Product Management

To what extent is a PM a marketer?

You use knowledge about the users to improve the product. But, the same user insights can be utilised to sell it. To what extent is it a PM's role to think about marketing? What kind of marketing skills, if any, should you have as a PM?

  • The Team at JAM

    A PM knows the product inside out, they talk to the users, identify their pain points, and work out how to address them. It might make you wonder why a company would even need a separate position of a product marketer?

    Truth be told, great product management requires a marketer mindset and vice versa—think Sujan Patel for example.

    Both roles require intimate knowledge of the users, but it's used for different purposes.

    • PM’s focus is to improve the product.
    • Marketer’s focus is to communicate the value of the product.

    To be able to communicate the value effectively they need to identify people who are likely to find the product helpful in its current form. And, let’s not kid ourselves. Even if it is not a part of your official job description....

    If you’re directly contributing to the product monetisation or building a business model you are, in effect, doing a marketing job.

    In the early stages of product development— MVP and pre-launch—as a PM you’ll find yourself doing marketing. You’re the one who interacts with the users most.

    • Use the knowledge of the users to choose the most promising growth hacking techniques to try. With a fitness tracker you might focus on influencer marketing early, while to promote a SAAS for accounting you might achieve better results by writing white papers.
    • Identify the 80/20 of activities that bring the highest ROI for your type of product. Whatever techniques you’re testing...keep the tests’ results!

    In later stages of growth ****you might split responsibilities. Your team might decide to hire someone dedicated to communicating the value of the product you're all creating.

    • Share. Share the results of all the tests you performed with the product marketer, so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
    • Communicate. Communication PM<>Marketing must go both ways. Marketing is a source of important data which can inform the shape of the product.

    Work out a definition of what marketing is when it comes to product for you, right now.

    And, whatever it is, always treat marketing as a mindset. It's one of the hats you wear as product person, a part of your attitude that focuses on translating value into money.

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