What Does a Product Marketing Manager Do? 2022 Career Guide

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Product marketing managers work at the intersection of product development, marketing, and sales.

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Product marketing managers work at the intersection of product development, marketing, and sales. Their broad responsibility is to develop and implement a marketing strategy roadmap for a specific product. In order to successfully reach their goal, product marketing managers typically work with colleagues across many departments throughout the product’s life cycle.

As their title suggests, product marketing managers focus heavily on marketing, so they often coordinate efforts with strategists across various marketing disciplines, including digital, social media, brand, and market research.

Cross-departmentally, product marketing managers may also work closely with product managers, user experience (UX) designers, engineers, and stakeholders in the product’s launch, including communications and sales teams. It can be helpful for product marketing managers to know a bit about how each of these departments works in order to efficiently work together.

Product manager vs. product marketing manager

A product manager oversees strategy as a product moves through the design and build process. A product marketing manager oversees the public-facing communication strategy about a product.

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Product marketing manager role and responsibilities

A product marketing manager communicates the value of a specific product or products to people outside of the organization, such as potential buyers, clients, or investors. Although the role can vary across different companies, here are some common responsibilities you may see in product marketing manager job descriptions:

  • Before a product launch, product marketing managers may interpret market research and apply relevant findings to the development process. Their insights may impact aspects such as product features, user experience, naming, and packaging.

  • During a product launch, product marketing managers will own the product’s go-to-market strategy. They’ll ensure that all messaging regarding the product is accurate and presented in a way that potential customers will care about. They may also oversee the creation of content about the product, including videos, blog posts, or slide presentations.

  • After a product launch, product marketing managers will oversee customer response, reacting as necessary to any feedback. They may pursue additional growth campaigns and experiments or suggest potential improvements to future iterations of the product.

Product marketing manager skills

Product marketing managers use many skills common among both marketers and product managers. Here are some skills hiring managers may seek in candidates:

  • Communication

  • Storytelling

  • Asset development

  • Project management

  • Collaboration

  • Negotiation

  • Understanding customers needs and behaviors

What tools do product marketing managers use?

Product marketing managers may use different tools depending on their specific responsibilities and their company. In general, the tools they use may fall into the following categories:

  • Market research and analysis: Typeform, UserTesting, Segment, Amplitude

  • Workflow and project management: Trello, Asana, Slack, InVision, ProductBoard, ProdPad

  • Content creation: Sketch, Wistia, Venngage, Canva

  • Marketing: MailChimp, HubSpot, Customer.io, Chameleon, Ahrefs, BuzzSumo

Product marketing manager salary

The average salary for a product marketing manager in the United States is $120,239, according to Glassdoor [1]. Salary.com reports a median national salary of $112,790 [2], while PayScale suggests a lower national average of $92,946, as of December 2021 [3].

According to PayScale, product marketing managers in San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Austin, and Seattle earn above-average salaries [3].

Differences among the salary estimates may be attributed to differences in data sources collection methods, however, all listed salaries are much higher than the median salary among all occupations in the United States, $56,310, as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics [4].

How to become a product marketing manager

There are many paths to becoming a product marketing manager. Often, getting there requires a combination of education and experience. Here are some steps you can take to pursue a career as a product marketing manager.

Consider a degree.

Many product marketing manager job descriptions list a bachelor’s degree as a required or preferred qualification, so earning your degree can be a productive starting point. A marketing degree, specifically, is not always necessary, however, if you know you want to go into marketing, the coursework can be helpful when you enter the workforce.

Beyond a bachelor’s degree, some jobs may require or prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Typically, people will have a few years of work experience on their resume before applying for MBA programs, so if you’re just starting out, it may be beneficial to seek an entry-level position before pursuing your MBA.

Develop product marketing skills.

Product marketing manager roles may require anywhere from three to 10 years of work experience, depending on the company. Start building the skills you’ll need with entry-level marketing positions. For responsibilities directly related to product marketing, look for product marketing specialist, associate product marketing manager, or product marketing associate roles. For broad marketing experience, seek marketing assistant or marketing associate roles.

Product marketing managers work across many industries, so if you have an idea of the products, industry, or companies you’d like to work with, take a look at current job descriptions in those areas to get a better idea of the qualifications you should focus on building. 

Product marketing manager career trajectory

After becoming a product marketing manager, people may move into varying levels of seniority, with designations such as senior, principal, director, and senior director. Some companies may also have vice president and senior vice president designations.

Some product marketing managers may also shift into other marketing specializations or product roles during the course of their careers. For example, some people transition from product marketing management into product management, or a product marketing manager may lean into the research aspect of their position and become a market researcher. As you gain more experience in the field, you’ll likely notice the areas you gravitate toward and will be able to hone your expertise and career path accordingly.

Next steps

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a product marketing manager, earning a bachelor’s degree could be a good place to start. You can learn marketing theory and practice from renowned experts completely online with a BSc in Marketing from the University of London.

To learn on a condensed timeline, consider the Meta Marketing Analytics or Social Media Marketing Professional Certificates or a Specialization in Digital Product Management from the University of Virginia, all available on Coursera. Each program takes approximately five to seven months to complete and is designed to leave you with a better understanding of the respective fields through online courses and applied learning projects.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Related articles

Article Sources

1. Glassdoor. "Product Marketing Manager Salary, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/product-marketing-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm." Accessed January 18, 2022.

2. Salary.com “Product Marketing Manager Salary, https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/product-marketing-manager-salary/." Accessed January 18, 2022.

3. PayScale. “Average Product Marketing Manager Salary, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Product_Marketing_Manager/Salary." Accessed January 18, 2022.

4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “United States, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000." Accessed January 18, 2022.

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