Product Marketing vs. Product Management and How They Work Together

Product Marketing vs. Product Management and How They Work Together

Product marketers and product managers each have expertise and skills to contribute to the success of a product’s development and launch. However, their roles are often confused or thought to be the same.

If you’re in the production process of bringing a new product to market, learning the distinction between these two roles will help you have a successful product launch. Ultimately, the market’s reaction to your product may rely on the team’s ability to distinguish each role’s responsibilities and how they can collaborate.

In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive summary of what each profession entails and their key areas of collaboration. Understanding each will allow you to engage with the right professionals on your next product launch.

What product marketers do

Product marketers use their knowledge of the product and their familiarity with the market to craft a message representing the value of the product to the business and consumers.

Product marketers team up with researchers and other customer experts to gain deeper insights into the market. They also work with engineers and data analysts to collect data on consumers’ opinions of the product. Marketers then share what they learned with the product management team, at which point they’re able to collaborate with other teams to create the optimal version of the product to meet the target market’s demand.

In their scope of work, product marketers have an opportunity to work with all kinds of talent. They connect with these skilled professionals through remote talent platforms like Upwork for one-off tasks or contract with experts for large projects.

Product marketers’ key responsibilities:

  • Identify a marketing strategy for the product: A product marketer’s main responsibility is to study the market and learn how to promote the benefits of a product to its intended audience.
  • Study competitors to develop branding: Product marketers examine and monitor how your competitors price, advertise, and distribute their products to look for potential opportunities to serve the customers better.
  • Focus message around key features: Product marketers may hold demos and presentations to explain and identify key features of your product to the sales team.
  • Empower the sales team: Product marketers help develop new products from conception to the final product. Through this, their goal is always to ensure the success of the sales team and put the product in front of its intended users.
  • Select the pricing strategy for the product: Product marketers conduct market research, focus groups, and competitive analysis. They do all of this to learn what competitors are charging and determine what consumers are paying or willing to pay for a particular product.

What product managers do

Product managers are in charge of developing new products to answer the demand of a specific target market. They lead the production team from the research to the development of the final product.

This research includes figuring out why a particular product is needed, who it’s for, and what it would look like. From there, they guide the product engineers and designers on the product’s features and functions.

Product managers will also follow the development process as it goes from one department or worker to another. In doing so, they’ll collaborate with a team of skilled professionals, such as engineers, developers, marketers, and customer support, to create the best solution to consumers’ problems.

At this point, product managers may find it necessary and cost-effective to utilize a platform like Upwork to find independent professionals with the specialized skills they need to complete a task.

Product managers’ key responsibilities:

  • Identify customer needs to address: Project managers identify potential customers’ specific problems and provide a solution by coming up with a product. Research is usually done by conducting interviews, gathering data, and analyzing the data to understand how to address the market need.
  • Establish the product vision: A product vision provides a clear objective of how the product’s design and features will solve a potential customer’s problem. The product vision focuses on the product’s benefit to consumers.
  • Set up the product road map: The product road map is a visual representation of the answers to the what, why, and how the product is being built. It also answers how consumers and businesses will benefit from it.
  • Advocate for the product and end-user: Project managers act as the mediator between stakeholders and the development teams, but their goal is always to champion the customer’s experience of the product.
  • Document and report the product’s progress: The project manager tracks the development of the product and shares the report across all departments, such as engineering, marketing, and customer support.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams: To avoid delays and maintain that every task is done within the scope of the product strategy, project managers help each team collaborate.
  • Determine the required functionality of the product: Project managers will conduct user testing and write reports to be shared with all of the teams working on the product. They’ll also use the same data to assess the costs and benefits of a product’s features.

Product marketers and product managers: How they collaborate

Product marketers and managers have separate responsibilities, but they should frequently collaborate to succeed in their respective roles. Below are important areas of collaboration for product marketers and managers.

Collaboration Between Product Marketers and Product Managers

Identify the target market

The product manager is focused on the end-user of the product, and the marketer is more concerned about who buys the product. But their shared goal is to get the final product in the hands of its intended consumers. The success of a product launch will be higher when they collaborate to narrow the market and develop a product with specific customers in mind.

Product pricing

Product managers will have data on the costs of production. On the other hand, product marketers will have their own data on the target market’s ability to pay for the products and how much competitors are selling theirs for.

The product manager and marketer will consider all of this data with their knowledge of the product and market before deciding on a price.

Product packaging

Product packaging refers to how the product’s features are highlighted to attract and convince customers to buy. A collaboration between the product manager and marketer on product packaging will yield better sales results. Based on their research and familiarity with the target market, they can identify the features that intended buyers will value and pay for.

Empower the sales team

A launch will be successful if the product manager and marketer can collaborate to help the sales team understand and sell the product’s functions and features.

Their goal is to guide the sales team to acquire and retain customers with the right messaging. To do this, they help come up with the best way to communicate the product’s benefits to customers and make sure that the sales team has all of the relevant information about the product and its unique selling points.

Product positioning

With their combined expertise and research of the market, the product manager and marketer are in the best position to advise the team on where, how, and who to market the product.

For example, if the intended users of the product are university students, it would make sense to set an affordable price for that age group. It would also be a better strategy to advertise the product where the customers are—in this case, online and on campuses—and to package the product in a way that most university students would be attracted to with messaging that connects.

Marketers, managers, and more: Find top product professionals

There you have it: an overview of the roles and responsibilities of product marketers and managers. We hope this article gave you a better understanding of each specialization and showed how to utilize their expertise on your next product launch.

Gain access to the top independent professionals skilled in product marketing or product management with Upwork. Our work marketplace will help to connect you with a truly global talent pool for all your business needs.

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Product Marketing vs. Product Management and How They Work Together
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace connecting millions of businesses with independent talent around the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to 30% of the Fortune 100 with a powerful trust-driven platform that enables companies and freelancers to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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