GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
BROWSE CATEGORIES
GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY

Product Marketing vs Product Management

Know The Difference!

I've experienced my fair share of change working in the software industry. In fact, over the last three years, I've reported to five different managers! This may sound like I'm complaining (okay, I am a little!), but in reality it's offered me the ability to understand my current role as Director of Product Management more deeply.


Prior to becoming Director of Product Management, I worked in both product marketing and product management. Spoiler alert, when it comes to product marketing vs product management - there's a lot of overlap! But there are some clear differences too. What I've learned is that these differences vary widely depending on the company (number of employees, departments, etc.).

Defining Product Marketing & Product Management

So…product marketing vs product management, what are the actual differences? Let's start off by defining each term. The Berkley Haas School of Business says "product managers (also known as PMs) are responsible for the overall success of the product."

They essentially create the product by guiding the development team throughout the entire process. This means they are in daily or weekly meetings, letting engineers and designers know what to build and when. They also define all the details about the product and then communicate this information to others.

On the other hand, once the product is built, it's the product marketer's job to work with marketing, sales, and the product team to bring it to market. But, even before the product is built, the product marketing manager (PMM) is responsible for fully understanding what customers need.

Okay now that you know the basics, let's break them down a bit more. What are the key responsibilities of a product marketer and product manager? And what's the overlap between the two roles?

Product Marketing vs Product Management: The Overlap

There is some overlap between these roles. Let's take a look at the two main overlapping responsibilities:

  1. Understanding your customer's needs. Both PMs and PMMs need to stay in the know with what customers are expecting of the product and the future roadmap. For example, my company recently held a customer advisory board and both the lead product marketer and product managers facilitated the session.
  2. Communicating product information to stakeholders. PMs and PMMs both communicate product strategy, messaging, and roadmap information to external customers and partners, as well as internal employees. For example, whenever my organization releases new features, product management oversees the external communications to customers. However, product marketing ensures it is clear and well-aligned with our company's overall product messaging. So again, both positions play an important role in communicating product information to company stakeholders.

Product Management

Now let's take a closer look at product management. Generally speaking, the product management team handles the following:

  • Researching competitors and their pricing
  • Defining the product roadmap, based on customer feedback
  • Leading the engineering effort based on the roadmap
  • Managing software license requirements
  • Communicating software changes to internal stakeholders
  • Communicating with customers when issues arise

So you may be wondering, what are the skills and education required for this role? You need to be a master communicator, highly organized, and detail-oriented. It's great to be skilled in project management, as you'll be communicating with multiple stakeholders and leading various product development efforts!

If you're looking for a role in software product management, it's good to know agile software development methods. It also helps to have a computer engineering background, but it's not required. Want to learn more about this position? Check out ProductSchool. You can take courses online and in-person, and their YouTube channel offers free resources.

Product Marketing

Okay, moving on to product marketing. Key responsibilities include:

  • Discussing company strategy and roadmap with industry analysts
  • Enabling internal stakeholders with product messaging (e.g. sales, marketing and customer service)
  • Defining product pricing
  • Interfacing with customers for market research (e.g. customer advisory boards)
  • Understanding the competitive market and how your company fits in
  • Defining the long-term product strategy
  • Supporting sales and marketing in external product messaging

To excel as a product marketing manager, you need to be a master communicator, highly organized, and detail-oriented (just like in product management). It's also critical to be able to communicate cross-functionally, meaning you can collaborate with other departments.

Do these sound like things you'd be good at? If you're looking to launch a career in this field, it helps to have marketing degree, as well. Check out these free resources to learn more about marketing. You could also shadow someone in product marketing at your current company or take some online courses on Udemy, Skillcrush, Lynda.com, or OpenSesame.

So...product management vs product marketing, you now know the key differences.

Product managers are focused on building the product and working daily with the development team to deliver on the product roadmap. Product marketers are focused on then delivering that product to the market, communicating the key messages to all stakeholders.

Both product management and product marketing play a critical role in the business - the departments have to work together to ensure products remain competitive in the marketplace. Knowing and understanding them both (and how they work together) puts you way ahead of other applicants!

S&P Global Inc

Prepare for Your Interview at S&P Global with These Tips from Recruiter Kiana Labuhn

Kiana Labuhn, Recruiter at S&P Global, shares an exclusive take on the most important tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Diversity & Inclusion

How Bumble’s Director of Engineering Learned to Be Herself at Work—and Encourages Team Members to Do the Same

Rose Hitchcock found out she was pregnant with her third child halfway through the process of interviewing to be Director of Engineering at Bumble.

She told the team at the social media and dating app and that didn't change their plans to hire her. "They were completely fine with it, really supportive," says Rose.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
popular

How These 9 Companies Are Celebrating Difference This Autism Awareness or Acceptance Month

Five million adults in the U.S. have autism spectrum disorder, per the CDC. More are considered neurodivergent, which can refer to people with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.

You've met some of them—maybe they're your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, or perhaps you identify as neurodivergent yourself.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Career Advice

The NBA’s CMO Kate Jhaveri on Her Marketing Superpower: Building Community

Kate Jhaveri does one thing every day that she suggests you try: belly laughs.

The EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at the NBA credits her two kids with much of that levity—"They're very silly and they, at least once a day, make me laugh out loud," she says—though she seeks to make those lighter connections with her team at work, too.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
© Rebelmouse 2020