8 Reasons Why Brand Managers Need Formal Product Marketing Training
Businesses exist to sell products and services, and their ability to do so depends largely on the strength of their brand. That’s why the Brand Manager is one of the highest-ranking individuals within an organization, and only experienced candidates are considered for this role.
Overlap in Roles
There is considerable overlap between the responsibilities of Brand Managers and Product Marketing Managers (PMM). Like a PMM, the Brand Manager must possess a thorough understanding of a company’s products and services and the market(s) the organization serves. They must be exceptional project managers, skilled communicators, and be able to work effectively with various teams and departments. Extensive knowledge of product processes, agile methodologies for product development, and data analytics and visualization are all necessary to succeed in a brand management role, as well. On top of all that, they must possess excellent market research skills, so they can keep pace with changing customer needs and marketplace trends such as digital transformation.
But these skill sets don’t just develop themselves. The more complex the role of Brand Manager becomes, the more sense it makes to seek formal training. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons Brand Managers need formal training:
8 Reasons to Skill Up
#1: Increase Strategic Impact
As they focus on maintaining the perception of a company’s brand, Brand Managers must be very strategic, and generate effective campaigns to maintain the brand’s image and generate interest in the brand. The decisions they make have an impact on the success of new and existing products. For example, Brand Managers are often responsible for defining go-to-market strategies, setting pricing and packaging, and budgeting for branding projects and marketing campaigns. They often assist with — and influence — product development efforts, as well. If they don’t know the tools and techniques to develop sound product and marketing strategies, the results can be disastrous for the business.
#2: Leverage Product-Led Growth (PLG)
PLG is an approach to business growth in which customer acquisition, expansion, conversion and retention are all driven primarily by the product itself, in addition to traditional marketing campaigns. Tactics such as in-product renewals, premium feature upgrades, trial offers, and embedded promotions are all used to upsell and retain customers. For it to work, there must be company-wide understanding and alignment across engineering, sales and marketing teams — and that alignment is often driven by the Brand Manager. Brand Managers who receive formal training on how PLG operates will be more likely to implement it successfully in their organizations.
Check out the primer and watch the webinar: How to Achieve Product-Led Growth [+Webinar].
#3: Influence Stakeholders
Just like Product Managers, Brand Managers don’t have actual authority over Product Development, yet their input is vital to building successful products that customers want. It’s critical the Brand Manager understands the needs of all stakeholders and is able to facilitate effective collaboration between them. To do this, Brand Managers must learn tactics and techniques for influencing stakeholders and cross-functional teams, even though they may lack direct authority.
#4: Deliver Whole Solutions
Whole Product Thinking is the practice of viewing your product as more than just a sum of its features, but as part of a larger solution that includes ordering, packaging and delivery, and associated services. This methodology has gained traction in recent years as a way to create a cohesive and seamless customer experience that builds product stickiness and customer loyalty. To implement and benefit from Whole Product Thinking, Brand Managers must be able to align and collaborate with stakeholders across multiple teams — from marketing to sales, IT, engineering, customer service, business development, and more.
#5: Measure Success Accurately
Today’s marketing teams are data-driven. Brand and Product Marketing Managers often set the product key performance indicators (KPIs) for marketing and the business. They must have a thorough understanding of how those KPIs are measured, and the ability to use data effectively to track and report on them. As with many of the Brand Manager’s responsibilities, KPIs cannot be determined and tracked in siloes, so cross-team collaboration and alignment is essential. Additionally, formal training in how to analyze data effectively can help Brand Managers and their teams meet their targets and prove marketing’s value to the organization.
#6: Lead the PLC
Brand Managers play a huge role in five of the seven stages of the Product LifeCycle. They help conceive of new products, plan for their development, launch products in the marketplace, maximize the earning potential of new products, and retire old products once they no longer serve the market. By becoming well-versed in the various stages of the PLC, Brand Managers can ensure that the right product gets built, drive effective market adoption, and maximize how much revenue is generated across the product’s life cycle.
#7: Demonstrate Mastery
Becoming certified in the various methodologies and practices related to Product Marketing enables Brand Managers to be more effective in their roles — and provides the credibility they need to influence other teams and stakeholders in their organizations. Certifications can also be very compelling in job interviews and salary reviews.
#8: Make it Rain
There were 8,244 brand managers in the U.S. in 2020, with salaries ranging from $74,620 to more than $208,000. Earning potential depends on many factors including location and years of experience, but it also depends on skill sets. A Brand Manager who possesses experience and has received formal training in key brand management skill sets is bound to demand higher pay than someone who has had no formal training — and has no certifications to show for it.
Set Yourself Apart
The responsibilities of today’s Brand Managers overlap significantly with the responsibilities of today’s Product Marketing Managers, which is advantageous, given that there are plenty of formal training opportunities for Product Marketing Managers. Brand Managers can benefit from formal training in the topics listed above, and others such as Agile Product Management, and Digital Product Management. These topics contain the tools and techniques that are gaining traction in today’s fast-paced product development environment.
At 280 Group, we offer expert-led courses and certifications in all of these topics, helping Brand Managers develop practical knowledge and skills that will set them apart in the marketplace and enable them to bolster their organization’s ability to deliver innovative products to market that customers love.
Check out 280 Group’s Optimal Product Management course, which prepares attendees to obtain the AIPMM Certified Product Marketing Manager credential, which demonstrates proficiency in all of the key skill sets necessary to be an impactful Brand Manager today.