The Blurred Lines Between Product Strategy, Product Marketing, Product Management, and Marketing!

Before I joined SimilarWeb, I had never heard of ‘Product Marketing’ and wasn’t sure where the team fit in within a company.

In fact, there is is no objective definition of Product Marketing and depending on the company and organizational structure, Product Marketing may work within different teams and have varying responsibilities. However, the core areas of focus are often the same, namely, to help to ensure the growth and success of the company by researching and representing the market and customer.

In this post I will share my experiences and research on Product Marketing, and how the team can blur lines within the company and take on a wide variety of duties. For an in-depth overview of our SimilarWeb Product Marketing team and what issues we try and solve, find our Product Marketing Overview, written by my colleague Lior.

Product Marketing at SimilarWeb

Our Product Marketing team at SimilarWeb is part of the wider Marketing team which also includes our Brand and Content teams. We cover the following areas:

  1. Competition
  2. Personas
  3. Pricing & Packaging
  4. The Broader Ecosystem

Additionally, we recently created two permanent roles within the Product Marketing team that focus on Customer Acquisition and Customer Retention. These roles will work closely with our sales leaders and our content marketing team.


Product Marketing at Other Companies 

To understand what Product Marketing means at other companies, I surveyed some friends who work in Product Marketing at different tech companies.

A good friend is a Product Marketing Manager at Wix, and she explained that her role involves producing creative sales and e-mail marketing campaigns. Another friend of mine is a Product Marketing Manager at Google, but unlike Wix, his role involves managing the SEM agencies Google works with to run their Paid Acquisition campaigns.

At SimilarWeb, over the past year, I have done a variety of projects ranging from: creating messaging about our data collection methodology, to understanding the mobile app marketer persona, to pricing & packaging new features, to figuring out the best model to sell to marketing agencies. None of these projects resembled my friends’ PMM roles.

So how can we best describe Product Marketing?

I posed this question to Asaf Hochman who established the Product Marketing team at Outbrain. He told me he sees Product Marketing as the “liaison between the Business & Product side. We help the product team to understand what to build and help take it to market.”

Essentially, our role is to represent the voice of the customer and the market within our own company. We help decide which features should be part of our product road-map, train our sales team on our personas & use cases, and craft product and data messaging.

The Product Marketing, Management, and Strategy Triad

My favorite diagram to explain Product Marketing and how it connects to Product Strategy and Product Management can be seen below:

Image result for product management triad

However, in contrast to the above diagram, at SimilarWeb:

  • Win/Loss analysis is done by the Product Marketing team, as are User Personas
  • Whitepapers, collateral, and success stories are done by our Content Marketing team
  • Product Roadmap is done by Product Managers

pmmmmThe bottom line is…Product Strategy, Product Marketing, and Product Management will vary in every company depending on the size and structure. Over time, as the company develops and grows out of its startup stage, these teams can change roles, responsibilities, and even where they sit within the organization.

Regardless of structure, it is critical that the following responsibilities are owned by one of the aforementioned teams:

  1. Identifying customer needs and customer segments
  2. Understanding competitors and the broader ecosystem
  3. Pricing and packaging

These will all have a major impact on the product roadmap, the success of the sales organisation, bottom line company revenues, market positioning, and much more.

Finally, the added bonus of being a part of a Product Marketing team is that at some point or another, you’ll have the opportunity to work with and collaborate with every team across the company.

High-Five for cross-functional teamwork!

About the Author -

Jessica Bohm is a Product Marketing Manager at SimilarWeb. She has a background specializing in Management Consulting and Performance Marketing, as well as founding her own mobile app startup company. Jessica holds a Masters degree in Economics from Cambridge University.

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