Product Management vs. Product Marketing – The Clearest Distinction

What’s the easiest way to distinguish product management from product marketing?

This debate has been going on forever. Here’s the simplest way to distinguish the two functions.

  • Product marketing (and sales) own this year’s revenue.
  • Product management owns next year’s growth.

That’s not to say that product marketing doesn’t contribute to, participate in, or even lead strategic planning efforts. It simply means that product marketing should be squarely focused on helping sales drive as much short-term revenue as possible from existing solutions.

Conversely, it also means that product management will contribute to positioning and sales enablement activities, but their primary focus has to be delivering solutions that drive growth in the longer term.

One of the most important things to remember is that it’s almost impossible to have an effective product marketing function when you combine product management and product marketing to a single role. Why? It comes down to a single person’s capacity to do both.

Even when people have the skills to do both, there’s no capacity to focus on product marketing and sales enablement to the extent necessary if you have day-to-day product ownership. It becomes an afterthought.

For the best results, separate the roles.

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