The role of product management spans many activities from strategic to tactical, some very technical, others less so. Many CEOs realize that product management brings process and business savvy to the creation and delivery of products. Traditional consumer companies have always considered product management to be a marketing role, which is why it seems to make sense to put product management there. For technology companies, particularly those with enterprise or B2B products, the product management job is very technical. Very few product managers find themselves in a Sales (or Sales & Marketing) department. In effect, subordinating product management relegates it to a support role for the primary goal of the department.
The VP of Marketing owns collateral, sales tools, lead generation, and awareness programs. As our companies grow larger and become more mature, the company president needs someone thinking about the products we ought to be offering and new markets we could serve. Increasingly we see companies creating a VP of Product Management, a department at the same level in the company as the other major departments. As we grow ever larger, the product marketing role expands further: we still need a group defining our go-to-market strategy and providing content to Marketing Communications, but now we also need more marketing assistance in the field.
As companies grow, the product management role entails three or four functions: product strategy, technical product management, product marketing, and field marketing.
Product Management’s reporting structure corresponds to the results the company can expect from Product Management. If you want better products in the future, if you want a messenger for the market, Product Management should have a seat at the senior executive table; you need a VP of Product Management. Over 80% of product managers are monitoring development projects and writing market requirements.
The good news from these charts is that over 50% of product managers are building business cases. Compared to product managers, product marketers should have an emphasis on 'outbound' activities. As sales presentations and demos are the #1 activity for product marketers, with nearly half reporting a day or more per week on this activity, this task represents a significant opportunity to increase productivity.
When placing the two roles side-by-side, it is possible to see where the roles are similar and where they diverge. Adele Revella has served in executive roles at three technology companies, guiding product management, marketing and sales teams to achieve leadership positions in untapped markets. Product marketing as it traditionally exists solves for – what to build, who to sell it to, how to sell it, and what to price it at. With today’s companies being more product driven than ever and offering more products than before on more channels than ever before, the cornerstone that is product marketing has become the inflection point between success and failure. Best of luck to those marketers that think they can keep their heads down and ignore the product they are being asked to acquire customers and build loyalty for. I’m also seeing Product Management moving mostly into the What to Build area and the other 3 quadrants being left to marketing.


I think product marketing functions get unintentionally swept under the rug at startups that experience success. I’m starting to see companies put Product Management and Product Marketing into a common reporting structure, reporting up to a VP of Products or something like that.
Also, Product Management must be involved in the Who to Sell to discussion, because how do you know what to build if you don’t know to whom you are selling. About Me:I believe in shaking it up, taking the riskier move, and empowering everyone around me to be their best selves. Blackblot Marketing ModelMarketing is an instructive business domain that serves to inform and educate target markets about the value and competitive advantage of a company and its products. Volumes have been written about the marketing domain and what it entails, but little has been noted about how it is ordered and organized.
Decisions that define target markets, set marketing objectives, and outline how to build a corporate competitive advantage.
Decisions that determine how to achieve marketing’s goal in a particular target market, through the selection and application of marketing mixes. Decisions that build and enhance products to fit market needs, and outline how to build a product competitive advantage.
Description of the long-term goals and messages delivered to the target market relative to a particular company or product.
Description of the short-term marketplace effort designed to obtain a specific marketing goal. Perhaps that's why we've seen a shift over the years of where product managers report in the organization. It seems clear product managers in Sales will spend all of their time supporting sales people with demos and presentations. Vice Presidents and department heads have a natural inclination to support their primary department’s role. These companies often add a product marketing component to the marketing communications effort, supporting them with market information and product content.
So field marketing is born: product marketing people in the sales regions who create specific programs for all of the sales people in a given geographic area. In addition, most product managers are involved with researching market needs and creating sales presentations and demos.
The business case is the evidence of the product manager's role as a business leader in the company. It is interesting, however, that 50% of product marketers also spend time monitoring development activities, indicating that the product management and product marketing roles are not consistently defined by inbound vs.
If product marketers gain a clear understanding of target audiences and the buyer personas involved in purchasing the company's products, they can align sales tools directly with the needs of the sales people and their prospects. The intersection of  the two functions often causes more friction and deeper silos than we could imagine.
Its a four cornered web of awesome that helps companies build something valuable for the right people, sell it well and make money. I think startups are paving the way on these hybrid teams focused more on the core four of product marketing.


For the past few years I’ve prepared to take this shift in stride by buffing up on my product marketing skills.
And good luck to to the product managers that are shaping products but have no idea who will use it or where to find them. The goal of marketing is to build and maintain a preference for a company and its products within the target markets. In order to clarify the essence of the marketing domain, Blackblot introduces the Blackblot Marketing Model. That is why it is not surprising that a good number of product managers report directly to the CEO, acting as his or her representative at the product level. Alas, many technology companies consider the term "marketing" to be synonymous with "marketing communications." So if the Marketing department is only about delivering products but not defining them, product managers should be elsewhere. The VP of Development has a primary responsibility of delivering products, so tends to use product managers as project managers and Development gofers. The product management group interviews existing and potential customers, articulates and quantifies market problems in the business case and market requirements documents, defines standard procedures for product delivery and launch, supports the creation of collateral and sales tools by Marketing Communications, and trains the sales teams on the market and product.
I think these hybrid teams will hire in curious cats that don’t want to do one or the other. With that said – most product teams of today (meaning more traditional structures) are better set up to hire in someone to help them manage the customer segment analysis and product launch then marketing teams are set up to hire in someone to help build great products and price them. When startups are very small everyone is involved in making product, marketing and product marketing decisions. I believe in doing epic shit, and I believe in surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you. This model maps the marketing activities within the marketing domain, presents the division and location of departments identified with marketing in the corporate organizational hierarchy, and describes the types of strategies and plans related to the marketing domain. The problem appears to be technical product managers spend so much time writing requirements, they don't have time to visit the market to better understand the problems their products are designed to solve. You are already seeing this shift happen as product & marketing teams today try to find ways to work closer together. When the product becomes a market success the startup will just do more of the same and the focus becomes on iterating on the product itself and finding new channels for promotion.
They spend so much time building products that they're not equipped to help deliver them to the market. Because the short of it is…I believe product marketing is in a lot of ways just that.
Grab a coffee with someone from the other team, brain-share the hell out of your time working together, and forge ahead together instead of apart.
Luckily for us there is a traditional function that helps lace us together for a common goal — product marketing.



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