Defining the Role of Product Marketing Manager

Their work can benefit industrial distributors in more ways than one.

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For manufacturers and distributors, it's essential to know the features and specifications of each product inside and out. Knowledge of a product is mandatory to iterate and refine it, offer superior product support, and market the product as effectively as possible.

To help ensure adequate knowledge of each product, more and more manufacturers and distributors have developed twin roles for product management and product marketing management. The former role is concerned with defining the features and managing the functionalities of a given product. At the same time, the latter is focused on creating the best possible go-to-market strategy.

While both roles are important, the product marketing manager position is newer and may be less well-known. As such, manufacturers and distributors must understand this role and its unique contours.

What Do Product Managers Do?

The basic role of the product manager is to develop a thorough understanding of the value that a product offers to the intended consumer and to create the best way of articulating and promoting that value.

This role involves working closely with the sales team and other members of the marketing department, shaping how a product is positioned for maximum marketplace success.

Product Marketing Manager Scope of Responsibilities

A product marketing manager may focus on an entire family of products, a single product, or even a single marketplace; for example, a company that distributes smartphones may have a different product marketing manager for each phone or each country in which it is active.

Product Marketing Manager Focus

It's also important to note that while a traditional marketer might spend a lot of time executing particular tactics (such as social media or PPC), the product marketing manager is more focused on big-picture strategies, such as the broad messaging that the other members of the marketing or sales team can use when highlighting the product's usefulness.

How Do Product Marketing Managers Help Industrial Distributors?

Ultimately, product marketing managers focus on increasing customer value and achieving commercial growth. Their work can benefit industrial distributors in more ways than one:

  • Managing customer needs. Manufacturers and distributors constantly seek to align their products with consumer needs and pain points. A product marketing manager can work closely with the customer success team, ensuring they are aware of all customer feedback and incorporate it into their brand messaging.
  • Creating Compelling Marketing Collateral. Distribution companies require effective marketing materials to promote their products or services to potential clients. Product marketing managers can develop compelling collateral such as brochures, case studies, whitepapers, and videos that highlight the benefits of the company's offerings.
  • Providing Training and Support. Finally, distributors typically work with a diverse network of partners, including resellers, retailers, and distributors. Product marketing managers can provide training and support to these partners, ensuring they have a deep knowledge of the products they're offering.

What's the Relationship Between Product Managers and Product Marketing Managers?

It's important to know that while the roles of product manager and product marketing manager are distinct, they can also work in an intensely collaborative way.

While product managers focus on the product itself, including development and iteration, product marketing managers focus on how to successfully bring that product to market. These roles work closely throughout the product life cycle, with product managers providing insights into the product's capabilities and roadmap and product marketing managers leveraging that information to create compelling messaging and drive demand. 

In other words, product managers build the product most optimally, while product marketing managers ensure it is marketed and sold in the smartest way possible.

Using Product Roadmap Management Software

Of course, a close and fruitful collaboration requires both the product manager and the product marketing manager to be on the same page, working with up-to-date information originating from a single source of truth.

That's where product roadmap technology comes in. Product roadmap software ensures that all participants always look at the same specs and details, bringing real alignment and clarity to their work.

Simply put, investing in product roadmap management software specialized for manufacturers like Gocious is essential for positioning the product marketing manager, and thus the whole team, for maximum success.

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