Market Management versus Product Management

Forgive me if I sound like I’m on my soapbox again but the madness has to stop. Great marketing is being hampered by organizations, or more likely marketing leaders, that insist on creating these two tier marketing organizations. Ones with BOTH a Marketing Management group and a Product Management group. This is a great way to create internal conflict and dilute your execution. These two groups are naturally going to pull the marketing strategy & execution in different directions because of their marketing orientation.

Product Management structures are somewhat old school as they focus on the product features and attributes rather than the customer. In other words the people that tend to populate these roles are technically savvy or detailed oriented with weaker marketing skills. Market Management takes more of a customer centric approach to marketing and is more focused on customer needs and solving a problems. The people that populate these roles are more strategic, understand brand management principles but are easily flustered by technology. The challenge here is that technology companies ideally want/need technically savvy people in these roles that have solid marketing strategy experience.

Unfortunately it’s a combination that is hard to come by. In an effort to close the gap between the customer and the product, companies create a two tier marketing organization that adds complexity in the process, cultivates conflict and fosters weak execution. As we all know, too many cooks spoil the pot.

The solution: choose one structure and higher the right people for the roles you need. Maintaining two marketing structures is not only costly in today’s market environment but is a recipe for weak marketing and internal conflict. And we all know that in today’s work environment we want/need more conflict.

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