The Need for a Mentor in Product Management or Product Marketing

Wow. I know.  Long time no post.  But hey, everyone has to take a vacation, right?

Well, here we are, back at it.  And speaking of vacations, my boss got me the Seth Godin action figure above on one of his vacations a few years ago.  If you have to ask who Seth Godin is, perhaps you are reading the wrong blog :-).

In any case, 5 years ago I did not know who Seth Godin is either.  And then, as I was trying to make the transition from Product Management to Product Marketing, I got one of his books from Amazon (“All Marketers are Liars”) and BAM! It happened.  I finally “got it” – what marketing was about.   And that changed my career path dramatically.

Which comes to the point of my post.  And by the way, I’m no Marketing Guru – you will read this in about every book about career development:

We all need role models or mentors to help us succeed.

And that is very true for Product Management or Marketing.  Because like some professions, you just don’t learn the important stuff in a classroom.  You have to get your hand dirty; someone has to show you the ropes.  And hopefully, eventually the student  surpasses the teacher.

What do you get from a role model or mentor?

Well, a lot of things.  But I will tell you what I think is the most important – after you’ve studied your profession; after you’ve read or taken classes on how to do your job; after you’ve had a few successes – someone needs to tell you that “you’re not ALL THAT”.  Meaning you have to keep improving.

So to me, the role model or mentor is mostly like a coach.

And as I usually tell my student-athlete daughters: “Don’t worry when your coach yells at you.  That means that they care.  Worry when they’ve stopped yelling at you – because then they’ve given up on making you better.”

I’ve had the privilege of mentoring some Product Managers or Product Marketing Managers who have done very well.  So maybe that’s why I started this blog – it’s something I really enjoy doing.  And if I can help the next budding Seth Godin, that would be very cool.

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