- Product Marketing focuses on understanding the market and market needs, but with an emphasis on understanding the buyer of the company’s products and services. Product Marketing is responsible for developing positioning, messaging, competitive differentiation, and enabling the Sales and Marketing teams to ensure they are aligned and work efficiently to generate and close opportunities. Product Marketing is strategic marketing at the product or product line level. Product Marketing, as an overall function, is in fact a part of the overall function of Product Management.
This might not sit well with some people because it seems to imply that Product Marketing is subservient to Product Management, or more personally, that Product Marketers are subservient to Product Managers. But that is not the case.
As an example, in a software company, the relationship between Product Management and Product Marketing is similar to the relationship between Engineering and Quality Assurance (QA). Engineering is a function that is responsible for building product that meets functional and quality requirements within a given timeframe.
But within the Engineering department, there are usually at least 2 groups – Engineering (or Development) and Quality Assurance. They have different but related roles, and must work together to deliver what is needed. In tiny companies, there may not be a formal QA function and Development will take on both responsibilities, but as the company grows the QA role is defined and staffed accordingly. Likewise for Product Management and Product Marketing — one is a natural (and necessary) specialization of the other.