Find a Career in Product Management by Fei Lim

Product management is a broad area of expertise, that involves the planning of a particular product, its creation, development and distribution to specified markets. Therefore, product management is involved in all aspects of this product and its life cycle.

Product management would usually make up a team, composed of a sales engineer, a marketing manager, a product planner and a product marketer. There are companies, however that employ individualized product managers, instead of a team composed of these four roles, or a lesser number of workers in the product management team. The important roles that remain would be the product planner and product marketer.

Product management is essentially composed of two separate disciplines, product planning and product marketing. These disciplines are quite different in scope and implementation, but companies usually place them under one directive because one supposedly continues into the other, and the outcome of each affect each other closely.

Product planning involves distinguishing the product as a necessity, and figuring out market conditions and demands. All aspects of the product life cycle are addressed and portfolio of the product is created, based on product differentiation, a process in which the product's marketability is determined against similar products already being distributed./p>

These are aspects of marketing but still fall into the product planning phase, which is why many companies lump product planning and marketing together, as product marketing then follows through with the planned strategies through positioning and implementation.

Many companies have found that although separate planning/development and marketing departments may work well, the collaborative efforts between the two departments make sales more effective, which is why many corporations opt to combine the two departments.

Different companies may have different job descriptions for their product managers, based on the needs and development of each company. Usually, besides overseeing the development of the product through its life cycle and creating a substantial marketing plan and implementation, product managers may also take on the roles of project manager, which entails supervision of the entire production and marketing processes as a project, and program manager, which includes scheduling and programming the different aspects of production and marketing according to procedure.

A well-rounded background in business and strategic management or any management degree, with courses in marketing, advertising, and accounting will do well for a career in product management, although experience in the field contributes greatly to skill development. Degrees in behavioral and social sciences are also valued in product management, as well as degrees in communication and science and technology.

Of course, it is very important that product management revolves around the specific product and product managers must necessarily know what it is they're managing in the first place. Beyond basic information, product managers of a specific product must be knowledgeable in all aspects of this product to be able to ensure excellence in its production, improvement and marketing.

Therefore, those employing in Banking and other Finance-oriented industries may have degrees in Finance and Commerce to be able to function well as product managers. Similarly, graduates in computer courses that deal with the development and creation of gaming software can work as product managers. in game publishing and entertainment software and technology companies. They are also able to market this product because being gamers themselves, they will be able to pinpoint their target markets and know which strategies will work in attracting these markets.

Product management is highly employed in such industries as food and beverage, consumer products, health care, insurance, media, education, publishing, technology, electronics, biotechnology, medical and pharmaceutical, oil and energy services, home and building construction, chemical, steel, metal fabrication.

While many companies have their own product management team within their internal corporate structure, others outsource to product management organizations, such as Phase Forward, a product management team which prides itself in producing excellent product management service, from product development to retail management and product evaluation.

These product management companies offer many services aside from developing your product and implementing a corresponding marketing scheme. For example, Phase Forward also takes on existing products for marketing, while Bit 7, Inc. Product Development in Madison, Wisconsin, offers its special Speed-to-Market feature. Insight Product Development in Chicago, with offices in Boston and Raleigh, aim at shortening developmental cycles, which help in cutting costs. Some companies have particular specializations, such as MIDIOR Consulting, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which cater to companies needing technology and data products, and Vertex Product Development Inc in New York, offer complete design concepts or redesign services.

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