Think about roles first, then job titles

The job titles of product marketing manager and product manager are sufficiently confusing to start a raging debate about who does what. Adding to the confusion is when organizations transpose the job titles, and sometimes within the same organization.

Simplifying the Distinction Between Roles

The graphic below helps illustrate, in a simple way, how to distinguish between what product managers do versus what product marketing managers do. Think of the distinction as role differences rather than job title differences. The job titles may not exist in your organization, but the roles are expected to be performed.

Product Marketing Product Management Roles

Product marketing managers focus on the ‘now’. They work toward achieving the business goals for products that are in the market today. They also plan and execute the go-to-market strategy for the next products (or new versions of existing products), or entrance into new market segments.

Product managers focus on tomorrow. They work to deliver the next products and future products.

The overlap between the two roles is apparent for ‘next products’. A hand-off occurs between product management and product marketing to plan the go-to-market (GTM) strategy, launch products, and oversee readiness activities.

What's Your Role?

Is your role consistent with the definition of product marketing manager or product manager? Does your job title match? Do you have significant overlap in roles in your organization?

As a product marketing manager your role is to focus on the ‘now’: GTM strategy, readiness, monitor performance, drive adoption, and increase retention. All of the things that are in support of achieving near-term product goals.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

What are your challenges as a product marketing manager? Let me know.

NOTE: This article was originally published on the blog