Product Manager vs. Product Marketing Manager

Product Manager vs Product Marketing Manager

Releasing a customer-facing product, whether it’s a physical entity or virtual software, can be a daunting task requiring large amounts of collaboration among different groups in a company. This post will highlight the difference between two roles that share similar titles but focus on different tasks – that of the product manager and the product marketing manager.

If you need a quick primer on the high-level responsibilities of a product manager, take a look at our What is a Product Manager? post.

Perhaps the simplest way I can describe the difference is the following:

Product managers are responsible for leading the creation of a product, and product marketing managers are responsible for leading the go-to-market for that product.

Let’s take a look at some of the detailed responsibilities of the two roles:

Product Manager

  • Sets product vision & roadmap
  • Articulates business value of the product
  • Documents required functionality of the product
  • Works with software engineers, designers, QA, etc. to build product
  • Manages stakeholders of the product & advocates for the end user

Product Marketing Manager

  • Conducts competitor analysis & market research
  • Shapes communication & strategic positioning around product
  • Identifies the product features to spotlight
  • Explains benefits of product features via customer-facing messaging
  • Leads product demos & presentations

In many smaller companies, a single person will be responsible for both roles, often acting as a product manager who must also take on a marketing role once the product is ready for release to customers. Some companies will have product managers and no product marketing managers, mainly because the PMs work on websites (the products) that aren’t directly sold to customers.

At the end of the day, both roles are critical in a company that releases customer-facing software, and product managers must work closely with product marketing managers (and vice versa) to make sure that the end product fits the right customer segment and customer needs.

See below for a great infographic by Drift on the differences between a product manager and a product marketing manager:



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