Updated: April 17, 2023 - 6 min read
In a field as vast and diverse as Product Management, there are so many different types of Product Manager. One of the most common, aside from a regular PM is a Product Marketing Manager. If you’ve been job hunting for a while, you’ve probably seen this title pop up time and time again.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the role, how it differs to a PM, and how Product Marketing fits into development.
What is Product Marketing?
Product Marketing, much like digital and traditional marketing, involves getting the product to market and making sure it reaches the right customers.
When we hear the word ‘marketing’, it’s usually followed by things like ‘social media’, ’email campaigns, and ‘blogging,’ but Product Marketing is so much more than that!
Product Marketing sits at the intersection between Product, Marketing, and Sales.
You might be wondering why it’s so important. But without marketing, you wouldn’t have found your way onto this article! You might have chosen a completely different phone to the one you have now. You might have a different favorite brand of coffee, or be working for a completely different company!
Marketing tells the story of a product, and helps communicate what the brand stands for. People use the products they buy as a way to tell a story about themselves.
If you have a competitor who has a remarkably similar product to yours, it’s your storytelling – your Why – which will set you apart and help you find your customers.
You might also be interested in: Understanding Product-Market Fit
What Does a Product Marketing Manager Do?
A Product Marketing Manager owns the positioning, messaging, and branding of a product. They will also gather and process customer feedback, and manage some aspects of customer relations after launch.
That’s a lot of good words, but on a day-to-day basis, what does a Product Marketing Manager actually do?
Essentially they work on moving customers through a funnel that converts them from a general audience, into loyal fans.
You may have seen this funnel before:
A Product Marketing Manager will constantly be working on different tasks for customers at these three levels of the funnel.
Acquisition: Getting the customers attention, making people aware that your product exists and peaking their interest.
Social media, newsletters, blogs, copywriting
Engagement: Getting people involved in your community of fans.
Events, CTAs, lead scoring, special offers/campaigns
Retention/Conversion: Either keeping customers around (for subscription models) or converting them into paying customers (for one-time purchases).
Building growth loops with Product
A common misconception of Product Marketing is that it focuses mainly on acquisition. However, there’s no point attracted new customers if you can’t keep them! Marketing works to nurture customers throughout their journey with a product in order to keep churn rates down.
Product Marketing is difficult to define because it varies from company to company, and it can even vary between different products! For example, Product Marketing for Google’s Pixel phones and GSuite may be completely different in the way they operate.
Here are some examples of Product Marketing Management responsibilities at Google and Fitbit:
Product Management vs. Product Marketing Management
What are the differences?
You could say that a Product Manager is the voice of the product within the company, and a Product Marketing Manager is the voice of the product to the outside world.
A Product Manager is more focused on getting the product built. They’ll work more directly with engineers, own the roadmap, and make decisions about what features get made and who will be the ones making them.
When it comes to launch they ask themselves very different questions. A PM asks themselves “does the product solve the problem?” but a PMM asks “how will we tell people it solves the problem?“
At launch, they’ll work with sales to create the launch plan. This may include creating demos, social media content, email announcements, landing pages…anything that helps get the word out! It doesn’t matter how great the product is if nobody knows it exists! Owning and creating the go-to-market strategy is one of the most important parts of the Product Marketing Manager role.
How do they work together?
While their roles don’t overlap necessarily, a PM and PMM will find themselves working together. Both have to have a deep understanding of the customer, so analysing and sharing information together keeps them on the same page.
One of the more tangible things they’ll work on together are buyer personas, which help define users. A PM will use these to inform how the product should be made and how it can best solve user problems, whereas a PMM will use them to work out how to best reach the users. There’s no point trying to engage with your core audience on TikTok if they’re 70+ years old!
What is the Job Like (And How to Get One!)
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
A Product Marketing Manager is very similar to a Product Manager in terms of salary and scope. Any place with tech will have PMM jobs, with the highest concentration in tech centers like San Francisco, London, Berlin, and Bangalore.
The average US salary for a PMM is $114,000 as of 2020, and may go up as high as $181,000 for bigger tech companies.
For the interview, you should prepare the answers to some typical Product Marketing interview questions. Such as:
Tell me about some memorable marketing campaigns which you admire
What was the marketing strategy like at your previous company?
Which channels would you choose to market the launch of X?
Do you think there are any untapped marketing resources out there?
Transition to Product Marketing
If you’re currently a Product Manager but would like a job with more creative flair, Product Marketing might be the one for you.
The best way to make any transition is within your own company. You could start by asking a current PMM to grab a coffee and talk shop. Many larger companies organize rotational shadowing schemes which would allow you some exposure to the role.
When applying for a role, try to highlight any experiences you’ve had which correlate with PMM responsibilities. Have you had any previous experiences working closely with a marketing team?
Product Marketing is also a brilliant stepping stone for marketing professionals to break into Product, as you’d be working closely with the Product team. Things like working on a go-to-market and launch strategy will put you in a great position to make the move, compared to other marketers who haven’t.
Product Marketing Resources
So you want to learn how to be a better Product Marketing Manager?
You can start by watching this great talk by a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft:
If you prefer diving into a great Product Marketing book, we recommend Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
For more reading, we’ve got more great (if we say so ourselves!) articles just like this:
Updated: April 17, 2023