In the first post in this series on the Roles of Marketing, I discussed the important first role, Strategic Marketing. In this post, we are going to review the next two roles Product Management and Product Marketing. Before I get too far into this discussion, let’s deal with the term “Product” used in both titles.
Many of you will be in service oriented companies and will resist the idea of a Product Manager or a Product Marketer. That’s fine; and you are free to call them Service Line Managers or Service Line Marketers or similar. However, the people who do this job, even in services companies, generally consider themselves Product Managers or Product Marketers. With that caveat, let’s get into understanding these roles.
The classic definition of marketing comprises the issues of product, price, promotion, and sales channel (place). This concept of marketing holds true whether your company is a “product” or a “service” company. In the case of a service company, your “product” is the service provided.
To succeed, these marketing issues (product, price, promotion, and place) must be handled so they are effective from the customer’s point of view. In the beginning, these issues are usually a key part of the founder’s vision. When the company succeeds, they often become too complex . . . and too important . . . to be handled part-time, by the chief executive.
Marketing, from this perspective, works over two different frameworks, each important, and fundamentally very different: Product Marketing and Product Management.
Product Management is the part of marketing typically devoted to working with the New Product/Service Development (NPD) function to select and develop new products/services. Typically, Product Management people are on the technical side, although they have a fine business and marketing sense.
They are involved in the selection of NPD programs that support marketing strategies and target markets, and that leverage the company’s capabilities. They are the customer-facing part of NPD that refines the product/service for market fit as it migrates through the NPD cycle, and they are deeply involved in the market strategy for the new products. Usually, there is a product responsibility handover period to Product Marketing during the product’s introduction.
Product Management can be measured two ways:
Product Marketing deals with issues that relate to the success of current products or services. These include:
The development of tactical plans is also a product marketing function. The execution of some of these tactical items may be accomplished by Marketing Services, as described in my next post on the final role of marketing.
The Product Marketing role requires a person with the desire and skills to “get it done.” All three of the roles described so far in this and the prior post, require great communications skills, and the ability to deal successfully with a wide range of people, both inside and outside your company.
The Product Marketing roles is generally measured by market share growth (or maintenance) depending on your product line goals, and by the gross margin contribution of the products/services for which the person is responsible.
The fourth role, Marketing Communications or Marketing Services is the role most often confused with “all” of Marketing. It is also the role where most of the money gets spent. We look at that in Part 3.`