How to transition from marketing to a product manager role?

Hi everyone. I’ve worked in marketing for almost 10 years now and am keen to pivot into PM. I have worked closely with both internal and external product teams as well as product managers on many technical projects but have no actual experience as a PM.

My questions are - are there any legitimate courses/qualifications I could take in this area?

Is there anything I can do to build up my PM skills in a real way before applying to any roles?

I’m happy and prepared to take a pay cut to build up my experience in this area, and am keen to know what types of roles could I look out for to transition into this type of work? Are there any “in-between” roles I could look for before a full step into PM? Or should I look for Junior PM roles?

Thank you in advance.

You are at a good place to make the transition with your experience. You already have the go-to-market part of the skill set covered. I think any PM needs skills in 6 areas: strategy, communication, design, technology, execution and go-to-market.

Whatever you decide to do next, ask yourself how good are you across these buckets. And then start taking courses or doing projects. Be honest with yourself about what you know and what you need to know. This will save you time and allow you to make progress in the right areas.

I am a big fan of doing things to learn things. There are so many courses out there to learn but very few of them offer active and rigorous project based learning. So take courses to cover the base concepts but then pick a project and start building. Use your marketing skills to do discovery and prioritize the most important problem. Then write your design doc and use no code tools to build it. The experience will be very rewarding as it will tell you what it takes to be a PM and it would let you decide for yourself whether this is for you or not.

Always remember: Actual experience > side projects > degrees/ certificates > nothing.


This is so very helpful and I’m thankful you have taken the time to write this.

I agree, nothing beats hands-on experience and I’ll do my best to get involved in some projects that will help me sharpen the skills in areas I may currently lack.

When you mention no-code tools, do you have any recommendations? Or somewhere I can do some research?

Thanks again.

There are a bunch of them out there but I personally prefer WordPress and the plugin system. Beyond that, this site has a comprehensive list of no-code tools.

At an early stage, you don’t need to worry about anything fancy. Just pick the tool that is most easy to use and start building. Over time, you will start understanding the difference between different tools and make the call based on your needs.

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I’m a technical product manager of internal tools so I currently don’t have GTM or sales experience. Is it possible to build these with side projects? How can I learn this skill? I work for a b2c fintech firm so there are not many GTM activities happening here at the product manager level.

GTM is used in both consumer and enterprise PM roles. For consumer roles, do a project that solves a problem for a set of users and create a clear marketing plan to reach out and acquire these users. This will be your test for GTM. For enterprise, you can do this at your own company. Learn how sales team positions the product to customers. Talk to customers and refine the value prop. Make friends with sales people and get in front of the customer to know what they want. Then start bucketing your customers in personas and create plans to acquire and retain them. That would be enough to get a good understanding of GTM.

GTM is hard because it is not in your control. You can work with engineers all day to build stuff and launch stuff. But, convincing someone else to give you their time and use your product is very very hard.

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