Over the last several years, there has been a growing demand among online businesses for product marketing managers.
Not without good reason.
Digital enterprises understand the importance of developing a sound strategy that helps them go-to-market with the right product messaging.
The industry is competitive.
It also doesn’t help that customers are fickle.
According to Touro Law, customers subconsciously form an opinion about a product after less than two minutes of interacting with it.
If your products aren’t convincing, you won’t convert leads into paying customers.
A product marketing manager takes care of that for you.
As a former product marketer manager and current partner of Product HQ (28,000+ product manager members) I’ve learned a lot about the product marketing manager role.
In this post, you’ll learn what it takes to be an expert in digital product marketing and boost sales for your business.
What is a Product Marketing Manager Role?
A product marketing manager is someone who develops, implements, and oversees strategies that communicate a product’s value to a given market.
Consequently, this profile monitors the success of these strategies and analyzes new product data in order to make amends to the implemented marketing strategy should the need arise.
Product marketing, in itself, is a branch of business development that centers around orienting people about a product in an effort to get sales.
In doing so, the field takes into account a number of marketing tactics that are built on solid marketing principles.
Of these tactics, strategic positioning and messaging rank among the most significant in the marketer’s quest to increase revenue and create a buzz around your product.
It is important to highlight that although product marketing and conventional marketing are not the same, by no means are they separate entities.
In fact, product marketing exists as a subset within the broader umbrella term of conventional marketing.
The main differentiating factor between the two lays in each one’s focus.
A product marketing manager seeks to increase sales for your products by growing their demand among a given audience.
On the other hand, conventional marketing encompasses other facets of digital marketing that are not a prime concern for a product marketing expert.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Lead generation and lead acquisition operations that do not deal with the product
- Link building
Product marketing managers deal with promoting your business’s brand through your products.
Product Marketing Manager vs Product Manager
Two professional profiles that often get mixed up are that of the product marketing manager and the product manager.
In some industries, companies do not differ between these two positions when rolling out job descriptions.
This is an inaccuracy.
The two profiles have different functions within an organization.
The product manager is in charge of product development.
To be more precise, product teams define the elements that make up the product to be released. In doing so, they liaise with the software or app development team and guide them on how the product should be created.
For that reason, in some circles, people view the product manager as the CEO of the product.
This is because they bear the responsibility of managing product positioning as it relates to making decisions and determining its output.
Product managers do the following:
- Define product strategy
- Create the product roadmap
- Work alongside the development team
In contrast, product marketing managers do not oversee the creation of the product nor are they involved in its development.
They determine the product’s value proposition and handle its marketing programs.
For that reason, product marketing is not a field that calls for liaising with several teams within a business.
Instead, marketers focus their efforts on understanding the customer journey as well as how their digital product impacts on the user.
Some companies mandate that one single professional take on the role of both profiles.
However, in such cases, the product manager ends up being overloaded by the sheer amount of work that is expected of them.
Therefore, it is best to separate the responsibilities into two distinct profiles.
That said, ideally, both the product management team as well as the product marketing team should work in tandem as cross functional teams.
The complementary skills and insights that each group brings to the table will ensure that the product’s development, expected lifecycle, pricing strategy, marketing plan, and product launch are all successful.
Product Marketing Manager Responsibilities
Product marketing is an integral part of business development and boosting product sales.
It also plays an important role in creating brand awareness within your target audience.
Here are some of the areas where a product marketing manager will help your company in its digital outreach:
- Understanding your customers: In order to run a successful product marketing campaign, it is imperative that the marketer gather information about the needs of your customers. This includes conducting market research and collecting customer feedback in order to develop a strategy that will bring you the results you’re looking for.
- Zone in on your target customers: Product marketing specialists help you identify who your customers are. This will serve you when brainstorming for new product ideas so that you can tailor your business strategy to suit.
- Conduct competitor analysis: As part of their analysis, product marketing managers also analyze your competitors. They pay attention to both their positive attributes as well as where they are lagging. You can then capitalize on this information in your branding as well as in the types of marketing campaigns that you run.
- Streamlines key teams: At times, the sales, product, and marketing teams do not share the same vision. This can work against the betterment of your business operations since a lack of cohesion within your organization can result in an inconsistency in branding. A product marketing specialist bridges the gaps that may exist between those teams and unifies their vision to optimize the results of your product.
- Redirect your focus: Not having a product marketing manager on your team implies that you as the business leader will have to take charge of their role and responsibilities. By passing that on to someone else, you have more time to focus on improving other areas within your business organization that may require some beefing up.
How to Hire a Product Marketing Manager
When hiring a product marketing manager, there are some things that you ought to bear in mind.
These will serve as criteria that you should use to evaluate the competence of the professional you’ll be onboarding.
What’s more, it will also help you to weed out candidates who do not match the requirements needed for your product.
The criteria include:
- Level of experience: The number of years that a professional has in a given field speaks to their familiarity with the niche. If the product you offer is complex in nature, marketing experience will play a significant factor in the person that you onboard.
- Cost to hire: Hiring an experienced product marketing manager will cost you more than someone who is now starting out. If you have budget constraints, you may have to curtail the profile of the professional you’re hiring in order to meet your financial limits.
- Portfolio: Some product marketing experts have experience working with SaaS products and others with a variety of digital products. Aligning with a professional whose body of work includes your product niche is an asset that you can capitalize on.
- Reputation: Although a product marketer may be experienced, that doesn’t mean that their clients are satisfied with the quality of work that they produced. Ask for a recommendation from their last client or a testimonial from a company that used their services. Depending on what you discover, you’ll know whether they are someone that you’d like to work with.
Now that you have criteria established, you can begin scouting for your desired marketer.
There are a number of recruitment options available to you.
With job boards like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, and Glassdoor, you can post ads calling for interest product specialists to apply.
Based on the applicants you receive, you will then decide whether you would like to bring them on to your team.
You can also consider freelance pages like Upwork to source a professional.
In both cases, be careful during your onboarding process to minimize the risk of hiring someone who adds no value to your organization or product.
Product Marketing Managers Fill an Important Role
Product marketing managers fill an important role in online business development.
Partnering with one will be instrumental in landing the right sales from quality customers.
Get in touch with one to plan marketing campaigns for your digital product.
Leverage the expertise that these professionals bring to the world and watch your business soar.