Our world is racing more and more towards digital, and our products, platforms and services need to keep up with that transformation. Not only is this digital transformation constantly evolving the way we approach product design and delivery, but we are also held to the changing buying habits, and expectations of our customer bases. These combined, means our products need to transform faster than ever before.
Companies not only need to create digital products and experiences, but they also need to utilise digital technology to better understand what their users really want and what they really need. Customers should be at the centre of all digital transformation, and this is where digital product marketers and managers can really bridge the gap between customers and companies.
A Product Manager has ultimate responsibility for the product, which includes crafting and taking responsibility for the product strategy, development of the product roadmap, and communicating the roadmap to stakeholders and development teams to keep everything on track. The benefits of having a great Product Manager are that they know the customer, and they understand the market.
A Product Manager can help prioritise customers during digital transformation by utilising data on customer patterns, preferences and behaviours, which can then be used to make decisions on designs, user journeys, messaging, and more. The Product Manager becomes the voice of the customer and ensures everything is created with the customer in mind.
To keep up with the rapid digital transformation, Product Managers now need to work at two speeds. They need to be able to plan and execute daily and weekly feature releases, whilst also planning for the overall product roadmap and feature releases over the next 6 to 24 months. This requires close collaboration with all other teams so that everybody knows the direction of the product and the timeframes.
The shift to digital has added pressure on shortening many of these timeframes.
As product ecosystems become more complex, Product Managers are having to manage more frequent releases, updates, and feature releases, on top of more complex pricing strategies, overseeing the application programming interface (API), and identifying key partnerships and often the marketing of the product. In an ideal business, there would be a separate person as the Product Marketing Manager, but in many businesses the Product Manager also absorbs this responsibility.
A Product Marketing Manager’s key responsibility is to communicate the product’s value to the wider market, which could include training sales staff on how best to sell the product, creating marketing content that communicates and sells the product, and develops tools, campaigns, and channels to attract new leads. The benefits of having a great Product Marketing Manager are that they know the customer and they know the preferred methods and channels for effective communication between the business and the customer. They know where and how to generate new customers and satisfy existing customers.
Whilst the Product Manager’s role would focus on the strategic oversight of a Product, the Product Marketing Manager would focus more on the messaging. The Product Marketing Manager would still need to learn the strategy, user personas, and customers, because this will help define campaign strategies and tool selections. The Product Manager should clearly articulate the features and benefits of the product, and the Product Marketer will then communicate these features and benefits to customers, the media, and the public and an easily digestible and appealing way.
Depending on the target customer, the Product Marketing Manager may use different tools to convey this messaging, including webinars, digital advertising, PR campaigns, tradeshows, Paid Media campaigns, or blogs/vlogs. The Product Marketing Manager will know the best ways to communicate with the target user in order to really make the product a success.
Organisations need people with the right skills and capabilities to respond to the rapid rate of change that we are currently experiencing, and it is the employees that can be the difference between product success and failure. Whilst Product Management and Product Marketing Management sound similar, they both have very different roles and responsibilities, and approach product in very different ways.
The two roles work very closely together and are often complimentary, but this doesn’t mean both roles should be done by one person. Each role has an intensive workload and require the person to look at Product from very different points of view. It’s simply too much work for one person to assume both roles and execute them both optimally, meaning that some key tasks may get overlooked.
Having two separate people in these roles would mean that all tasks are completed by area specialists and will therefore be completed to a higher standard. There would be an avoidance of burnout (if one person were to try to complete all tasks) and there would be a more efficient distribution of work.
As an increasing number of businesses, even those outside of the traditional tech sector, start to invest in software and technology, it’s integral that business leaders invest in their Product Teams. Building the right product team starts with hiring the right people. So, if you’re looking to hire an exceptional Product Manager or Product Marketing Manager who is right for your business, get in touch with me to partner with Maxwell Bond, the leading Product and Digital Marketing recruitment agency for the UK and Germany.
Maxwell Bond have helped build Product functions from the ground up for SME’s and helped with confidential search opportunities for senior roles for global enterprises.
Partner with the leading tech and digital recruitment agency in the UK for bespoke staffing solutions that will ensure the success of your Product.