Product Marketing to C-Suite: 30 examples from leaders in tech

We deconstruct the career arc of PMMs who have gone on to lead Product Marketing teams, become CMOs and CEOs, and found companies

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Is product marketing the new path to the c-suite? 

Different times call for different types of leaders with relevant skill sets. And while product marketing isn’t the only path to c-suite, it’s becoming a proven path. 

For years product marketing has been the strategic underpinning of tech companies but without the spotlight. This is changing. And it’s important to understand, especially if you’re considering what a career trajectory looks like for product marketing. 

From Brain Chesky’s remark last summer about product management and product marketing merging into one role, to companies such as Shopify, Figma, Brex and Robinhood launching products through big narrative led events, product marketing is at the center of this evolution. 

As a product marketing leader, a typical discussion with a direct report during a career chat or a peer at a meetup is ‘where can I go with a background in product marketing and ‘how should I think about product marketing in terms of my broader career?’

Those aren’t easy questions with black and white answers. But they are very common questions whether you’re just starting in PMM, at the midpoint of your career, or at the director+ level. You want clarity on how the path you’re currently on can help you achieve your longer term career goals and have meaningful impact. 

We’ve shared why product marketing is the heart of tech marketing and last week we shared the 7 habits of marketers who get promoted.  Today we’re going to showcase Product Marketers who have gone on to become executives in tech. Based on our experience, these are the most common career paths we’ve seen PMMs take to have more impact in their career. 

Many high achievers are realizing the value of a PMM skillset in their career journey. So too are companies hiring senior leaders across marketing and product. Product marketers are strategic thinkers who found multi billion dollar startups, lead public companies, and drive impact across the tech industry. 

The product marketing function varies greatly by company, industry, and customer base so the end destination for career journeys are just as broad. Regardless of the industry or customer base, PMM is a breeding ground for – strategic thinking, customer empathy and insight, quantitative analysis, ability to work cross functionally and with executives, and execute at all levels. These skills are valuable across a range of career paths beyond core product marketing. 

The most common paths we’ve uncovered across consumer and B2B:

  • PMM → Head of PMM: start in product marketing, eventually lead Product Marketing for the company or lead product marketing and another marketing function such as PMM + Demand Gen; PMM + Market Research; PMM + Content Marketing 

  • PMM → Head of Marketing: lead a marketing pillar such as brand, performance, content, CRM, or lead marketing for a specific business unit  (eg Head of Marketing, EMA)

  • PMM → CMO: start in product marketing, eventually lead the entire marketing org for a company 

  • PMM → PM: start in product marketing, transition to product management

  • PMM → Founder: start in product marketing, then decide to start your own company  

  • PMM → CEO: start in product marketing, eventually lead the entire company 

Let’s dive into the 30 examples 

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