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#62: Secure Your Dream Promotion

How to confidently design the right career path

How do you make the jump from Sr PMM to Director? What about from Director to VP?

I get this question at least several times a week, and it’s the focus of most of my long-term coaching clients.

Breaking into leadership can often feel like an impossible challenge and many PMMs tell me they feel like they’re at the mercy of the market.

But, that’s just not true.

You are in the driver’s seat of your own career.

In today’s edition, we’re going to cover how to take control over your career and design the life of your dreams.

I promise, it’s closer than you think.

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Design Your Path to Marketing Leadership

This week, I had the opportunity to join my friend Maya Grossman, an executive career coach and 2X marketing VP, on a LinkedIn Live event to discuss our perspective on how to break through to leadership roles.

Between the two of us, we have over 25 years of experience building marketing careers and more than 20 role promotions (!).

Here’s the three buckets of advice we both recommend to those looking to get to the next level of their career.

Visualize Your Ideal Career and Lifestyle

Career design is the act of intentionally designing a career that is fulfilling, rewarding, and well-suited to the life you want to live. It’s rooted in the larger concept of lifestyle design.

Your first step is to tune into what you like doing and how you want to spend your time. What are the problems you are great at solving? What is the intersection of your skills/experiences/interests?

I love to ask the prompt, "what would a dream day look like when you’re in your dream role?”

Think about what you’re working on. Who you’re working with. Where you’re working from. When and how you’re working.

Many PMMs who complete this exercise actually realize the path they’re on will not lead to their dream life or dream role. If that’s the case, it’s time to pivot.

Don’t Restrict Yourself to the Expected Path

We tend to tell ourselves, “well if it doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t exist". But in reality, you have the power to create the opportunity. You just need to know what opportunity you want to create.

Here’s an example. I always knew I wanted to get to the C-Suite but I never resonated with the role of CMO. There’s nothing wrong with the role, it just wasn’t suited to my skillset or interests.

So, I designed my own role instead. I turned off the road to CMO and got onto the path to Chief Strategy Officer instead. But, I had some work to do. The CSO role wasn’t widely available or even understood. I knew I needed to reverse engineer my path to the top.

At the time I was a Director of PMM. Instead of working towards a VP of Marketing role, I worked with my Chief Revenue Officer to design a new role at the org — VP of PMM and Strategic Growth. This allowed me to continue to build my strategic muscle while also laying the groundwork for the creation of a CSO role. When it was time to promote me into executive leadership, there was no doubt I’d be promoted into the CSO role rather than the CMO role. I had already demonstrated my value as a strategy leader.

All that to say: you have the ability to choose the path you want to follow. And, if you don’t like the path ahead of you, trust that you are brave enough to turn off and find a new route.

Create the Proof Points for Promotion

Once you have clarity over where you want to go, get intentional about your priorities. Say no to (or delegate) initiatives that won’t support your growth and yes to initiatives that will fill your skill gap.

Look at the role you want to get promoted into next and make a list of the core skills you need to demonstrate in order to secure that role. Are you excellent at each of these skills? Do you have a proof point to back up this claim?

This will help you narrow down where you need to focus your efforts. Now, it’s time to find initiatives where you can develop and refine these missing skills. Is there a current project at your company where you could help out? Ask to be included. If nothing exists, build a business case and present it to your manager.

As you start to stack up your proof points, you’ll be one step closer to your dream role.

One More Thing…

There’s power in being able to effectively communicate your unique value. This is why I strongly believe every PMM needs a personal positioning statement. Build your personal positioning statement in 30 minutes or less with my free mini-course.


📚 Reading List: Designing Your Life, a book that shows you how to build a life you’ll love, forever changed me when I first read it 5 years ago.

🎧 Playlist: Episode 1 of my new podcast Ready for Launch dropped this week. Listen until the end to find out how to win a free spot in the next cohort of my Ready for Launch course.

Until next week,

Tamara Grominsky

Ready to build a high-impact career? Here’s a few ways I can help:

  • Build connection and grow your career alongside 150+ other PMM leaders. Join the waitlist for PMM Camp’s private community, the only community built for (and by) PMM leaders. New spots open up March 18.

  • Craft your own personal positioning statement in 30 minutes or less. Take my free mini course and learn how to identify and communicate your “secret sauce” as a PMM.

  • Need a product marketing mentor? Book a 45-minute 1:1 session with me to cover any topic of your choice.