Why is product marketing so misunderstood?

Why is product marketing so misunderstood?I have the privilege of working with many marketing teams at technology companies. A common theme is how many companies can describe what product marketing is, but they can’t describe the responsibilities of their product marketing managers.

Let me tell you about you, product marketing manager

Your name is John. You are 34 years old. You go by many job titles, most notably product marketing manager, marketing manager, industry marketing manager, and segment marketing manager. Sometimes your job title is product manager and you do it all. You have an undergraduate degree, usually a BS (no pun intended), and occasionally an MBA (about 30% of the time). Your job is to develop and evangelize your products to prospects, customers, partners and analysts. You differentiate your product offerings from competitive alternatives in the market. You write a lot of stuff and build slides like they are going out of style. Your salespeople are constantly asking for one of these and one of those. You struggle to prioritize the gazillion things on your todo list because they all have one priority: high. Actually, your sales team believes you work for them and should do everything they ask you to do, no matter how ridiculous you think it is. Last minute requests from salespeople (even though you’ve already created what they are asking for) is epic. Everything is a crisis and you know if you turn down their requests, they will complain to their boss, who complains to your boss, who asks you to do it anyway, even when you both agree it’s a complete waste of time. You know you should be spending time doing strategic activities but there is never enough time. Of course, when you are asked to deliver said strategic deliverables and you say you didn’t have enough time, your boss stares at you in total disbelief. You work with 2-3 product managers who are grousing that you don’t put enough effort into marketing their products. Likewise you work with a team of marketing communications people who are regularly asking for product descriptions, messaging, product highlights, web content, etc. Why aren’t you writing a blog already? What are you waiting for? You are asked to write whitepapers that are really collateral printed on white paper. You are an expert at using jargon when you write (best-in-class, comprehensive, seamless, state-of-the-art, next-generation).
David Daniels

David Daniels

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