It’s self-evident that designing and delivering a product or service that your customers want to use is the best route to business success. But the way marketers help companies get there has changed dramatically in recent years, as products and services increasingly live in the cloud of web and mobile apps.
There was a time — not so long ago, really — when marketers and product managers operated in very different spheres. Product managers built stuff. Marketers sold it.
Of course, that’s a simplification of an interrelated relationship between marketers and product managers. Even if we had clear boundaries, to be effective, we’d work together to understand market needs, and we’d periodically touch base to get aligned with product road maps and strategic priorities. But we each lived our own side of the house, and our responsibilities were pretty well separated. Almost sounds quaint, doesn’t it?
If you’re a marketer or product manager, think about where you are today. I bet a lot of us find the boundaries between these job responsibilities to have grown quite a bit more ambiguous.
Depending on our organizations, we might not even have roles or titles that fit that classic paradigm. Perhaps we’re growth hackers. Or maybe we’re customer champions. And I’m sure there are other novel roles I’m omitting. But even those of us with tried-and-true labels like “product manager” and “product marketer” recognize that our goals, day-to-day work and teams have evolved in some dramatic ways.
Things change. Like most social constructs, businesses and management theory are susceptible to fashion and novelty.
But I’m not here to mock business school jargon or the eccentricities of a tech bubble. In fact, far from it. Something fundamental is going on with this shift in how marketers and product professionals work to create value for our customers.
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