Often, I get asked, what’s the difference between product manager and product marketing manager. There are so many different types of Product Managers in a field as wide and diverse as Product Management. One of the most common, apart from a regular PM, is the Product Marketing Manager. If you’ve been hunting for a while, you’ve probably seen this title pop up again and again.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the role, how it differs from PM, and how Product Marketing fits in with development.
What’s Product Marketing?
Product marketing, much like digital and traditional marketing, involves putting the product on the market and making sure it reaches the right customers.
When we hear the word ‘marketing,’ it is usually followed by things like social media,’ ’email campaigns’ and ‘blogging,’ but Product Marketing is so much more than that!
Product Marketing is located at the intersection of Product, Marketing and Sales.
Maybe you’re wondering why this is so important. But you wouldn’t have found your way to this article without marketing! You might have chosen a completely different phone from the one you have now. You might have a different favorite brand of coffee, or you might be working for a different company!
Marketing tells the story of a product and helps to communicate what the brand stands for. People use the products they buy to tell a story about themselves.
If you have a competitor who has a product that is remarkably similar to yours, it is your storytelling – your Why – that will set you apart and help you find your customers.
What does a Product Marketing Manager do?
The Product Marketing Manager owns a product’s positioning, messaging and branding. They will also gather and process feedback from customers and manage some aspects of customer relationships after they have been launched.
That’s a lot of good words, but what does the Product Marketing Manager actually do on a day-to-day basis?
Essentially, they’re working on moving customers through a funnel that converts them from a general audience to loyal fans.
At these three levels of the funnel, the Product Marketing Manager will be constantly working on different tasks for customers.
- Acquisition: Attention to customers, awareness of the existence of your product and a high level of interest.
- Social media, newsletter, blogs, copywriting
- Commitment: Get people involved in your fan community.
- Events, CTAs, lead scores, special offers/campaigns
- Retention/Conversion: either keeping customers around for subscription models) or converting them to paying customers (for one-time purchases).
- Building Product Growth Loops
The common misconception of Product Marketing is that it focuses primarily on acquisition. But there’s no point in attracting new customers if you can’t keep them! Marketing works to support customers throughout their journey with a product in order to keep churn rates down.
Product marketing is difficult to define because it varies from company to company and can even vary between different products! For example, Product Marketing for Google Pixel Phones and GSuite may be completely different from the way they operate.
Product Management vs Product Marketing, What are the differences?
Product Manager is more focused on building the product. They’re going to work more directly with engineers, own the roadmap, and make decisions about what features they’re going to make and who’s going to make them.
When it comes to starting, they ask themselves very different questions. A PM asks, “Does the product solve the problem? “But the PMM asks, “How are we going to tell people that it solves the problem?
At launch, they will work with sales to set up a launch plan. This may include creating demos, social media content, email announcements, landing pages—anything that helps get the word out! It doesn’t matter how great the product is if nobody knows it exists! Owning and creating a go-to-market strategy is one of the most important parts of the role of Product Marketing Manager.
How do they work together?
While their roles do not necessarily overlap, PM and PMM will find themselves working together. They both need to have a deep understanding of the customer, so the analysis and sharing of information together keeps them on the same page.
One of the most tangible things they’re going to do together is buyer people who help define users. These will be used by PM to inform how the product should be produced and how it can best solve user problems, while PMM will use them to work out how best to reach users. There’s no point in trying to engage your core audience on TikTok if they’re 70+ years old!
What’s the job like and how to get one!)
We’re going to get into the nitty gritty.
The Product Marketing Manager is very similar in terms of salary and scope to the Product Manager. Any place with tech will have PMM jobs, with the highest concentration in tech centers such as San Francisco, London, Berlin and Bangalore.
The average US salary for PMM is $114,000 as of 2020 and may be as high as $181,000 for larger tech companies.
You should prepare the answers to some typical Product Marketing interview questions for the interview. Just like:
- Tell me about some memorable marketing campaigns that you admire.
- What was the marketing strategy of your previous company?
- Which channels would you choose to market when X is launched?
- Do you think there’s any untapped marketing resources out there?
Transition to products marketing
If you are currently a Product Manager but would like to have a more creative flair, Product Marketing could be the one for you.
The best way to make any transition is through your own company. You could start by asking the current PMM to grab a coffee shop and talk. Many larger companies are organizing rotational shadowing schemes that would give you some exposure to the role.
When applying for a role, try to highlight any experiences you have had that are related to PMM’s responsibilities. Have you had any previous experience working closely with a marketing team?
Product Marketing is also a great step forward for marketing professionals to break into Product, as you would be working closely with the Product team. Things like working on a go-to-market and a launch strategy will put you in a good position to make a move compared to other marketers who haven’t.