Product Management and Product Marketing are two closely related, yet distinct, roles within the technology industry. Product Managers and Product Marketers (or Product Marketing Managers / Specialists) play critical roles in the development and promotion of technology products, but their responsibilities, skills, and backgrounds can vary widely. Understanding the differences and commonalities between these two roles can help you determine which career path is best for you.
What does a Product Manager do?
Product management is a cross-functional role that involves overseeing the development and life cycle of a product from concept to launch. Product managers are responsible for defining the product strategy, identifying market opportunities, and working with various teams, such as engineering, design, and marketing, to bring the product to market. They must possess strong technical and business skills, as well as the ability to communicate and coordinate with a wide range of stakeholders. Product Managers are often seen as the “CEO of the product” and must have a deep understanding of the product, its customers, and the market.
Learn more about the Product Manager’s job role in this blog.
What does a Product Marketer do?
Product Marketing, on the other hand, focuses on promoting (marketing) and selling the product, usually once it has been developed. Product Marketers are responsible for defining and executing the marketing strategy for a product, including product positioning, messaging, pricing, and go-to-market plans. They work closely with sales, marketing, and product management teams to ensure that the product is effectively promoted to target customers and markets. Product Marketing Managers need to have strong marketing and communication skills, as well as a deep understanding of the product, the target market, and the competition.
Similarities between the Product Job Roles
Despite the differences in their responsibilities, Product Managers and Product Marketers share several key skills and characteristics. Both roles require strong strategic thinking, as well as the ability to think both creatively and analytically. They must also be excellent communicators, with the ability to convey complex ideas and technical concepts to a wide range of stakeholders. Additionally, both product managers and product marketing managers must be highly organized, with the ability to manage multiple projects and priorities at once.
Another commonality between the two roles is the need for a deep understanding of the technology industry and market trends. Product Managers and Product Marketers must have a strong understanding of the competitive landscape, customer needs, and market opportunities to be effective in their roles. They must also be comfortable with ambiguity and able to make decisions quickly and effectively, often with limited information.
Key differences between the Product Job Roles
So, what are the differences between these two roles? One key difference is the focus of the role. Product managers are focused on the product itself, while product marketing managers are focused on promoting the product. Product Managers are responsible for the overall success of the product, while Product Marketers are responsible for ensuring that the product is effectively promoted and sold.
Another difference is the scope of the role. Product Managers are responsible for the entire product life cycle, from concept to launch to end-of-life, while product marketing managers focus on the marketing and promotion of the product (that are still attractive enough to be promoted). Product Managers may also have a broader range of responsibilities, including product development and product roadmaps, while Product Marketers may be more focused on specific marketing initiatives, such as product launches and promotional campaigns.
Finally, the backgrounds and skillsets required for these two roles can differ. Product Managers often come from technical backgrounds, such as engineering or computer science (though it is not a requirement at many companies), while Product Marketers may (or may not) have a background in marketing or business. Product Managers may also have a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of the product, while Product Marketing professionals may have a stronger background in marketing and communication.
Are You a Product Manager or Product Marketer?
To determine whether you are better suited to a career as a Product Manager or a Product Marketer, it may be helpful to consider your strengths and interests. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a technical background or a background in marketing or business? If you don’t have a background in either, what background would you prefer to develop?
- Do you enjoy diving deep into technical details, or do you prefer working on more creative and strategic projects?
- Are you more interested in the development and success of the product itself, or in the promotion and sale of the product? What excites you more – computer code or ads and revenue?
The answers to these questions can provide insight into which role may be a better fit for you. Ultimately, the best way to determine which role is right for you is to gain experience in both roles and see which one you enjoy and excel in the most.
“The lines between Product Management and Product Marketing can be blurry, for obvious reasons. At a single company, each of these job roles is dependent on the other, and so does the product’s success. In many organizations, the distinction between product management and product marketing is determined by the actual people filling these roles in specific companies, and the size and budgets available for these companies,” says Oded Israeli, CMO at Wawiwa, who served as a VP of Product Management and CMO/VP Marketing at multiple Israeli enterprises and startups. “At the same time, such blur means that there’s room for growth, evolution, and new opportunities for tech professionals. Individuals in these roles can many times switch sides and responsibilities, and continuously develop their skills and knowledge base. Changing market trends and customer needs affect both roles dramatically. The technology industry is constantly evolving, and the ability to adapt and grow is an important trait for successful Product Managers and Product Marketers. Whether you’re starting out in your career or looking to make a switch, these two roles and the growth paths they offer can challenge you for a lifetime.”
Are you ready to take the next step in your tech career? Whether you have prior experience in the technology industry or not, reskilling or upskilling to become a Product Manager or Product Marketer is possible and advantageous. Wawiwa offers comprehensive tech training programs designed to help professionals take their careers to the next level. Our Product Manager Program and Digital Marketing Specialist Program are designed to provide people with the skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience they need to succeed in these in-demand roles, at entry level.
So, why wait? If you’re ready to jumpstart your tech career and become a Product Manager or Product Marketer, be sure to check out Wawiwa’s programs today. With the right training and support, the possibilities are endless. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to advance your career and make a real impact in the tech industry!