The Role of the Product Marketing Manager
In the world of software development each member of the product team usually has a clearly defined role – from the developers to QA technicians and the product manager. However, one of the positions that people can become confused about is the Product Marketing Manager.
Most product teams seem to have one, but what exactly do they do, and more importantly how does their role differ from that of a product manager?
Well, in a nutshell, the product marketing manager is responsible for ensuring both current and potential users are fully aware of the benefits of the product and its features. This contrasts with the product manager who comes up with the ideas for features and makes sure they are implemented correctly.
You can see the product marketing manager as a kind of evangelist – their job is to promote the product and its features to all the potential users, so they know how it can impact on their lives.
This means a lot of cross-departmental collaboration, technical understanding and creative thinking.
What are the Responsibilities of the Product Marketing Manager?
The product marketing manager is often a lone role, where the individual is given the scope to get on with it and market the product and features in the way they see is best.
This of course depends on the size of the product department – in larger companies there may be a product marketing team, headed by a senior product marketing manager.
But for the regular product marketing manager the main responsibilities are:
- Developing an understanding of the company’s products and features
- Creating a marketing plan for these products
- Working with the design and sales team to implement the plan
- Analysing the success of the marketing campaigns
Using Craft.io as a Product Marketing Manager
Craft.io is used by product managers to plan and prioritize their features and set the overall product strategy.
The great thing about the platform is that is that it is totally collaborative. This means that if the product marketing manager is given access to the product team’s Craft workspaces they can keep track of every feature, both those that are planned and those in development.
It includes an intuitive roadmapping tool which shows you which features are planned for which releases during a specific time period. There is also the option to make comments on any feature so you can be involved in the development process. And you can even view the feedback manager to see what your users are saying about the products.
What Skills Do you Need to be a Product Marketing Manager?
Essentially, the role of a product marketing manager is to simplify and explain the complexities of the product to users.
First and foremost the product marketing manager needs to really understand the product. You’re not going to have much success marketing it if you don’t know the ins and outs!
So the first skill is to be inquisitive so you can get to the bottom of how the product or feature work. You don’t necessarily need to be a technical wizard, more like someone who can put themselves in the shoes of a user and see the product from their perspective.
The need for good collaboration skills goes together with the research. If you are going to find out everything about how product or feature is used you need to have the people skills to work across departments.
You won’t find out everything from one place – so sometimes you need to speak to the product manager and sometimes to the developers or QA. Often you need to get right into it and try the product out and take screenshots so you need access to the right environments.
The product marketing manager also needs to collaborate with design teams to make sure the creative is built and the sales and account management teams to make sure the marketing collateral is sent to the right people.
As a product marketing manager it is important that you understand your audience – the type of material you create and different ways you market the product depend on who you are marketing it to and what you are trying to get them to do.
That means you need to analyse the market, look at the different types of customers and how they are using the product. You should also check out competitors and how they are marketing their products.
Now this is the big one. It’s all well and good being able to research and understand the product and market, but the main job is to actually come up with creative ways to promote it.
Do you want to create blog posts, send emails, make a powerpoint presentation, launch a website? The possibilities are endless. It is up to you to take a creative outlook and then implement it.
Finally, you just have to be organised. When you are the product marketing manager, to a large extent the success of a product or feature comes down to your marketing campaigns.
You should be on top of all the upcoming releases, know what are the most important features and products and make an organised plan for what to promote when.
Product Marketing Manager Opportunities
The proliferation of SaaS companies and the influence of the internet on every company has made product and product marketing an increasingly popular role. At the same time there are numerous opportunities out there.
If you’re interested in becoming a PMM, you should make sure you have some marketing experience and then read up on the job descriptions you can find online.
Prepare for the interview questions – you can find lists online. They’ll usually ask you about how you would market a product and how to measure its success
How to Hire a Product Marketing Manager
If you’re on the other side – looking to bring in a PMM into your company – then you might want to know how to hire a product marketing manager. Usually the regular online methods are the best ones – post on sites like linkedin and glassdoor and advertise on any other local boards