What Is a Product Marketing Manager and What Do They Do in a Startup?

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In such a competitive marketplace, it is getting increasingly hard to retain clients and new business ventures are springing up with larger marketing budgets to catch the attention of the consumer. It can become quite challenging if you are having a hard time standing out from your peers on social media for example; or even worse if you’re not able to attract enough customers from your advertising.

Proving a quality product that you can use to make a difference in your niche is only half the battle. To thrive in this market, you have to let everyone know what's cooking. That's the job of the product marketing manager. If your company has developed an extraordinary product that will sell like hotcakes, you need a team member like this on your side. In this article, we'll take a closer look at who the product marketing manager is and what they do in a startup.

What is a product marketing manager?

Product marketing managers (PMMs) are like research, promotion and sales all wrapped into one. They provide the product team with information on how to create a product that users will enjoy, as well as advise the sales team on how to share the benefits of this particular product via selling techniques that'll get them making even more money – in turn making you lots of money because you have managed to fulfil the clients' needs! The PMM plays an important role in dealing with all sort's of aspects because they're always keeping track of what's happening from a perspective which could be defined as an overall 'stakeholder management.

Just as there are many different brands of foundation, there are also a number of unique PMM roles. For example, one can be an offshore Project manager, SMO or Scrum Master Abroad. It depends on the product and the company.

But isn't a Product Manager doing portfolio management?

Doesn't it mean that they're the person responsible for multiple products with specific tasks of managing each one's progress? Here's why this is different. The PMM not only monitors the work being done on a particular product but also influences its qualitative characteristics, prepares a presentation to be delivered to clients. Considering all of this, it is easy to realize how much more complex and time-consuming a job as an influencer in modern business can get.

For example, answering questions about the product to new users or bringing back feedback from current customers through constant communication channels when you have too many things on your plate at once is certainly more complicated than monitoring just one product to which you can dedicate all your energy and attention.

As a client, the PMM may act as an advisor or mentor for a marketing department from the product side. He/she can train sales staff, create marketing materials, and run campaigns to attract customers to sell targeted products.

What does a product marketing manager do?

Product marketing managers are like salesmen. Every day they are immersed in various departments and interact with colleagues to try and reach a common goal — to give the user what they want, when and how they want it.

The product manager supports and synchronizes all the work of the product development team. They arrange to integrate each area of marketing, sales, support and even finance into a single system in which everyone knows what they’re responsible for.

  1. Designers understand what market problem the product should solve. This allows them to provide all the features one needs to be able to take care of solving that problem and then help create a delightful user experience.
  2. Marketers are like basketball players; they know who to aim for, where the goal is, and how to score. They can effectively position the product by knowing where their audience likes the ball passed to them in order to make a shot.
  3. Salespeople understand what to sell, where to sell it and which clients they need to be reaching out to. They have the necessary materials in their arsenal when it comes to providing potential customers with in-depth knowledge of their product whether that’s a car, refrigerator or any other tangible (or intangible) object.
  4. Customer care specialists are ready to support users with any questions. They know the most common problems and pitfalls and can provide them with competent assistance fast.

    Product marketing manager responsibilities


    Although the product marketing manager is employed primarily for their prowess when it comes to marketing, they manage a variety of responsibilities outside the fields of other more narrow specialists. Within their role, you'll need to not only communicate the product strategy to the rest of your team, but you’ll also need to ensure that everyone is following it properly and taking the steps they are supposed to so that everything falls into place at first try.

Product marketing managers are there to offer their expertise and guidance to product management. They help mentor product managers in how they can grow their skill set, particularly when it comes to building new projects from the ground up. The responsibilities of a PMM include:

  1. Conducting analysis and research of the environment to incorporate in a product is sometimes difficult when the product involves many aspects.
  2. Creating a marketing strategy that describes the project/product's positioning and promotion
  3. Thinking of a solid launch strategy, which describes the process of bringing your product to market
  4. Monitoring the product after its release, running the business.

Let’s take a look at a typical job description for a product manager:

  1. Research and analysis
    A product marketing manager can help bring your product vision to life! Identifying your market, customers and competitors, the PMM analyzes it all from interviews, questionnaires and through observations of how people use the new products in their daily lives. As part of this process of market analysis, the PMM will find out:
  • Size of the market
  • Opportunities
  • Market needs
  • Current offers on the market

As part of customer analysis, the PMM gains knowledge about:

  • Needs of the customers
  •  Customers' motivation
  • Mindsets and attitudes of the customers
  • Various sources of influence

The Product manager performs competitor analysis by gathering information about:

  • The customer base of the competitors
  • Revenues of the competitors
  • Pricing and business model
  • Positioning and messaging
  • Distribution channels

Secondly, the Product Manager conducts competitive research by analyzing their product’s features against similar or comparable products from competitors. They will also identify potential competitive threats and necessary responses to these potentially problematic scenarios.

2. Marketing strategy

The product marketing manager is in charge of developing a marketing strategy that includes the following:

Target customer attractions. The target customer values what you offer and does not care about weaknesses. A good PMM looks for growth, so they look beyond the primary target audience and may have more than one target customer.

Naming. A great product manager will make sure that the features of the product are delivered on time. Our product manager will make sure that both the individual features and the software as a whole will be complete with features, but also is something our target audience is going to be thrilled about.

Positioning. Product positioning is all about keeping things equal when it comes to presenting your product - in other words, don't go overboard with the details or people might get the wrong idea about what your product is really about and that could lead to failure and embarrassment. Positioning starts with building a positioning statement that consists of four components:

  • What is being developed?
  • For whom it's being developed
  • Key benefits
  • Proof points

Based on the positioning statement, the PMM describes product features and creates messages to accomplish marketing objectives.

Point of sale materials (POSM). These may include promotions, special offers, and gift cards. Selling points: - Emphasize ease of use so it appeals to a broad audience.

Pricing. This includes deciding what colour scheme is best for your project and coordinating with PR, marketing, development, and other relevant parties about seasonal planning related to special offers.

Packaging. In software development, packaging means making sure that functionality or features are bundled together in a way that there's minimal difficulty understanding how it works especially on the user's end.

3. Launch plan

There are a lot of additional steps and stages involved in the process of building your product which means there is a whole array of tasks you will need to consider during this time that you might not have previously as a result of developing only the front-facing aspects. Your team can help you out with many things, including these:   - Proof of concept development and testing - Alpha testing on internal employees - Beta testing on selected users outside of your company - General availability.

They also establish a marketing funnel and acquisition channels to attract potential customers. The marketing funnel shows the stages of building awareness and converting visitors into prospective customers, while the acquisition channels when applied will help bring in new leads and turn them into clients.

4. Running the business

After the product launch, the work of the product marketing manager doesn’t end. The PMM watches how their product evolves and interacts with previous customers as well as potential new customers to see how well their craft fits what people are looking for in terms of filling a gap in their lives that they hadn't realized until now and giving them something that makes their lives easier or more exciting. At this stage, the PMM:

  • Tracks performance (number of product downloads and registered users, activation rate, return rate, NPS).
  • Conducts behavioural analysis (cohort analysis, segmentation, inactive user behaviour).
  • Collects and studies customer feedback (from customer service, social media and email campaigns),
  • Conducts A/B testing.
  • Performs ongoing marketing.

Product manager vs product marketing manager

Many non-marketing people do not have a very clear idea of what product marketing managers are and how they differ from product managers. A well-known saying explains the working relationship of these two roles: Product Managers put products on the shelf, and Product Marketing Managers get those products by allowing customers to take them off the shelf.

Although it’s often true in theory, this operational model only works effectively in an ideal world. In reality, the responsibilities of both Product Managers and Product Marketing Managers can become blurry at times as they work together to deliver a cohesive experience across cross-functional teams that align with specific go-to-market strategies designed to enable implementation of tactics used towards the delivery of strategy to clearly defined goals.

Despite this, the key difference between a product manager and a product marketer is the role they each play as the product moves throughout its different stages of development. While a product manager helps create the actual item being sold to customers, a product marketer helps get the word out about it and to help define how it will be perceived by their target audience.

When you need a product marketing manager

A product marketing manager is essential when a company enters the market with a new product. A PMM makes sure that the product gets into the hands of the right customers so they can learn about its benefits and solutions to problems they may not even be aware of having. The PMM does this by watching how they respond to other products in their diet, making sure one's offering is as tasty and attractive as possible.

As a startup, we are trying to promote our products and services as much as possible. We realize that the importance of these activities is crucial for new companies such as ours. We also have to make sure we don't promote things in an unethical manner. Therefore, we need good communication with both our distributors and customers. Also, we should be using social media platforms extensively to spread the news of our products being launched in the market so more people get aware of it.

Conclusion

This is an all-too-familiar tale: entrepreneurs and marketers are often miscommunicating with one another, leading to marketing plans going awry and a product not meeting customer needs. As a result, businesses miss out on valuable revenue opportunities. To avoid this from happening, the best solution is to turn to product marketing management. The PMM will walk you through clever ways of finding the right target audience and increasing your chances of success in the market by helping you to meet your goals at every stage of your go-to-market journey.

A product marketing manager is a jack of all trades and a master of one! They are able to fill so many roles in an organization because they have experience doing a bit of everything.

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