Product Management vs Product Marketing

What is the difference between Product Management and Product Marketing? This is a popular question and there is no definitive answer, simply because it differs from company to company. The infographic below shows what the team at think about it.

Personally, I am not in full agreement with this infographic. Let’s look at what AIPMM says.  Their “Certified Product Manager” page lists the following as key skills for a product manager:

  • Building case studies
  • Writing business plans segmented for each major function
  • Market planning
  • Competitive analysis
  • Project plans for each major activity
  • Product specifications
  • Develop product launch plans
  • Product Life Cycle Project modeling
  • Phase-Gate Process modeling
  • Product/Market Data modeling

And their “Certified Product Marketing Manager” has this list:

  • Both strategic and tactical marketing functions throughout the product life-cycle
  • Creating and executing the marketing plan and budget
  • Managing the creation of marketing deliverables
  • Creating marketing campaigns to drive customer acquisition and revenue
  • Assessing the marketplace, customers, competition, and trends through
    • Research
    • Analysis
    • Evaluation of relevant data
  • Translating insights into compelling business, product or service opportunities
  • Measuring and analyzing product and business performance
  • Recognizing and recommending opportunities for improvement

And now let’s compare the AIPMM view to the collective wisdom of Wikipedia, which breaks down product management into product development and product marketing, with the following key activities:

Product Marketing:

  • Product Life Cycle considerations
  • Product differentiation
  • Product naming and branding
  • Product positioning and outbound messaging
  • Promoting the product externally with press, customers and partners
  • Conducting customer feedback and enabling (pre-production, beta software)
  • Launching new products to market
  • Monitoring the competition

Product Development:

  • Testing
  • Identifying new product candidates
  • Considering new candidates
  • Gathering the voice of customers
  • Defining product requirements
  • Determining business-case and feasibility
  • Scoping and defining new products at high level
  • Evangelizing new products within the company
  • Building product road-maps, particularly technology road-maps
  • Developing all products on schedule, working to a critical path
  • Ensuring products are within optimal price margins and up to specifications
  • Ensuring products are manufacturable, and optimizing cost of components and procedures

In many companies, the responsibilities of a product manager (or a product marketing manager) include something from all of the lists above. And it is not uncommon to see roles of product marketing managers advertised with a requirement to “lead a team of product managers” or roles of product managers advertised with a requirement “to lead a product marketing team”.

Undeniably, this is a bit confusing. Let’s do another quote from Wikipedia:

“The confusion stems mainly from the mix up between the term “Marketing” as a discipline, comprising Product Management, MarCom (Marketing Communications), etc. and using the same term ‘Marketing’ as a synonym for ‘Promotion’ or ‘advertising’… The core function of Marketing … is the ownership of the Marketing Mix (= 4 P: Product, Place, Price, Promotion). Still, many organizations put under ‘Marketing’ only Market Communications (MarCom)… In organizations, where the Product Management is weak or not existent, it’s task are taken over by the other departments (i.e. sales defines the distribution (‘Place’), operations defines the prices, R&D defines the product, MarCom decides on the promotion.”

This underlines the need for strong and effective product management, doesn’t it?