Your primary goal in a Product Marketing Manager role is to create demand for products through effective messaging and marketing programs. If you do your job well, the product has a shorter sales cycle and higher revenue.
Skills and Competencies Required in the Product Marketing Manager Role
The scope of the Product Marketing Manager role is broken down into four parts:
- Market strategy expert: Market strategy lays the foundation for market success. It is the high-level thinking, planning, and research that happens before a product goes to market. The Product Marketing Manager has an in-depth knowledge of target markets and how to best introduce the product into each market. Product Marketing Managers use market research and competitive analysis to develop market strategies.
- Marketing expert: In conjunction with the marketing communications department (also known as marcom), the Product Marketing Manager’s goal is to convince customers to demand or pull your product through to sale. As a Product Marketing Manager, you know marketing principles and techniques to create a marketing communication sequence that leads to sales.
- Marketing program guidance: In conjunction with the Product Manager, the Product Marketing Manager outlines the product positioning which articulates the value proposition. This is further detailed in the messaging which links each feature to a customer-oriented benefit.
- Supporting sales: Sales convinces customers to buy your product; they generate market push. To do so effectively, sales folks need great sales tools. For example, they often need good product training, a solid product presentation, and a compelling demonstration. A Product Marketing Manager knows what sales tools salespeople need to get their jobs done and what points to emphasize so that the sales pitch is more successful.
Beware: Some companies expect you to do both Product Management and Product Marketing plus the entire marketing role all by yourself. That is a daunting task and an even broader set of skills to learn.
Product Marketing Manager Responsibilities: Key Tasks
Product Marketing Managers call on a wide range of skills and have a broad set of business and marketing experiences to call on. Here are some bullet points you may find in your job description outlining a Product Marketing Manager’s responsibilities:
- Demonstrated success in positioning and launching differentiated products that meet and exceed business objectives
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, possibly including some copywriting skills
- Subject matter expertise in the particular product or market. This should include specific industry or technical knowledge
- Deep understanding of how a product is sold and the channels they are sold into
- Excellent teamwork skills
- Proven ability to influence cross-functional teams without formal authority. The ability to influence and work collaboratively with sales, marketing and Product Management is especially important
Product Marketing Manager Responsibilities: Key Deliverables
Product Marketing Managers drive action through the company mainly through written documents supported by presentations. Here is a list of the most common documents that you may be asked to create. Be aware that each company has their own specific list and terminology.
- Market strategy document
- Launch plan
- Marketing plan (participate in the creation of)
Required Experience and Knowledge in the Product Marketing Manager Role
Product Marketing Managers call on a wide range of skills and have a broad set of business and product experiences to call on. Here is a list skills managers look for when filling a Product Marketing Manager role.
- Develop and evolve market segmentation for each product offering
- Analyze sales data and channel information and then create plans to improve product line sales most likely using marketing and sale techniques
- Create consistent positioning statements, messaging and the associated proof points. This source material is used by marketing to generate public-facing marketing collateral
- Write compelling copy for different collateral types and audiences
- Create and present information about products and the markets these products serve
- Represent the company at all times and with virtually any audience to explain the customer-led benefits of the product line
Many Product Marketing Managers have a bachelor level degree in the industry that their product serves or in Marketing. Some also have MBA or additional business training.
This role of Product Marketing Manager provides one of the best training grounds for moving onward and upward into roles such as vice president of marketing or transition into Product Management. And if you’re lucky and choose carefully, you get to work with some pretty talented Product Managers and marketing teams to launch products that delight your customers, make a huge difference in your customers’ lives, and help achieve profits and strategic objectives that propel your company to success.
What you are most likely to hear a Product Marketing Manager say
“I rewrote the market strategy document so that it more accurately targeted our customers. I’m sure that we’ll be more successful in getting the product sold in the market as a result.”