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Director of Product ‘Management’ and Director of Product ‘Marketing’ – Who’s Boss?

The job and responsibilities of the Director of Product Management is increasingly trendy in the technology sector. At the same time, Product Marketing is a fairly recent activity in start-ups, something that’s seen a lot more traction over the last 4–5 years, as innovation becomes more and more disruptive and there’s a need to make those innovations easier to grasp and master by end users.

Andy Raymond, Director with Redline Executive takes a closer look at the role of the Director of Product Management and the Director of Product Marketing and how they are different. 

The Director of Product Management is very often perceived as the boss of the product. They are a builder, constantly iterating, solving problems and empowering its collaborators to build the better experience for its users. They are in charge of new product development from vision to road-mapping, defining features and design.

They shape the vision: put on paper the CEO’s vision and collaborate with the Product Marketing Director. They gather and analyse data and business intelligence from both internal sources like sales and/or marketing teams and external sources like customers, prospects, analysts, market studies, competitive analysis. The analysis of this data gives inputs that will create the rational to make decisions at strategy and roadmap level to enhance user satisfaction. In parallel, the PM defines and analyses metrics that inform the success of products.

On the other hand, the Director of Product Marketing is seen as the boss of the ‘go-to-market’. It’s one of the few job functions that covers product, marketing and sales at the same time. It is more or less the link between the technical and the business worlds, with Tech and Product on one hand, and Sales and Marketing on the other hand.

“The end goal is to bring a product to market that generates revenue. Concretely, this means working hand in hand with the product to be a 2-way conduit for information between business and technology,” says Andy.

“A Director of Product Marketing needs to be able to understand 90% of what a product and technology are, and be able to percolate it into the 10% that will provide an exciting story to tell. It means providing inputs to fine-tune a roadmap or a product specification, or defining the story, objection handling and creating the collaterals to be used by commercial teams to sell the product.”

The line between Product Management and Product Marketing is extremely thin

Although Product Management focuses more on product strategy whereas Product Marketing is more focused on the market positioning and the value of the product, the boundary is rarely so well defined. The border between the Product Manager and the Product Marketer will depend on a lot of factors including the size and the culture of the company or the type and the stage of the product.

Maturity of the company: the younger the company, the weaker the boundary between the two is. There is often only one Product Manager who plays his role and that of the PMM.

Complexity of the product: the more complex the product, the harder it is to manage Product Marketing and Product Management for one person. This does not require the same skills and kinds of individuals.

“If I had to summarise each of the product management executive job roles, I would describe them with a few key words. The Director of Product Management: synthesis, analysis, collaboration and project management. The Director of Product Marketing: vision, strategy, inspiration, convincing power and connections. Overall, both job roles contribute to the company’s overall product vision and must interact with key customers.”

For more information on Product Management, Product Marketing roles and Executive roles, Redline Executive offer an extensive portfolio of executive search services and provide thorough insight and support to your strategic recruitment planning. To have a confidential discussion, please call Andy Raymond, Director on +44 (0)203 131 0019 or email



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