Social Media changes Product Managers and Product Marketing

Business Blogging guru Shel Israel told me that some of the best business blogs come from Product Managers, his changes the communication game.

Traditionally, the Product Marketing Manager is responsible for the ‘outbound’, getting requirements from the marketplace, delivering to Product Management, and then communicating to the world. Traditionally, the Product Manager is responsible for building the product and meeting the objectives and timelines, more of an ‘internally focused’ role.

Back in August, I was making some observations on how customer requirements can be gathered between Product Managers, Product Marketing Managers, and Community Managers (my previous role). Be sure to read the comments section for additional insight.

Last night at the Factiva Event, one Product Manager attendee was expressing his unsatisifaction with the Marketing at his Company. Although he doesn’t take credit for coming up with this phrase this really resonated with me:

“Product Managers are the guys on the inside of the box, and Product Marketing folks are the guys on the outside of the box.”

Even the Factiva bloggers (which range from sales to product management) manage personal blogs, but are encouraged to provide disclosure they work for Factiva.

Questions to Answer:

  • If Product Managers are now using social media to reach out to customers, are they now doing Product Marketing in an outbound role?
  • And let’s not forget the important dynamic that customers are organizing, and self-volunteering feedback to product teams. With requirements and feature requests using social media, how does this change the roles?

The Change: Social Media changes the roles of Product Managers/Marketers/Customers.  The lines of communication easily connect between all of the parties, information flows. Everyone can be inbound/outbound, including customers.

  • If your product marketing people are “outside of the box,” then you’re doing it wrong.

  • Following up on Jeff’s comments, why would I want to listen to what someone outside the box has to say. All he or she can provide is sizzle. Most of us are very tired of sizzle. We just want to understand the meat and then decide if we are hungry for it and if so, whetrher we can afford to pay for it. Hmm. Come to think of it, the price of beef goes down, if you eliminate the guy outside of the box.

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  • Well, J, if there’s one thing that social media and non-traditional communication has enabled, it’s to break open the BOX…I think it’s fast becoming a box-LESS world out there. I think, if there is a box, then there IS a problem.

    As for the difference between Product Marketing Manager(PMM) and Product Manager: I believe the PMM helps initiate, facilitate, and maintain a conversation with your target audience. The PMM speaks the language that your audience understands, converting the tech speak (Product Manager) into human speak.

    IF the Product Manager can speak that language, then a PMM is just an additional layer in the conversation. But that’s a big IF?!

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