A role which works across different organisational departments, product marketing managers undertake market research on new products, establish timescales for developing products, influence pricing and packaging, guide sales teams, develop messaging and market positioning around products and take part in presentations and events. Often product marketing managers are the ‘voice of the customer’ within their organisation, carefully researching customer needs and experiences. They are mainly found in private sector companies but can be employed by any organisation that sells products.
Typically, a product marketing manager will:
- Develop product messaging that differentiates new products from others in the market
- Communicate the value of new products to the sales team and develop sales tools that facilitate the selling process
- Plan and take part in the launch of new products and involve several different departments in such launches
- Brief the press and PR teams about new products and take part in presentations
- Through interviews, surveys, focus groups and sales data, gain insight into customer use of current products, untapped opportunities and buyer personas
- Review inventory levels and ensure product availability
- Establish timescales for development of new products with product management, engineering or manufacturing departments
- Use market research data to determine product pricing
- Create product content such as case studies, videos, website copy and blog posts
- Speak and present about products to both external and internal audiences
- Test new products
- Propose and keep within a budget
- Research competitor offerings and react when appropriate
- Recruit and develop a team of product marketing executives
- Collaborative skills: As a product marketing manager you will have to work with teams across your organisation. This will often include the sales and marketing department, the engineering department, product management, press and PR and senior executives. New product launches are inherently ‘cross functional’ and entail coordinating the work of many different people.
- Communication skills: Both speaking and writing abilities have to be tapped in this role. You will frequently have to present about new products and write engaging copy, telling the ‘story’ of products, for various marketing channels.
- Research skills: A crucial part of being a product marketing manager is gaining insight into customer needs and experiences. Analysis of data, surveys and customer interviews will be part of this mix and you need to be well acquainted with these techniques.
An undergraduate degree is usually desired. The best subjects are marketing or business studies. An HND qualification can often substitute, however. There are many in-career qualifications available that can be very useful. The Chartered Institute of Marketing and Institute of Sales and Marketing Management are worth consulting.
Occasionally, employers will seek product marketing managers straight from university. But commonly at least two years’ experience in developing marketing campaigns is stipulated. Sometimes, five years’ worth of experience is the baseline.
£30,000-£85,000 per annum. Software and financial services companies pay the most generous salaries.
Standard office hours of 9:00pm-5.30pm are the formal requirement but product marketing managers in practice work more than 40 hours a week. Travel to meet clients or attend tradeshows and events is frequently an integral part of the job.
Your next steps may include:
- Marketing director
- Strategy director
- Insight director
A product marketing manager’s perspective
"My role at Traidcraft is very varied with lots of teamwork and project management. My remit covers Traidcraft’s grocery range which includes many different categories and I really enjoy keeping up-to-date with all the market trends to see how we can improve our product offering. My main challenge is probably juggling lots of conflicting priorities and deadlines."
- Jenny File, product marketing manager, Traidcraft