Hi, I’m Justin Topliff. Here’s my story and the “why” behind creating this summit.

Two years ago, I left my job in venture capital and management consulting. During that time, I focused a lot on marketing. I knew I enjoyed tech, so I started looking at software companies. I fell in love with Infusionsoft in Arizona, and applied for a “Product Marketing Specialist” position. Why? Because it had the word marketing in it.

Did I have any idea what product marketing, specifically, was? Nope.

Like most product marketers, I stumbled into product marketing by accident. I was pretty lucky, actually. But if you want a job in product marketing, where do you start? How do you get in?

There’s no clear path into product marketing. There’s not even a degree for it in universities yet. When I ask other product marketers how they wound up in the field, most:

  • Spent years gaining enough experience in their field or product to be considered experts
  • Paid out of pocket to go through expensive certification programs, with no guarantee of  a job
  • Came from an entirely separate department, like Sales or Support
  • Knew somebody and had an ‘in’

Like I said, I was lucky. But once I found myself in product marketing, there was still no defined path to help me excel, faster. I was alone and quickly found that figuring things out on your own is exhausting.

There is a lack of knowledge for product marketers

Product marketers are underserved by existing educational resources. Product management has been around for decades. As such, there’s plenty of knowledge and information for product managers. Sadly, I found it not directly applicable to product marketing.

Despite this, I read as much as I could find. But as we all remember from college, textbooks not only suck, but become outdated and irrelevant quickly.

There is no community for product marketers

Tribal knowledge is the most valuable knowledge. We can go through educational or certificate programs all day long, but when’s the last time you actually used anything you learned in college?

What’s more valuable than textbooks? Seeing how other product marketers faced the same challenges you’re currently facing. Emulating their successful approaches. Learning from their mistakes so you don’t have to make them on your own. And sharing your knowledge with the community so they can do the same.

Other people at your company don’t understand what product marketing is or how to leverage it

Another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people don’t understand what product marketing is. This rings true for people you meet at networking events and often other departments inside of your company.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they did?

How can product marketers be effective if the company doesn’t understand how to utilize us and leverage our work? So, in addition to the need for our education, there is a need to educate those around us.

The solution started with one phone call

I was frustrated and felt helpless. I was sick of wading through ambiguity. So, I picked up the phone and called a product marketer at Zendesk. Turns out she was feeling the same way.

“Do you want to just talk for an hour and see if our teams can help each other?” I asked.

So we did. And it was awesome. We both found huge value in this. And then, I realized there was huge value in this for the product marketing community. I figured that if I can get some of the best product marketers together into one online conference, that would be exactly the resource I wished I had when I started.

That’s why i created the Product Marketing Summit. And since I remember how hard starting out was, I decided to give you all the interviews FREE for a limited time. It’s my way of jump-starting the community and saying “thank you” to everyone who supported me along the way.

We will be the same person in five years as we are today, except for the people we meet and the books we read. We already read a lot of books, so let’s meet new people, learn some new things and create a community so all of us can become better product marketers. Sign up below.

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