packed performance in front of FAANG coaches who will help you with interview preparation.
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