Outside Reading: Product Manager vs. Product Marketing Manager

reading outside

Jeremiah Owyang, a Silicon Valley Community Manager writes about the difference between product managers and product marketing managers.

I typically view that Product Marketing Managers are ‘outbound’ and are responsible aligning the product with the market/customer. The could/should deliver the requirements to the Product Manager who will build the requirements into the development or engineering cycle.

Jeremiah Owyang

A good discussion thread has started on the post too, including a link to pragmatic marketing’s survey results on breakdown of responsibilities. Jump on over to Jeremiah’s post and join in the discussion (or post here, of course). From the survey results, it seems that both product managers (PM) and product marketing managers (PMM) commonly have product strategy responsibilities as their primary focus. Technical product management falls to the PM, while marketing and sales support fall to the PMM.

This data supports the perspective that PMM is more outbound while PM is more inbound.

Jeremiah makes a good point that with startups and small companies, specialization is an expensive luxury. In a technology or software startup, the founders often set product strategy – at least initially. I think that making the distinction between PM and PMM in a small company is pretty irrelevant. Regardless of title, both sets of responsibilities will fall on the same person. As the company grows, the opportunity for specialization becomes realistic.

Perhaps the best argument for dividing responsibilities based on an inbound/outbound focus is to support future recruiting. While there is a lot of variation in the industry – that does seem to be the most common differentiator. And it is certainly the easiest to explain to recruiters (as a candidate or as a company).

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