Product Marketing vs. Product Management Guide
A lot of hard work goes into launching profitable products. Many teams and stakeholders are involved — including product marketing and product management. This may appear to be different ways of saying the same thing, like Gershwin's "to-may-to" and :to-mah-to, but they’re actually more like apples and oranges. They’re separate disciplines with distinct and equally important responsibilities. The two roles need to work together to create harmonious interactions between people and products, so naturally there’s some overlap.
But where exactly does one role stop and the other start? This can vary between companies, but there are some key areas of focus that make each role unique.
What is product marketing?
Product marketing brings the product to the marketplace. It builds on the established product strategy by developing marketing programs to build awareness, convert sales, and grow revenue.
Product marketers define how to position a product in the market. This sets the direction for creating a compelling story that communicates the value of the product and coordinating the launch to global regions across sales channels.
“Product marketing sits at the center of three critical groups: product, sales, and marketing. A great product marketer understands the market they are in and their target audience and leverages this knowledge to lead strategic, revenue generating programs.”
Maggie Schroeder, Director of Product Marketing at Acquia
What is product management?
Product management delivers products within a budget and timeframe to meet demand in the market. Product managers develop a deep understanding of market problems and business plans and set the strategy for the solution.
Product managers guide the product from conception through the product’s end of life. This team works with suppliers and manufacturers to create initial concepts and acquire cost-effective materials, and they ensure the business can make a profit when selling the products.
“Product management is a lot less about building things right or in the right way and a lot more about building the right things for the right people.”
Chris Schroeder, Director of Product Management at Acquia
Product management roles
Product managers are key to any product’s success because they define the vision, strategy, and roadmap for a product. It is the discipline of identifying customer needs and guiding how the product fulfills those needs – and it must be done objectively. It can be easy to get caught up in unnecessary details when you’re passionate about your work and a product. But a product manager must strike the right balance of understanding what the customer needs and wants versus what the product team can realistically deliver. Without this, there’s no clear direction or prioritization for the various teams required to deliver successful products.
While there are specific skill sets needed for specialized product management roles, all product managers must have domain expertise, business acumen, operational ability, and leadership qualities. Let’s look at the characteristics of more specialized product management roles as well.
- Product owner. This role works directly with a team of developers, designers, and testers, acting as the voice of the customer during the development process. They tend to focus more on tactics rather than strategy.
- Technical product manager. These product managers possess the technical know-how to guide the creation of product areas, such as back-end services and APIs. They often work hand in hand with engineering and development teams to ensure features and functionality work as desired to meet customers’ needs.
- Growth product manager. People in this role often have experience or education in digital marketing as they’re the ones who work closely with the marketing team to ensure the product is performing as expected in the market. This role focuses on metrics, usually looking at all products as a whole, not just a single product like most other product management roles.
What's the difference between product marketing and product management?
The main difference between these roles is that product managers are responsible for creating a product while marketing is responsible for bringing it to market. But both roles research market needs, develop plans, collaborate with multiple departments, and deliver on the product vision. They even use some of the same tools, such as personas, stories, and journey maps. So where do the differences lie? Well, it’s mostly in their areas of focus.
A product marketing manager understands the market and uses that information to bring the product to life and sell it. This product positioning sets the foundation for all marketing communications. Product marketers shape the company’s understanding of and approach to marketing a product by gathering market intelligence on trends, the competition, and the customer. They then use this information to develop and execute marketing programs.
Product marketers apply their knowledge of the market, product, and customer to develop narratives around the value and benefits of the product in marketing and sales communications. They straddle the world of product and sales to develop and execute launch plans, as well as activate sales enablement tactics.
Product managers, on the other hand, capture the voice of the customer and use that voice to develop a useful, usable product. They are responsible for the product from conception through the end of its lifecycle. While they support the product marketer in many ways, their main focus lies in the product vision, meeting market needs, defining system requirements, and identifying metrics of success.
Product marketers and product managers working together
Although the responsibilities of product marketers and product managers are distinct, their work requires close collaboration. Successful organizations are built on successful relationships, and the partnership between product management and product marketing is no exception.
With the need for continual collaboration, product marketers and managers often rely on tools like a product information management (PIM) system to ensure they’re working with the same information. If you’re curious about how our combined digital asset management (DAM) and PIM solution can help you manage product content, request, watch, or click through a demo of our platform, Acquia DAM (Widen), today.
Note: This article was originally published on Widen.com.