How Manufacturers Can Leverage the Role of the Product Marketing Manager

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Illustration: two business people, a Male & a FemaleWhen it comes to leadership in the manufacturing world, product marketers and product managers are like two peas in a pod. Both positions require a thorough understanding of the product and their ideal customer's preferences and pain points. The day-to-day of both positions requires strategic planning and cross-functional collaboration to drive customer success. 

These two positions may overlap, but their primary focus is quite different. Where the product manager focuses on defining the product's features, prioritizing functionalities, and managing the roadmap, the product marketing manager develops the product's promotional messaging and ideal go-to-market strategy.


What Does a Product Marketing Manager Do?

Illustration: demographic segmentationYour product marketing managers are key players in the success of your product lines. It’s the role of the product marketing manager to fully understand the product's value for the customers and how to convey this value attractively. The nature of their position means they often work closely with the sales teams and other marketers to direct product messaging and shape marketing efforts and campaigns

Using an electronics manufacturer as an example, the size of their product portfolio and the number of markets their products are sold in will impact their decision on how many product marketing managers they’ll need to hire. If this company is launching mobile devices in markets in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, they’ll require product experts for each market. The target customer of each region has different values, pain points, and needs. Not to mention, each region has different infrastructure and regulations that manufacturers must follow in their product designs. 

While a product marketing manager focuses on marketing metrics, such as brand awareness, lead generation, and customer acquisition, they are not a traditional marketer in the general sense. Their primary role is to communicate the value of the product in terms that the other marketing teams understand and can then transform into marketing campaigns for the target audience. 

Scope of Responsibilities

Product marketing managers are typically responsible for a specific product or product line within a company's portfolio. With our electronics company example, this means that one product marketing manager will focus on a particular product line in a market. There may be a product marketing manager for smartphones in Europe and another for smartphones in Africa. This focus allows them to develop a deep understanding of the product and destined market, which helps them contribute to the marketing vision. By contrast, traditional marketers may work on all the campaigns for a region, having a general sense of the selling points for multiple product lines


Focus on Strategy 

Due to a product marketing manager's close involvement with a product or product line, they are also responsible for more marketing strategy than the traditional marketer would be. Developing go-to-market strategies for a product launch requires identifying the ideal product positioning and messaging and creating a pricing strategy. They’ll also work with other teams to create sets of marketing materials, such as sales decks and promotional videos. 


Collaborative Work

Collaboration is another significant portion of the product marketing manager’s work. This position acts as a bridge between the sales and marketing teams and the product. They must also work closely with product development teams to provide feedback using their understanding of the ideal customer's preferences. 

Product marketing managers may also work with the sales teams to create sales materials, such as developing case studies with customers who have had positive experiences with the product. A product marketing manager may also work with sales managers to train sales teams on how to best convey the product's value directly to customers or sales reps. 


How Product Marketers Can Have a Positive Impact on Manufacturing Businesses

Illustration: targetsProduct marketing managers' primary objectives are commercial growth and increasing customer value. They accomplish these objectives by building an effective marketing strategy for their products and advising product teams on which features customers need the most. Growth for manufacturers usually happens when their companies create products for customer impact rather than revenue growth alone. 

Developing products for business impact requires manufacturers to build for customer impact. However, a thorough understanding of what customers want is necessary before it becomes possible to build impactful products.


Capturing and Managing Customer Needs

Manufacturers can use several methods to better understand their customers' needs. Customer success teams are experts on what customers want. By interacting directly with customers, they can determine which existing features customers like or dislike and what features they hope to see added or improved. Other popular research methods include direct observation, focus groups, and mail surveys. Market research led by product marketing and holistic customer feedback efforts need to happen continuously.

Customer success teams in partnership with the product marketing manager, can ensure a system exists to facilitate feedback collection and analysis. This will help teams stay on top of current trends, changes in the market, and new opportunities. 


Incorporating Customer Feedback

Once product teams gather feedback, they need to share the information with product development teams. The next steps involve sorting the information, prioritizing ideas, and creating solutions. This is where the product marketing manager is invaluable to your organization. They ensure that important insights are captured, identified, and shared with the right teams through collaborative software, team meetings, and required reports. 

We recommend using software that is accessible to all internal collaborators to assist in sorting through data and organizing insights. This will ensure all stakeholders have the latest information in a central, easily accessible location. 

As your teams sort the data, they can prioritize the customers' needs. Your product managers can avoid the trap of trying to solve every problem identified by using the product strategy and company goals as guiding lights. 


Product Marketers and Your Product Management Teams

Illustration: sports fansProduct marketers and product management teams can work together to drive commercial growth and product success. Both roles have a significant stake in the product's lifecycle management. Product marketers will gather first-hand data from product teams to inform their marketing decisions or to use as statistics in promotions or marketing campaigns. 

In turn, product marketers must support the work of product managers by ensuring their activities align with the overall product vision. Reporting key metrics and product performance to executives may also be taken on collaboratively by product marketers and product managers.


Use Product Roadmap Management Software to Connect Your Key Players

Product marketing managers are required to work closely with the product team, and they must also stay up-to-date and add value to the product roadmap. They might be adding product initiatives, such as customer feedback projects or launch campaigns, which are important milestones for other teams to be aware of and participate in. Product managers may be responsible for creating and updating the roadmaps, but other players still need access and should be contributing data to create a more holistic product roadmap.


Product Roadmap Management Software for Product Marketing Managers

Gocious' product roadmap management software makes collaboration between teams and key players easier. When teams are more organized and communication between product decision-makers is streamlined, collaboration on the whole works better. 

Your product decision-makers need the right tools to work effectively and efficiently. Through our product roadmap management software, product leaders can create simple, effective presentation views to communicate the value of a product or a product idea or manage a product backlog to prioritize features.


Schedule a free demo today to learn more about how your organization can use product roadmap management software in their initiatives.

Topics: Product Management, Marketing

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