Product marketing managers and product managers are the dynamic duo of product development.

Let's face it: when you're a small company, you don't have the luxury of having a huge team focused on developing your products. You have 1-2 people (maybe) who are wearing multiple hats and hustling to get everything done. That's why it's so important for the roles of product manager and product marketing manager to merge in some ways so that you can build high-quality products with far fewer resources.

Starting with a shared mission

To ensure PM & PMM are both aligned on what the company is trying to achieve, start with a shared mission. The company's mission should be a clear, concise statement that explains its purpose. For example, Facebook's mission is "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." This statement can be broken down into 4 parts:

  • The reason for existing
  • Who benefits from this existence
  • How those benefits will be provided
  • Why it matters (the positive impact on users)

As a PM once you've established this with your PMM, you'll have more clarity on how to measure success. And when it comes time to make difficult decisions, you're more equipped to prioritize your efforts because they align with your organization's mission.

Building a roadmap together

One of the most important parts of a PM's job is building a solid product roadmap that aligns with their partners in the product team. It's your responsibility to keep PMM in the loop when it comes to your product goals. If you're a PMM, make sure you communicate market goals clearly and why they are important to customers instead of just listing out features.

For example, if you have an idea for a new feature, you might be thinking about its potential impact on your existing market as well as how it could open up opportunities in new markets. Let your partners know; they'll help you determine what makes sense for them to build now versus later.

Working better when you have different stakeholders to please

As a PMM, it's your job to stay informed of the product and marketing data. By knowing what the market wants, you'll be in a better position to execute the vision of your CMO, who is likely focused more broadly on the market as a whole. With this information close at hand, you can guide your PM in making smart decisions about which features to build next.

Your PM will appreciate not having to navigate as many stakeholders' expectations because frankly, that's an incredibly difficult task that should be left up to you. As you work together toward the same goal (building products that people want), communication and trust between you two will only increase, allowing for greater clarity and confidence for both of you when making decisions.

Understanding market goals and product goals simultaneously

As a PM and PMM, you need to understand market goals and product goals simultaneously. Market goals are big picture objectives—the thing the market is trying to achieve. Product goals are specific actions—things your product does.

Market Goals: Understand the problem space for the market you’re addressing
Product Goals: Describe how your product will attempt to solve that problem

Aligning on a go-to-market strategy together early in the process

One of the most powerful things a product manager (PM) and product marketing manager (PMM) can do together is to align on a go-to-market strategy early in the process. Doing so will help ensure that you are working towards similar goals from the start and minimize the risk that either party misses something important.

But what does it mean to align? An alignment is not consensus or agreement. It’s an opportunity for both parties to share information with each other, ask questions and understand what each role has contributed to a project so far. Alignment is about connecting where PMs bring in their knowledge of customers, competitive landscape, market opportunity, product roadmap, and development process with what PMMs bring in by way of customer insights and research, go-to-market strategy and plans (including competitive analysis), positioning and messaging frameworks, launch plans including sales enablement, pricing recommendations and more.

Here’s what an alignment could look like:

  • Align on goals -

    The first step is aligning on your goals — both individually as well as together. What are your individual goals? Why are you doing this project? As a PMM you may have been asked to help increase adoption or usage of an existing feature set while as a PM your goal might be getting customer feedback for a new feature idea you want to build out. Or maybe you are working on launching entirely new products. What does success look like here? How do these individual goals contribute to the overall company goal? For example, if your company wants to reach $10 million ARR by end of the year then how does this current project fit into that goal? These conversations need not happen all at once but should be had iteratively as you work through milestones in your projects together.
  • Understand context -

    The next part of alignment involves sharing all relevant information with each other — from customer insights from discovery interviews conducted by PMMs with users or prospective users to the latest functional specs shared by engineers by a PM

Promoting your product internally, not just externally

While you're promoting your product externally, don't forget to promote it internally. Your company's staff will be much more successful in selling their products if they know about what it does and why customers should buy it.

Your team can get the word out about the new product by doing a few things:

  • Holding an internal launch party (with a cake of course)
  • Writing a blog post that talks about how your product is going to help customers
  • Sending an internal newsletter
Product managers and product marketing managers who focus on sharing information early, working through problems together, and communicating often will be more likely to build high-quality products that customers love.

Product managers and product marketing managers who focus on sharing information early, working through problems together, and communicating often will be more likely to build high-quality products that customers love.

When it comes to building high-quality products, no two roles are more important than the product manager (PM) and the product marketing manager (PMM). These roles have a shared goal of bringing a successful new product to market—but they also come with their own set of distinct responsibilities. And since PMs and PMMs are responsible for different parts of the process, it can be a challenge for them to work together in a way that doesn't create bottlenecks or slow down the entire company.

This concludes our exploration of how a PM and PMM can work together to build high-quality products.

It's clear that the PM and PMM are uniquely positioned to collaborate with each other in a way that few other teams can, but it's also clear that they're not always aligned with each other's goals. To ensure success on both sides, the PM and PMM should strive to understand each other's points of view, and use those insights to create mutually beneficial projects that are more valuable for everyone involved: the PMM, the PM, and ultimately every member of the company.