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Last updated on 9/10/20

Compare product manager and product marketing manager (PMM)

Some products (particularly complex products in mature markets) require a lot of resources (time, people, capital) for effective marketing.  Often, this marketing must be done by people who have intimate knowledge of the product. This marketing task cannot simply be handed over to a separate (marketing) team.

Normally, the product manager would have to prepare and complete most of the marketing tasks. However, in some cases the work can be done by a dedicated resource that has marketing knowledge as well as intimate knowledge of this particular product - also known as the product marketing manager! 

The product marketing managers mixes the product and marketing roles
The product marketing manager combines the product and marketing roles

Responsibilities of the product marketing manager

In brief, all outbound communications from the company (as they pertain to the product) are the responsibility of the product marketing manager.

Outbound communications are messages to the end-customer to explain the benefits of the product and share updates on future releases (including release dates).

Now, let's have a look closer at some of the responsibilities of the product marketing manager:

1. Define the market position

  • Conduct product research including competitor analysis, customer interviews, and focus groups.

  • Conduct market research including trends, market size, and growth

  • Provide input into pricing and viable channels and partners

2. Communicate of the product vision and value

  • Contribute to the product vision. While the product manager owns the product vision and sets this with the team and the relevant stakeholders, the product marketing manager will also contribute to defining this vision (including the product research mentioned above).

  • Ensure potential customers understand the benefits of the product. Create marketing materials, blog posts, press releases, etc.

  • Deliver product presentations at trade shows.

  • Contribute marketing materials to the company's website. 

3. Release and go-to-market support

  • Prepare the right communication materials are prepared for each release.

  • Promote each release through the appropriate channels (social media, press releases, blog posts).

  • Support sales and marketing teams so that they have the right materials and message when addressing existing and potential customers.

How the product manager and product marketing manager work together

When teams have both a product manager and a separate product marketing manager, there may be a significant benefit from having specialized employees filling each role. However, it is vital that the two work well together and have a healthy relationship. The roles do overlap, and it is the quality of the relationship that enables these people to work together. When working on a large product, there is always too much to do, so having someone relieve some of the workload is usually very welcome!

In particular, the product marketing manager will:

  • Conduct most of the product research. The product manager should assist him/her to analyze the results and give constructive feedback. Although the product manager owns the product vision, it is appropriate to take the product research done by the product marketing manager as a valuable input and to work with the product marketing manager to incorporate the learnings into the product vision and strategy.

  • Communicate the feedback that they receive when presenting the product at trade shows, customer presentations, or internal presentations (e.g. sales, marketing teams). The product manager should be receptive and work with the product marketing manager to decide what to improve and what future responses are appropriate (with respect to any issues that they decide will not be addressed).

In particular, the product  manager will:

  • Keep the product marketing manager up-to-date on the product development and new-feature completion.

  • Ensure that the product marketing manager is clear on how new features contribute to the value proposition and the 'market positioning' of the product.

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