What Does a Product Marketing Manager Do? Key Responsibilities

What Does a Product Marketing Manager Do? Key Responsibilities

Product marketing managers are the key link between product development and the market. They ensure the product meets customer needs, craft strategies to position it effectively, and work closely with sales teams. 

By keeping a pulse on market trends, they make sure your product stays relevant and competitive.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the key responsibilities and essential skills of a product marketing manager and how they contribute to a company’s growth. So, let’s get started. 

What is the Role of a Product Marketing Manager

A product marketing manager (PMM) is the link between the product and the market. They ensure the product meets customer needs and stands out in the market.

Here’s what a product marketing manager does:

  • Market Research: Understands customer needs, market trends, and the competitive landscape.
  • Product Positioning: Develops clear messaging that resonates with the target audience.
  • Go-to-Market Strategy: Plans and executes strategies for product launches.
  • Sales Enablement: Creates materials to support the sales team.
  • Performance Analysis: Measures and analyzes marketing campaigns’ success.

State of Product Marketing Leadership Report 2023, leaders revealed that GTM strategy and execution (83.1%) are their top priorities.

Product messaging (75.4%), value proposition development (72.3%), and product positioning (67.7%) also rank highly.

Additionally, 92.3% value driving cross-functional relationships, 87.7% prioritize strong communication, and 66.2% emphasize being a team player, along with adaptability, empathy, and good listening skills.

Key Responsibilities of a Product Marketing Manager

A product marketing manager (PMM) has many responsibilities that ensure a product’s success. Let’s take a look at their key responsibilities.

Market Research

Market research is the backbone of a PMM’s work. They start by understanding customer needs, which helps shape the product.

Here’s how they do it:

  • Customer Interviews: Talking directly to customers to gather insights.
  • Surveys and Feedback: Collecting data from potential buyers to understand their preferences and pain points.
  • Competitive Analysis: Studying competitors to see what’s working for them and where gaps exist. For instance, a company may find that competitors are offering lower prices or extra features that customers value, which could prompt them to adjust their own prices or product features to remain competitive.
  • Market Trends: Monitor industry trends to predict future customer needs. For instance, a company may notice that its customers are increasingly using mobile apps, which could prompt it to invest in developing a mobile app for its products and services.

Product Positioning and Messaging

Once they understand the market, PMMs craft the product’s positioning and messaging.

This involves:

  • Defining Unique Selling Points (USPs): Highlighting what makes the product stand out. For example, a product’s USP might be its long-lasting battery life, lightweight, or sleek d1 design.
  • Creating Buyer Personas: Developing detailed profiles of target customers to tailor messages effectively. For example, a buyer persona might include a person’s age, gender, interests, and hobbies.
  • Crafting Clear Messages: Ensuring that all marketing materials convey the product’s value in a way that resonates with the audience.

Effective positioning and messaging help the product connect with its target market, driving interest and sales.

Go-to-Market Strategy

Planning and executing a go-to-market (GTM) strategy is another key responsibility.

This involves:

  • Market Segmentation: Identifying specific segments of the market to target.
  • Launch Planning: Setting timelines for product launches and coordinating with internal teams.
  • Channel Selection: Choosing the best channels to reach the target audience, whether it’s online, in-store, or through events.
  • Promotion: Developing promotional campaigns to generate buzz and attract potential customers.

Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is about providing the sales team with the tools and information they need to sell the product effectively.

PMMs help with:

  • Creating Sales Materials: Developing brochures, presentations, and other materials that highlight product features and benefits. For example, PMMs may create a presentation that outlines how a product can help a customer solve a problem while also highlighting its benefits.
  • Training Sales Teams: Educating the sales team on the product, its features, and how to address customer questions.
  • Aligning with Sales: Working closely with the sales team to ensure they have up-to-date information and can effectively communicate the product’s value.

Performance Analysis

After the product launch, PMMs measure and analyze the performance of marketing campaigns.

This involves:

  • Setting Metrics: Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to track success. For instance, a company may measure its customer retention rate by tracking the number of customers that stay with the company over a certain period of time.
  • Monitoring Campaigns: Keeping an eye on marketing campaigns to see how they’re performing.
  • Analyzing Data: Using tools like Google Analytics to gather data and understand what’s working and what’s not.
  • Adjusting Strategies: Making changes to marketing strategies based on performance data to improve results.

Essential Skills and Qualifications

To become a successful Product Marketing Manager, you need a mix of education, skills, and familiarity with key tools.

Educational Background

To succeed as a product marketing manager, it is important to have the right educational background. Following are some highly valued degrees and certifications:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing
    • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School): Offers a comprehensive undergraduate program in marketing.
    • University of Michigan (Ross School of Business): Known for its strong marketing curriculum.
    • Online Option: Arizona State University (ASU Online) offers a flexible online marketing degree program.
  2. Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration
    • Harvard University (Harvard Business School): Provides a robust business administration program with a strong focus on leadership and management.
    • Stanford University (Stanford Graduate School of Business): Offers a top-tier business administration program.
    • Online Option: University of Florida (UF Online) offers an online business administration degree.
  3. Master’s Degree in Marketing
    • Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management): Renowned for its graduate marketing programs.
    • Columbia University (Columbia Business School): Offers advanced marketing courses within its MBA program.
    • Online Option: Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU Online) provides a flexible online master’s in marketing.
  4. Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA)
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan School of Management): Offers a prestigious MBA program with opportunities to specialize in marketing.
    • University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business): Provides an MBA program with strong marketing electives.
    • Online Option: Indiana University (Kelley Direct Online MBA) offers a comprehensive online MBA program.
  5. Certificate in Product Management
    • University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business): Offers a certificate program in product management.
    • General Assembly: Provides an online bootcamp focused on product management.
    • Online Option: Cornell University (eCornell) offers an online certificate in product management.
  6. Certificate in Digital Marketing
    • New York University (School of Professional Studies): Offers a certificate program in digital marketing.
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Provides a specialization in digital marketing through Coursera as part of its iMBA program.
    • Online Option: Google Digital Garage offers free online courses in digital marketing

Key Skills

Being effective in this role requires several essential skills:

  • Market Analysis: Understanding market trends and customer needs is crucial. This helps in making informed decisions about product strategies.
  • Communication: Clear and effective communication is key. PMMs need to convey product messaging to both internal teams and customers.
  • Strategic Thinking: Developing and executing long-term strategies for product positioning and market entry.
  • Project Management: Managing product launches and marketing campaigns requires strong organizational skills.
  • Customer Focus: Always keeping the customer’s perspective in mind helps in creating products that meet their needs.

Tools and Software

Proficiency in various tools and software is also important:

  • CRM Systems: Tools like Salesforce help manage customer relationships and track interactions.
  • Marketing Automation Platforms: HubSpot and Marketo are examples of tools that automate marketing tasks and workflows.
  • Data Analytics Tools: Google Analytics and Tableau help in analyzing market data and measuring campaign performance.
  • Project Management Tools: Asana or Trello can help in managing tasks and coordinating with cross-functional teams.

These skills and tools help product marketing managers effectively bridge the gap between the product and the market, ensuring the product’s success from development to launch and beyond.

Real-World Examples

Let’s look at some case studies and insights from current product marketing managers to better understand the role.

Case Studies

Kathon MWX

One notable example is Rohm and Haas, which faced challenges with the launch of their new product, Kathon MWX. Despite strong sales of their other products, Kathon MWX struggled.

The company reviewed and adjusted its marketing strategies, focusing on distribution and communication to improve performance. In this case, we see the importance of rethinking marketing approaches and refining them to hit sales goals.

Dropbox Business

When Dropbox decided to target businesses rather than just individual consumers, its product marketing manager focused on:

  • Market Research: Identifying the specific needs of businesses for secure, scalable cloud storage.
  • Product Positioning: Emphasizing Dropbox’s reliability, security features, and ease of collaboration.
  • Go-to-Market Strategy: Using targeted advertising, partnerships with industry leaders, and presence at business-focused events.
  • Sales Enablement: Creating detailed case studies and ROI calculators to help the sales team illustrate the benefits to potential business customers.
  • Performance Analysis: Measuring customer satisfaction and retention rates to continually improve the service.

This shift helped Dropbox grow its enterprise user base and increase revenue.


Interviews with product marketing leaders reveal insights into the evolving role of PMs.

Tamara Niesen from Shopify highlighted the importance of balancing hard and soft skills in a PMM. She emphasized the need for customer obsession and leading with empathy. Tamara also stressed the ability to switch between product and solution marketing.

She said, “This is hard for me to answer because I hire on a balanced combination of soft skills and skills, but when hiring PMMs, I look for:

  • Customer obsession and leading with empathy—proven examples of how it has been applied to product launches, growth initiatives, and roadmaps.
  • Proven ability to pivot between product marketing and solution marketing and (or solid understanding of when to market a product vs. a solution in a multi-product organization)
  • Communication skills, including written and verbal storytelling skills, pitch decks, solution narratives, and rallying internal stakeholders to support an idea.”

Similarly, Sarah Din, VP of Product Marketing at Unbabel, emphasized the critical nature of messaging and positioning. She said, 

“One of the key things you need to get right away is messaging and positioning. They’re core to any product marketing role. If you’re not good at product messaging, you can’t do a product marketing role.”


A product marketing manager is responsible for understanding customer needs, crafting compelling messages, planning launches, and supporting sales teams. Without their expertise, companies may struggle to align products with market demands, resulting in missed opportunities and underwhelming results.

To learn more about how a product marketing manager can help your business, explore Aventi’s Sales Enablement and GTM Strategy services.

Written By

Nima Chadha

Nima Chadha is a results-driven marketing executive with over ten years of experience in marketing management, business development, and strategic partnerships. With a background in sales, marketing, and project management, Nima specializes in creating and executing strategies to drive growth and revenue for B2B tech companies across North America.