No two product marketers are the same, which means that no two product marketing teams are the same. Some are large, supporting multiple product lines, features, specialties, and more. Some are small teams, with one product marketing manager supporting the entire product organization.
We’ve already discussed what product marketing does within an organization, and now it’s time to dig into what product marketing might look like within an organization. There are many factors that come into play when you’re structuring a product marketing team or designing a product marketing function at your company.
In this blog post, we will take a look at some common product marketing team structures and then dive into five of the most common product marketing functions.
Product Marketing Team Structure
Product marketing teams are often structured differently from one organization to another. Based on conversations with many product marketing teams, it seems that a lot of these organizations are small but mighty in comparison to the overall company size.
Of course, product marketers spend a lot of time working collaboratively with other teams within their company, so although some teams are small, they’ve got a lot of cross-functional support. Some smaller organizations have product marketing teams of one or two people, while others have large, organized product marketing departments. Here are a few of the approaches to organizing a product marketing team.
A Small Product Marketing Team
A small product marketing team is typically run by a head of marketing, with one or two product marketers reporting to them. With a team of multiple product marketers, the workload can be split up between multiple PMMs, but each PMM is likely more of a generalist than a specialist. For those companies with just one product marketer, they’re responsible for all aspects of product marketing within an organization.
Alternatively, another example of team structure is to have product marketing report into the product team. This may be in the form of a single product marketing generalist dedicated to that business unit or a larger product marketing team - broken down by any of the approaches mentioned in the next section.
Product Marketing by Product Line
For a larger team, the product marketing team could be organized by product line. In this scenario, there is a PMM focused on a specific product line within the company. Each PMM could be dedicated to a given vertical, audience, or segment of the business.
Product Marketing by Specialty
Another way to organize a larger team is by product marketing specialty. This approach allows each product marketer to specialize in a particular set of product marketing activities. Some of these functions may be competitive intelligence, product launches, sales enablement, or messaging.
Next, let’s take a look at these product marketing functions by area of specialization.
Product Marketing Functions
Depending on the organization, you might simply have a product marketing manager - a generalist. As your organization gets larger and you have more bandwidth to invest in product marketing functions, you’ll begin to see product marketers with more focused areas of expertise. While these are some of the most common focus areas, these descriptions are not exhaustive, and you might notice some overlap between the roles.
Competitive Intelligence Focus
Oftentimes, product marketing owns competitive and market intelligence for their organization. If you’re a part of a large market, you might have a dedicated product marketing manager with competitive intelligence expertise. The CI specialist is likely responsible for the complete competitive intelligence process, capturing, analyzing, and sharing competitive intelligence across the organization.
Sales Enablement Focus
A product marketing professional with a sales enablement focus is responsible for helping the sales team reach their highest potential. Sales enablement specialists work closely with the sales organization to create collateral, sales trainings, and focus on improving the team’s overall win rate. This position often works on competitive intelligence as well, to ensure that their sales enablement deliverables include up-to-date market information to help their team win competitive deals.
Product Launch Focus
If a team is launching a new product or feature frequently, they will likely have a product marketer that focuses solely on product launches. These product marketers will be responsible for crafting and delivering a narrative to the market about the latest updates, as well as focusing on customer adoption and retention.
Messaging and Positioning Focus
Messaging and positioning are extremely important to carving out your space within the market as well as differentiating yourself from other players within the market. Product marketers with this focus are responsible for creating positioning that showcases the value of your product or service. Additionally, they are responsible for crafting messaging for campaigns to drive awareness and adoption within the market.
Product marketing is such a complex and unique function within every organization. The role impacts every department — sales, marketing, product, customer success, and your executive team. Without product marketers, there would be no narrative, no messaging, no product launch plan… it would be tough for a company to stay strong within their industry.
Since product marketers are so unique, they all have different areas of expertise. Depending on what your company needs and how it’s structured, product marketers could be on your product team, marketing team, or a different team altogether. No matter where your product marketer sits within your organization, a product marketing function will positively impact your company’s overall success.
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