Product management and product marketing are two sides of the same coin. They're both critical to success in business, but they often have different goals and operate in different ways. The best way to understand them is to consider their differences and then look at how they overlap—the result is a powerful collaboration that can help your company succeed.
A story of two roles
These roles share a lot in common:
- They both focus on the product and its benefits to the market.
- They both help determine what features and functions are included and how they fit into your company's overall vision.
However, subtle differences between product management and marketing can make them feel like entirely different roles if you don't understand how they overlap.
From the outside in
Product marketing is the outward-facing part of a company, communicating with customers and prospects to help them understand what a product does and how it can solve their problems. Product management is the inward-facing part of a company, focused on understanding customer needs, researching those needs to create new products or features for existing ones, and monitoring usage patterns so that you know how real people are using your products.
Product marketing focuses on the customer, while product management focuses on the product. The goal of both groups is growth: increasing revenue by selling more products or services at higher prices than before; gaining more users/customers/subscribers through effective communication about value propositions; creating buzz around newsworthy events like new launches, etc.
What is product marketing?
Product marketing is the process of bringing a product to market. It's responsible for the overall strategy and positioning of a product, as well as the messaging and communication of a product to customers. The role involves research and analysis of competitors so the company can stand out from others in its field.
What is product management?
Product management is the process of managing a product from inception to launch. Product managers are responsible for the entire lifecycle of a product, including strategy, roadmaps, prioritization, and execution.
Product managers are responsible for ensuring that a product's financial and strategic success aligns with business goals. They work closely with marketing teams to validate their hypotheses and ensure they have enough data before deciding on their products or features.
Let's get collaborative!
The key to successful collaboration is mutual respect. Everyone involved with the product brings something unique to the table: marketing has its ideas on how to optimize for conversion and growth, sales have its user stories and customer interviews, engineering has its technical specs and timelines, design has its style guide… You get it.
For this collaborative process to work effectively, everyone needs to share information openly and personally communicate with each other. If someone doesn't feel comfortable sharing important information or communicating directly with another team member, or withholding information, you might want to ask yourself what that means about your team culture or structure—and how you can change it so everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions.
Your boardroom lineup
The product management and product marketing teams should be aligned with each other. This means that they share a common vision for the product, can work together, and can communicate with each other effectively.
If the two departments aren't aligned, it could spell disaster for your product launch. It also won't help you succeed in the long term because it will hinder your ability to build relationships with customers and keep them engaged over time.
Do this by creating a shared understanding of your company's vision and goals. Once you've done that, you can start aligning your growth strategies with one another.
Sit down with your product marketing team and ask them what they hope to achieve this quarter or year. You'll want to ensure you're on the same page about the metrics most important for them. Then, take some time to consider what metrics are most important for your department. Once you've identified these two sets of metrics, talk about how they're related—and how each set will help achieve the other's goals.
Communication is key. If one team doesn't understand what the other team does or why they do it, then they'll have trouble working together effectively or even communicating effectively about what needs doing next. This can lead down a slippery slope of miscommunication that ends up costing both teams time and money. Ensure that there is clear communication between all parties involved in this process so everyone knows what’s going on at all times!
Here are some more tips for making sure your PM and PMM teams are working together to move your business forward instead of moving in opposite directions:
- Make sure your responsibilities are clear – both inside and outside the company.
- Set regular meetings with each other and make sure they're focused on the same goals and metrics.
- Set up transparent processes for feedback and communication between teams, so everyone knows what to expect when they need something from another team member (or vice versa).
- Keep a close eye on what each team is doing and ensure it aligns with the company strategy.
- Make sure that your product managers have a clear understanding of what marketing needs from them. This will help them make sure their deliverables align with what marketing is looking for.
There are distinct, important differences between product management and product marketing, but working together allows for a powerful overlap that helps guide companies to success.
Product marketing is a subset of product management. It involves taking the ideas and insights discovered by product management and turning them into something that prospects or customers can understand.
Product marketing focuses on messaging, positioning, and launching new products. It also has a vital role in your company's overall brand and reputation. This can mean developing a new brand identity for your company—or simply ensuring that you're using consistent messaging across all channels to promote both old and new products or services.
The overlap between these two functions is where they shine: when they work together toward a common goal, they have an enormous impact on how well your organization performs overall!
Product management and product marketing are two very different roles, but when they work together, you get a powerful combination that can help guide your company to success. Product marketing focuses on how people perceive a product or service, while product management focuses on ensuring it gets created. When these two roles are combined correctly, amazing things happen for everyone involved!