Project Manager vs. Product Marketer - Who Is Going To Win?
By Anna Korlyakova
Marketing and project management have as always been seen as separate disciplines, each having developed separately from the other.
Project Managers typically are seen to have a keen grasp of the skills that involve scheduling, record keeping, and budgets. Until recently creative skills were not seen as an important part of a Project Managers collection of needed expertise.
Marketers on the other hand usually have strong creative skills but often lack a background in some of the skills necessary for project management.
According to The Project Management Institute, project management includes five different processes — Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing — as well as nine areas of knowledge. The nine areas of knowledge center on management expertise in:
- Project Integration,
- Project Scope,
- Project Time,
- Project Cost,
- Project Quality,
- Project Human Resources,
- Project Communications,
- Project Risk Management,
- and Project Procurement.
The positioning and marketing plan that drive the product development requirements are created by the Product Marketing individual. The Product Marketing person has lifecycle responsibility for their product or products, and their key responsibility is to identify and support products that will help the company meet its overall objectives.
The Product Marketer describes the product and delivery requirements; the Project Manager manages the operational, strategic and tactical plan authoring and execution.
Because of core changes to the expectations of Project Managers that has occurred in recent years the responsibilities of project management in an organization has dramatically changed to a role that now has a strategic approach. This change to this role allows the Project Manager to take into consideration a long-term and customer-oriented approach to their tasks. I see that today the line that once divided the two job responsibilities has blurred to the point where a Project Managers also needs to be a good Marketer.
There are many marketing skills that can help Project Managers in the execution of their job:
- Strategy — Adoption of marketing tools such as Brainstorming and SWOT analysis to assist in innovative problem solving. Social Psychology/Custom Behavior — As marketers, we are either professionally trained or have inherent ability in this area. We must be able to understand what motivates people individually and in groups. Also it is important to understand how certain buying behaviors cue people to buy. We must understand value and benefits messages and promotion motivation. This is part of a marketing skill set, but elements of market conditions and competitive pressures are now also part of project management.
- Creativity — Is the ability to write creative strategy/plans and give direction to product development. Great marketers inspire great creativity.
- Analytic Ability — Far removed from budgeting and tracking (which requires quantitative abilities), the analytic ability area includes the ability to examine a number of metrics and indicators, hypothesize a cause/opportunity, and build a rational presentation from the data and outside observations.
- Leadership — Often great marketers inspire, motivate, and lead. Great PM’s also require the ability to lead, but they are primarily focused on management, coaching, and reporting.
SummaryToday a Project Manager is so engaged in the project processes that they often need to create fully integrated marketing strategies, not to mention ad design, logistics, and project management. Product Marketing and Project Managers need to work together, in complete agreement with one another on what a successful project’s outcome will be. There should be comprehensive, powerful tools that are well integrated to support this collaboration process.