In the realm of marketing, product marketing managers occupy a pivotal role in spreading the word about new products. Though their work is complementary to that of a similarly titled role — product managers — product marketing managers have a distinct function in that they focus more on carving out the market position of a product and selling it to potential customers than on developing the product itself.
As VP of Marketing at software company Aha!, Keith Brown, said, a product manager is like the “CEO of a product,” and is the lead within a company on a product’s creation. Product marketing managers, on the other hand, are “responsible for bringing the product to market and driving adoption of it.” Their primary function is to supervise outbound marketing for the products a company creates.
Within their purview are tasks like performing market analysis, identifying target market segments, developing advertising and pricing strategies and creating the overall branding for a product to boost sales. In service of these goals, product marketing managers will take on a host of marketing and managerial responsibilities.
Job Description and Responsibilities
The day-to-day duties of product marketing managers are varied, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), and include tasks that bridge the gap between an organization and potential purchasers of their product, such as:
- Studying and testing company products — Product marketing managers must understand how the organization’s products function and be able to articulate selling points to customers through marketing material.
- Researching competing products — Product marketing managers must understand how their company’s products fit into the market landscape, and they should be able to create product messaging that sets their company’s offerings apart from others.
- Performing additional market research — Product marketing managers must know who their customers are, how they buy and what selling strategies will work in marketing. They will also use market intelligence to help set pricing and create branding.
- Coordinating with sales teams — Product marketing managers must communicate the value of products to company salespeople and support the sales team in their jobs.
- Coordinating with product teams — Product marketing managers will often work with product managers to create timetables for product development.
Being a managerial role, product marketing managers are also responsible for recruiting and training the marketing team that will assist in spreading the word about new products, developing presentations on product offerings and informing PR teams about product benefits and features.
Typical Salaries for Product Marketing Managers
The average 2018 salary for a product marketing manager, according to Payscale, is $85,807 per year. There is a range, however, with those on the lower end of the spectrum making about $56,559 per year and those on the high end making roughly $124,616 per year before considering bonuses or commissions. These too can range:
- Bonus Range — $1,988 to $19,135
- Profit Sharing Range — $489 to $17,256
- Commission Range — $503 to $50,000
Salaries for product marketing managers are also influenced by both skills and locations. Individuals with product management, market analysis, strategic marketing and business analysis skills will tend to earn more than the national average.
As far as location is concerned, product managers working in areas like San Jose, for instance, earn 39 percent more than the national average, while those working in lower-paying locales like Chicago earn 11percent less than average.
Necessary Experience and Education
The skills and experiences that forge excellent product marketing managers are also varied. Typically, product marketing managers have strong writing and design skills, are comfortable speaking in public, can track ROI (return on investment) effectively and grasp the ins and outs of networking tools like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. They also exhibit excellent people skills and managerial qualities, can operate collaborations and CRM tools like Salesforce and Slack, and possess familiarity with marketing automation tools like Marketo and Omniture.
Product marketing managers generally have at minimum a few years of experience in product marketing, along with a bachelor’s degree in business or marketing. Stronger candidates will often have additional education beyond a bachelor’s program, so those looking to maximize their chances should take a look at Bethel University’s online business degree courses that can equip them with additional business and marketing skills.