This entire site is essentially for Product Management–specificically the Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) since, as the owners of the product, they need to know everything here. By the way, even the VP of Marketing is a product manager–the “company” is his product, and the PMM’s own the product lines.
Product Manager Definition – Owns The Product
The Product Marketing Manager (added the word “Marketing” to clarify that “this” product manager sits in marketing (one of the four P’s of the marketing mix is “product”). There are also Product Engineering Manager that manages the development of the product–but they do not define it, nor do they own the P&L (have to make sure it is profitable). Marketing determines what goes into the product, Engineering determines how it is developed.
Sometimes There is Just a Product Manager
They may often sit in engineering–but this is wrong. It often creates an engineering-driven product (since that is their skillset)–not a market or customer-driven product. The result–they do not do as good a job of creating a competitive product the market is willing to pay for. It’s not that they can’t (many are brilliant), it’s just not their area of expertise. The first release often falls flat–then they have to gather market information to get it right on a subsequent release.
In contrast, the expertise of the product (marketing) manger is market research (to understand what the market wants, dissect the competition and define the product the market is willing to pay for), plus budgeting, how to price, how to sell and how to promote.
The PM is The Market Persona
They can have other pros in each of those areas, but they have to know enough about what should be done to ensure their product gets the attention needed to achieve the projected revenue. This role has to be technical enough to know the product, but their real strength is knowing EXACTLY what the market prefers and how to deliver it. They are the persona of the entire market (the typical customer). Then engineering only has to “wring them out” to get the customer requires and create a market-winning product.
The success or failure of a company is often dependent on how this position is understood and empowered within the organization. If the company understands that the product is “owned” by Product (marketing) Management (a mini GM) and that it is within this role that the customer requirements are identified, product features are developed, compiled and positioned, and then launched–then the organization has made the first step toward creating a market-driven product.
Best if a Two-Person Team
In the optimal situation, there is a Product Manager (the product GM (but still sits in marketing), a Product Marketing Manager (although this is often handled by Marcom) and a product engineering manager to ensure the product gets created according to the market requirements.
If there are two in the department, of the 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix, The Product Manager is technically capable and owns the product and ensures it is developed according to market needs (correct features, on time and on budget). The Product Marketing Manager deals with the business aspect of the Pricing, Placement, and Promotion. The Product Manager is typically the senior of the two and is competent in “ALL” aspects of his product (he or she has to be–or he will not know how to take the other aspects into consideration in defining the product (based on how it will be positioned, priced, promoted, and sold). I often have the Product Marketing Manager reporting to the Product Manager whenever I have a two-person team.
However, surprisingly, I have only had the luxury of having two people in the overall product ownership at one company. Everywhere else, there was a single product manager who was responsible for everything. This is a difficult role since the correct candidate must be technical enough (within a high-tech company) to be respected by engineering, but must not be such a “tech weenie” that they are not expert at all of the business aspects of the product.
The PM Is the GM, a Generalist, but Definition Specialist
I require my product managers to be experts in all areas of product management and product marketing and usually assign them the title of product marketing manager to emphasis that I expect them to know and own all 4 Ps. Within their role, Product Marketing Managers need to a) define, b) develop and c) launch their products.
Product Management Job Description
- Click here to see a detailed description of the duties of a product marketing manager.
Product Management Training
The 280 Group helps companies define, launch and market breakthrough new products by providing Consultants, Contractors, Training, and Templates. They have been so kind as to provide a PDF entitled, “Product Marketing Vs Product Management,” which further explains the roles of product management and product marketing.
Their website contains a LOT of valuable resources for product management and product marketing, plus they have some terrific “Toolkits” for Product Management, Product Roadmaps, Best programs, Developer Programs, MRD Outlines, Feature Matrix and much more.
Pragmatic Marketing (now Pragmatic Institute)
As a Senior VP at several multi-billion dollar companies and numerous start-ups, I have always struggled to find world-class Product Marketing Managers. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of well rounded PMM’s available. For this reason, I am usually required to train whoever I’ve got–and most training initiates with a course at Pragmatic Marketing.
I have talked with the President and CEO of Pragmatic Marketing, Craig Stull (although he has since retired and even the company has a slightly different name), and he has graciously given me permission to link to content directly on his site. I especially enjoy the articles that discuss the challenges of product marketing management within a corporate structure (these use to link–but they moved their pages–look within their site for the actual articles).
- Role of Product Management. Who does what within the organization?
- The Product Management Triad. Not all titles mean the same thing in each company.
- Titles and Responsibilities. Own the requirements, own the positioning?
- Time for product management. Between helping development, Marcom, and sales, when can you do product management?
- Where should product management be in the company? Empowering product managers.
- Writing the market requirements document. The title is evident.
- We built it but no one came. The old “Field of Dreams” marketing problem (usually an engineering problem)
- He who owns the compiler wins. How to persuade engineering to build what the market will buy.
- Get results or get approved. The politics of building credible marketing.
The Pragmatic Marketing site has several other articles. Many thanks to Pragmatic Marketing for allowing us to link to their content. Click here and send an e-mail (subscribe) to sign up for the Pragmatic Marketing newsletter (highly recommend).
Product Management Handbook
In addition, check out the 690 pages, 4th edition of, “The Product Management Handbook for Software,” by Rick Chapman. I have used this book extensively to help train my product managers and cross-train my marketing teams–I highly recommend it.
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