I had a great conversation with someone on Thursday last week about the differences between Product Management and Product Marketing and wanted to share parts of our discussion here. In many companies, I think its still murky territory where there is confusion between the roles, and opportunity to better define the value of each function.
That said, in many teams, especially startups, a single person performs both of these functions. Which, long term, just doesn’t work.
- Product owners are key leaders of the team. They act as the direct link between ‘the business’ and ‘the dev team.’ Your product owner needs to be a team leader, excellent communicator, and incredibly detail oriented
- Responsible for product lifecycle development which becomes user stories, roadmap management, UI/UX coordination and oversight
- Develops how-things-work materials for internal use and discussion; evangelizes internally
- Owns product feature set, requirements, and delivery on them
- Focuses on minimum feature set, and negotiates to make sure the right features for the customer are delivered
- May also play a scrum-master type role, depending on your organization and its size
- Writes the opportunity assessments; competitor analysis, ROI/NPV, market research, customer personas
- Influences product feature set and requirements for product; evangelizes the products externally
- Translates the features into sellable value propositions for sales. Communicates the technology in real terms; writes white papers, hot sheets, sales materials
- Runs outbound product related strategy (separate from corporate marketing strategy); may lead viral and social marketing as pertains to specific products
- Writes a product blog and owns the product feedback loop; influences the roadmap with this information
- Sets rate card and determines pricing with Sales; runs business modelling for ROI assessment
- Develops training materials for sales and customers
When I met Marty Cagan from SVPG, he said it best: Product managers get your product onto the shelf. Product marketers get it off the shelf and into the hands of customers. (For more, check out an SVPG post on management vs marketing)
As organizations evolve, they deal with the differences between Product Management and Product Marketing differently. Some keep the roles combined, some split them out. At some point, it becomes ideal to separate the roles, because the hiring profile and skill set is unique. The deliverables and motivations are different.