Product Manager vs. Product Marketing Manger...

My pragmatic marketing certification has been extremely useful in guiding the way I prioritize and build out requirements, as well as prioritize my daily job function.  My current title is Product Manager, and we have Product Marketing Managers as well.  I frequently read the articles posted on the Pragmatic Marketing Website and there was an interesting one about the responsibilities of a product manager vs. a product marketing manager.

This article, titled "What's on your plate?" looks at several statistics on product management roles and what the typical job responsibilities are.  Product marketing and product managers both tend to examine market problems, with product marketing planning launch activities and product management focuses on writing product requirements.  Most of the time, I feel like there's nothing that product managers don't do - and this article speaks to just that.  It seems that there is a lot of overlap between the two titles, and that the role of a product manager changes in various organizations.  If you then throw Technical Product Manager into the mix, how can we distinguish between what the differences are?

What are the major components of your role?  Do you fill more of a marketing role or more of a technical role?  Where does product management sit in your organization?  Is it more technical product management or product marketing?  What are the big differences between the two, in your opinion?

8 comments:

  1. Ah, the conundrum of Product Management versus Product Marketing. As you mention, Pragmatic likes to split the roles, but in the real world, they are often so overlapping as to be impossible to deconvolve.

    In my world, I think that a product manager needs to be able to pinch hit in the Product Marketing realm, and vice versus.

    It is my belief that organizations typically need more of one part of the role, and should (ideally) select a candidate fill the role.

    For example: If your marketing team is really a PR machine, and has been swinging towards being social media mavens, they are probably not going to have the skills to do real market analysis, on target product promotion, and creation of the killer sales tools. In this case, you hire someone with better marketing skills.

    However, if your development and product requirement process is a shambles, your director of Engineering likes to fold his arms and whinge that nobody tells him what to build, you need a stronger product manager (and one who can walk in, garner respect, kick ass, and chew bubblegum).

    Of course, if you have deficiencies in both areas, you will then need a superstar. But I would never advocate the rockstar approach.

    Keep the great posts coming!

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  2. Touche my friend! You make an excellent point that PM's need to jump into whatever role is necessary, and I completely agree! I think that willing to 'get their hands dirty' is one of the key characteristics of a great product manager.

    In the real world there is so much overlap - so where does it end? This is the beauty of product management, that it's always changing. It keeps me interested and engaged in my job.

    Thanks for the comment!

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