The more things change, the more they stay the same. One of the things that stood out in our 13th Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey was just how consistent much of the data has remained over the years. This is particularly true in terms of the demographics of the group—age (40), gender (2/3 male), and education (40 percent have master’s)—as well as compensation (adjusted for inflation). These numbers have not moved notably in any year we’ve run the survey.
In some ways, we’ve come a long way. We’ve seen marked improvement in both the understanding of these roles and their influence within organizations (54 percent either report up through their own distinct department or directly to the CEO). We’ve also seen a strengthening of the support structure that will enable these individuals to be even more successful in the next 13 years.
In some ways, we’ve got a ways to go. While there is a stronger, more consistent understanding of product management and marketing responsibilities, we found a gap between how important certain activities are considered and how well they are being performed. In particular, while the importance of gathering and understanding market problems was universally recognized, it was also among the lowest-rated activities in terms of performance. Because market facts should be the basis for every product and go-to-market decision, this has a direct and adverse effect on every artifact and activity downstream.
But some things are clear. Product managers and marketers are an extremely hard working group (averaging more than 50 hours a week) who are dedicated to the success of both their products and their companies. They possess a distinctive combination of education, experience and skills that make them uniquely qualified for their roles. Their effectiveness and impact have grown throughout the years and we look forward to seeing it continue.