Five Attributes of a Successful Product Marketing Contractor

Before starting CyberEdge in 2012, I worked for technology vendors for nearly two decades. Over the years, I’ve worked with dozens of product marketing contractors and freelancers to develop content for white papers, brochures, and blogs and to perform other common product marketing functions, such as market research, product launch planning, and competitive analysis. Let’s just say that I know what to look for and what to avoid.

The following are five important attributes that I look for when working with product marketing contractors:

#1: Deep subject matter expertise. Nothing is more frustrating than having to spend countless hours training a product marketing contractor on your IT industry segment and then having to spend even more hours making extensive edits to every content draft submitted. I’m looking for at least a decade of experience in my IT industry segment. Yes, such a contractor may cost more, but my time is valuable.

#2: Strong technical foundations. Many good PMMs start out in technical roles, such as sales engineers or consulting engineers. Other good PMMs have a passion for learning about technology and pick up on new concepts quite easily. An ideal product marketing contractor is fluent in technology and is able to simplify technical concepts into language that anyone can understand.

#3: Outstanding writing abilities. Assuming you want your product marketing contractor to develop content, they’ve got to be able to write well. Be sure to ask for writing samples and previous employer / client references. Then don’t be shy by asking them what their favorite hobby is and then asking them to turn around a page or so of content describing why they like their hobby so much. Or… just ask them if they write good. If they say “yes,” then show them the door. (They should write “well.”)

#4: Totally reliable. Nobody is perfect. But you shouldn’t have to ask your product marketing contractor to do something three times before it gets done. And if they’re going to be late on a task, they should let you know before the task is due and immediately and proactively reset expectations. Ideal product marketing contractors should be self-sufficient and require little direction.

#5: Excellent communicator. Each of us is born with two ears and one mouth. A good product marketing contractor should listen carefully to your instructions and ask clarification questions rather than making potentially inaccurate assumptions. They should also be good at communicating both verbally and in writing as they’ll likely be interacting with your colleagues. How your product marketing contractor performs will positively or negatively impact your performance and the performance of your team.

Fewer than five percent of product marketing contractors who apply to CyberEdge meet these five criteria. We’re picky because we have to be. Our customers’ success is our success.

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