A product manager coordinates new product development with others within the company. Smaller companies may not have a separate product manager. The owner may have to assume all advertising, new product development, and market research activities.
Product Management Job Responsibilities
Large corporations usually have an executive vice president that directs the advertising, product development, and product market research. One part of product management is advertising. This is one of the most important factors in the success of the new product. An advertising manager works with members of the sales staff to generate good ideas for a marketing campaign. This professional must work closely with the creative staff that creates the actual ad, and the advertising manager must coordinate with the finance department to develop a working budget.
Also, the marketing manager works closely with the product manager. This manager is in charge of trying to sell the products through creating and implementing an effective marketing campaign. The product development manager works with the marketing manager to determine the demand for the product. Competition research is another key part of this process; the managers have to decide how their product is unique from the competition’s product. They must find target markets for the product. The marketing manager and product manager come up with pricing strategies. They must factor in the customer’s willingness to pay a certain price, and the need to make a solid profit on the product. Product managers have to keep up with the culture’s current trends in order to know what products are in demand. Staying in touch with popular culture is a vital component of effective product development. The key is to develop relevant products that meet a need or want. Then, the company must market effectively to the target market to gain sales for the product.
In addition, the public relations manager also plays a vital role. The public relations manager works with the product manager to develop and maintain a favorable image for the company. Writing press releases and sponsoring corporate events can highly influence how the public feels about the company. This in turn affects how the customer will choose to spend their money. If the public does not feel good about a brand, the customer will not spend their money on the product. Many of the events and written publications about the company are created to gain attention from the public without having to advertise directly.
The work environment for a product manager can be stressful. Changing priorities and tight deadlines can create stressful circumstances. A great deal of travel may be required to meet with clients and others within the corporate marketing industry. A product manager rarely works a traditional schedule. Long hours and weekend work frequently become necessary. The majority of product managers work in excess of 40 hours per week.
Product Management Training and Education Requirements
There are many ways to gain entry into a product management career. Some start out in lower level positions, and these people work their way up into the product management position. However, employers do seem to prefer those that have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business. A concentration or minor in marketing is highly desirable. Coursework in law, accounting, finance, and management are included in the basic curriculum of business studies. Obtaining an internship in college or after graduation can positively impact a person’s career. Solid computer skills are critical in this position. It is important to have great oral and written skills as a product manager. The ability to interact well with people is another important skill in this profession.
It is predicted that many professionals in this field will retire in the next decade. There will be vacancies for top candidates. Pursuing a degree, certification, and experience in the field will lead to more job opportunities. This field is competitive, and the top candidates will secure the jobs.
Product Management Salary and Wages
Salaries in product management positions are lucrative. HR professionals conducted a survey that revealed that the median salary in 2008 for these professionals was approximately $80,000 per year. Many make over $100,000 per year. The actual salary amount tends to vary considerably by industry, geographic region, and years of experience.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Product Management Certifications
Product management is a competitive career, and those that want to be able to compete should attain certification. There are many certifications that are management based. The Public Relations Society of America issues certification to professionals based on experience and a successful completion of the exam. There are several different certifications that demonstrate competency in product management, public relations, and marketing. Most of these certifications can be achieved after completing a certain number of years on the job.
Product Management Professional Associations
American Association of Advertising Agencies is one association that is a meeting place for professionals in the industry. This organization provides a voice for the product management community. Professionals can come and learn new techniques and methods. Product managers and others in the industry can also network and develop lasting relationships with others in the profession. These relationships can become highly beneficial in the future.